STEPPING OUT: Marty and Meg Dougherty with baby Poppy, Tom Barnsley, Jeanette James, Vicki James and Madison and Chelsie Young get ready for the first Yamba parkrun.
STEPPING OUT: Marty and Meg Dougherty with baby Poppy, Tom Barnsley, Jeanette James, Vicki James and Madison and Chelsie Young get ready for the first Yamba parkrun.

Parkrun offers outlet for all athletes

WHETHER you like to take in the sights while on a leisurely walk or are training for your next marathon, organisers of a new Yamba event are hoping to establish an activity that allows people to mix together and get fit at the same time.

The inaugural Yamba parkrun will be staged from 7am on Saturday, March 21 and organisers Meg Dougherty and Vicki James said the emphasis will be on people getting out and being active.

"We like to say that it's a run and not a race," Ms James said.

"In saying that though, people can walk the course if they want, have kids in prams, dogs on leads, beginners right up to serious runners."

The parkrun is a free, weekly timed 5km event. The parkrun phenomenon has spread around the globe and while the idea of being timed may scare some people, Ms Dougherty said it is a motivational tool.

"Everyone who signs up gets a barcode which gives them their own time on the course," she said.

"And it's nice that every-one gets a time so it can be used as a motivation for them, whether they are trying to do 5km for the first time, or a speed session for long-distance training."

The course will take in the Yamba foreshore from Ford Park to the marina and Whiting Beach.

While the Yamba event has been a long time planning, Ms Dougherty said they are ready to go.

"We are very excited. We just want the event to encourage people to come out and get active no matter what their skill level, and meet other people they wouldn't normally mix with," she said.

"We've had to raise a lot of money for equipment and without the help of sponsors North Coast TAFE, LJ Hooker Yamba, Thomas Plumbing and Gas, Paul Tarasenko, Yamba Physiotherapy, Bean Scene Cafe and Healthy Town Challenge Yamba, we wouldn't be able to run the event."

To register for the run, visit http://www.parkrun.com.au to receive a barcode that allows you to be timed and also to qualify for insurance. For enquiries, email megdougherty@hotmail.com.



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