COVID-19 Special Update

Two parkrun volunteers wearing facemasks

In the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19 restrictions, we are asking all parkrunners to check their local conditions before leaving for parkrun this weekend.

If you have visited the Greater Brisbane area recently, please have a COVID test as soon as possible.


Run Report: event #151 14/3/2020

The medicinal red stripe hung a heavy pall across the Ararat parkrun website. But, for this week at least the event got the green light. This was very welcome to the 53 runners and walkers who assembled in Alexandra Gardens on a windy and suddenly-cold morning.

I’m happy to follow in the footsteps of a mate who writes up the Stawell Amateur Athletics Club’s events in saying ‘Field finds a new field of endeavour’, for we were able to welcome the talented Kate Field for her first parkrun anywhere. Top of the return-tourists bill were the even-more-speedy (notwithstanding a pusher) Thompsons, back for their ninth (Tessa) and eighth (Mark) time in Ararat. Also making a welcome return visit was Rosebud’s Colin Palmer (not much of a beach day, eh, Colin?). Running club TXR of Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs sent its record 26th representative, Roger Lancaster (with partner Ebony). (But, hey, only one of you 26 have come back to Alex G: please return!) And then all the way from Albert Park came Bernadette and Colm Hennessy. No, not all the way from Melbourne, but over the seas from Albert Park in Middlesbrough (once home of a football team called Middlesbrough Ironopolis, you get the pen-picture of England’s industrial north-east). Erin and Shaun Alexander came down the road from Nhill where they both have been first-finishers on multiple occasions. Dan McLoughlin usually does his parkrunning in Sydney, while the Andersons, Amanda and young Lachlan, regularly turn out at yet another park named after nineteenth century British royalty, Victoria Park in Ballarat.

First across the line in not only a PB but a JM15-17 age record of 20:33 was Gabriel Tonks, closely followed by ‘coach’ Paul Fenn, who was yelling out encouragement and guidance. Third, with the family pusher, was Mark Thompson. That meant that Tessa was unencumbered in her quest to hold off Erin Alexander to be the first female home, with debutant Kate Field having a field day (ha ha, I can do it too!) to finish third. It is worth underlining Gabe’s achievement in pointing out that his age group record has stood since June 2017 (previous holder, Bryson Linsley). Well done, all!

With Paula Pettingill up at Wimmera River (breaking 23 up there for the first time, high fives Paula!), the age/gender rankings were more openly contested. As it turned out, youth prevailed with Gabriel just ahead of even-younger Bronson Potter. A remarkable further eleven individuals bettered 60%, illustrating how Ararat parkrun is developing strength in depth. Congrats, everybody.

I thought it might be a bit blustery for too many PBs. But Gabriel had many other co-bell-ringers. Penny Maltas was the biggest improver. Tourist Colin Palmer also went up the tree second time out. It was a great day for the Hurleys of whatever age, with Cheryl, Amy and Kelsey securing PBs, the latter making it a phenomenal four-in-a-row. And, Kara Bartlett allowed herself to have the chance of ringing the bell for the first time since May 2018. Great stuff, guys!

And finally, how about a bit of parkrun tourism? Let’s consider places that share Ararat’s finishing number of 53. There are three. Port Lincoln in South Australia claims to be the seafood capital of Australia, while some of you would know Goulburn’s Big Merino (‘the world’s largest concrete-constructed sheep’, as the website succinctly put it). Third is the more enigmatic Wondai. Just down the road from Joh’s Kingaroy, the local club are called - with irony or not as the case may be - Kingaroy Nutters. And for relaxation up in that part of Queensland you can always chew the nicotine-laden corkwood tree leaves, as the traditional owners did, prompting the more recent production of the antispasmodic drug butylscopolamine. And if that last word is too hard to say, ‘don’t you worry about that’! Happy parkrunning tourism to you all! (I fear there won’t be too much of it in the near future.)

This Report was written by Kit Bastin and published by Tricia Ruthven.


Run Report: event #149 29/2/2020

There were unusual lilac skies and fog on this rarest of days, a parkrun on a leap day. Ang, as RD, was trying her best to explain, gently, that not all of us would be around for the next one, in 28 years time. She even promised Peter an effigy if he didn’t make it ... I can see it now, two directors chairs, on one the effigy and the other the real Peter, wagging his finger at the effigy, saying, ‘I told you I’ll send a message from above when I get there, and until then #@&! off!’

(So, that’s a fantasy for 2048, but I also collected my running thoughts for 1992 and 1964, which I hope you will find to be of interest. In February 1992, that is 28 years ago,I lived in Carlton and my regular run was two laps round Princes Park. So there I was some twenty something years early for the Parkville parkrun, which consists of a lap and a half and some short add-ons. Well, well. And February 1964, 28 years earlier? Well, by that time I had seen that wonderful Italian movie on the 1960 Rome Olympics with its famous ten minute sequence on the bare-footed Ethiopian runner who won the marathon. Even as the fat kid in the class, I fell in love with the idea of distance running. So, when given the opportunity to do cross-country at school the next year, 1965, I grabbed it with both hands ... and have never let go.)

Enough on 28 year cycles, before I tell you how I’m going to front up in 2048 with my walking frame! ... There were 63 of us at the start, with three local first-timers: footballer Jack Ganley, Sarah Harwood and Samantha Whitelaw (with Seb Hopper back for a second time). We also had several parkrun tourists. Graham Tottey was the most experienced with over 250 parkruns, while Vivienne Henderson shared his home venue of Torrens in Adelaide. But Simon Henderson of Mackay Road Runners had travelled further. Point Cook in Melbourne’s outer west sent two runners, but this was trumped by Mernda in the outer north who offered up three. Dale Hurley and Fiona Stancill were out for their second parkruns, having done one each, at Mudjimba Beach and Gardiners Creek.

And it was the strength of the footballer’s kind of fitness that prevailed, Jack finishing ahead of Point Cook’s Bonan Liu, with young local Gabriel Tonks doing well to split the pair. In the female stakes Lauren Armstrong set a PB in edging out local Paula Pettingill, with Point Cook’s Matilda Iglesias third. Paula, however, was way clear at the head of the age/gender percentage tree, while the Hendersons were there too (cf Beatles lyric), Simon of Mackay and Vivienne of Adelaide. Congrats, all!

And there are heaps more PBs to mention. The fastest, 22:28 was achieved by tennis-player Seb Hopper. The biggest improvement - eight-and-a-half-minutes (frame it!) - was registered by young repeat-tourist Malachi Roos, whose brother Kayleb also got one. Fastest of the JW/JMs to get a bell-ringing opportunity was Olivia Hunter in an impressive 28:18, with youngsters Jai Pettingill, Kelsey Hurley and Caleb Bendelle earning accolades for their well-known Ararat parkrun families (Amy Hurley and Emma Hunter also added to their familial tallies). Tyler Olver secured a hat-trick of PBs while Tracey Groves improved her record of late to three out of four. Longest-gap-between-drinks award goes to Carina Clarke who last rang the bell in December 2018 (did we even have the bell then?). Second-timer Sue Bahl made a big improvement of over three minutes, while similar-speed walker, Simone Webb rounded out the PB list. Phew, hope I haven’t missed anybody! Well done all and sundry!

Finally, Ararat’s finishing number of 63 was matched by Hobart, Murray Bridge and Baringa. A spot of parkrun tourism anyone? Hobart’s charms are well-known, while I have written up Murray Bridge in these Reports before. That left Baringa, which I had never heard of. So, your quiz question to start, courtesy of Wiki, Was Baringa named after (a) a village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? or (b) a prehistoric animal in the subfamily Macropodinae? Upon finding out that well-known members of the M. subfamily are kangaroos and wallabies, (b) seems much more likely! Anyway, Baringa is on the Sunshine Coast, and if you go there you will encounter members of the intriguingly-titled local club, ‘Sunny Coast darkrunners’. Too much sunshine perhaps. They should visit Hobart!

This Report was written by Kit Bastin and published by Tricia Ruthven.



Run Report: event #147 15/2/20

Margaret Jovic was doing the barcode entries under the shelter, and explained how she was challenged: ‘I can’t see with my glasses and I can’t see without!’ It was that sort of day with a fine mist finding every crevice to make damp. Was this why most of the guys were no-shows? For the result sheet’s gender split was 9:38; well done, ladies!

We welcomed First Timers Laetitia Ekman, youngsters Kelsey Hurley (yes, another one of the clan!) and Holly Louder (with mum Natalee), Sue Bahl and top-ten-speed runners Laura Seger and Kailee Savoia. Also on hand was young Chloe Hunter (adding to impact of another prominent Ararat parkrun family) who had previously parkran just once, at Mount Gambier.

We also greeted a host of parkrun tourists. Janine O’Malley was there for only her second parkrun having done the one at Jells near Monash Uni. Speedsters Mark and Tessa Thompson were back at Alex G for the fifth time. Michael Dillon, a parkrun centurion, was up from Sale, while Kate Wilkens does her running at both Sale and Jells. Michael’s parkrun travels have taken him to exotic-sounding locations such as Shanganagh (near Dublin) and Pymmes (in North London) ... and now Ararat, ha ha! And then we were happy to say hello to the veteran from the ‘most northern city’ of NZ, Whangarei. (I thought the wiki descriptor was odd until I got out my world map, and located the next city in a northerly direction. Any answers, guys? Clue: it’s very cold.)

Simultaneously, there was always going to be a big peloton of runners and walkers at the new parkrun in Melbourne (at Warringal Parklands, Heidelberg). First Ararat finisher Paul Fenn’s time of 17:35 would have given him fifth spot, with (hard to believe) more than seven hundred parkrunners in his wake. Yes, that’s how fast Paul was running as he whooshed past you round the Alexandra Gardens lake (... and how big a phenomenon parkrun is becoming in Melbourne). And Mark Thompson, finishing in an impressive 17:54, was not far behind. Third was Gabriel Tonks, just quick enough to stay ahead of first female Tessa Thompson. Second woman home was parkrun debutant Kailee Savoia, with the first local female being regular-podium-occupier Paula Pettingill.

Both 70 year-olds, Kiwi Ron Crowhurst and local Jack Trounson ran well, and finished in the top ten. But they did not make it to the very top of the age/gender ladder, which was occupied by the substantially younger set of Paul, Mark and Paula. Well done, all!

It wasn’t a day tailored for PBs, but a number of runners and walkers early in their parkrun careers improved their profile: high fives to happy kids, Olivia Hunter and Eva Hurley, the former’s dad, David, and Keryn Leggett. Of the more experienced parkrunners, Amy Hurley fell just four seconds short of her PB. Next time, Amy, it’ll be less slippery then! That left just Tracey Groves of our seasoned parkrunners to record a PB on the day, her ninth, and obviously enjoying getting used to the rhythms of sub-30 running. (It was also grand to see local centurion Sharon Baker happily trotting along on the way to her best time since August.) Congrats, everybody!

And finally, Ararat’s finishing number of 58 was matched by just one other parkrun in Australia, that at Kadina Trail, WA. Fancy a bit of trail running as a parkrun tourist? Well, you won’t get it there for this parkrun is ‘entirely on tarmac paths’. (Why did parkrun condone this nomenclature?!) Anyway, it seems to be a beaut setting in the Helena Valley near the edge of Perth. Nature Play WA, Creating Communities, and Cedar Woods (the developer of the adjacent suburb of Bushmead) put together an ‘interactive trails app’ with stopping points to learn about the flora and fauna. So, you could do a really slow, leisurely, stop-start parkrun over there checking out the micro sights as you go along!

This Report was written by Kit Bastin and published by Tricia Ruthven.

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