The first New York Fitness Trail Parkrun took place on Saturday, September 25 at the Russell Park and Ride. Twenty-three runners and four clubs registered for the event, although many more people were present without an official registration, taking part just for the fun of running together with members of the community. The average finish time for the event was about 36 minutes, although this will most likely change as more statistics are added to the pool.
“It’s a great platform because people are looking for a group running event, and we’re gonna be here every Saturday,” said run director Michelle Leduc. “It’s just a place to get together. Anybody is welcome, any fitness level or age.”
The Parkrun is a weekly 5km run that takes place every Saturday at 9 a.m. Participants register online to receive a barcode, which is scanned once when they start and again when they finish. Although they receive a time for their run, the event is strictly non-competitive; times are a matter of personal improvement, not winning or losing.
“Five kilometres is five kilometres, whether it takes two hours or half an hour,” said volunteer Yves Carriere. “Trail walkers walk the trail, make sure everyone is safe and happy, and those people will finish last so nobody will feel bad. That’s the best thing, nobody is competing.”
The Parkrun began at Bushy Park, London, England in 2004. It was originally a way for founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt to keep his love of running alive while he was unable to compete due to an injury, but 17 years later, the Parkrun program has events take place in more than 2000 locations across 22 countries the world over. Sinton-Hewitt’s event has brought his love of running to countless people and will continue to do so for years to come.