Aspen parkrun and its free 5k foot race turns a year old on Saturday
IF YOU GO...
What: Aspen parkrun, a free 5K foot race
When: Each Saturday at 9 a.m.
Where: Aspen Golf Club
How: While free, first-time racers are asked to register at http://www.parkrun.us/register/
There is no shortage of runners in the Roaring Fork Valley, which is part of the reason organizer Shelley Roy believes there will be more of them in the Aspen parkrun events this year.
“This summer, I really want to try and get more locals there. That’s the goal,” Roy said. “We got some awesome, gung-ho locals who don’t like to miss it, so that’s kind of nice.”
Parkrun is a series of free, 5-kilometer races held around the world. The first parkrun in the United States was in 2012, while Aspen parkrun made its debut 12 months ago. In fact, Saturday’s 9 a.m. 5K will mark the one-year anniversary of Aspen parkrun.
Held roughly once a week, Aspen parkrun has hosted 45 events, according to its website, with 46 first-time finishers having taken part. While the races are timed, it’s rather non-competitive and encourages joggers, walkers and even parents pushing baby strollers to take part.
“It’s about beating your own time and improving on your own fitness,” Roy said. “That’s the beauty of parkrun. It’s all about just getting the community active and healthy. That’s how it started. It was a bunch of friends that got together just to run together.”
The original course used last spring and summer started at the Aspen Recreation Center, but since November Aspen parkrun has had its start and finish at the Aspen Golf Club. The course itself is an easy out-and-back of sorts, with some of the trail following along Maroon Creek.
It’s a much easier and flatter course than the original, which is the parkrun idea. However, with the Aspen event being the highest-elevation parkrun in the world, it still has its challenges.
“It’s a difficult course being at 8,000 feet,” Roy said. “What we are trying to do is increase our numbers. We get a lot of tourists over the summer, which is really nice. But it’s for the local community, and that’s what we are trying to hit.”
While free, participants are asked to register through http://www.parkrun.us/register/. Results from all the races around the world are posted online, allowing runners to compare themselves to friends an ocean away. The events are organized exclusively by volunteers.
The Aspen parkrun is held each Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Aspen Golf Club.
Mikaela Shiffrin did a lot of soul searching after she didn’t win a medal and didn’t finish three of her five individual races at last year’s Beijing Olympics after entering the games amid enormous expectations.