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.