New parkrun runaway success

Last Christmas Day, over 230 people turned up at a park in Wantirna South.

They were there for the Lewis Park Reserve parkrun, co-founded in 2019 by Knox residents Meagan Edwards and Anita Schwarzbauer with a $7,500 Community Development Fund grant from Council.

Meagan says the free, weekly parkrun regularly attracts 130-150 people who walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate along a 5 kilometre route taking in Blind Creek Trail.

“We’ve got people who use it for their physical training for events and others who are recovering from surgery or an injury and using it as part of their rehabilitation,” she says.

“We have people who are there for their mental health, which is why I started. I was in a dark place and Anita encouraged me to join her and get the endorphins going.

“We’ve got people who are there for the emotional or the social side of things. The parkrun community is all about support and encouragement.”

Council’s grant paid for start-up equipment including a defibrillator, course flags, volunteer vests and marketing material.

Anita says the parkrun fills a need, where previously people had to travel outside Knox.

“We used to meet up at Lilydale, Jells Park or Mullum Mullum and we thought, we need one that’s a little bit closer,” she says.

“Parkrun was one thing we could all do on a Saturday morning together.

“I’m a mum with young kids and Parkrun was often ‘me time’. It was something that I could do with my young children, either running with a pram or without, and still mingle with my friends. Another plus was I could take my beautiful dog.”

Parkrun is run entirely by volunteers and more are needed in roles including course marshals and timekeepers.

Council invites not-for-profit groups to apply for grants for activities and projects benefiting the Knox community.

Applications for the 2023 round of Community Development Fund grants close Monday 3 July.

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