The Puckapunyal Military Area has become the first restricted access military base in Australia to introduce a weekly Parkrun event [restricted to Defence pass holders].
CAPTION: Participants at the inaugural Puckapunyal parkrun at the Puckpunyal Military Area, Victoria. Story by Major Carrie Robards.
The Puckapunyal parkrun was launched last month with 41 participants of all ages attending the 5km event.
The now weekly event will provide an opportunity for posted staff and their families to participate in a social and fun fitness activity where regular participation, rather than pure performance, is encouraged.
Senior ADF Officer Colonel David McCammon said the activity was open to all Defence pass holders, and was a great initiative for the benefit of the soldiers and their families posted to Puckapunyal.
“As professional soldiers we are usually focused on the hard work that leads to being combat fit. But by being involved with parkrun on the weekend, staff can enjoy a fitness event that has an important community aspect and is great for everyone’s health, fitness and mental wellbeing,” Colonel McCammon said.
“Having said that, for the more competitive minded, it’s a timed event and records have now been set, with the top female finisher posting 26.15 mins and top male posting 18.51 mins.”
Glen Turner from parkrun Australia said he was excited that the event was becoming more popular across Australia.
“Communities take many forms, and the introduction of parkrun into a restricted military base represents another giant step in ensuring that our events are as accessible as possible to as many people as possible,” Mr Turner said.
“As well as the obvious physical and mental health benefits of a free weekly outdoor activity, parkruns are social events that foster community spirit and friendships that extend well beyond a Saturday morning.
“We hope that Puckapunyal will blaze the trail for other military facilities in Australia to embrace the parkrun concept and lead to military personnel and their families participating in parkrun events in the wider community.”
Each parkrun is delivered entirely by volunteers with everyone invited to help out in a wide variety of roles, with no experience necessary.