Parkrun proving popular in Porirua
The ‘‘parkrun’’ concept has taken hold in Porirua, with dozens of people enjoying a 5km jog around Bothamley Park each Saturday morning.
Parkrun has been going for nine years. It began in Bushy Park, London, with the idea that likeminded people could get together for a jog in city parks.
There are now 281 regular parkruns around the world, with four in New Zealand.
Parkrun arrived in Lower Hutt several years ago, and George van Meeuwen and Astrid van Meeuwen-Dijkgraaf have organised a Porirua version.
They had averaged 71 runners for the first three weeks.
‘‘It’s much bigger than we expected,’’ Mr van Meeuwen said. ‘‘It’s a simple concept, to get people off the couch and out for a run and the timing of it means we’re not clashing with weekend sport and other activities.
‘‘It’s not aimed at the top athletes, although some good runners take part.
‘‘We have walkers and families doing it together and our oldest runner is 76. It’s very relaxed.’’
The Porirua parkrun starts in the car park off Champion St at 8am each Saturday. The 5km run is flat and goes through the park, with no running on the road or footpaths.
The course record is 17 minutes, though most runners take about 30 minutes.
The turnaround point is near Warspite Ave, and runners end up back at the Champion St car park.
Runners are required to regis- ter, for free, on the parkrun.co.nz website and then receive a barcode that gets scanned as they cross the finish line.
‘‘That way, you are on an international database and you get an email if you set a personal best,’’ Mr van Meeuwen said.
He said the support of Porirua City Council and sponsor New Zealand Home Loans has been crucial.
Fun running: Porirua parkrun organisers George van Meeuwen and Astrid van Meeuwen-Dijkgraaf.