• Jack Ward

Don your activewear, Parkrun is back

Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.


PARKRUN will return to Ararat after a 10-month hiatus tomorrow morning, January 16, at Alexandra Gardens.

PHOTO: Parkrun volunteers Tricia Ruthven and Angela Reynolds are raring to go. (Jack Ward/Ararat Advocate)

The weekly community event was quick to be suspended globally in March last year when the coronavirus pandemic escalated, only returning across Australia in recent weeks.


The organisation boasts a collection of 5-kilometre events for walkers, runners and volunteers that take place every Saturday morning at more than 2,000 locations in 22 countries.


Tricia Ruthven is the event director in Ararat and said, volunteers and exercise enthusiasts are celebrating its return.


“Parkrun Australia have been very, very cautious about the reopening and have put in so many stipulations and guidelines, they've been really thorough,” she said.


“Originally, Parkrun said that they weren't going to reopen until everyone could reopen. We were thinking a few weeks, maybe a couple of months.”


Ms Ruthven doesn’t condemn Parkrun for the way they went about it when little was known about the virus but said, she is glad to see a more localised approach being implemented in 2021.


“If regional Victoria was to be affected again, we'd be shut down, but somewhere else could be allowed to be open. So that's much better,” she said.


Local Parkrun volunteers are hoping to welcome new faces who are looking for a social way to get active, as well as their 60 regulars who were walking, running, or jogging pre-COVID.


“It's always a great time to start Parkrun, we welcome new people all the time. But this is a fantastic time to start because it's new for everyone again.”


Ms Ruthven said participants need to arrive by 7:50am Saturday mornings for a prompt 8am start and abide by COVID regulations.


“We've got our own QR codes so as people can check in when they arrive for contact tracing because that is a regulation of the state government.”


“Everything's ticked off, nothing's missed - it will be safe. Well, as safe as this virus allows us to be.”

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