REXBURG – A local student is on a mission to promote social interaction through physical activity.
Joseph Jones, a junior at Brigham Young University-Idaho studying biomedical science, recently launched the Riverside Park Run in Rexburg.
Every Saturday at 8 a.m., members of the community gather at the park near Rexburg Rapids and run, walk or jog a 5K loop. Since the first event on June 18, Jones tells EastIdahoNews.com the number of people in attendance has gradually increased and he’s hoping to see it continue to take off.
“We see lots of people out Saturday that already go for their walk or run in the morning, so the people already doing it might as well come and meet some people,” Jones says.
The event is open to anyone, regardless of fitness level, and while the race is timed, Jones says the purpose of the event is to “get people outside and meet new people.”
“You don’t need to be a runner at all,” says Jones.
The park run is part of a worldwide movement that dates back to 2004 in Bushy Park, London. Paul Sinton-Hewitt was the man behind it, and he and a group of volunteers started it to help others connect through physical activity, according to a news release.
Jones first heard about it while serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Australia. It’s a popular event for many people over there and when Jones returned home after his mission, he missed it.
“I’m wanting to go to medical school and so me and my classmates were talking about things we could do to get people involved in the community, to increase public health … and to unite students and the community,” he says.
He and his classmates started working with the city in November to establish a park run course in town. As of last month, the Rexburg loop has been officially designated as a Parkrun course.
“It’s pretty new in Idaho. We’re the second event ever in Idaho,” Jones says. “The nearest one is in Boise.”
He’s pleased with the response and the turnout so far and he’s inviting everyone to participate.
“We hope it continues to grow, but even if it’s just 30, 40 people, we’re still going to do it,” Jones says. “From the community members we’ve talked to, they really like it. They’re starting to get it to their groups and spread the word.”
Riverside Park is at 50 West 2nd North in Rexburg.
The event is free, but registration is encouraged. To register or learn more, click here.