Another Saturday, another new location for parkrun – my 17th location so far and, this time, another launch. Lalor in Melbourne’s north had their first event today which attracted 198 parkrunners who were treated to a glorious Autumn morning.
Being the launch, you expect a bit of a fanfare but Lalor was in a class of its own, starting with a Welcome to Country from an elder of the Wurundjeri people, following by an enthusiastic welcome from the Mayor, a welcome from Aunty Pam (representing the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and talking about the importance of a healthy lifestyle) and then the run briefing. Already impressed by this, we were then treated to a warm up from the team from Indigenous Hip Hop Projects before we moved off to the start line.
The course starts inside Whittlesea Public Gardens and loops around and over the High 5 bridge (crossing the Hume Highway) which gives you great views of Melbourne and a fabulous opportunity to cheer on fellow parkrunners. From there, you run on a concrete path alongside the highway (with the noise diminished thanks to a barrier) before reaching the turnaround point and heading back to the gardens. The highlight is definitely the bridge – a lot of fun and not at all crowded. The finish is back in the gardens with easy access to toilets, playground and parking as well as spacious gardens.
As a special launch treat, participants were given apples or bananas and treated again to a performance by IHHP and, for those who still had energy to burn, a workshop to explore your own hip hop skills.
I have to say, as launches go, this one was very impressive and the team should be very proud of all they have achieved. The entire 5km was filled with supportive comments and smiles from all and the general atmosphere was very friendly, welcoming and non-competitive, fully embracing the parkrun spirit. Well done to all and wishing you many happy Saturday mornings to come 🙂