Unique run reaches 100-event milestone
Winnipeg’s Churchill Parkway ‘parkrun’ celebrated its 100th run recently — a milestone for the event, that started here in July 2019 and is one of the over 2,000 weekly parkruns held in 22 countries across six continents.
After the 100th parkrun, first-timers and regulars stayed to enjoy hot chocolate, veggies and fruit, and cookies, which Dennis Cunningham, parkrun event director, admitted was the most popular snack.
Cunningham said he was one of five Winnipeggers who collaborated to bring parkrun here. His first experience with parkrun came on a family vacation in the United Kingdom. Rick Harrison’s parkrun connection was made through an online running group. Like Cunningham, Harrison regularly volunteersat Churchill Parkway, taking on various tasks, including timing. Others who helped with the startup had attended parkruns as far away as Australia.
Registering online for a free parkrun barcode gives runners and walkers access to parkruns anywhere. Like all parkruns, Winnipeg’s is held every Saturday at 9 a.m. The five-kilometre course uses the scenic Churchill Parkway between the Red River and Churchill Drive. Runners, walkers, young and old, and those with dogs and strollers all take part. The start area is where Ashland Street meets Churchill Drive.
The Churchill Parkway parkrun happens year-round, unless prevented by poor trail or weather conditions. Parkrun allows Winnipeggers to show their hardiness by dressing for the elements and enjoying their unique environment.
Cunningham said visiting parkrunners seek out the run when they’re in Winnipeg.
“Prior to launching our parkrun, we were told to expect parkrun tourists. This has very much been the case,” Cunningham said. “We’ve met runners from other Canadian provinces, the States, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France.”
Parkruns feature a social, friendly atmosphere, with cowbells at the midpoint and end to encourage all participants. Many participants stick around to cheer everyone crossing the finish line.
Volunteers keep parkruns going week after week. Volunteer duties are straightforward, and those who participate are recognized for milestone contributions. New volunteers are welcome to help with any upcoming parkrun.
Mike Shaw, a parkrun participant, shared how “you join a fun community of friendly, supportive runners and walkers at the event. We had a larger turnout for the 100th run, which was really special. I definitely plan to keep showing up for the next 100!”
More information on the Churchill Parkway parkrun can be found at www.parkrun.ca/chuchillparkway/
Wildwood community correspondent
Kirby Gilman is a community correspondent for Wildwood. Email her at email@example.com