Parkrun proposed

A MEETING will be held at Kerang tomorrow to gauge community interest in starting a Parkrun.

A Parkrun is a free, weekly, timed 5-kilometre running or walking event held outdoors on a Saturday morning which is organised by volunteers and open to everyone.

Parkrun events at Cohuna follow a track along both sides of the Gunbower Creek.

Parkrun events at Cohuna follow a track along both sides of the Gunbower Creek.

"These events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings," the organisation Parkrun Australia says on its website. "We encourage people of every ability to take part; from walkers or those taking their first steps in running, to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience."

The meeting will be held tomorrow at Northern District Community Health in Fitzroy Street. 

The movement, which originated in England, is now represented in 24 countries around the world. 

It made its way to Australia in 2011, when the first event was established on the Gold Coast, and now runs in various locations in every state and territory, with the event in each place independently organised by an "event director" from the community in question.

A Parkrun operating in Cohuna for around two years continues to grow in popularity and often attracts visitors to the town, according to organisers, with up to 80 people taking part each week.

Northern Victorian Parkruns also take place in Echuca, Bendigo and Shepparton.

"Many people are aware of how successful Parkruns are becoming," Annette Kelly, the instigator of the Kerang plan, says. "They're not only a drawcard for tourism but are great for the health and well-being of the community."

Mrs Kelly said Parkrun enthusiasts in Kerang had already contacted the Australian association, signed the Parkrun code of conduct and been assigned an "event ambassador" who would help with its establishment.

The primary issue for the meeting on Saturday, she said, will be the selection of a course, which according to the organisation's rules, can't cross roadways or share any other zone with cars. 

Several variations of a possible track had been suggested, Mrs Kelly said, including options that include the Back Swamp levee bank.

These would likely require the construction of a section of foot track away from any vehicle routes.

Mrs Kelly had also been in contact with Gannawarra Shire Council, which expressed qualified support for the initiative.

"Council is supportive of assisting volunteers to establish Parkrun in Kerang subject to external funding availability, particularly with establishing new walking/running tracks," shire director of infrastructure and development, Geoff Rollinson wrote in a letter to Mrs Kelly.

Mr Rollinson would be meeting with her and her husband, Ron, on Friday, Mrs Kelly said.

Anyone interested in a Kerang Parkrun should attend the meeting at Northern District Community Health at 9.30am on Saturday, get in touch via the Facebook page 'Let's get a Kerang Parkrun going' or contact her by phone on 0409 183 354, Mrs Kelly said.

"This is our chance to get something great happening in our town," she said.

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