Heartfelt thanks to the Parkrun Volunteer team in Vääksy each of whom make this wonderful event possible every week come rain or shine, snow, sleet or showers! If you’ve never been to Vääksy I highly recommend it. It’s a tiny but beautiful town with a big heart; and is most famous for its canal which runs between two huge lakes (Vesijärvi and Päijänne). The canal is 1.3 km long with a height difference between the two lakes of about 3 metres. Nowadays it is the most popular freshwater canal in Finland and we were lucky enough to see the impressive lock in action after the parkrun.
Today the sun shone on the 27 parkrun participants and volunteers and the conditions for running couldn’t have been better! The parkrun course runs the length of the canal -there and back - twice!, and the scenery is wonderful. The fastest finisher today was a local woman but as she’s (sadly) unregistered it meant that I was awarded the status of 3rd lady finishing and I got my first top twenty place (I was positioned 12th) ... not bad for an older lady, and one who only started running less than two years ago! There were two PBs set today (including the wonderful 70+ lady in front of me who I kept in my sight all the way but who I just couldn’t catch up with) and there were 5 first timers (including the three of us who came across from Tampere this morning)
What I love about parkrun is how inclusive it is ... and Vääksy demonstrated that beautifully with participants from different countries (some now living in Finland) and people from many different age categories and running abilities. I love that there are regulars who walk the parkrun every week too! Today there was also a parkrun dog -woof woof - and usually there are some parents who come and participate pushing toddlers in strollers around the 5km, though they didn’t attend today.
I also love the parkrun practice of gathering for coffee afterwards. The parkrun cafe (kardemumma) is fantastic and today the weather was so good we happily sat outside on the terrace (in the shade) overlooking the small river (which is next to the canal). The cafe owner/ staff couldn’t have been friendlier and the coffee came in huge ‘granny’ cups saucers, served on a white tray with a lace insert! The cakes were to die for too!
Today was my 35th parkrun but only my first in Vääksy. If I lived closer I’d surely come here more often both to run and to volunteer, but I do hope I can visit again before too long! I’d love to come in the winter as I think it would be amazing to see the lakes frozen over and run the snow covered course.
Lorna Koskela, from Turku (the former capital of Finland) One day we’ll have a parkrun of our own