Parkrun is a collection of free, timed, weekly 5km running events that are held every Saturday morning at various locations around the world. The concept began in the UK in October 2004, with a weekly 5km time trial organised around Bushy Park, London. In the following years, more of these time trials started up around London and the rest of the UK, and in 2010 became known as “parkrun”. Founder Paul Sinton- Hewitt continued to facilitate the establishment of new events not just in the UK, but also around the world, and parkrun now operates weekly 5km runs in 14 different countries! The first event in Australia took place at Main Beach, Gold Coast in April 2011, and since then nearly 200 new events have launched in Australia. Galston parkrun launched on 8th October 2016, with an attendance of 250 runners including visitors from all parts of Sydney as well as Newcastle.
Each parkrun event is run completely by volunteers. In order to remain free for all participants, parkrun also relies on support from local and national sponsors. Medibank, Suncorp and Stockland are national sponsors in Australia, and Health Space Hornsby is a local supporter of Galston parkrun.
Parkrun is inclusive of all abilities – participants are free to run, jog or walk at their own pace. Galston parkrun is pramfriendly. Dogs are also allowed (but must be kept on a short lead), and children of all ages are welcome (those under 11 must be accompanied by an adult). Parkrun has proved to be extremely effective in encouraging people to start a regular pattern of exercise, as well as developing strong, close-knit communities.
Each week, a number of volunteer roles need to be filled in order to conduct the event. These include run director, course setup, timekeeper, handing out finish tokens, barcode scanner, marshal, photographer, and tail runner. Everyone is encouraged to volunteer a few times a year. The roles are very straightforward and volunteers are given full instructions on what they need to do.
To register for parkrun, go to www.parkrun.com.au/ register. It is completely free, and you only need to register once. After registering, you receive a personalised barcode which you need to print off and bring along to each run. This barcode is required in order for your time to be recorded.
Galston parkrun takes place at 8am every Saturday at Fagan Park, Galston. Come along and give it a try!