INVERLOCH’S Tony O’Connell has found a new lease on an active life after joining up for parkrun in 2013.
Whilst holidaying in Merimbula, his wife registered him for a parkrun and he quickly became hooked on the event.
“There was such a great community feel about the run and there was no pressure on who was coming first or anything.
“It was just about participation and getting out in a social environment,” Tony said.
“I came back and thought about it a bit and I knew we didn’t have one in the area.
“I knew a few people were driving to Melbourne every week to do parkruns so I thought ‘let’s get one happening locally’.”
Supported by VicHealth’s TeamUp app, parkrun creates an inclusive, non-competitive running community in the region.
The TeamUp app is a social community that connects people through physical activities in their local area.
The app allows users to search and locate a wide range of free and low-cost activities in metro, suburban and regional areas, including parkrun events.
The Inverloch parkrun is one of 24 parkrun events that take place across the state, with the local event being run at Rotary Centenary Park every Saturday at 8am.
The 5km-timed events are open to runners and walkers of all abilities.
It offers participants an opportunity to get active and fit, while enjoying the camaraderie of group fitness.
parkrun became Tony’s motivator to get fit and healthy and since signing up he has lost 38kg and recently completed his first marathon.
Now the territory manager for parkrun in Gippsland, he said he enjoys the community feel and social aspect of parkrun.
“There’s a lot of encouragement that goes on at a parkrun that you don’t see at a race because it’s a run, not a race,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people hi-fiving and cheering other people on and after it there’s 20 to 30 of us that go back and have a coffee at the bakery every week and have a chat. It’s a real social event.
“The beauty of it is that it’s free and if you wake up on a Saturday morning and don’t feel like going there’s no obligation – you don’t have to pre-register, you just turn up.”
Inverloch’s parkrun events have been a great success with 80 participants on average.
The popularity has seen Phillip Island set to launch its own parkrun in six weeks, which will be held at Churchill Island at 8am on Saturdays.
Participants can register to join the weekly parkrun sessions via the TeamUp app.
Simply download the free app for iPhone or Android or head to the TeamUp website at www.teamup.com.au and search for parkrun.