Martin Harrap: Championing parkrun

If you’re a friend of Martin Harrap’s then you’ve most likely been initiated into parkrun.

The Whangarei parkrunner – and parkrun NZ ambassador – has registered some 24 people with parkrun such it is a big part of his life.

It all started on New Year’s Eve, 2016 when a friend was visiting he and his wife Gina.

“Ros Kelly has been a friend of ours for a while. She was up here visiting but said she couldn’t stay as she was doing a New Year’s Day parkrun the next day.

“I didn’t know what that was and within half an hour my wife and I were both registered.

“January 2017 I was at Whangarei parkrun.”

Martin’s about to chalk up his 100th parkrun, all going well that will be on Boxing Day.

Run directing at Whangarei parkrun

“I don’t push people to come to parkrun, but my wife laughs at that. Everyone who stays here on a Friday night we get them registered and they do parkrun, either walk or run.


“We went to the University of Waikato inaugural so we could be a tourist. We stayed with a couple who we’ve known for 25 years, he’s 70 and she’s about the same. I asked if they wanted to come and they said yes. Well Jane’s only missed one and has been bringing other people along.”

He says this is why he became an ambassador – to encourage more people to parkrun, be they runners or walkers, old or young.

“Covid knocked it about a bit as there were no events but my aim is to try to get as many people involved who wouldn’t think about it. People with chronic health conditions, or other challenges. It’s the community side that I want to promote.

“I’ve done a little bit of investigation around runners with visual impairments. They need a guide so there’s now six of us who can do guiding up at Whangarei.”


“Gina always says to me that I love parkrun because it’s all about community and getting out there. Even just inviting someone to come along and watch parkrun is a way of helping get people out into the community.”

Like so many parkrunners before him (and likely to come still), Martin says because of parkrun he has met many “wonderful” of varying skill sets that he might not have met otherwise.

This includes a hospital doctor who ran his final New Zealand parkrun this weekend before making the journey home to the UK after a year in .

“When he arrived here his family decided to do parkrun. He said that through parkrun he joined Hatea Harriers and before he knew it her had all these new friends.”

If you’re wondering how Martin knows how many people he was registered for parkrun, it’s because he keeps a barcode.

“I’ve a little box at home full of barcodes. When we print them out I keep one so if they visit they can still come along to parkrun even if they didn’t bring their barcode with them.”

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