11 Aug

World Shrinks Through parkrun

Holly and Nanna at Aarhus parkrun

While watching the European Masters 5000m women's races at Viby Stadium in Aarhus, Denmark last week (2 August), I was suddenly made aware of the world shrinking power of parkrun, writes runABC news reporter Alan Newman. Two interested spectators who struck up a lively conversation with me were soon recognised as Holly Chabowski and Nanna Sørensen (pictured) who have been featured in parkrun's UK news.

Having written about my own initial reluctance to join the parkrun community in a recent Runtalk feature, it was an odd coincidence to meet Holly and Nanna who were full of questions about moving in the opposite direction – from parkrun into international competition.
Last month (Saturday 1 July) Holly and Nanna celebrated their wedding day with friends and family at Brabrand parkrun in Aarhus, having moved from London to Denmark's second city in 2013. The parkrun item explained their enjoyment of an activity they call ''parkrundstykker''. Rundstykker is a traditional Danish weekend brunch comprising delicious bread rolls and jam. Holly and Nanna are regular “parkrundstykker” hosts as they live a short jog from the Aarhus course at Brabrand.
Unfortunately, I was unable to take up their offer to sample the local parkrun and social due to my own competition programme in Aarhus but I was able to provide full details of how Holly could get involved in future European and World Masters Championships. Nanna has a few more years before she is eligible (masters start at age 35 in athletics) but was very keen to support her wife's ambitions.
Holly is a regular first placer at Brabrand with a best of 20:26 for the hilly 5k circuit. With such pace she would not be out of place in an international W35 5000m race and I did all I could to encourage her to take the next step. Her wedding day started with her 100th parkrun. Nanna has completed 60 parkruns with a best of 22:56 and is on a similar trajectory to Holly. 
And so I was able to muse that parkrun is not just a force for social inclusion, health, fitness and fun but it actually can make the world a smaller place! As Holly and Nanna said: “parkrun is a huge inspiration to us to keep active and to cherish the community in which we live. What a wonderful way to bring people together. We encourage all parkrunners to come and visit us in Denmark. We would love you to join us for some parkrundstykker!”
Find your nearest parkrun event from more than 1,000 locations in 15 countries here and help to shrink the world some more.
Image courtesy parkrun news