Organisers readying to run weekly sporting event

Alexandra runners will get the chance to join runners around the world on the weekly parkrun when...
Alexandra runners will get the chance to join runners around the world on the weekly parkrun when the free community event begins next month. The Wānaka parkrun, pictured, has been held over 250 times. PHOTO: ODT FILES
A popular running event is set to add Alexandra to the track when the Central Otago district hosts its first parkrun in May.

Parkrun New Zealand is a free, weekly community event where people can walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate along a 5km track.

Event director Sally Booth, of Alexandra, said she got involved because she could see that this was something that would benefit the community.

"I just see the value in physical activity and connecting people together."

The initiative is being supported by the Central Otago District Council, who have given permission for the track to cross council land.

The approved course starts on the Otago Central Rail Trail to the north of Dunstan Park subdivision and heads north on the rail trail for about 2.4km, then through the Pines Reserve for 400m before finishing on the rail trail.

There will be trial runs on Saturday at 2pm and Sunday April 28 at 1pm to ensure the event organisers are ready to hit the ground running by the launch date.

The run takes place every Saturday morning, in over 20 countries around the world.

Central Otago District Council parks officer Maria Burnett said the parks team was fully supportive of the parkrun and excited about the wide range of choices open to people to take part.

"This event is a fantastic example of how Central Otago’s open spaces can be optimised to the benefit of the community.

"It’s not just a walk in the park; it’s about wellbeing, and it can be as challenging as you want to make it," Ms Burnett said.

"The main driver behind it is participation and taking advantage of those wonderful parks and reserves that we’re so lucky to have."

The launch of the Otago Central Rail Trail parkrun, Alexandra, will take place at 9am on Saturday, May 11.