WALK IN THE PARK: Whatever your age or stage of fitness, whether you run or walk, the Peak2Park is a great way to get out as a community and exercise.
WALK IN THE PARK: Whatever your age or stage of fitness, whether you run or walk, the Peak2Park is a great way to get out as a community and exercise.

Peak2Park for the fun of it at any age

RANGEVILLE'S John Francis has completed every Peak2Park since the event began in 2006.

Well, it seemed natural since competitors pass right by his front door.

John, at 60, is a serious runner and triathlete, competing in ironman events, but said he loves the Peak2Park because it is "just for the fun of it".

Held every year on the first Sunday of March, this year March 3, by Healthy Active Lifestyles Toowoomba (HALT), there are 4km and 10km options for the run/walk.

It is a community event aimed at encouraging people to move more, and HALT's Sue Morgan said, hopefully be a "jumping off point" for people to see how easy and enjoyable it is to exercise and continue with a healthier lifestyle.

She recalled one man, "with the biggest smile on his face", caught between tears and jubilation, who told her he had never walked further than his mail box before, and completing the Peak2Park had changed his life.

Another was delighted at his first event to have walked the 4kms, and now runs regularly.

John said while there are a lot of "real runners", including Toowoomba Road Runners members and people who prepare for the 10km, there are others of all ages and fitness levels from all walks of life.

That includes clubs and business groups, three generations of families; grandparents, children and grandkids running, walking, pushing strollers, chatting and just enjoying the day.

He said there was a "party atmosphere" and sense of exhilaration.

"It's not a race, so if you aren't first to finish, you still have fun," he said.

"It's the sense of achievement to say I've done it, I feel good now: I've finished something with all these other sweaty people," John laughed.

The fact all funds go to local charities, he said, made the event even more worthwhile, with over $750,000 raised since it began.

While emphasising the importance of being active at any age, John said exercise for him is also a social activity.

"I have friends I swim with, cycle with and run with, and you look forward to catching up with your mates ...

"I don't know what's more important, the social component or the exercise, but put it together and it's something special; you're pretty lucky," he said.

Beginning at Picnic Point, the event finishes on the lawns at Lake Annand, where competitors can enjoy drinks, fruit and company.

It runs 6.30-9.30am, with entry $20 or $40 per family and about 3000 people expected to take part.

Go to peak2park.org.au, find them on Facebook or call Willows on 4638 3777.

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