Parkrunners return despite the rain following long COVID cancellation | The Canberra Times

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Around 100 people braved the rain falling on Yerrabi Pond in Gungahlin on Saturday for the much awaited return of parkrun. All seven parkrun events were staged across Canberra for the first time since August, despite morning rain and temperatures just above five degrees. Event organisers received notice this week events could restart following the ACT government’s accelerated easing of restrictions from midnight on Thursday. Run director Brendan Brady said equipment had been gathering dust at his place after he’d helped put on the last event before lockdown. “We put a call out on Facebook for volunteers this week and it quickly filled up so we’re all ready to go again,” he said. Katherine Sliwinski had been on track to hit 300 parkruns before COVID-19 put an end to the weekend ritual. Ms Sliwinski completed many of the five-kilometre runs she’s clocked up at different locations across Australia when travelling around the country in a caravan for six months. “My family and I moved into our caravan in 2019 and travelled a lap of Australia doing parkruns every Saturday,” she said. “We left with two kids and I fell pregnant halfway around so now we have three. My daughters love it, it’s a whole family tradition.” The Sliwinski family did 18 different parkruns during their time on the road, including one in a farmer’s red-dirt paddock in Cloncurry in Queensland. She said a run in Kununurra in far northern Western Australia was one of the most memorable. “Even though it started at 7am it was still 35 degrees,” she said. “It was really, really hot but we loved it.” The Sliwinskis also ran the original parkrun in London on their honeymoon, Ms Sliwinski said. “We did Bushy Park on a rainy day like this in December in the United Kingdom and even though it was pouring rain there was about 900 people, that was pretty awesome,” she said. Paul Sinton-Hewitt founded parkrun with a group of friends in London in 2004. The first parkrun was held in Australia on the Gold Coast in 2011. Canberra adopted the event at Ginninderra in April 2012. The lifting of density limits on organised outdoor sport paved the way for parkrun to return there on Saturday, as well as to Gungahlin, Wagi Bridge, Mount Ainslie, Burley Griffin, Coombs and Tuggeranong on Saturday. Queanbeyan devotees will have to wait a little longer, with parkruns scheduled to restart in NSW on December 18. Ms Sliwinski said the volunteer-run event was a bit of a religion for those involved. “You can go out for breakfast with people you’ve met that morning and just talk park running,” she said. READ MORE: The Calvary nurse said running as a family through COVID had been a really important way of keeping happy and healthy. “Whilst we couldn’t run with our friends, we definitely still kept running,” she said. “It was nice coming back today seeing people we haven’t seen in months. We’ve met purely from running but we have lifelong friendships and it’s the same wherever you go.” London Olympics runner Martin Dent holds the top two fastest parkrun times in Canberra, completing the Ginninderra course in 14.42 in 2012 and the Gungahlin course in 14.25 in 2013. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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