Parkrun participants setting off. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

EMMA BROWN
emma.brown@age.co.nz

More 7660 kilometres have been completed along the Greytown Woodside Rail Trail since the first parkrun event, on November 3 last year.

Parkruns are free, weekly, timed runs and the Greytown parkrun has had participants from China, France, England, and all over New Zealand, taking part in what is an international phenomenon.

The Greytown parkrun is one of a network of more than 1930 parkruns around the world, including 29 in New Zealand.

The events are entirely volunteer-run and all participants need to do is sign up online, where they’ll receive a barcode they can use at any of the events worldwide.

Co-event director Phil Cox enjoying his run.

Co-directors of the Greytown parkrun, Phil Cox and Dave White said they had heard of New Zealanders who had made it their mission to complete all the 29 events around the country.

“You can be on a trip somewhere and just join in – you can go all over the world,” Cox said.

White said people liked to make a weekend of it, come to Greytown and have dinner and see the town before completing the run the next day.

“The inward investment is good,” he said.

Every Saturday at 8am, a group of keen participants can be found taking part along the 5km Greytown Woodside trail.

On average, they include least six participants from outside of the region.

As a flat, straight and very safe trail, the Greytown parkrun choice of venue has its own attractions for locals and visitors looking to participate.

There is also a “tail walker” to remove the barrier for anyone worried about how they perform, or coming last.

White said everyone was welcome at the parkrun, whether as a runner, walker, or volunteer.

“It is a community of people wanting to do something healthy on a Saturday.”

After each event, participants are invited to head to the Offering for a post run coffee in Greytown.

Cox said the event was about health and community.

“Health is about getting fresh air on a Saturday morning and getting moving.

“Community is the international and local community made of participants, and the inward investment they bring to Greytown.”

T-shirts are given to participants who complete 50 or 100 races.

There is also a shirt for those who have volunteered for 25 runs.

“It is a ‘thank you’ for doing it,” Cox said.

The parkruns start at 8am every Saturday morning at the Greytown Woodside trail, near Woodside station.

For more information or to register, go to: parkrun.co.nz