My First Overseas parkrun @ Cornwall Park, Auckland, New Zealand

parkrun is truly a global 5km running phenomenon, taking place in more than 300 parks located in over 10 countries around the world. These include the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Runners get together for a scenic early morning parkrun.

Runners getting together for a scenic early morning parkrun

Since I am currently in Auckland, New Zealand, I decided to join the Cornwall Park parkrun. This was my first overseas Parkrun event that I had been eagerly awaiting as soon as I had arrived in Auckland. I had wanted to see how it would differ from the parkrun in Singapore – that I’ve been to a few times.

Casually streaming to the finish.

Casually streaming to the finish.

Bigger than the parkrun in Singapore

When I reached the meeting point, the first thing I noticed was how much bigger the Cornwall Park parkrun is, compared to the Singapore one. However, I found out that some parkruns in the United Kingdom are even bigger, attracting more than 1,000 people each week.

Singapore’s only parkrun event is still quite new and it attracts about 40 to 60 runners per week. But at Cornwall Park, there are probably over 100 runners each week. For example, on the day that I had turned up, I was just one of the 135 runners taking part in the weekly 5km time trial.

In addition, quite a few of the runners here were school-age children too – in Singapore, you would not get young runners turning up every week. Running is very popular in New Zealand amongst all ages.

Yes, Cornwall Park is a beautiful place for a run!

Yes, Cornwall Park is a beautiful place for a run!

Flagged off promptly

The Cornwall Park parkrun flagged off sharply at eight o’clock in the morning – and all the runners, including me, sped off quickly.

The weather was pretty good during the run. While the sun had been hot, the wind helped to cool the temperature down though. So compared to Singapore’s very humid weather, it was not too hot here. In fact, I didn’t really feel hot and sticky after the run – like what usually happens after my Singapore runs.

A scenic and enjoyable run

Runners get their times recorded.

Runners getting their times recorded.

Taking place in a park over a mixture of road, sealed paths, unsealed track and grass, I thought that it was definitely a very scenic and enjoyable run overall, with plenty of sights and sounds along the way.

For the route itself, I thought the 500 metres or so was pretty flat, but from then onwards, the route had some slopes – all the way to the end of the 5km run. I’ll admit that it was slightly challenging for me and I had some trouble sustaining my pace, but the lovely scenery at Cornwall Park definitely helped me to take my mind off the slopes.

At the end, I completed the Cornwall Park parkrun in one piece. It wasn’t my best 5km timing, but I had given it my best and I felt fulfilled and satisfied after the morning run.

Enjoying my run! Source: Cornwall Park parkrun.

Enjoying my run!
Source: Cornwall Park parkrun.

I will say that this was definitely a great and healthy way to start a beautiful Saturday morning.

Everyone is very friendly

I found the runners to be very friendly too. The event organiser greeted me with a warm smile when I introduced myself to her before the run. Some of the runners also chatted to me and one of them even offered to give me a lift to grab a cup of coffee together with the other parkrunners – once we were done with the run. I think that gestures such as this, really helps to make new Cornwall Park parkrun runners like myself, feel welcome.

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