Knowing I’d be in Rome over a weekend I checked out to see if there was a local parkrun I could add to my list. Finding out there was one just outside of the city, I started planning how I’d get there.
I had to wake up super early, well for a Saturday, and leave the apartment at 7.20 AM in order to make the 1.5 mile trip to the train station. From there a easy 20 minute train ride to Gemelli. This was by far the best option costing only €1 per way. A 5 minute walk from the station and I easily found the park with parkrunners already congregating at the start area.
I arrived to a warm welcome from one of the volunteers and a couple from the UK, strangely not too far from where I live, and we got talking. People from plenty of countries arrived including some fellow Brits, Australians, Canadians, an Irish lady and someone from France. This is one of the things I love about parkrun – people from all over the world coming together with a common goal – to make it around 5k in whatever way we can.
Next, it was time for the briefing. Due to the amount of English-speaking people the briefing was conducted in English as well as Italian. We found out it was a two-lap trail course that we had to watch where our feet landed especially in the first km. Not only was this parkrun in a different county, it would be my first attempt at a trail parkrun. On the 19th May all parkruns in Italy were being held to remember two people killed my the mafia. In memory a speech was read out by a volunteer ahead of the run where the names of the victims were read out.
We lined up and we started! Being trail it was hard going at first – watching our step, no overtaking but I soon got into the rhythm of things – only tripping very slightly but not actually falling (unusual with my track record!).
The lap consisted of a few ups and downs, long grass and a very warm heat. We came back round to the start line and off we went for the second lap – knowing what to expect this was much much easier – though the hill in the last half a mile didn’t get any easier.
I loved trying something new and taking part in a country. It was really great speaking to people from all over the world and hearing how parkrun is starting to grow in Italy. Interestingly I spoke to one of the volunteer team who was telling us about running in Italy. To join a club or to take part in a competitive race of any kind you require a medical certificate. A runner who can run a 5k in 25 minutes is classed as slow! Im a snail in their eyes! parkrun is Just starting to take off in the county and hearing this makes me appreciate all the great things it’s done in our country – making running inclusive. I really hope it continues to grow in Italy and positive things happen because of the fantastic community.
I came over the finish line in position 27 in 31.04.
Afterwards, my favourite part, the volunteers were handing out cups of water (much appreciated!) and some yummy cakes! I’m not too sure what they were called but they tasted amazing! We stood in the shade, chatted for a bit, then I made my way back to the train station for the short trip back to Trastevere to catch the Royal Wedding!
I’d say, it’s definitely worth the trip if you’re visiting Rome – the most welcoming parkrun and some tasty treats at the end!