A free weekly 5km time trial targeted at runners of all ages and abilities, parkrun – a not for profit organisation initially established in the United Kingdom in 2004 – now takes place every Saturday morning in 14 countries all around the world, including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia and Singapore.
West Coast Park parkrun was formed late last year
Singapore’s very first parkrun event, East Coast Park parkrun, had originally made its debut in June 2014 and this had suited runners staying in the East.
And now, towards the end of last year, a second parkrun event had been formed in Singapore – to cater to runners who are staying near the Western part of Singapore.
Said Bradley Cronje, 46, the director of the West Coast Park parkrun, “We have been growing the numbers of parkrunners in Singapore and this allowed us to establish the new parkrun.”
He added, “As parkrun is run by volunteers, we need to ensure that we continue to get sufficient numbers at both locations to allow enough runners and volunteers to participate. We were also fortunate to have Aon Singpaore join us as a sponsor for the West Coast Park parkrun, which allows us to cover equipment costs, insurance, and so on.”
Attracts a steady number of runners from all walks of life
Today, the West Coast Park parkrun event is going strong and is into its 10th week. Each week’s run attracts a steady number of runners – with a record number of 98 runners turning out for the January 19 event.
Said Bradley, “We continue to attract new runners to West Coast Park parkrun so it is wonderful having people experiencing parkrun for the first time. The feedback we get is that it seems to have a great atmosphere which I am really pleased about, as parkrun is meant for everyone.”
He added, “We have attracted lots of youngsters and families to West Coast Park parkrun. We have also had some West Coast Park parkrunners involved with the local schools and they have helped to spread the word within the schools. This has made it more open for other families to join so I hope that it continues in this vein.”
West Coast Park location met all the criteria
West Coast Park had been chosen as the location for the new parkrun event, because it fits all the criteria that the parkrun team had been looking for.
Explained Bradley, “It is close to public transport, is a nice, quiet, scenic shaded park, has a good running course which is easy to marshal, and has a place to have a coffee afterwards to catch up with other fellow parkrunners.”
Quite different to the original East Coast Park parkrun
I have tried the East Coast Park parkrun, and the course is flat and straight, with a lovely view of the sea. The West Coast park parkrun route, though, is quite different. Says Bradley, “The course is more of an elongated figure eight shaped course rather than a straight out and back route. It is slightly more undulating with more twists and turns which makes it slightly more interesting.”
He added, “We like to tease the East Coast Park parkrun with ‘west is best’ but I think that both parkruns are lovely in their own way, with the West Coast Park being slightly greener and variable and the East Coast Park one having more of a sea view and sometimes a sunrise if you are lucky and arrive early.”
However Bradley still feels that the East Coast Park event is more suited to running a 5km personal best though. He said, “If I have to be perfectly honest, I would have to say the East Coast Park parkrun as it is dead flat and straight, whereas West Coast Park parkrun has more character. However the differences we have seen are maybe 20 seconds for the quick runners so it is not too significant.”
Will greatly benefit the local running community
With two parkrun events now in Singapore, Bradley added that this can only benefit the local running community.
He said, “Parkrun is organised by the running community for all runners. It offers more running options to the running community and running in a parkrun event is totally free, as every event is organised by a group of local volunteers. We hope that the parkrun motivates people to become regular runners, allows people to run at their level and also to have a local parkrun community that will support them.”
In the long run, too, Bradley hopes to see more parkrun events taking place all over Singapore – as is currently the case in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
He said, “We would like to continue to open additional parkruns as the number of parkrunners grows. Singapore is extremely fortunate to have a green city full of wonderful parks and facilities so the more we can encourage people to utilise them, the better.”
Head to http://www.parkrun.sg/register/ for more information.