A runner waves while he goes by during the first Renton parkrun trial on Aug. 12. Courtesy photo

Free, weekly 5Ks coming soon along the Cedar River

A second trial run is scheduled for Sept. 9

A trial run held on Aug. 12 gave attendees an introduction to parkrun (yes, with a lowercase ‘p’) and what Saturdays along the Cedar River could look like very soon.

The trial event saw 23 attendees including six volunteers.

“The feedback we received was that it was fun, friendly environment, welcoming of strangers and our course is easy and beautiful,” Kortney Thoma, volunteer and event director, wrote in an email following the event.

After the running portion concluded, a team meeting was held by the volunteers and attended by five community members.

The idea of parkrun first came to the city of Renton in March 2017 and the permit was finalized in June, Thoma said.

Once the start up fee of $5,000 is reached, parkrun will be one step closer to beginning in Renton. When parkrun hits the halfway mark of $2,500 raised, they can set a launch date.

parkrun’s goal is to hopefully get a launch date set before Halloween, she said.

So far parkrun has reached 10 percent of its start up fee. Humble & Davenport Insurance Brokers made the first donation, Thoma wrote. Taco Time NW also made a commitment to them, she said.

Thoma added parkrun has also reached out to others in the area including Maplewood Golf Course, Renton Rotary and Valley Medical Center.

The start up fee goes toward purchasing equipment and providing IT support, she said.

Once the $5,000 is raised, Cathryn Burby, volunteer and run director, said, this event can go on forever.

Community members register once, with no sign up fee, and then are able to participate in parkruns across the globe.

parkrun tourism is another aspect where attendees can still run even while on vacation. Thoma and Burby said this will be great for local Renton businesses because those traveling may stick around the area following the run.

They also added that a huge part of parkrun in other states is the community building it creates between participants.

Often times, they added, runners will go to a local coffee shop or bakery following the run to enjoy time together and something to eat.

The idea behind parkrun is that it’s a great opportunity for people to stay active, Burby said.

“It’s a great community event to bring people together,” Burby added.

Renton parkrun will begin at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. during winter months, and the 5K will run along the Cedar River Trail from the Interstate 405 bridge near the dog park to the Maplewood Golf Course. Attendees are to meet at the Riverview Park before getting started.

The 5Ks will run every Saturday unless extreme weather or other scheduled park events cause them to be canceled.

This event is the first of its kind in the area. There is some interest in Des Moines and Snohomish county but Thoma and Burby said they would like to get Renton set up and see how it goes after that.

They added once the Renton parkrun gets on its feet, they can see more launching in the future.

Currently, Renton parkrun has enough volunteers to get going but many runners turn volunteers, they said.

Often times runners who are injured come out on Saturdays, they said, to volunteer. Or if they are participating in a race the following day, they spend Saturday resting.

Volunteering for parkrun is also a good chance for students looking to fill volunteer hours, they said.

Unlike many other 5Ks, T-shirts with parkrun are earned. Each time you hit a specific milestone, you receive a different shirt.

For more information on parkrun, visit their website at www.parkrun.us.

To stay up to date with Renton parkrun, visit www.facebook.com/Renton-parkrun-257762771295210/.

The next trial run is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9.

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