Falling leaves and changing colours

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by Rafaela Jones Delgado

I just moved here recently to study physics at the University of Guelph, on exchange from the University of Manchester, UK. When I was first accepted to Guelph last February, one of the first things I did was look up whether Guelph had a parkrun. Sadly, the answer was no, but happily, you got one going by the time I arrived in September!

I’ve only lived in large cities until now (London and Manchester), so Guelph has been very different, but amazing. I love the beautiful campus and being so close to stunning paths along the Eramosa River, even if my runs get broken up by frequent stops to admire the views.

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I’ve been running regularly since last January, when a housemate began dragging me out of bed every Saturday morning for our local South Manchester parkrun. Between that and our brilliant university running club, Run Wild Manchester, I’ve been running at least twice a week, and it has really changed my life. It makes me realise how much I appreciate spending time outdoors, especially with friends.

Everyone I’ve met at the Eramosa River Trail parkrun has been so lovely and welcoming. At my very first run in September, I was offered delicious homemade pancakes at the finish line! Your event is a lot smaller than my home one in England (South Manchester is almost 10 years old, and regularly has about 500 people attending), but even after three runs here I’ve really felt a sense of community.

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I’ve never done an out-and-back route before, but I love the encouragement at the turning points and being able to see everyone along the way! That 1.25 km section of the trail is wonderful to run along. It was amazing to run through falling leaves today and I’m loving seeing the surroundings slowly change colour. Thank you so much to all the organisers and volunteers!

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I’m so excited to keep coming and hopefully persuading more friends from university to join us. This week I brought a fellow exchange student named Thea along with me (above); last week I had my father visiting. I look forward to meeting new people and I welcome any advice you can offer on running in the really cold weather I know is coming.

— photos by Natalie Intven

Run Summary, Event #17

  • 61 people attending, with 16 first-timers
  • first finishers were Derek Hall (20:59) and Chris Tenyenhuis (23:30)
  • Derek, who’s in his late 40s, also had the best age-graded result (69%)
  • nine-year-old Sabine Kane completed her first-ever 5K with her Dad, Sean Kane (above)
  • congrats to Kathy Leis, a 70+ year-old walker who completed the 5K in 50 minutes (below)

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Ten Guelph parkruns, and counting

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by Derek Hall

Every parkrun brings something new. Last Saturday’s event was the first to take place in fall temperatures, so I noticed that long tights outnumbered shorts at the start-line. The colder weather highlighted one of parkrun’s features: if you’ve done it before and know the drill, you can roll up at 8:57 for the 9 AM start, always right on time.

This should have been my 11th Guelph parkrun, but a head cold made me decide to take things in as a spectator this week. Hanging around at the start line increased my appreciation for another parkrun feature: the double out-and-back course, currently imposed by the trail closure at Lyon Park.

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Ten runs have been enough to make the course’s 1.25k leg feel painfully familiar, and I struggle every week to get back on pace after the last hairpin turn at the far end. But I love seeing all the other runners multiple times and seeing the smiles and waves of the first out-and-back turn into the inward-focused determination (or, sometimes, bigger smiles and waves) of the second. The encouragement at the halfway point back at the start line also gives me a huge boost (below, runner at the turnaround, from previous week).

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The course makes volunteering and spectating more fun too. Today the lead runner was making his halfway turn after just eight and a half minutes, and from then on there was pretty much always someone to cheer for.

I’ve been running with the Guelph Victors since I moved to Guelph in 2007. The Tuesday night Victors workouts are a great mix of tough training and fantastic people, and they’re one of the fixed points in my week.

parkrun has become another one after just a few months, and I’m really enjoying meeting new people and deepening older connections. A highlight this week was seeing two people I know in completely different contexts finish within a second of one another.

All this and I still made it to the Farmer’s Market before the brussels sprouts sold out. That's now my Saturday morning routine in Guelph!

— photos by Tiffany Friel, and others

Run Summary, Event #16

  • we had 90 parkrunners and walkers, making this our third largest event ever, and the largest in Canada for the second week in a row
  • 29 first-timers participated and 29 personal bests were recorded on Saturday (first-timer Jonathan Odumeru above, top)
  • 418 different people have tried our parkrun since we started in June
  • this was our coldest run to date at about 10 degrees (more on the way!)
  • we had a UK visitor this week, Steven Jones of London, here visiting his daughter Rafaela Jones Delgado

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The view from the back, in a wheelchair

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by Cyndy McLean

Getting up and out of the house before 9 am in not my strength but on a beautiful late summer morning I found myself at the start of the Eramosa River Trail parkrun.

I even managed to talk my partner, Sylvain, into joining me for his first 5K. This was quite an accomplishment as he has previously stated he'd only run if chasing a ball on the tennis court or if being chased by someone else.

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As it turns out, parkrun is a great way to start the day.

I admire, and secretly wish, I was one of the gazelles at the front of the pack gracefully gliding to the finish line. However, there can be some advantages to be a bit of a turtle and at the back of the pack.

You get a great vantage point to admire the full range of participants - younger and older, parents with youngsters in strollers and walkers/runners with dog companions. You get to have little conversations with the incredible volunteers (including the man dressed as a pirate at the turnaround point) and even be reacquainted with someone you haven't seen in 15 years.

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You get to enjoy the sunshine on your face, the clouds in the sky, the coloured leaves that have fallen on the path and the occasional paddler canoeing on the river.

For those that might not consider themselves "a runner" or are worried they walk too slowly, don't hesitate in coming out to parkrun. Everyone has been very welcoming and encouraging and there is a celebration of everyone's ability.

As the popular sportswear company says — “just do it”. And you'll feel a great sense of accomplishment and pride in being part of a wonderful community.

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Thanks to the organizers and volunteers of parkrun for creating such an inclusive and accessible event.

— photos by Laurie Macintosh, Angela Drystek, and Natalie Intven

Run Summary, Event #15

  • We had 85 participants this week, with 20 people attending our event for the first time. 17 people achieved personal bests. In fact, for the second time this month we were Canada's largest parkrun event. Way to go!

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  • parkrun veterans Don and Anne Eddie participated, along with their daughter Kathleen and her four daughters (one of whom volunteered with us), visiting from Michigan. Did you know that Don and Anne have participated in 55 unique parkrun locations around the world? That's amazing!

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  • First finishers this week: Lee Rantala [18:02] and Julie Fordyce [21:10]
  • 13 human volunteers this week, plus one barkrun volunteer at the turnaround

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  • parkrun: the next generation – We had many youngsters out this week (11 participants under the age of 14, plus those in strollers), including one awesome kiddo dressed as a superhero!

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Getting me out of my comfort zone

20190921_095533by Brennan Conquer-van Heumen (above left)

I’ve been doing parkrun since the second week it came to Guelph. My aunt Suzanne Conquer started doing parkrun on the very first week and mentioned I should join. I'm hooked now!

I moved to Guelph for work from London just over three years ago and didn’t know anyone except my aunt, uncle and cousins. I really wanted to join something in the community in order to meet people but didn’t know where to start.

20190921_090415After about nine months of living in Guelph I joined Up and Running. It’s an amazing group of ladies! I loved doing it!!

Unfortunately, about a month in, I ended up badly breaking my ankle (dogs with big sticks on narrow trails make serious tripping hazards!) That really took me out of the game. I wasn’t able to get back into exercising until a year after I broke it. From that point, I started to slowly get back. I started fitness classes at the gym, swimming and walking.

So, when my aunt (below, left) mentioned parkrun with the option to run or walk, I was all for it. After the first week, I was hooked. I walk because I’m not able to run anymore. I’m the slowest one at parkrun but I honestly don’t care, because I’m just so happy to be out meeting people and enjoying what Guelph has to offer.

20190921_095807Since I started parkrun it has given me the confidence to start branching out more and trying new things. I have joined the Rainbow Chorus, a choir for LGBTQ+ community members and allies, as well as a walking group for LGBTQ+ community members and allies.

parkrun has really helped remind me that my goal, when I came to Guelph, was to join things and to meet people. It really got me out of my comfort zone.

I haven’t met many of you at the parkrun. If you ever see me, feel free to come up and say hi! :-)

— Photos by Laurie Macintosh

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Run Summary, Event #14

  • 64 participants from 10 different running clubs
  • 13 volunteers, including 4 people volunteering for the first time: Laurie Macintosh, Barry Murray (dressed as a pirate!), Sonia Laszlo, Brennan Conquer-van Heumen
  • Eramosa River Trail parkrun participants have walked or run over 5,000 kilometres since we started last June
  • First finishers this week: Jackie Lo (21:30), Kyle Manchee (18:57)
  • Out-of-towners: Martin Kaye (photo below) and Linda Featherstone from Leeds, UK

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parkrun helped me feel at home in Guelph

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by Natalie Intven

I still sometimes feel like I’m "new to Guelph", even though I’ve lived in the city for over five years. I moved here from Toronto after I met my partner Kurt and I love Guelph now. I work from a home office, so I don't tend to see a lot of people in my day-to-day life. I have a few great friends locally and my cat is an excellent co-worker. Kurt and I have done a lot of training together on the Guelph trails and sidewalks in the past few years. The trails especially are my happy place.

Last January I showed up at the first parkrun organizing meeting not knowing anyone in the room. I’d heard about the idea through the Guelph Victors and knew parkrun was something I wanted to be part of.

It can be intimidating to join a new group, but my fears subsided when I realized how friendly everyone was, and that we were all there to work towards a shared goal. I joined the organizing committee, offering up my skills in photography, design, and social media marketing.

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Over several months, about 15 of us discussed course specifics, publicity, and many other logistics. We raised money, we contributed our ideas, time and effort, and together we brought parkrun to Guelph. It was exciting watching it come together and finally launch last June. Now that parkrun has been going for 13 weeks, I am enjoying the experience from both sides.

As a runner, as I was this week, I get to see the faces of all the other people on course — some quiet and determined, some cheerful and chatty, and some all-out gleeful and enthusiastically encouraging others.

As a volunteer, I get to be part of the awesome team that makes all of this possible. I cheer people on and celebrate the joy of our parkrun community each week through our photography and social media pages.

I was on a long run a few days ago and crossed paths with at least five different people that I’ve met through parkrun. I felt connected. I felt known. I felt "not so new to Guelph" anymore. And ... I felt sure that I am part of something great!

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P.S.: This week at parkrun, Kurt and I got to check out our portrait by Guelph's Artist in ResidenceMallory Tolcher (above), which is displayed on our parkrun route. It's one of 12 portraits in the #GuelphMovesMe outdoor art exhibition that Mallory created to promote physical fitness on Guelph's trail systems. The project ends with an artist talk and trail walk on September 29 during Culture Days weekend. Great work, Mallory!

— photos by Art Kilgour

Run summary, Event #13

  • 73 participants, with 16 people attending for the first time
  • parkrun veterans Don and Anne Eddie were joined by their daughter Margaret, visiting from Australia
  • Maxton Lambert, aged 10, ran his first 5K ever, along with his grandmother Mary Brown, 61, who's done our event three times
  • Pauline Woodall ran with her border collie Niki, an obsessive herder who's not happy unless she sees runners ahead of her
  • Jonathan Gascho, the Run Director at Victoria parkrun, Kitchener paid us a visit and placed second in 19:08
  • First finishers this week: Liam Stiles (17:38) and Deb Powell (21:27)
  • our slowest walker this week was a tiny turtle found in the grass near the finish line by first-timer Ben Gerson and returned to a safer home by the river

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