CRACKING the 200 starters mark is the next milestone Taree parkrun organisers hope to achieve.
That could happen tomorrow when the weekly 5km run celebrates its second anniversary.
“The most finishers we've had is 187 at Easter,’’ Margie Lewis, who, with Janelle Jefferies was responsible for starting parkrun in Taree in May 2015.
“We haven’t hit the magical 200 barrier yet, so hopefully we’ll do that on Saturday, although rain is predicted. But when we do, we’ll set the bar a bit higher.’’
Margie pointed out that 187 is the number of runners who complete the full 5km. Many just do part of the run.
“The system has no way of registering the number of people who start,’’ Margie said.
After two years parkrun’s popularity certainly isn’t waning. Statistics prove the average number of starters currently sits at 116, comfortably up on last year.
“In the last couple of weeks we’ve been getting 110 to 130 there,’’ Margie said.
“And people have been emailing us saying they have to register for this week’s (anniversary) run. We still have a lot of people who have registered but who haven’t run yet, which is interesting.’’
Margie admits the event has been blessed by weather.
“We’ve only had two really wet days and even then we got 19 and 30 diehards there,’’ she said.
Numbers remained steady during January, despite a string of hot Saturdays. Margie expects there will be a drop when winter sets in.
“But it’ll pick up again when spring arrives,’’ she said.
The event is free so that’s an obvious attraction.
“And it’s a constant – we’re there every Saturday. People also know it’s non-judgmental, everyone is accepted.’’
The course along the Manning River foreshore is rated by visiting parkrunners as among the best in the State, if not further.
Parkrun works because of volunteers. In the two years there 436 people have volunteered. Most weeks the roster is booked out well in advance.
“If we do put a call out to fill a couple of spots it usually happens pretty quickly,’’ Margie said, adding that two more people have also come on board to assist with the organisation in recent weeks.
In two years 1575 runners have registered and 104 runs have been completed. A total of 2074 personal bests (PBs) have been recorded and the total distance run is 53,090km.
There’ll be a small celebration before tomorrow’s event to mark the anniversary and runners are asked to arrive at Endeavour Place at 7.30. However, the run will be underway at the traditional time of 8am. Runners are also asked to wear something purple to acknowledge volunteers who have assisted in keeping parkrun going. Club Taree will provide a free breakfast at the conclusion of the event.