Ararat Parkrun made its long-awaited return on Saturday, January 16, with participants delighted to be running and walking through the Alexandra Gardens in each other's company once more.
The event had been unable to run due to COVID-19 since March 2020.
Ararat Parkrun event director Tricia Ruthven said she was delighted to see the event make a strong return.
"It was fantastic," she said.
"We had 44 finishers, which is really good, as a lot of the regulars were still away on school holidays.
"There were a few new faces as well."
It was Ararat Parkrun's first time using the Parkrun COVID-19 Framework.
The framework included new protocols such as participants scanning in with QR codes, sanitiser being used by different volunteers, such as the person handing out the finish tokens, and participants keeping a 1.5 metre gap from others when possible.
Ms Ruthven said both volunteers and participants readily adapted to these changes.
"People were really good about it," she said.
"It was a relief because we had all been a bit worried about how it would go, and it just ran smoothly with not a single hiccup.
"Everyone was just wonderful and just accepted whatever was that we had to do."
Gabriel Tonks was the first male runner to complete the five-kilometre course, and Paula Pettingill the first female.
Mr Ruthven said it had been a great experience for all involved.
"Everyone was just really, really happy that we were back and that they were there all together," she said.
"It was lovely. Our Parkrun always has a nice friendly feel to it, but this time it was even more so."
Ararat Parkrun will be held again on Saturday, January 23, at 8am. Newcomers are encouraged to arrive at the starting point near Gardens Lake Cafe 10 minutes early.
People interested in participating are asked to register by 6pm on the Friday before they run.
To register head to https://www.parkrun.com.au/ararat/.
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