ParkRun in Russia – How Active Are You?
Where can you run – Где можно бегать?
Now I love St. Petersburg, but as you might expect, there are certain downsides to building a city of stone on an Arctic ice-float. Mainly – the lack of decent running routes.
St. Petes is many things, but not exactly jogger-friendly. I have been (re)learning this daily all week, as I persist in running in and around the city streets, colliding with tourists, cyclists and scooters at every corner. From some of the looks I get, I’m beginning to think they’ve never seen a manic girl in neon lycra running sprint intervals around St. Isaac’s cathedral. Which to be fair, they may not have.
Still, the experience makes me feel so conspicuous that I had almost decided to give up on exercise during my entire Liden & Denz sojourn, which was why I was so happy to find out about two organised running events in the city. The first is ParkRun , the global phenomenon, which has recently come to Russia. The ParkRun premise is simple; free, weekly, timed 5k runs, held in pleasant parkland on Saturday mornings all over the world, entirely volunteer-lead and open to all ‘from olympians to Octogenarians’.
An international movement of over half a million runners, (and counting), ParkRun officially started in Russia in 2014 with two events launched in Moscow and has since been steadily colonizing St. Petersburg, with not one but three available runs each Saturday morning – in Elagin Ostrov, Sosnovka, or Kolpino.
The concept is so simple that there really is no excuse not to get involved; just turn up at 9am on Saturday and run 5km. You don’t have to register, but if you do, (you can here) you’ll get a personal barcode, enabling you to have your results texted to you after each run, as well as keeping track of your PBs on the ParkRun website, which keeps a log of each week’s results.
Now admittedly, ‘9am’ and ‘Saturday’ are not usually two words I like to see in the same sentence, and so another great find has been Mint Running Club. Part of the ‘bridge-the-gap’ urban running movement which is now found in cities all over the world from Berlin to Tokyo, Mint runners are an informal group who meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 8pm at their eponymous store, (57 Liteyny Ave), for a friendly jog around the city. They always welcome new members, and as well as getting your exercise fix, its the perfect opportunity to practice your Russian with the locals!
So there you have it! Two great ways to stay active and see a new side to the city. Now the only question is will I manage to wake up early enough tomorrow to take my own advice and turn up at ParkRun…? 😐
This blog was brought to you by Kamila, intern and student at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg