By Alex Scott
A community run event aimed at getting locals fit has opened up in Perth’s northern suburbs.
The Wanneroo Parkrun happens every Saturday morning.
It launched just 6 weeks ago and is one of 309 similar events held across Australia every week.
Mel O’Leary is one of the volunteers who helped start the Wanneroo branch of the Parkrun.
She said it all started after the number of participants at Lake Joondalup became too large.
“The first thing involved is approaching your local council, so we approached Wanneroo to get the funding because it costs about $5000 to set up a parkrun,” O’Leary said.
After the funding was sorted, O’Leary said a large part of the process was finding a route for the run, ensuring that the course is safe and exactly 5 kilometres, before approaching the Parkrun organisers.
According to O’Leary, the process of getting started took about six months.
“Our launch we got 275 people, that’s normally because people from other park runs come and check us out and do tourist park run, we’ve had between 100 and 130 each week,” O’Leary said.
Parkrun’s aim is to get the community to participate, whether they run or walk the distance.
“We’re very big on it’s not actually Parkrun, it can be park-walk, park-crawl, just get yourself here and have a go at it.
“We really try and encourage a lot of walkers and being very family friendly, getting kids involved,” O’Leary said.
“I think all those aspects get it to have a community feel rather than just a lot of fast runners getting together and do a 5 kilometre [run].”
Laura Davies has participated in ten Parkrun events and was drawn to the event to get better at running.
“People who go along frequently range from people who are just getting into running all the way to people who compete in athletic and long-distance running,” she said.
According to Davies, the best aspect of Parkrun is the variety of fitness levels as well as the passionate volunteers who run the events.