Taree parkrun – it’s a real community event

TAREE’S parkrun is the quintessential community event.

The weekly 5km run along the Manning River foreshore is run by volunteers and there’s a different crew each week in charge. It’s a run, not a race. Each Saturday there are serious competitors there ready to tackle the course. However, there’s plenty young mums who walk the route while pushing their kids in strollers just to enjoy a morning out. There are starters aged well into their 60s and 70s. Parkrun puppies and their owners are also regulars. The run starts at 8am. A bit over an hour later organisers are packing up and heading off.

There’s no fee and parkrun doesn’t rely on government funding to keep going. 

Some jog and walk the 5km, there’s regularly two who complete the journey in wheelchairs. There’s no pressure to preform – or even to finish the course, many just do one of the two laps (although they don’t get a time recorded). 

A PB (personal best) is generally the goal, whether that’s a sub 20 minute time or sub 50 minutes.

Tomorrow Taree parkrun celebrates its second anniversary. In just two years parkrun is now firmly established as a major player in the Manning community.

It was named the (then) Greater Taree City event of the year for 2016 while Taree played a leading role in parkrun starting in Port Macquarie and Forster-Tuncurry.

Figures alone show the popularity Taree parkrun. The average number of runners each week has increased to 116 from just on the 100 mark last year. Getting the required number of volunteers each week to ensure the event goes ahead hasn't proved too difficult. There might be a couple spots that need filling late in the week but it usually only takes a call out on parkrun’s Facebook page to ensure everything is right to go.

Parkrun is also the perfect way to showcase the Manning River Foreshore. The 5km run starts at Endeavour Place, near the Manning River Rowing Club and heads down to the Martin Bridge and return. The Taree run has attracted visitors from around Australia and internationally. Those from outside the area are usually complimentary of the course and the organisation.

In all, it’s a  healthy way to spend an hour or so on a Saturday morning and a great way to start the day.

So Happy Birthday Taree parkrun.

May there be many more.

Mick McDonald

Senior journalist