It is quite likely that nearly everyone has heard of, or even taken part in a parkrun at some point or other. Basically every Saturday morning, in locations around the world, runners come together to run 5k at whatever speed they feel like – slow or fast. This is a community event rather than a competition, so everyone is cheerful, supportive and positive.
The parkrun movement is becoming ever more popular in Russia, and St Petersburg is no exception – there are 8 events in and around the city (including Peterhof and Gatchina). My favourite is Yelagin Island. This traffic-free island is a haven for sports enthusiasts and nature lovers (just try to not see a squirrel!) and has a special place in my heart, as it is where I first met up to train with other runners in the city and made some great friends.
Parkrun is in theory a run, not a race. There’s little harm in trying your fitness and running around the park with like-minded runners. During summer months I frequently spot holiday-makers in running gear looking a little bit lost on the metro and help them to find the start (which isn’t easy).
The volunteers and runners do their best to make everyone welcome, and it’s a great way to kickstart the weekend. On a number of times, I have received the 0007 stripcode at the finish. Always makes me laugh anyway…