Starting a family can put a lot of plans on hold, and all too often our fitness goals are first to go. But as one Saskatchewan runner has found, parkrun’s inclusive atmosphere can be the answer to keeping fitness all in the family.
Before she and her partner welcomed home their daughter, Deanne Selinger was just starting out on her marathon and Ironman journey. When parkrun came to Regina’s Wascana Park in August of 2018, she was one of the first at the start line.
Like many parkrunners before her, she found a regular routine that wasn’t at all like work to keep up. “I use parkrun as a motivation to get out for my main run of the week or complete a tempo run depending on what races I have coming up or have just completed,” Deanne says.
And with an all-day job keeping her busy at home, Saturday mornings suited her just fine as well. “Generally, I run on my own in the evening after my daughter goes to sleep,” she says. “Some weeks, parkrun is the only time that I am running in daylight, so I can push myself a bit harder as I don't have to worry so much about footing.”
So now at the Selinger house, when the weekend comes around, everyone packs into the car to head to the park. “My husband and I take turns volunteering/watching my daughter and running,” Deanne says. “It is short enough that she can spend the entire time outside playing with the race director's son while one of us runs.”
It’s become such an important family affair that not even a wedding weekend could slow them down. Proof is in the picture above, taken the day after Deanne got married. “Yes, we went to parkrun the next morning.”
parkruns are perfect for parents who need to carve out a little time to run, but a great thing about parkrun is how much fun the little ones can have too, all the while learning invaluable lessons. “My 7-year-old gets excited to go to parkrun on Saturday morning,” Deanne says. “This is huge to me as I don't want to push her into running, but I want her to see folks living a healthy lifestyle.”
In fact, Regina’s parkrun is taking on more and more of a youthful energy of late, as the local canoe-racing club has recently added the run to their training regimen. And thanks to parkrun’s global database of recorded times, the club is able to assess how they’re doing against other canoe clubs in the country who also use parkrun to cross-train!
Nothing demonstrates how there's a place for any type of runner at parkrun like seeing families, competitive athletes, and cross-trainers side-by-side at the start line. And that wide range of runners is only growing. Bring your clan out next Saturday to one in your neighbourhood and discover what incredible things can be accomplished together.
Don’t have a parkrun event near you? Visit parkrun.ca to see how you can get one started.