welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s edition of the newsletter we farewell Braydon Smith, share an amazing running transformation and, at long last, our new athlete wristbands are now available.
I regularly remind our Event Directors that parkrun is just a “free, timed, weekly 5km run or walk”… nothing more or nothing less, yet as I’m sure you’ve noticed… they rarely listen to me!!! Almost every week an event somewhere in the country is doing something incredible over and above the normal 5km run. Last weekend was no exception and I’ll give two good examples here.
On the west coast, Rockingham parkrun Event Director Claudia Wells and her team had a colour theme for their 100th event as shown below. Can you guess which colour it was?
According to Claudia, “the color psychology of yellow is uplifting and illuminating, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun. Doesn't that just encapsulate parkrun?”
On the east coast Cleveland parkrun Run Director Jules was running her 50th parkrun (it has only taken her 2 years to get there) and said she wanted tutus… lots of tutus. Well she certainly succeeded! According to Event Director Liv Coop, “I don't think I have ever seen so many adults in tutus in one place! Out of 159 participants, there were about 30-40 runners all wearing them, and yes we did have men... there were about 9 men who wore them. It was so much fun and the run had such a fun vibe. I had arranged for anyone around the finish to stand along the finish funnel and cheer Jules as she finished. She was a little overwhelmed and said she had the best morning. There have been suggestions made that parkrun Australia have an annual National Tutu parkrunday, but I don't think I could wait a whole year!”
So please remember that parkrun is just a “free, timed, weekly 5km run or walk”… but it’s wonderful that for so many of you it is in fact really so much more.
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
Essential Stats for Australia & Singapore – 21/03/2015:
Number of locations – 108
Number of runners – 14,420
Number of PBs – 3,099
Number of first timers – 2,014
Number of volunteers – 1,033
Numbers of runs (all time) – 980,851
Number of members – 190,797
Number of members (global) – 1,537,542
Anzac Day 100
As announced last week, after much consideration we've decided that this year we're not going to parkrun on Anzac Day, April 25. We appreciate that some of you may be disappointed with this decision however it has been made with the best intention to: 1. Avoid any potential logistical clashes with Dawn Services; and 2. Pay our respects to what is sure to be a much larger than usual national commemorative occasion. Normal service will of course resume the following Saturday, May 2.
RIP Braydon Smith
Many of you will have heard of the recent passing of a young boxer from Toowoomba, Braydon Smith. What many of you won't know is that Braydon was also a keen parkrunner, having completed 13 Toowoomba parkruns with a speedy PB of 19:21, and was the nephew of Toowoomba parkrun Event Director, Tressa Lindenberg, who writes –
"To know Brayd Smith has been one of the greatest privileges of my life, let alone having the honour of being his Aunt. Brayd was a professional boxer. Before his fateful night Brayd had 12 fights for 12 wins, including a World Youth Championship and the honour of being invited to Thailand to fight on the Kings Cup tournament in front of a crowd of over 200,000 people... the only boxer ever to have this opportunity. A champion in the ring but more importantly a champion out of the ring, Brayd was just short of finishing his law degree. He would study until the early hours but always made it to track sessions without complaining. He was a 'no excuse' man, he knew what was required to be the best and he never wavered in his pursuit.
As an athlete Brayd was second to none. As a son and brother he was perfect. His family meant the world to him, and he meant the world to them. Brayd was a good runner. He loved parkrun and whenever his commitments allowed he was there. He was always in the top group giving his all as usual, then encouraging his mates to finish strong. Brayd has inspired his friends and family to be the best they could be, he lived his dream, and everyone around him lived it with him.
Brayd Smith was the exception, the cream of the crop, taken to soon but he will never be forgotten
This week Brayd's Mum, Dad and brothers will be doing Toowoomba parkrun, because Brayd loved it..."
On behalf of the entire parkrun family we would like to express our deepest condolences to Braydon's family, especially Tressa.
New Athlete Wristbands
After months of testing our new laser engraved silicone wristbands are now available! These wristbands are personalised with your name, athlete ID barcode number, ICE (In Case of Emergency) telephone number and any specific medical details you require.
They are waterproof, durable and come in 3 sizes so that they fit your wrist perfectly. What more could you want? Colours? They come in black… or black!
Click here for more information or to purchase your personalized parkrun athlete wristband.
Entertainment Books Are Back
The Entertainment Book, and the brand new Entertainment Digital Membership, are your guide to the most popular restaurants, attractions, shopping, travel and more, all with valuable up to 50% off and 2 for 1 offers. Purchasing your entertainment book through parkrun helps us in two ways:
- Approximately 20% from each book sold is donated directly to parkrun Australia.
- If 5 people from the same parkrun event make a purchase the Event Director will be provided with a FREE Entertainment Digital Membership.
Click here for more information or to purchase your Entertainment Book or Entertainment Digital Membership.
‘I Run!’ by Chrys Stevenson
As I stood at the starting line of the Golden Beach parkrun with 150 other runners, I thought to myself, “How the hell did I get myself into this?”
Less than two years ago I was a proud couch potato. I weighed 129 kg and wore size 24 jeans.
I was a keen equestrian in my teen years, but I never ran – not even as a child. Sports days at high school were spent in “Detention Room C” as I refused to participate in physical activities. I called myself a ‘conscientious objector’!
In August 2013, after more than two decades as an obese adult, I decided it was time to shed the fat suit. Now in my mid-50s, I had reconnected with a man I dated in my 20s. He made no demands upon me to lose weight, but I decided my body no longer reflected how I felt about myself. It was time to change.
As a skeptic, I rejected fad diets, elimination diets, expensive weight loss programs and home-delivered frozen foods. Instead I determined that weight loss was a simple matter of mathematics: burn more calories than you eat.
I modified (rather than revolutionised) my diet, reduced portion sizes, filled my oversized wine glass with soda water or Diet Coke instead of Sauvignon Blanc and joined the local gym. I committed to doing some kind of exercise every day; walking, swimming, light weights - even gardening.
The kilos quickly melted off and my fitness level improved. I maintained a steady weight-loss of 1kg per week; I was regularly walking 5km and could swim 25 laps of the Olympic pool. I was no athlete but I was fitter than I’d ever been in my life. Once I reached my goal weight, my gym trainer encouraged me to run. Run? I couldn’t run! Was he mad?
At first I ran with all the grace of a tranquilised giraffe. But, soon, I fell into a rhythm. It wasn’t long before I graduated from running half the length of the gym’s carpark to a gentle 850m jog into the local village – and then, back!
By now I had shed a massive 65 kg – half my original body weight! I’d gone from Size 24 to Size 10-12.
My weight-loss goal achieved, my trainer urged me to set a new challenge. I decided I’d try to run 5 km without stopping by Easter 2015. I wrote it in texta and pinned it to the notice board in the gym.
I hadn’t yet run 5 km. The best I’d achieved was 3.9. Could I go the distance? I didn’t know.
A chance meeting on Facebook with a parkrunner from South Africa alerted me to the Golden Beach parkrun. It seemed like a good chance to achieve my goal. Perhaps running with others would give me the extra adrenaline boost I needed to run that extra kilometre.
“Go!” yelled the event director and I took off in the middle of the pack. Soon, the fastest runners began passing me. Then people who were clearly older and (ahem) larger than me trotted past, followed by people with dogs, ladies with prams and (oh, the humiliation) seven year old children! At one point I looked behind me and there was no-one there. I was dead last of the runners.
It did occur to me to pull out there and then and save myself the embarrassment of finishing last, but I decided there was more disgrace in not completing the course. So, I kept on at my slow, but steady pace; a tortoise amongst a leap of hares.
I reached the half way point and looped back on the home run. Now (as someone at my gym had promised me) I began passing some of the runners who’d started too fast and were running out of puff. That spurred me on - not only could I run, I could pass people!
I finished the course having maintained the same steady 8 km/hour pace throughout. I was slow, but I didn’t stop or walk once.
“38 minutes and 44 seconds!” yelled the time-keeper as I crossed the finish line and the crowd applauded and shouted, “Well done!”
I was reminded of the t-shirt that reads, “I run. I’m slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter, but I run!”
I run! Who knew I could do that?
Now I’m thinking, “Maybe I could run a bit faster …”
The Pointy End
Who are you? Victor Harbor parkrun VM55-59 age category record holder Trevor Nickels who runs a speedy 17:45 / 87.32%.
How the hell do you run so fast? As I am competitive by nature this helps, along with consistent training and entering a lot of races throughout the year.
How many km do you run in an average training week? At the moment I run about 60km a week. Building up to 80km in the lead up to my next marathon.
What type of training do you typically do? I typically run five to six days a week, with a combination of intervals and tempo runs, parkrun on Saturdays, and always a long run on Sunday mornings twenty to thirty-five Km, and two recovery runs. I also do a couple of light weight sessions and core strength training sessions throughout the week.
How long have you been running and have you always been so dame good? Ha Ha, No I haven't always been so good. I started running about five years ago at the age of fifty one. To begin with I struggled to run a km without stopping.
What is your favorite distance? Probably the half marathon. Still a fast run but with time to relax a bit more than the five or ten km races.
Do you have a coach or do you train with a squad? No I don't have a coach and I do all my training solo.
How much faster would you like to go? At my age I'm starting to think I have reached my peak, although a new PB is always something to strive for.
What big events do you want to run? A big international marathon could be on my bucket list.
As many of you are now proud owners of some of the official parkrun merchandise available from our online store we have started a new photo segment here in the newsletter where you can wear (or hold) the kit in an interesting and exciting location… or perhaps even with a celebrity!
Once you have the photo please email it to us or post it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #showusyourparkrun
This week’s entry is from Warwick parkrunners Karen Gailey and Jason Elliott. Both have run over 50 parkruns. After Judi Gray took the Warwick parkrun flag to the pyramids in Egypt last month, they asked if they could take it to Mt Kilimanjaro. For a few months now they have been doing parkrun in their hiking boots in preparation! We think the Warwick parkrun flag may need its own passport!
parkdog of the week
Hi, I'm Felix! Mum said they needed a tail runner at Sandgate parkrun this week, so I thought I had the best tail for the job. Mum Tracey doesn't like to take me to Sandgate much, because she said that I get too easily distracted (...... oh look a seagull!!!!!).
The Sandgate parkrun course is nice and flat, perfect for running (which I love to do), but it does get very hot so I have to remind Mum that I need lots of water, sometimes a rest and ....... oh look a horse!
I love going out to Sandgate parkrun because the people are really nice and friendly and I get lots of pats and ....oh look, there's my friend Jill!
FAQ - What do the volunteers do?
The volunteers make parkrun happen; they run the local events. They do all of the high-profile tasks at the event (like marshalling, timing, result recording, etc), and all the behind-the-scenes roles like PR and results processing.
Whatever you want to do, there's almost certainly a role for you.
Upcoming Special Events
04/04 – Traralgon (Vic)
11/04 – Warragul (Vic)
18/04 – Sale (Vic)
09/05 – Altona Beach (Vic)
16/05 – Taree (NSW)
28/03 – Riverway (Qld) 2nd, Manjimup (WA) 1st
04/04 – Main Beach (Qld) 4th
11/04 – Fingal Bay (NSW) 2nd
18/04 – Augustine Heights (Qld) 2nd
02/05 – Ginninderra (ACT) 3rd, Rockingham (WA) 2nd, Stones Corner (Qld) 1st, Cleveland (Qld) 2nd, Lillydale Lake (Vic) 1st
28/03 – Launceston (Tas), Penrith Lakes (NSW)
04/04 – Toowoomba (Qld)
11/04 – Pittsworth (Qld)
25/04 – All events cancelled due to Anzac Day 100
02/05 – Geographe Bay (WA)
30/05 – Mitchelton (Qld)
Feedback from the field
Alyssa Whittington (aged 4) - It is 'P' week at school and instead of taking a toy for news I wanted to talk about parkrun! I picked my favorite photos for Mum to print out then I made a poster. My favorite photo is from when I was a volunteer with my Dad. He was Tailrunner and it was my job to pick up the cones!
Jarad Martin - Just like it can take a village to raise a child, it took a whole parkrunning metropolis to help me reach my running goal. After boldly declaring in January 2014 that I'd crack twenty minutes at Newy parkrun, my PB rapidly got down to the mid 20 minute mark and doggedly resisted multiple efforts to push it lower. Enter a whole cast of characters who each in their own way were essential guides on the upcoming odyssey. My main run guru was the Newcastle running legend Al McCloskey who is never stationary for long, nor short of a word or three of advice. Friends and family addressed my fragile psyche, with my long suffering wife Adele managing to feign interest in my endless series of hair-brained schemes to shave another fraction of a second off my time. The final piece of the puzzle was expert pacing on the day by Simone Dagg - just the right balance of kindness and cruelty! My thanks to these and all the others who helped me achieve/manage/treat this obsession - it's kinda part of what parkrun is all about.
Nicole Barber - I work as a dietitian in the Hunter NSW and have developed FLASH, which is a body of women who support each other. One of our FLASHERs Lyn Pritchard usually runs Newy parkrun each week, but on Saturday while away at Coffs Harbour drove 2hrs each way to Yamba parkrun (this means getting up at 430am, as Yamba starts at 7am) to make sure parkrun was not missed. I was just so proud when I saw her picture on Facebook I had to share it with you. parkrun definitely becomes a part of you!!!
Drop me an email if you have an interesting parkrun related fact, happening or comment that you would like to share with all parkrunners.
Name: Rodney Dean
Club: five30runners or Wooters, depending on the occasion. Whoever is having fun.
Home parkrun: Blackbutt (The Butt)
Occupation: IT Geek
Number of runs: 63 many of those with my running mate George the dog.
Number of times volunteered: 20
Favourite volunteer role: Photographer
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: I love to take the role of photographer and try to tell the story of each parkrun with the photos I take. At the Butt there are fantastic photo opportunities to capture the smiles, high fives, hardship, hard work, elation and friendships against a beautiful bush backdrop. Of course there's the unbeatable feeling of meeting a bunch of people all filled with the joy of doing something good for themselves and their community.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Being fooled by the crazy Butt crew the night before my first shot at RD that we'd lost the parkrun kit. I have to admire the way they all jumped on board to weave a wacky conspiracy. Thanks Butt team, I owe you one.
How can we improve parkrun: Let everyone know what a rewarding thing volunteering can be, get your friends involved in parkrun, it's a great community event that welcomes involvement from the young, the old and everywhere in between.