Jamaica Pond parkrun #100: 100 Reasons to Come to the Next 100 parkruns!

Jamaica Pond parkrun just celebrated its 100th running (walking and jogging) of the event on Saturday. Toeing the line were people who were there from the start and participated in the test runs and continue to show up 100 runs later, and also people who were there for the very first time. We hope the first-timers will come back and learn about all the special qualities that make people return week after week.

In 100 runs, we have run through every type of weather Boston can throw at us, we’ve vacationed at the Arboretum, we have had PBS set 1,236 times, we have set the U.S attendance record for parkrun, and collectively, our parkrun family has logged 28,275 miles. But I asked some in our parkrun family why they love parkrun and why they come back, and our impressive stats is not what makes us so special to everyone. Here’s what they had to say;

Alex trying his best to manage the weather at the turn-around

Alex trying his best to manage the weather at the turn-around

Andreas Heilmann (Though he doesn’t live in Boston anymore, he is part of our forever family)
Since moving to Boston in 2008, I became familiar with its running community and often ventured out on the Emerald Necklace, my favorite chain of parks. JP Parkrun took this experience to a different more meaningful level. Maybe, it is the fabulous friends I made on the Pinebank Promontory and in the Arboretum, maybe, the interesting visitors from all over the world who shared their stories, maybe, the feeling of community I experienced from volunteering or running with the Parkrun Crew. I dearly miss all of them since moving away. Boston is truly unique with its diverse people, long running tradition, and changing weather elements; however, community and good momentum are developing at the local Parkrun I joined a few months ago.

Andreas and some parkrun paks waiting to start

Andreas and some parkrun pals waiting to start

Dan Forward (Co-Event Director, great pal to everyone, and reason parkrun operates so smoothly)
The 100th JPparkrun is a testament to the dedication of so many people to community wellness and the strength of Bostonians of all ages and sizes in putting on an event that has created health, wellness, and friendship. I started volunteering at parkrun because I thought it was a cool, free race. I keep coming back because I love all the people, and there's nowhere else I'd rather spend my Saturdays .

Letitia Meenan (Matriarch of the Meenan Clan. The Meenans come every week as volunteers and runners, and youngest Meenan, Jarlath made the most superb cake to celebrate our 100th)

  1. The community- all the people at JP are very nice, funny and entertaining so before your run you will feel pumped up and excited and after your run you will want to come back next week!
  2. Family- To all those kids out there! Come! I know that you don’t really like doing sports with your parents, but this is a chance to beat them. I know sounds just awesome. Also with cookies and milk after, what’s not to like! Just think about it, you have bragging rights over at least one of your parents so you can go around the house all day singing “ha,ha I beat you in a 5K”
  3. City feed- After your enjoyable run you can go with everybody to City Feed and Supply on Centre Street. It is a great place to warm up in the winter with one of their filter coffees and to cool down in summer with their refreshening iced coffee. But then who needs coffee? When you can have cookies or muffins!
  4. Volunteering- Loads of volunteering jobs available whether you like to carry a clipboard (run director) or take it easy (tail walker) or meet all the finishers (barcode scanner) or go for an exact time (pacer). You can volunteer anytime for anything and we would really appreciate it because volunteers make this race happen and without them there would be no JP parkrun!

I hope you like and take into consideration my 4 things that I like about JP parkrun and come back next week!

Jarlath's cake to celebrate 100!

Jarlath's cake to celebrate 100!

Wali Sabuhi (avid volunteer, speedy runner, and parkrun jokester)

I could go on and on (long enough to make the stranger next to me on a flight regret sitting in basic economy) about why programs like this are such gems. But here is one way in which this community has benefited me personally. In a setting where everyone is so genuinely happy to reconnect from the previous Saturday, everyone asks how you've been, and everyone is then ready to hear you verbally decompress after a long week if you need to, I've realized how simple life's greatest gifts are; among them: the health to be able to partake in such an activity, a beautiful outdoor setting, and community with which to celebrate life and all its milestones. After all this, I find that there is so little in life over which to gripe.

Dan, Wali, and the Meenan Clan (Letitia, Chris, and Jarlath)

Dan, Wali, and the Meenan Clan (Letitia, Chris, and Jarlath)

Zoe (parkrun regular, who is insanely friendly to every single person she meets, and also a poet of the acrostic variety)

Jamaica Pond parkrun: An Acrostic Poem

Just Picture: People Assembled in a Ridiculously Kind Running Utopia Now!

You don't have to imagine it... Jamaica Pond parkrun is real! And it really is like a running utopia made up of the nicest people to be found in the Boston area. Jamaica Pond and the Arboretum have held a special place in my heart since moving to MA over a decade ago and have been part of my running routes over the years. They have since become even dearer to me since discovering JP parkrun because I now associate them with all of the friendly faces that make up the parkrun community. I can't think of a warmer, more supportive group and have told many friends to come join on Saturdays!

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Zoe flying by on her way to the halfway point

Chrissie Connors (parkrun evangelist)

Personally, I feel like my Boston compass points due Jamaica Pond parkrun. Moving from New York, I didn’t find my footing in this city until I found parkrun. My parkrun pals mean everything to me. When I had them all flood my room on a recent hospital visit, I felt incredibly lucky and grateful. I know as a New Yorker, I'm not supposed to like Boston, but after going to parkrun, it's impossible not to love this city!

 Susan Chahwan, our 100th finisher at our 100th event


Susan Chahwan, our 100th finisher at our 100th event

We hope to see all of you for the next 100 parkruns!

Lot of parkrun love,
Chrissie Connors
Run Director