Creekside parkrun in Archdale will celebrate its first year this weekend. Here's what you need to know:
Creekside parkrun 5K, a weekly free and timed race hosted in an Archdale Parks and Recreation Department venue that is open to runners and walkers
Creekside Park, 214 Park Dr., Archdale
9 a.m. Saturdays (first-time participants should arrive by 8:45 a.m. for a course briefing; an event briefing for everyone is at 8:55 a.m.)
Getting your barcode
Participants are required to complete a one-time registration at parkrun.us to obtain their free personal barcode. The barcode is scanned at the completion of each event to calculate results. The barcode also includes the participant’s emergency contact information. No signup is needed for each week's event.
These weekly events are hosted at 55 locations across the United States and at hundreds of parks in 23 other nations.
"Parkrun is a positive, welcoming and inclusive experience where there is no time limit and no one finishes last," its web site states. "Everyone is welcome to come along, whether you walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate."
Creekside parkrun superlatives
First event: Sept. 17, 2021
Number of events: 45
Average number of participants: 22
Attendance high: 54
Q&A with Creekside parkrun co-event director Joyce Wolford
Q: What you have observed and learned in the first year of Creekside parkrun?
JW: "When I envisioned having a parkrun here in the area, I really wanted it to be an event where entire families could feel like they could come out and do something together. And it really is like that. We have several entire families who come, even grandparents, their children and their children. From very young to much older.
"The camaraderie that is created in a parkrun event: Everybody is so encouraging. When I've done parkruns in other places, it's so nice to be trudging along – even when I've run, I am certainly not fast – to have people along the way saying, 'Good job. You've got this.' That's the kind of atmosphere that I had hoped for. But it's certainly something that just has to happen organically. … The first time that I actually got to run Creekside parkrun myself and I saw that happening organically along the path, everyone's encouraging to one another, it just did my heart good. It was exactly what I had hoped for, for this event, for the people in the Triad.”
Q: What would you like to see happen over Creekside parkrun’s next year?
JW: "I just want to grow the community. We're averaging 22 people each week, and I think that's a very good number. The Triad has a lot of avid runners and walkers who sign up for races and seek out races. I just think right now, Creekside run is a well-kept secret and there's just so many people who don't know about it. I hope that we can help get the word out even more and grow our community.”
Q. What challenges do you need to conquer?
JW: "All parkruns are weekly. We only cancel if the weather makes conditions unsafe. We even operate in the rain. Occasionally we've had to cancel because of other events at the park. But parkrun is a weekly event all over the world. I think probably the biggest challenge is having a large enough volunteer pool that you're not burning out your volunteers. We have lots of folks who are regular volunteers; they're volunteering almost every week. And some of those folks don't ever care about doing the 5K. And that's great, they are very regular volunteers. And then we have some other folks who are really, really interested in doing the 5K every week but they take a turn as a volunteer. So once a month, once every couple of months, they're volunteering at the finish line. That's how it really needs to work, but we've got to build up more and more people who are interested and willing to do that.”
Q: What if participants just want to walk?
JW: "Parkrun internationally is working on a push to encourage walking for October ... so that everybody feels welcome to come out. … Since the beginning, we've tried to encourage that in almost every social media post we make. We'll say something like 'walk, jog, run,' to help people understand that they are more than welcome to walk."
Additional North Carolina parkrun sites
Running Shorts resources
Click on the links below to get more information from Running Shorts.
Subscribe to Running Shorts!
Thank you for your support of coverage of running in the Triad!
If you're not a subscriber, are reading this at the site and you'd like to have Running Shorts content delivered directly to your email inbox, just click on the blue Subscribe button at RunningShorts.org.
Runners profiles and other featured content are available on the premium tier, and you can select that option (Ghost Subscription) for just $30 a year.
Selected posts, such as this one, appear on the cost-free tier, which is also available.
And as always, the Race Days calendar and directory of running groups are listings that are available for everyone visiting RunningShorts.org.