A free, volunteer-driven community run that has taken the country by storm since reaching New Zealand shores in 2012 is coming to Tauranga this month.
The first parkrun will be held in the Kopurererua Valley Reserve at the bottom of 17th Avenue by the Historic Village at 8am on Saturday, April 28.
The Tauranga parkrun has come about following an article in The Weekend Sun in January where parkrun New Zealand organisers Lian and Noel de Charmoy expressed a desire to see parkrun set up here.
Tauranga’s Sally Cooke was among several people to volunteer to find a suitable venue for the run and together the group has come up with the Kopurererua Valley course.
“My niece and nephew were staying with me over Christmas and they do parkrun in Brisbane so we were talking about how great it would be to have parkrun here. Then I saw The Weekend Sun article and got in touch with Lian and Noel who connected all of us who were interested,” she says.
“Someone suggested K Valley and we ran it one day as a group to see what we thought. Tauranga City Council said yes so we just made it happen. It’s such a beautiful reserve and is not used on the weekend for sports so the run isn’t going to be in anyone’s way.”
Parkrun is a 5km run that takes place every Saturday morning at 8am. It began in the UK in 2004 with a few mates meeting up for a weekly jog, but has since spread to all corners of the globe.
The first event in New Zealand took place in Lower Hutt in 2012 and now there’s a parkrun in 20 locations from Whangarei to Dunedin, with more than 30,000 Kiwis taking part.
Runs (or walks if you prefer) are timed using a barcode system so participants can keep track of their progress, and the main aim of the initiative is to get people of all ages and abilities involved.
The event is also a chance to socialise and participants will be grabbing a post parkrun coffee at the Whipped Baker in the Historic Village.
“It’s really neat to align ourselves with the Historic Village and parking is great there,” says Sally.
“parkrun is so cool because it’s a community initiative. It’s not a race so people are getting together to socialise and improve their health and well-being.”
To register and find out more about parkrun go to: www.parkrun.co.nz/tauranga or visit the Tauranga parkrun Facebook page.
If you’d like to be involved as a volunteer – marshalling, operating the timer or scanning barcodes – email firstname.lastname@example.org