After an 18-month absence, the Shawnigan Hills parkrun will return this Saturday (Oct. 2).
Mark Swannell, a teacher and cross-country running coach at Shawnigan Lake School, started the weekly run in September 2019 and was attracting dozens of runners when the event came to a halt in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He hoped at the time that it would resume late the following month, but the coronavirus had other ideas.
The weekly 5km run is one of 44 parkrun events in Canada and hundreds around the world. It is free to enter for runners and walkers alike, and the multi-surface course on the campus of Shawnigan Lake School is suitable for dogs and strollers.
The run begins at 9 a.m. every Saturday. Runners can sign up at www.parkrun.ca/register, and more information can be found at www.parkrun.ca/shawniganhills
The run is timed, but isn’t a race. Registered athletes can print off a personal barcode that will let them see their time and position at the end of every run. Runners who have completed 50, 100, 250 or 500 runs are rewarded with a free T-shirt.
Parkrun is a worldwide initiative that started in the UK in 2004, spreading to Zimbabwe in 2007, Denmark in 2009, South Africa and Australia in 2011, the U.S. in 2012 and Canada in 2016.