Parkrun prov­ing pop­u­lar in Porirua

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Fun run­ning: Porirua parkrun or­gan­is­ers Ge­orge van Meeuwen and Astrid van Meeuwen-Di­jk­graaf.

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