As we reflect on 2019, Leakin Park parkrun wants to give an update about our event and thank you for all your support. Each week, our 5K run, jog, walk has been a huge success and continues to develop a warm, diverse, healthy community. Leakin Park parkrun’s success continues to be possible thanks to the support from numerous individuals and organizations.
The 2019 calendar year saw more than 1,650 participants come to Leakin Park on Saturday mornings, a 37% increase from 2018. As our numbers continued to grow each week, we set a new record for weekly attendance in November with 57 people finishing the course. Saturday mornings at Leakin Park are a destination for local families and for tourists. Our walkers, joggers, and runners ranged in age from four to seventy-five years old. We welcomed participants from local schools including St. Mary’s and St. Timothy’s, community groups including the Venture Scouts and Black Men Run, partners such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Baltimore City Fire Department, and parkrunners from countries including the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Russia, South Africa, Australia, Denmark, and Sweden. The 52 events this year were made possible due to 500 volunteer opportunities being filled by our community, including military service members assigned to Fort Meade and students from Towson University. Since our inception on 24 June 2017, we have helped bring almost 5,000 individuals to the park on Saturday mornings.
Thanks to the support of Baltimore City and the Friends of Gwynns Falls, our event was able to occur all but one week, due to weather, during the year. Each week we are thankful for the support of the Friends of Gwynns Falls as they account for more than 250 volunteering opportunities, and continually promote our event, maintain the park, and build relationships. Through the generous support of the Friends of Gwynns Falls, we were able to overcome weather damage and work with BGE as a pipeline was relocated through our course. In support of the Friends’ efforts, our parkrun hosted several park cleanup events to help beautify Leakin Park. We were humbled to be recognized as the Friends of Gwynns Falls volunteer group of the year.
We promote wellness and community by partnering with a variety of groups and hosting events throughout the year, including Moms Run This Town (MRTT) Couch-To-5K graduations and Muffins with Moms; hosting the Baltimore City Fire Department, who provided a review of our emergency plans and CPR instruction for our participants and volunteers; and advocating with the ACS to educate our runners about the importance of fighting cancer through fitness. The Baltimore Road Runners Club featured our run on their podcast “Running Around Baltimore”, and GiveFit asked us to join their network promoting free wellness activities in central Maryland.
We have enjoyed welcoming children setting their own goals, ranging from Daryl, who wanted to run her first 5k ever, to four-year-old Lily who was excited to finally be old enough to get her own barcode, and the Catonsville Cougars junior track team who wanted to practice for their first Turkey Trot. The B’More Muslim Sisterhood joined us as part of a playdate, and we now welcome the Sisterhood and their families on a weekly basis. Two of our regular runners joined us weekly as they battled cancer, and we celebrated with them when they announced their remissions. We recognized 8 milestones for parkrunners who completed 50 events, and celebrated several others who volunteered on 25 occasions to make our parkrun community part of their weekly routine. Our range of stories is as diverse as our community.
We also want to thank Bullwinkles Saloon for hosting our post-parkrun breakfast each week and for providing a gathering spot for our community.
- Promote our event with local schools to encourage physical activity and volunteering opportunities.
- Target an increase in our attendance weekly attendance numbers by 20% for 2020.
- Support the establishment of a new parkrun in Anne Arundel County and northern Baltimore County.
- Highlight the successes of parkrun in the Baltimore community to promote the accessibility, convenience, and knowledge of Leakin Park.