NEW IDEA: Charleys Creek parkrun goes virtual so residents can keep running as well as obeying social distancing rules.
NEW IDEA: Charleys Creek parkrun goes virtual so residents can keep running as well as obeying social distancing rules.

Innovative idea to keep parkrunners connected during pandemic

Normally filled with over 100 parkrunners and volunteers on a Saturday morning, not a single person has been sighted on Charleys Creek walkway in the last fortnight, as social distancing takes full effect.

With the announcement that all parkruns will be suspended until at least the end of April but expected to be longer, co-event director Ronald Thompson has come up with an innovative way for the event to still continue.

A keen runner himself, Thompson understood the importance of keeping the parkrun community together during such difficult times. So last Saturday he started a virtual parkrun.

To try to keep everyone moving, participants we asked to do a 5km run, take a screenshot of their time and course either using Strava or their smart watches and then submit it to the parkrun team.

Then results were collated and put up on Facebook.

“For parkrunners, not to have that community on Saturday morning is hard, so we just want to make sure they do,” Thompson said.

“We want to encourage them to keep active and make sure people don’t stop because once you stop, the harder it is to get going again.”

Nine people took part in the event last Saturday, and it will continue this week.

With the new local distancing laws still allowing people outdoors for exercise, Thompson said the 5km run could be anytime during to the week and done anywhere as long as you are abiding by the social distancing rules.

“Last week there was a couple who live out of town, and they ran around their farm in the middle of nowhere. Another person just ran around in this backyard and must have done 50 laps,” he said.

“Doing exercise is a great way to keep the mind sharp and body well, with time, we will beat this virus.”


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