by Art Kilgour
parkrun is a “big tent” event. It welcomes everyone: runners, walkers, dogs, and even … strollers!
So I take advantage this week and arrive with my two-year-old grandson Max in his jogging “chariot.” I often push him around in the sleek stroller, but have never tried to run fast. How hard can it be? (Surprise! It’s winter today.)
The first kilometre is a shock. Suddenly, my arms are absolutely aching. “Relax” I tell myself. Lower the shoulders. Stop gripping the handlebars so tightly! I manage to loosen up and then hit a rhythm.
Luckily, I'm behind our local parkrun’s most experienced running dad, Dennis Waechter. Everyone knows Dennis, because he’s almost ALWAYS at parkrun with his two adorable boys, Xavier and Felix. But they’re nearly too big for the double stroller now, so parkrun is an enormous amount of work for Dennis. Luckily, he's six-foot-four or so and seems to handle it with ease. Look how relaxed he is!
Also running with a two-pack this week is Ryan Flint, who holds the unofficial running stroller course record for our event (something close to 20 minutes I think). He ends up way out front, but I get to wave three times on our double out-and-back course. Look how happy Liam and Emily appear under their blankets!
Pretty soon Max and I round the orange cone near Victoria, and are headed back west and “home” to the covered bridge. Max maintains a running chatter, snug as a bug in the stroller, with a duvet covering his legs and his stuffy “Ted” riding shotgun.
“It’s bumpy, Grandpa.” “You’re running over sticks, Grandpa.” He seems to enjoy having the trail whiz by, and he copies my greetings to other runners and volunteers. "Hi Teresa! Hi Barry!"
Pretty soon we’re climbing the little hill, rounding the final corner, and we see the iconic bridge in the distance, a welcome sight. I step on the gas, and in no time at all we're on the grass and crossing the finish line.
What fun! Another way to do parkrun, introducing a younger generation to a thing I love.
PARKRUN IS FOR KIDS TOO! — spread the word.
— what great photos by Natalie Intven!