Parkrunners warm up before hitting the course for the Nov. 20 event. (Claire Curtis photo)

Parkrunners warm up before hitting the course for the Nov. 20 event. (Claire Curtis photo)

Shawnigan parkrun perseveres through the storm

Flood damage forces last-minute course change

The best laid plans don’t always come to fruition. Shawnigan Hills parkrun’s new course became part mudbath and part lake, thanks to the insane amount of rainfall early last week. We count ourselves lucky that there was not more damage locally. However, we only had a couple of days to modify the existing course and keep on drier land. Thankfully, the Shawnigan Lake School cross-country team was on hand, complete with the latest GPS apps, to run and measure the new route. Still, there were some discrepancies and we only had a rough idea of where the finish line would be.

The first two finishers on the day, Doug Kirkby and Daryl Baswick, were able to confirm the distance as they entered the track at the end of the 5km run and the finish sign could be quickly put in the correct place. Whilst this might sound like a shambles, the other 19 runners were clearly happy that the new position of the finish line did not require them to run the extra half lap of the track.

All’s well that end’s well, and the feedback for this new route was very positive. In fact, there were four personal best times, most notably Lisa Scott, who was 10 seconds faster than her previous fastest performance.

It is in these types of circumstances, especially, that you rely on the help and support of other volunteers. Special thanks must go to regular timekeeper and finish line official Victoria Qiu and Charlie Bazant; Anita Gillmore, Jeff and Kate Wright, who have all been invaluable in making the event restart a success; and Claire Curtis who, not only brings a group of runners each week, but has also taken charge of the Shawnigan Hills parkrun Facebook page at

As we enter into the festive season, there will be two special parkruns: Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Further details to follow soon.

Walk, jog, run, volunteer or simply come and watch — it is up to you. Be a part of the community, make new friends and socialize — we meet at Shawnigan Coffee House post-run after each event. It is a great way to start the weekend.

To register for parkrun, please go to Simply fill in your details and print off your unique barcode and you are good to go.

Next run: Saturday, Nov. 27, 9 a.m.

– Mark Swannell, organizer