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Watch NZH Local Focus: Rotorua running group inspires recovery

By Jaden McLeod

It's dawn in Rotorua, and a group of avid Park Runners are catching up on the working week.

Every Saturday morning - Rachel Browne is part of the local contingent.

"Just getting up and out there, knowing you can do a 5km run or walk, at your own pace, no pressure. It doesn't cost anybody, you just get out there and participate. You also meet good people."

Mrs Browne suffered a leg injury to her knee and lower calf, and believes Park Run helped her to heal.

"I had been advised to not run any long distances. But I'm really happy, I find running the 5km...I can still do that. At times when I did first get the injury, it hurt but I healed myself from it."

Park Run event organiser Jason Chapman says it's not just locals who enjoy the run.

"We get people from all countries. Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom, obviously our closest neighbours in Australia.

South Africa, Canada, United States, Japan."

Mr Chapman says they have about 60 or 70 regular runners.

But their goal is to reach 100 by their one-year anniversary.

"Anyone can do it, you can run with buggies or dogs. It's a great atmosphere, there's no onus. It's just you, the park and the run."

This and other Park Run events across the country are sponsored by New Zealand Home Loans, which have staff on hand as volunteers.

Mrs Browne is just happy to be able to keep on running after her injury.

"We are the only place in the world where you can run through thermal activity, and know that you are safe. The tracks are good to run on and it's just a beautiful scenery."

The group which includes primary schoolers and octogenarians meets in Puarenga Park at 8am every Saturday.

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- NZ Herald

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