Shepparton parkrun marks five years

By Ashlea Witoslawski

It was a day of celebration at Victoria Park Lake on Saturday as parkrun Shepparton crossed its fifth birthday finish line.

Some 287 runners took to the track, despite the morning heat for fitness and fun.

The runners were encouraged to wear their parkrun colours and were treated to cake and Zooper Doopers.

Parkrun is a number of weekly, timed, 5km running events on Saturday mornings in more than 23 countries, originating in the United Kingdom.

Shepparton parkrun was established by Allan and Kerry Connolly, who decided to bring the event to the region after growing tired of travelling to Melbourne to be involved.

‘‘Five years ago, on the first day we arrived here at 6 o’clock and the event was starting at 8 o’clock and we didn’t expect anyone to turn up,’’ Mr Connolly said.

‘‘It took a little bit of time to build up, but the first ever one had 76 runners,’’ Mrs Connolly said.

The pair successfully established the first parkrun in country Victoria, the fifth in Victoria and the 67th in Australia.

‘‘I didn’t think we’d still be doing it five years later,’’ Mrs Connolly said.

‘‘The time has really flown.’’

Mr Connolly said the numbers continued to be great, with a wonderful, supportive atmosphere from all runners and volunteers.

‘‘It’s a community health and fitness campaign and the social atmosphere is the best part,’’ he said.

‘‘Hopefully it continues to be where it is now or even better.’’

The group hopes to one day celebrate a milestone 300 runners participating at the Saturday morning event.