Churchill Parkrun a big success

An average of 74 people participate each week in Churchill parkrun. Being a free timed event, it has become a very popular fitness and social event, attracting people of all ages in all weather conditions.
Churchill parkrun started on January 23, 2016. Since then, 856 participants have completed 5,592 parkruns covering a total distance of 27,960 km, including 1,248 new Personal Bests.
The scenic Churchill five kilometre course along Eel Hole Creek is very popular due to the high quality track surface as well as its natural beauty and diversity. Run every Saturday morning at exactly 8 am, parkrun has attracted many residents from the local area who make this their compulsory weekly family outing. Being a free event run entirely by volunteers means it’s a highly affordable activity.
The use of the Churchill Hub as the meet up place has been a real bonus said Co-Event Director, Lani Cropley. “The access to these facilities for an all year round and all weather event makes a big difference. parkrun tourists regularly tell us that our facilities are the best they have seen.”
“I’m also very proud to say that we have a great reputation for being friendly, welcoming and having fun” said Lani. “Having a good laugh while exercising not only makes the time go quicker, but improves the experience for everyone out exercising.”
“With participants being able to run or walk with prams or strollers or to bring their dog, it truly stands up as a family friendly event” added Lani. “Many people think they have to wait and get fit before they come along or that they have to run, but neither is the case.”
Run entirely by volunteers, each event relies on eight people putting their hand up to help out. “We have been delighted with the number of people who contribute as volunteers and take their turn to help out in a variety of roles” said Bob. “Not everyone is able to walk the full distance or likes to run, but they are able to contribute in a number of ways by choosing to do any of the weekly volunteer roles, which are easy and can be as much fun as running.

Roles can also include checking or marking the track and making sure it’s safe, or picking up the rubbish. Every bit helps.”
Churchill parkrun recently acknowledged the contribution of two volunteers, Patti Heeley who has volunteered 50 times and Patrick McGown who has volunteered 25 times.
Coffee and breakfast at the Vintage Chill Café in the Churchill Shopping Centre following parkrun is also a favourite routine of many.
The social element is as important as the event itself and a great time to meet new people and extend networks.
Statistics show that the majority of parkrunners come from Churchill and the surrounding small towns and districts.
Run Director Heather Farley stated that the weekly timed event has also proven to be a strong training circuit not just for athletes of all ages, but also netballers, footballers, soccer players and the like.
“Sometimes during the season and during the off season parkrun is used as part of a regular training regime that seems to work well.
In fact, the weekly event has been so successful that a WJR (Walk, Jog, Run) Churchill group has been set up and has been operating weekly on a Wednesday evening for over a year now for anyone wanting to work further on their fitness”, said Heather.
“While totally separate from parkrun, everyone involved with this group has recorded improved times and levels of fitness.”
There are now three parkrun experiences on offer each week within Latrobe City, the other two being at Traralgon and Newborough, which have been strongly supported by Latrobe City Council.
While all three start at the same time, people have the choice of rotating between parkruns, staying at their preferred track or even trying others that operate in other parts of Gippsland.
So addictive is parkrun that many people are known to plan their holidays and trips across the state, Australia and overseas around parkruns, which are run the same way across many different countries.
For anyone wanting to participate, just register on the parkrun Australia website and choose Churchill as your home event. You will then be given your own barcode to print off and take along weekly so you can have your results emailed to you after each run.
The Churchill parkrun website and facebook page provide good information and capture the essence of parkrun.