welcome to this week's newsletter
In this week’s newsletter we reflect on the power of mother nature, prepare for a world record attempt at ‘The Butt’ and score free running singlets from our friends at Suncorp Bank.
Every now and then the weather Gods decide to let parkrun know who is boss, and unfortunately for our Western Australian parkrunners this was certainly the case last Saturday. I received a phone call from Claisebrook Cove Event Director Jon Storey at around 7am WA time explaining that “Due to a severe weather warning raised by the Bureau of Meteorology we are going to have to cancel all parkruns in Western Australia today.” I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm Jon’s stance on this issue and congratulate him and all of the other event teams who acted decisively in the early hours of Saturday morning to ensure the safety of our volunteers and runners. It is never an easy decision to cancel a parkrun event, let alone four of them, but this was absolutely the right call, thankfully one that we have to make only very rarely.
Across the rest of the country it was business as usual. I ventured down to my home event at Kirra for the first time in over 5 months and managed to knock out my best time in 16 months with an 18:30. Kirra is known locally as the PB parkrun and for good reason! In more serious business the team at Newy parkrun are claiming a new parkrun ‘world record dog differential’ as they had ‘dog A’ 43 times heavier than ‘dog B’ finish at the same time as you can see in the photo below!
This Saturday looks to be another epic one for parkrun in Australia. Our friends in the Region of Runners (aka Newcastle and the Hunter) get their fourth event with the launch of Blackbutt aka ‘The Butt’ under the Event Directorship of Garry ‘five30runners’ Wells. As nearby Newy parkrun is cancelled this Saturday due to construction on the path Blackbutt are going all out to break the all time global inaugural parkrun attendance record. They need 371 people so for all those attending, DFYB (don’t forget your barcode)! Garry has also organised a parkrun flag relay starting at nearby Stockland Jesmond at 6:30am. This will be a great opportunity to celebrate our national partnership with Stockland and will no doubt provide some great photo opportunities. Click here for more info on the flag relay.
Coomera parkrun celebrates its 1st anniversary this Saturday however I am off to Perth where, severe weather warnings aside, I will help the team at Claisebrook Cove celebrate their 1 year milestone. I am also hoping to get around and ‘freedom run’ several of the other WA events so please come up and say hello if you see me pounding the pavement at a parkrun course near you!
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
By the numbers...
July saw another month of records: on 13th June we saw Australia have 4,390 people parkrunning in 37 events. Other weeks were affected by bad weather and cancellations for other events...
As you may have seen on Facebook, or in last week’s newsletter, or heard on the new parkrun show, a number of Event Directors from around Australia visited Newy parkrun and the Hunter Valley Winery Running Festival last weekend and were made most welcome in “The Region of Runners”. I put together some stats to show you why the parkruns in the region around Newcastle have deservedly earned their name...
So a pretty impressive average. Of course, if you look at things by total runners the Brisbane region (with 8 parkruns) does trump RoR (currently with 3 parkruns). It will be interesting to see how these graphs change as RoR launches a new event next month...
So as we exit July and hopefully head towards some warmer weather we wish you all a great month of parkrunning.
Professor Alan & Róisín from Wynnum parkrun.
The parkrun show Australia
We're stoked with the response to Episode 1 of the parkrun show Australia with just over 1,000 downloads in our first week and a heap of positive feedback, reviews and good vibes! We're confident it will only get better and would love to hear what the parkrun public think. You can contact Robbo and Russ via Facebook, Twitter, email or the official website.
Free runPositive parkrun singlet
Proud parkrun sponsor Suncorp Bank is getting behind us at Bridge to Brisbane this year and is offering any parkrunners registered in the event on 1 September a free runPositive parkrun Australia singlet to wear on race day. There are only 200 available, so it’s first in best dressed. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address and shirt size with “parkrun singlet” in the subject line before 5pm on Friday 2nd August. For more information on how you could win $10,000 courtesy of Suncorp Bank visit www.suncorp.com.au/runpositive
#Pinch a boost
Who else has been loving the #pinchaboost promo from adidas? Get involved as you could score yourself a pair of their fresh new Energy Boost as their giving away a pair every day for 30 days! It’s simple - Snap a pic of you ‘pinching’ a boost, upload to twitter or instagram and tag #pinchaboost and @adidasau for your chance to win.
Upcoming Event Launches, Anniversaries & Cancellations
Our 19th launch for the year is coming up this Saturday, August 3, at Blackbutt. Other confirmed launch dates include: August 31 for Cairns; September 7 for Warwick; September 28 for Merimbula & Toowoomba; and October 12 for Berwick Springs.
Coomera & Claisebrook Cove celebrate their 1st anniversaries this Saturday, August 3.
Newy is cancelled this Saturday, August 3, due to construction on the course. Kingscliff is cancelled on September 7 due to the SALT Multisport Festival.
The Pointy End
Who are you? Albert Melbourne parkrun 50-54 record holder (18:17) Andrew Ross.
How the hell do you run so fast? I have no idea. I didn’t even know I could until I started serious training 4 years ago. My daughter joined the local athletics club (Glenhuntly) with a friend so I joined as well. Soon I was racing around the track every Saturday and it snowballed from there.
How many km do you run in an average training week? I’ve basically been in marathon training for 4 years now. Most of the year is 50-60km weeks, but I bump it up to 80-110km for a few weeks before a marathon. I’m 50 now, so I can’t do too much!
What type of training do you typically do? I run! When I joined Glenhuntly, I found an old training program on their website that Chris Wardlaw created when he was coaching Steve Moneghetti. I figured that would be good enough for me! I run 6 days a week with a long run on Sunday and ‘speed’ sessions at least twice each week. I’m still using the program, and have now completed four marathons, two in under 3 hours, including my first in 2010 (Melbourne 2:59:28) at the age of 47.
How long have you been running and have you always been so damn good? I was a hopeless runner at school. I was roped into doing a few Corporate Cup seasons (a lap of the Tan in Melbourne) during my 20s and 30s but never got serious about running. I did my first ever distance ‘fun run’ in the Melbourne Half-marathon in 2009 (1:39) and then decided this was a caper worth pursuing.
What is your favourite distance? I have had some success with marathons, and as it is such an iconic event, I would have to say that if my favourite. I managed to qualify for Boston this year which, due to a PB of 2:57:39, became the highlight of my running career. The aftermath also obviously added to the memories of the day! I also have lots of fun at parkrun which I discovered at the start of this year. The group at Albert Melbourne is fantastic and I am having a ball running 5k most weeks.
Do you have a coach and do you train with a squad? No, Chris Wardlaw’s program is my coach and I normally train by myself. With three teenage kids, I have to squeeze in the training runs when I can. I have done a lot of research and experimentation with stride patterns, landing action (heel, midfoot, etc) and particularly different types of shoes but it is all self taught and I have no one to blame but myself.
How much faster would you like to go? Short term target is to break 18:00 at parkrun. I have target PBs for virtually every distance, but at my age it is simply about making the most of training and continuing the incremental improvement. I have run PBs in the 5k (18:17), 10k (37:49) and marathon this year, so hopefully there are more to come.
What big events do you want to run? Well I’ve done a PB at Boston this year, so what’s left? I have had so many iconic marathons recommended to me it’s hard to choose. I would love to do a different overseas marathon each year while the fitness lasts (not to mention finances!). Thanks to the parkrun group’s enthusiasm I am planning to do my first 50k trail-ultra-marathon later this year, so who knows where that will lead?! Also doing City2Surf next month for the first time so that should be fun.
Feedback from the field
Paul Warren - I recently turned 45. I have lived most of my adult life as a couch potato, as well as drinking more than I should and being a smoker. About 18 months ago, after I was diagnosed with diabetes, I started walking regularly. I then joined a gym, which I still visit regularly. While I enjoy the strength training, I found it boring using the cardio machines. In March this year, I entered my first Sandgate parkrun. I was expecting to stop running at some stage and to have to walk to the finish line. I surprised and delighted myself when I was able to run the whole way. I have now run about 12 events and my PB has come down more than 3 minutes (23:33). I love the challenge of bettering my PB and I enjoy the encouragement and friendliness of the other runners and the Run Directors. Last weekend, I entered the 10km run at Redcliffe's Jetty 2 Jetty. I was able to run the entire race in 51:28. I am so happy that I have accomplished this feat. I would never have believed a few months ago that I would ever be capable of doing something like that. Running in parkrun has made me want to challenge myself even further. I want to enter more 10km runs and I now believe that one day, I will be able to complete a half marathon. Thanks to everyone involved in organising parkrun
Terry Baker - Heading off to St Peters for my 20th parkrun this morning. I didn't think that far ahead when I did my first parkrun back in November 2012. This will bring up 100 parkrun km. Enjoy your run today everyone.
James Costello - Last week I beat my PB by 92secs and today I beat my last week’s PB by 94secs. Now to break 20mins next week at Main Beach parkrun.
Rosie Driver - Am delighted I knocked 41 seconds off my last PB! I love parkrun. It has really improved my average pace in all distances.
Running Because I Can - I had a great time at Wynnum parkrun today. I was last over the start line because I was running late but still managed to come in 77th out of 180.
Sally Mitchell - At Sandgate parkrun today my 10 year old son took nearly 2 minutes off his PB and ran 31:54 and my 7 year old son took almost 2 minutes off his with a time of 38:03. This was their 11th parkrun. Before their first they finished in just under 50 minutes with a lot of complaining and feet dragging. Now we all love parkrun as a family to start the weekend.
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: Jeff McKenzie
Home parkrun: Ginninderra
Occupation: (Occasional) Public Servant contractor
Number of runs: 37
Number of times volunteered: Maybe 8-9
Favourite volunteer role: They are all pretty good fun, particularly the ones when you get to interact with other volunteers and the runners. I guess that only excludes the course marshal role.
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: Just being there and being part of ensuring it continues. It is a real privilege and inspiration to be involved with so many positive people.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: It was great to run parkrun with my grand-daughter Maya and son Hugh on 13 July.
How can we improve parkrun: I would like to see more of the people who come to parkrun become regular runners. There seems to be too big a 'churn' to me. Maybe we should try to get some structured feedback from first-timers about how they feel and whether they plan to come back, if not why?