Guest blog post from Tim Oberg, parkrun Australia
If you haven’t already heard of parkrun, chances are after reading this you will be wanting to head over here and join tens of thousands of other Aussie runners each Saturday morning.
parkrun Australia General Manager, Tim Oberg first came across parkrun in London and knew that he had to bring the phenomenon down under. Three years later, and over 100,000 Australian parkrunners are glad that he did!
We caught up with Tim to find out why so many people are getting their 5km fix in over 80 locations every Saturday with parkrun.
What made you want to bring parkrun to Australia?
I have always had a passion for health and fitness. When I came across parkrun in London I knew that it would be well received in Australia, however I don’t think anyone could have predicted the huge growth we have seen over the last 3 years.
Why did parkrun choose 5km as the official distance?
5km was chosen for parkrun as it is a short enough distance that it is achievable for walkers and slower runners yet long enough that it is still a good hit out for those with more experience. It also means that the time commitment for volunteers is much less than at a longer run, even the slowest runners tend to get around in less than an hour.
What benefits will people see when they get involved in a weekly parkrun?
The physical benefits of running 5km include: improved cardiovascular fitness; stronger muscles, joints, tendons and bones; helping to maintain healthy body weight.
We’re sure there’s a pretty awesome social side too!
The social benefits are arguably more valuable than the physical. The reason I say this is that ultimately an individual can go and run 5km anywhere at any time. What they can’t have however, is the amazing community of people that attend parkrun week-in week-out. The friendships that form at parkrun are strong and long-lasting and we also see plenty of examples of families using parkrun as an opportunity to gather together on a regular basis.
What are your top three tips to improve your 5km time?
1. Try and include some speed or interval training in during the week, it will really give you an extra gear when you start to feel the pinch during parkrun
2. Count your strides. You should be aiming for around 90 per leg per minute. Any less and you are overstriding, which is a very common mistake, and can lead to injury
3. Run with a friend who is faster than you. More often than not they will drag you along to a PB!
Does running in your local parkrun help with training for longer events, such as a half or full marathon?
Absolutely. Regular 5km runs, such as parkrun, provide an excellent base for stepping up to 10km races. If training for something longer than your parkrun can be used as a speed / tempo session.
Give us five reasons why you personally love running?
1. The health benefits, as described above, will hold me in good stead as I get older
2. You can do it anywhere, any time and with minimal equipment required
3. It is a great way to get to know a new area, especially when you are on holidays
4. Running tends to attract good people so it is an excellent way to make new friends
5. It’s free, no gym contract required!
Want to find your nearest parkrun? Or maybe even start your own? You can find a full list of the events here.