Although the Goulburn parkrun event did not take place last weekend due to the statewide COVID-19 lockdowns, local members have still been able to get out each week and test their running times.
This is thanks to an initiative known as '(not)parkrun'. It was developed by parkrun Australia during the initial coronavirus lockdowns in 2020 as a way for members to stay engaged with the community and keep fit.
"I think it's good to have," Goulburn parkrun event director, Jamie Miles, said.
"The thing I like about parkrun is it's every week and it's regular, and everybody can come along and blow away five kilometres. (not)parkrun gives you the ability to do the same thing anytime.
"The last thing you should be doing is running at the same time as whole bunch of other people, but it's very easy to go down on a Wednesday afternoon and run the same track you know very well and still get in a little bit of fitness, fresh air, and exercise."
(not)parkrun requires members to log in to the event website and record their times, which are then put into leaderboards alongside other runners across Australia.
It was designed, according to a post on the parkrun blog last year, as "an opportunity for parkrunners to submit a 5k walk, jog, or run, on a route of your choosing, wherever you are in the world and following appropriate guidelines for physical activity wherever you're based.
"It works a bit like the parkrun 'Freedom run' - an opportunity for you to self-declare the date and time of a walk, jog or run and at the same time represent your home parkrun. You can record up to one activity per day, with your fastest time each week included in a weekly results table."
Importantly, (not)parkrun does not contribute to the overall number of parkrun events attended by members, nor are there any opportunities to volunteer. It was designed as a way to help keep the community healthy during lockdown.
Barely seven months after parkrun returned following its lengthy 2020 hiatus, Miles admitted that it was frustrating to have to stop the events again.
"It's as frustrating as last time, but at least this time we have procedures in place so if the lockdowns were lifted we could go back fairly safely, fairly quickly," he said.
"We've been watching parkruns around the country slowly close down and thinking that it could be us any second, and then it was."
The guidelines now in place include such measures as social distancing during the pre-run briefings, remaining distanced during the runs, and requiring all volunteers to wear masks, along with participants before and after they have run.
Though the current statewide lockdown in NSW scheduled to end this Saturday, there is no guarantee that it won't be extended for longer as the state continues to grapple with the COVID-19 outbreak.
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