By Susan George
I stumbled upon parkrun almost by accident and have never looked back! If you haven't heard of parkrun check it out at www.parkrun.com
It started in the UK in 2004 and has now spread across the world, Australia included! In many ways parkrun is quite 'ordinary' - a free, weekly, Saturday morning, timed 5km run/walk in a local park - with a few rules like free coffee for helpers and free T-shirts for milestone runs! (and it is easy to start your own if there isn't one nearby you!). But in other ways parkrun is very 'extraordinary' as it has moved hundreds of thousands of people across the world to get outside and embrace a new, better self through exercise in the great outdoors!
My local parkrun has certainly got me outside, on a regular basis, in all weathers. It brings you face to face with the outdoor elements as much as the extreme, grand challenges, in exotic places. You still encounter the wind, the rain, the heat, the cold, the humidity, the sunshine, even the ice and snow (although these freezing conditions are the least of our problems in Australia!). You battle these elements as much as any professional adventurer, or official Merino Outsider. And you need the gear just as much, as the depths of the human spirit is stirred!
With parkrun you can have so many different goals to test your tenacity, stamina, endurance, physical and mental grit - and of course the clothing choice for your challenge! It happens every week so there is plenty of opportunity. You can aim for a PB, go somewhere new, arrive early/stay late and volunteer, walk it all, bring a friend, PB a kilometer split, meet friends, run by heart rate, spot the wildlife, climb the age-grade league, go for a course record or just take part and enjoy the moment - whatever takes your fancy. And if you are stuck for ideas there is the fun free app called "Running Challenges" that further augments your parkrun goal getting outdoor challenge experience!
Browsing through the ioMerino range it was the summer range - Summerino as it is known - where I found a few things that would help me do my weekly parkrun here in Australia, where the great outdoors often turns up the heat - often even before 8am in the morning! You can be starting in temperatures of 30C and it only gets hotter! And of course the UV kicks in too. Plus if you get serious about parkrun then you might find that you start training during the week, often running in the sun then.
The Summerino rangegives you super fine, soft, lightweight, moisture wicking and odour-resistant gear with UV protection. With various options in the range there is bound to be something that will help you when you need to beat the heat. I like the look of the Summerino range Keystone long sleevenumber because I think long sleeves give superior protection compared to sunblock. I have tried various combinations of long, short and no sleeve tops and in the harshest of conditions it is the long sleeves that actually keep me cooler - so long as the fabric is lightweight enough. The bonus is that sleeves last all day; it doesn't matter if you end up staying out a little longer (people tend to linger after a parkrun!) because you are quite literally covered!
I'm glad I discovered parkrun. It is more than a free event. It is a movement. It is a lifestyle. It is a community. It is an on-going way of life. It is so many things, to so many people, young and old. And amid all the amazing outside, outdoor possibilities for exotic adventure and incredible challenges, I think parkrun is right up there, regularly getting people all across the world into the great outdoors (and regularly bringing to our attention the need for the right gear!) You don't have to climb the highest peak on your continent to be in the outside; just go to parkrun! Do not overlook it; it is part of the great outdoors: free, for all, for ever!"
Here in Australia, we call them 'Tracky Dacks' and our natural merino track pants are your beauty bottle. Find out what that means and why our 100% Merino Tracksuit Pants are better than the rest.
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