"It's more than about the 5k run" - that was the message Mount Isa parkrun director Sarah Choyce gave to last weeks' health expo in Mount Isa.
North West Queensland health expo audiences at the Civic Centre heard Ms Choyce talk about some of the health benefits of being part of the parkrun family, benefits that stretch beyond simply those who enjoy the exercise.
Parkrun is a free and safe 5km run in parks or off-road environments that takes place every Saturday at locations across the world including Mount Isa and Cloncurry.
From humble beginning in London in 2004 with a dozen runners it has spread across the world with many hundreds of runs and many thousands taking part each week.
Ms Choyce said Mount Isa's parkrun started at Easter 2018 helped by Mount Isa City Council. and inspired by available Commonwealth Games funding which was happening around then.
With sponsorship from Mount Isa Mines, they bought a defibrillator, a mandatory requirement for all parkruns.
She said parkrun was not a race (though individuals can and do strive to beat their personal best time and each other at the front of the run) and people could walk or run, they could take children with them and they could take a dog on a short leash.
But Ms Choyce saved her biggest praise for the mainstay of parkruns - the volunteers that make it happen each week.
"It is way more than a run in the park, the parkrun is about the culture of the parkrun family," Ms Choyce said.
"It is all about the vollies."
It is all about the volliesSarah Choyce
She said volunteers could be any age and volunteering was not only a great way to get involved and help out, it was a great way to meet people if new to a community and had immense mental health benefits.
"We also encourage parkrun participants to thank volunteers whenever they can," she said.
Volunteers have a number of jobs including race directors, timers, tail walkers, photographers and setting up the course.
The Mount Isa parkrun is on 7am every Saturday on the Tharrapatha Way, Corner of Davis Road and Urquhart Street, Soldiers Hill.
Make sure to register with parkrun for your barcode so you can get a time if running or walking.
Check out the Mount Isa parkrun Facebook page for more details on how to get involved.
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