Warrnambool parkrun is back much to the delight of the city's eager runners and walkers.
A parkrun Australia statement this week confirmed Victorian events could re-open this weekend after a coronavirus pandemic-enforced break. The free weekly five-kilometre timed-event starts on Saturday 8am at Lake Pertobe.
The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions has clarified parkrun events are not required to check vaccination status of participants and volunteers and there is no requirement to be fully vaccinated.
Warrnambool parkrun event director Jarrod Mast said many participants had assumed parkrun would have returned last weekend when Victoria reached phase D of its coronavirus roadmap - 90 per cent of the 12 plus population fully vaccinated.
"I got questions in-person, phone calls, text messages, queries on Facebook - all wondering if it was back last weekend," he said.
"I had a couple people offering to volunteer without knowing if we needed volunteers."
Mast feels parkrun Australia was waiting on clarity from the Victorian government about vaccine rules before re-opening the event.
There's plenty of reason to celebrate now it's back.
It's the group first event in more than two months and only the fourth since July.
And it's Warrnambool parkrun's fifth anniversary.
Mast, who has been there since the start, said it was a satisfying milestone to reach.
"It's nice to get it to a point where it established, now five years in it's got its core of people who know how it works," he said.
"It sort runs itself at that point. It's nice to have 100 people turn up most weeks."
Inaugural event coordinator Courtney White got it started off after being inspired by other parkrun events.
Mast said there weren't any major goals at the start.
"It really was let's hope there's enough people interested in this sort of thing," he said.
"Then at the first event 200 people turned up and we were blown away."
The group is also on the verge of reaching its 200th event. The pandemic meant it has been stuck on 198.
It's going to be a bumper summer for parkrun with Christmas Day and New Year's Day both falling on Saturday this year.
"We're looking to hold our normal events on those days as well," Mast said.
In good news for regulars, from Saturday participants can use a digital barcode to scan for their time after the timed event. It has been paper barcodes-only up to this point.
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