Launched in August 2018 the Wimmera River parkrun has become a wonderful weekly community event. The free, timed 5km event is open to all ages and abilities to run, walk or jog the course along the banks of the Wimmera River every Saturday at 8am.
The social, physical and mental health benefits have been endless with many community members making it the perfect way to start their weekend whether it be solo, with friends and family, work colleagues it has given so many locals a real connection to their community.
Volunteers fill roles as run directors, timekeepers, barcode scanners, course marshals as well as a tail walker whose job is to come last so no one else has to. These volunteer positions have been fabulous to create community ownership of the event and super rewarding seeing others achieve goals such as a personal best or completing 50 or 100 event milestones. The Wimmera River parkrun was featured in the September edition of the National Parkrun Volunteer Newsletter.
Since the launch in 2018, 1,877 individual participants have completed 12,518 parkruns covering a total distance of 62,590 kms including 1,964 personal best times. 211 individuals have volunteered 1,516 times.
The community event has also provided individuals with the support, motivation and encouragement to achieve their own individual goals. They can be as simple as leaving the house each week to participate, creating better lifestyle choices, ticking off little milestone goals whether they be around personal best times or participation challenges.
The Wimmera River parkrun have developed relationships with other local community groups and businesses including some themed events. The Cops and Robbers event, working alongside Victoria Police, was a huge success with members participating in uniform and having their various police vehicles and command semi-trailer on display.
Creating engagement between community groups such as the Horsham SES unit, Wimmera Umpires Association and local football, netball and hockey clubs.