With health and wellbeing becoming increasingly important as we juggle the pressures of work and life, an increasing number of people are turning to physical activity for their stress release.
The Hamilton Lake parkrun has become a hugely popular free community event; with everyone from children and competitive runners, to social walkers and grandparents (even great-grandparents) getting involved.
Held at Hamilton Lake every Saturday from 8am, the parkrun is part of a global movement offering free community parkruns around the world. Approximately 3.1 million people are registered worldwide for parkrun, which started in London 14 years ago.
Having started up in 2013 with the support of NZ Home Loans, Hamilton Lake parkrun has since seen thousands of people take up the challenge.
Run entirely by volunteers, the event is hugely supportive and encouraging to all fitness levels.
There is not a race with an overall winner, it’s all about setting and beating your own time and getting involved.
Event director Rob Hammington says the Hamilton Lake parkrun has resulted in some fantastic friendships and life changing experiences.
“We’ve had a number of people come along who could barely walk around the lake to start with, and they’ve gone on to enjoy running so much they have trained for and competed in marathons. That is just astonishing and something to be really proud of.”
Rob also shares the story of one family who bring three generations along to participate regularly and say parkrun has changed their family life; both their mental and physical wellbeing.
“There’s another knock on effect of parkrun and that’s people who have got involved and discovered they actually enjoy running then going on to join one of our local clubs such as Hamilton Road Runners, which is based at the Yacht Club at Hamilton Lake and hosts parkrun participants afterwards for tea, coffee and some social time.
“Other clubs such as the Hamilton City Hawks and Hamilton Marathon Clinic have also seen people getting involved since they started off with parkrun.”
Hamilton Lake parkrun holds the New Zealand record for the most participants at one event of 305.
Regularly around 150 people turn up every Saturday.
Check out Hamilton Lake parkrun on Facebook for more info.