welcome to this week's newsletter
In this week’s newsletter we review our risk management policy, receive an inspirational story from a Sangdate parkrunner and try to stay dry at the Twilight Running Festival!
As per usual, the stats are in for last Saturday, March 23:
|*Course attendance record|
Thanks to our amazing Event Directors, Run Directors, volunteers and sponsors for your continued support!
Every now and then Mother Nature likes to remind us she is boss and this certainly happened to a number of parkrunners (albeit not actually at parkrun) last weekend. Firstly on Sunday morning at Ironman Melbourne the start was delayed and the swim leg was reduced to a single lap of the course due to heavy wind and swell. Then on Sunday evening the Twilight Running Festival in Brisbane was cancelled halfway through due to heavy rain, gale force winds, falling tress and lightening!
On my way home after the Twilight I had a long think about parkrun’s policy on risk management and cancellations and feel it is appropriate to discuss it here so you all know.
Before any parkrun event launches the Event Director must complete a thorough risk assessment. These are regularly reviewed should local circumstances change.
Once an event is up and running the risk management is up to the Run Director, the volunteer who takes responsibility for the event, on any given Saturday. They have overall responsibility for event safety, will make any pre-run announcements, will start the run, and oversee proceedings during the run and at the finish. Most importantly, the Run Director decides whether the event should be cancelled or postponed or that an adjustment to the course is needed (because of bad weather or other circumstance). Such decisions will be taken with guidance from the other event organisers, but the Run Director has the final say.
Occasionally, our events do need to be cancelled. There could be a variety of reasons for cancelling an event but the most common are due to reasons of safety. Should an Event Director need to cancel their event in advance they will put a notice on their event's news page and social media pages. If you haven’t already done so I urge you to ‘like’ your event’s Facebook page.
If the decision to cancel is made on the day of the run then the above will occur and, if it has been safe to travel, the Run Director will announce the cancellation at the run giving the reasons. We urge our Run Directors to be decisive about cancellation. Even if conditions improve or other reasons for the cancellation disappear, the cancellation will still hold.
So I hope the above has clarified where we stand on risk management and cancellations. To my knowledge we have only had 1 cancellation on the day due to bad weather so our strike rate is pretty good. But rest assured your safety, and that of our volunteers, is our number one priority at parkrun.
Happy (and safe) running!
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
Guts, sheer determination and plenty of support from Sandgate parkrun
It was around late October 2012 when my father (Gary Nisbet) told me that he had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Gary at the time had ballooned to 130 kg and was told by his medical team that he had two options. The first was to continue the way he was going and go on to be insulin dependent and face a series of health obesity related issues or alternatively he could make drastic lifestyle changes and turn his life around.
I am pleased to say that Gary chose the latter and the medical team set him a 3 month deadline. In consultation with his diabetic dietician and other medical staff he immediately overhauled his diet and committed to a regular exercise regime which initially consisted of walking.
Six months earlier I had started getting back into running and after a number of running events was told by a friend about parkrun. I completed my first run at Kirra while I was on holidays with my wife and two young kids (Sienna & Mitchell).
When my friend first told me about parkrun I couldn’t believe that such a thing existed. After enjoying my first parkrun at Kirra I remember telling my wife Caroline what a shame there wasn’t one closer to home which is north side of Brisbane. Well as fate would have it, my wife Caroline went to school with Dean Gibson and a message suddenly appeared on her Facebook page advising that he and his wife Vanessa were about to launch Sandgate parkrun in the coming weeks.
Well I couldn’t believe our luck as Sandgate is literally just 10 minutes up the road from where we live. I remember counting down the weeks to the launch and changing my running schedule to get the most out of the Saturday run.
Getting back to Gary, I told him about parkrun and it seemed to spark his interest. He knew at that stage that he wasn’t any chance of running the 5km distance but decided that he would come but rather than register and run he would start 30 minutes before the start and walk the 5km distance making sure he stayed out of the way.
When Gary saw that he managed to walk the distance in under an hour he spoke with Dean and Vanessa (Event Directors) and they encouraged him to register and assured him that he would not hold them or the volunteers up.
Well you know what they say the rest is history! Since that time Gary has attended every single Sandgate parkrun and over that time has made many friends and increased his running distance, setting realistic weekly goals, and has achieved 13 personal bests.
Gary was recently rechecked by his medical team at the 3 month deadline and I am thrilled to advise that his blood sugar levels are down to 5.5 and his medical team, family and friends could not be happier with his progress.
At the time of writing Gary has lost approximately 25kg and recently ran the entire 5km distance (see photo of the two of us above) for the first time in a time of 32.35. Gary’s next goal is to go sub 30!
In closing, I would like to thank you for sharing this story and acknowledge just how much of a role that parkrun has played. Last but not least I must personally thank the Sandgate parkrun Event Directors (Dean & Vanessa) and Sandgate parkrunners (you know who you are) for being part of Dad’s journey and helping him turn his life around.
Words by David Nisbet
Twilight Running Festival
On Sunday afternoon Brisbane played host to the Twilight Running Festival and it was an eventful evening to say the least. Team parkrun had a massive contingent of 129 runners across 1km, 5km, 10km and half marathon events, easily earning us the largest team award in the event. If you have been following the news you will know that the event was hit by a massive thunderstorm mid way through the 10k and half marathon events. Thousands of people were caught out in the elements as we were battered with severe winds, torrential down pours, lightning strikes, power and lighting outages and many trees and branches crashing down around us. It certainly was a memorable experience.
The day started out as a hot and humid Brisbane day, with a great vibe surrounding the parkrun team area. The Body Leadership Team were providing physio support, massage, stretching and strapping for all parkrunners and it was great to have them in attendance. At around 5pm, the 10k and half marathon events got underway and it was hot and sticky to say the least. The stifling conditions made the first half of the race quite tough, but not long before 6pm the sky turned black, we were plunged into darkness and the weather unleashed. We have had a lot of wet weather parkruns in Brisbane of late and I must admit that I now really enjoy running in the rain. However, sideways torrential rain that stings the skin and ankle deep water is something I have never run in before and I must say I’m not a huge fan. On the upside it cooled things down very quickly. The organisers made the sensible decision to cancel the race and only a small handful of half marathoners made it around to the second lap. The results are in a little disarray due to the cancellation but from a preliminary glance, we had several members of our parkrun team place very well (Reece Anderson, Greg Webster, Melissa Watson, Tom James, Moray Skilling...I'm looking at you!) which may have also netted parkrun the fastest aggregated 10km Team award as well! (TBC)
There was a tragic end to the race with a man in a critical condition in hospital after being struck by a falling branch. Our thoughts and prayers go out to this man, his family and anyone else who was injured during the race. Our thoughts are also with the team at Intraining who have been the target of the anger and criticism of a small minority of people who participated on Sunday. I have no doubt that there will be a lot to be learned from this particular event which will only serve to make future events much better and safer for all involved.
Finally, spare a thought for all the volunteers who were also out on the course on the day. They did a wonderful job considering the extremely testing circumstances and as a proud member of our volunteer based organisation, parkrun, I salute them and all their efforts on race day. It is also worth mentioning the parkrun team’s support crew who hung on white knuckled to our tents and stopped them from flying off into the distance during the brunt of the storm.
Gareth from South Bank parkrun
Last chance to win a BOB Ironman running pram
Our friends at Britax have given us an awesome BOB Ironman running pram to giveaway to one lucky parkrunner, valued at $599. All you have to do is tell us in 150 words or less why you would like to win a BOB Ironman running pram. Please include a photo and feel free to add some creativity to your entry. We will select the best entry each week over the remaining two weeks and publish it right here in the newsletter. Other selected entries will shortlisted and uploaded to Facebook. After the fourth week we will be conducting a Facebook poll that will enable you, the Australian parkrunning public, to choose the overall winner.
The best entry from last week came from Lynsey Bale who sent in the below photo…
Take a look at the list of entries from the last two weeks that are now shortlisted for the final Facebook poll.
Upcoming Event Launches, Cancellations & News
Our third launch for the year is coming up this Saturday, March 30, at Riverway parkrun in Townsville. Other confirmed events include April 13 for Fingal Bay in Port Stephens, April 20 for Augustine Heights in Ipswich, April 27 for Rockingham near Perth and May 11 for Curl Curl parkrun in Sydney.
Wynnum parkrun has a ‘mega-pacer parkrun next week’ this Saturday, March 30. They will have 7 pacers running 20, 22.5, 25, 27.5, 30, 32.5 and 35 minute 5kms.
Boost your run!
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feedback from the field
Lari Hilzinger - Thanks as always to the volunteers at Coomera parkrun for the awesome opportunity and hard work with these runs. I love Saturday mornings now..
Peter James - I did my first Tuggeranong parkrun today in Canberra. A glorious Canberra autumn morning with great running conditions. Lots of my running mates have told me about parkrun and I’m very pleased to have finally done one. Good course, well organised, good quick results online. I’ll spread the word and I’ll be back. I managed to do 18:02 as an M50 and now hold the best aged based performance for the event (83.09%) which is very nice. Is there anywhere in the results that shows the top age based performances for an event. I’d like to see who has also done well on the aged based performance front.
Note from Tim – Yes Peter, hold your cursor over the results tab on the Tuggeranong parkrun website and you can select either ‘age category records’ or ‘age graded league’.
Silpa Parmar - The running season is definitely upon us but some of the entry fees that I've seen so far horrify me. One 4km event in Sydney is going for $40 (so that's $10/km, if your maths is a bit rusty!) and that's the early bird price - the full price is $50! When I tell people about parkrun, one of the most common questions that I get asked is: 'How much does it cost?'. I think people have become so used to paying to be timed that they don't realise that there are free (like parkrun) and much cheaper, local alternatives out there. In Sydney, Sri Chinmoy have some great events throughout the year e.g. through Centennial Park and around Iron Cove. There's usually a choice of three distances (the price varies with the distance but is rarely above $30), the events are timed and really well organised, there's usually a photographer around to take a few snaps and best of all, there are free pancakes (and Nutella!) at the end. Also, your bag won't take more time to collect than it's taken to run the race. It's definitely worth taking a look!
Susan Martin - Thank you everyone at Claisebrook Cove parkrun. I haven't been running very long and this was my first run of this kind. I was overwhelmed with the support I received from everyone. What a great bunch of people, a great place to run and an awesome atmosphere. It is a long drive for me to get there but I will definitely be back as soon as can.
Sue Burns - Wynnum parkrun is a great event. I enjoy it more each week. Thanks to the organisers and volunteers.
Troy Green - Last weekend I volunteered at Lake Mac event #7, in my favourite role of photographer. Karen Barrett, who was handing out finishing tokens was the most enthusiastic volunteer I have ever seen. From the moment the first finisher crossed the line she did not stop bouncing around and cheering runners along to the finish until the last of the walkers was across the line. Every parkrun needs a Karen at the finish line.
Rosie Burgin - I want to give Andrew Ward from New Farm parkrun a shout out from yesterday at the Twilight Running Festival for cheering my home with all his might. It was such a great experience having parkrunners encouraging me as I ran the home straight. As someone who has never run, and never been part of a running group (gym or friends), it was a really warming experience. Even without a new pb, thanks parkrunners for getting me across the line!
Drop us an email if you have an interesting parkrun related fact, happening or comment that you would like to share with all parkrunners.
Name: Sally-Anne Carey
Home parkrun: South Bank
Occupation: Career and Small Business Coach
Number of runs: 7
Number of times volunteered: 1
What do you do at parkruns: Run, with an improved time most weeks, and meet new people.
How has parkrun changed your running: I no longer have a big Friday night on the pop! I am focused on a 5km run every week, I try and improve an area each time be it the bridge climb, speed on the longer stretches, breathing!
What do you like about parkrun: Camaraderie, the course and also getting fitter and faster each time.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Volunteering (with poncho in the rain) and watching the front of the pack. I am always somewhere near the back of the pack so it was encouraging to see these athletes in super quick time!