FOR COMMUNITY: Madonna Drummond and Jen Bennett at Emerald's weekly parkrun.
FOR COMMUNITY: Madonna Drummond and Jen Bennett at Emerald's weekly parkrun. Kristen Booth

Running for your lives

WHEN first starting parkrun in Emerald, Craig Drummond didn't expect it to become such a prominent community event.

Thinking it wouldn't get more than 50 people, the weekly event sees at least 100 turn out, and in week 92 alone, they recorded more than 160 participants.

"I was only expecting 50 a week, like it would be a bit of a fad at the start but we are always seeing new faces each week,” Mr Drummond said.

An avid runner and member of the local triathlon club, he would take part in parkruns when in Brisbane, and on return to Emerald, "I thought lets start up a parkrun here”.

With the help of his wife Madonna, Triathlon club member Jen Bennett, and Central Highlands Regional Council, they were able to raise the $5000 needed to kickstart the 5km Emerald event.

"(Jen) really pushed for it and was the one who even laid out the course,” he said.

Now, the community event has been running every Saturday for the last 18 months and continues to grow weekly.

"It's just booming but the hardest thing is just trying to get it out there to people,” Mr Drummond said.

And despite its name participants don't need to run.

"Anyone can come down; grandmothers, mothers, people with kids, just come down and walk it,” he said.

"It's not based on who's the fastest. The only race you have is against yourself.

"It's your PB (personal best) that you're always trying to beat.

"It's about getting out of the house and doing something.”

Being a nationwide event, Emerald parkrun also receives tourists and visitors from all over.

"It's a big thing with the retired people who do all different parkruns around Australia,” Mr Drummond said.

"I've done 20 different parkruns. It's just great to do parkruns in different locations. Our holidays are based on parkrun.”

Mr Drummond said they are proud of the Emerald parkrun, "and even when I stop running I'll still be down there every Saturday and volunteering every week”.

Participants of all ages are invited to the free event each Saturday. Runners and walkers meet at the Botanic Gardens, Opal St entrance at 6.45am for a 7am start.

For more information visit Emerald parkrun on Facebook.

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