welcome to this week's newsletter
In this week’s newsletter we share some volunteer wisdom, celebrate another anniversary and prepare for a major milestone with an awesome competition!
I often rave on about how great our volunteers are, and rightly so, but last week I came to realize that one of the reasons they do such a great job is that we have a truly cutting edge volunteer management system. Let me explain...
On Wednesday I flew down to Melbourne at the request of Balyang Sanctuary parkrunner (and International Cricket Council employee) Adam Cassidy to lead a break out session on volunteering as part of the ICC East-Asia Pacific Leadership Forum. Delegates were from emerging cricket nations such as Japan, Indonesia, Fiji, PNG, Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa and all of them started off by sharing with me similar concerns regarding volunteers; they are hard to find and they are even harder to keep! The first question I posed back to them was simple, “Hands up who has a written down volunteer management strategy you can share with the group?” All hands stayed down! Over the next 40 minutes I gave the group a bit of insight into life as a volunteer at parkrun: the different roles; the way we try and keep it fun; the rostering; the points system; the thank you emails etc. What became very apparent is that the way we do volunteering is pretty damn good and we’ve got our friends at parkrun HQ in the UK, and their almost 9 years of hard work in developing our ethos and systems, to thanks for this. Like everything in life our systems are continually evolving so please don’t hesitate to chat with your local Event Director if you want to know more or have ideas and how to improve the volunteer experience at parkrun.
On Saturday I attended the 1st anniversary of Balyang Sanctuary parkrun in Geelong. I hadn’t been down to this event since the launch 12 months earlier so it was great to catch up with Adam, Greig and their awesome crew of volunteers. The run itself is a cracker with an undulating out and back course along the Barwon River. It isn’t a PB course due to the hills and wind (well that’s my excuse) but it is certainly picturesque with plenty of our people out and about enjoying the beautiful open spaces.
Unbeknownst to me, while we were enjoying the celebratory post-run bbq at Balyang Sanctuary another significant moment was occurring for parkrun in homes across Australia… we were featured on The Today Show! The segment was actually filmed a couple of months back but I, like many of you I’m sure, am yet to see the finished copy. What I can tell you is that I had an email from one of our IT guys late on Saturday asking if I knew why the parkrun website had received an unprecedented amount of traffic that day, so it’s had a good result. I’m hoping to get a copy of the segment I can share with you all in coming weeks so watch this space.
Lastly, I want to touch on some safety concerns that have been mentioned at a couple of our larger events, although are relevant to everyone. Firstly, if you are running with your dog we ask you to start at the back of the field and keep your four legged friend under firm control on a short lead or harness. Secondly, if you are a pram runner you must also start at the back of the field and only overtake when there is ample room to do so. I know many pram runners like to run very fast but the consequences of an accident occurring and your little one being injured are something we want to avoid at all costs. And lastly, but most importantly, KEEP LEFT. We don’t own the paths we run on, we share them with each other and the general public. Please be courteous and considerate at all times, even if it means giving up a few seconds of your run.
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
50 winners | $50 | 50,000 parkrunners
At time of writing we have 48,957 registered parkrunners in Australia and are adding 900-1,000 new runners every week. As such we are going to hit the magical 50,000 at some point in the next two weeks. To celebrate this amazing milestone our friends at adidas have given us 50 x $50 gift vouchers to give away. To be in with a chance all you have to do is attend a parkrun event either this weekend or next. If you go twice you have double the chance of winning! We will announce the 50 lucky winners in the newsletter on September 10.
Free $20 @ adidas Chermside this weekend only
Whilst on the topic of adidas, they have a new store opening in Chermside (Brisbane) this week and would like to offer all parkrunners who show there athlete ID a free $20 to spend on anything in store this weekend only. There is no minimum spend or anything silly like that, just free stuff for being a parkrunner! And for those of you not in Brisbane there will be other stores opening around the country this year so cross your fingers it is near you!
Suncorp Marquee @ Bridge To Brisbane
Good luck to the hundreds of parkrunners doing B2B this Sunday, September 1. Don’t forget that our friends from Suncorp Bank would like to offer parkrunners non-catering wristbands to enter their VIP marquee on event day. Rather than distribute these in advance the first 150 of you to show your parkrun athlete ID or be wearing the ‘I runPositive for parkrun Australia’ singlet will be admitted. Let the stampede begin!
Forsterling Family Fun by Chris Forsterling
There are 3 fairly regular Forsterlings involved with Albert Melbourne parkrun: Janie, Sarah and Chris. Janie and Sarah are more dedicated than Chris who is happy to play babysitter for his grandson and let daughter-in-law, Fiona run! Janie and Chris who have been around for over 120 years between them have a combined PB of less than 50 minutes so still ahead of 50% of their combined age. Both are semi-retired from Landscape Architecture and Engineering. Sarah is the gun and close to her goal of 20 minutes but has some way to go to get a time of 50% of her age! We all enjoy volunteering as every role is fun and rewarding with plenty of laughs and appreciation, but roles such as photographer or lead bike are pretty cool. A couple of memorable times as volunteer were ‘nailing’ the photo of a runner doing the ‘Toyota jump’ and watching a signet snuggled up on its mum’s back well out of the water on a cold winters morning. Volunteering at parkrun gives us the time to enjoy these moments! The family photo is at the Somers Summer 5k to celebrate a significant birthday for Janie! L-R Chris, Sarah, Simon, Janie, Karsten and Marcus.
Upcoming Event Launches, Anniversaries & Cancellations
Our 20th launch for the year is coming up this Saturday, August 31, in Cairns. Other confirmed launch dates include: September 7 – Warwick; September 28 – Merimbula & Toowoomba; October 12 – Berwick Springs & Kalgoorlie-Boulder; October 19 – Gungahlin; and October 26 – Darwin, Westerfolds & Bunbury.
Upcoming anniversaries include: September 14 – Wynnum (1st); September 21 – New Farm (2nd); October 19 – Kingscliff (1st) & North Lakes (1st); October 26 – Kawana (1st); November 2 – South Bank (1st); November 9 – Launceston (1st); November 16 – Albert Melbourne (2nd); November 23 – Sandgate (1st); and December 7 – Torrens (1st).
Kingscliff is cancelled on September 7 due to the SALT Multisport Festival.
Feedback from the field
Michael Hare - 2 months ago I relaunched my fitness training after a 7+ month break due to injuring both of my knees at the September Tough Mudder. Previously any attempts to run would result in me being 2km from home and unable to run any further, or even walk down any slopes. I can say now that I am finally healed, and I am now the fastest sprinter in my fitness group. My first parkrun was the launch of Blackbutt and it was a very positive experience for me. The community is very positive and friendly, and I made sure to give encouragement to any child runner I passed (how did they go so far in front??), the weather was perfect, I love being surrounded by nature and there was a series of hills to keep the track varied and challenging. I managed to run the 5km in 26 minutes without stopping. I can only imagine how slow I would have been if I had run the parkrun 2 months ago. But for me it was a very positive result and something to build on the next time I do the Blackbutt parkrun, now that I am more familiar with the course and what I am capable of.
Lisa Schofield - Thanks to Tim, Womens Running Australia and Curl Curl parkrun for introducing me to the wonderful world of parkrun. Was a pleasure to be able to run it and write about it! Will be back soon for another PB!
Melissa Erbacher - We took our Kawana parkrun tent out for a Sunday trip to the Sunshine Coast Marathon & Community Run Festival today. We had HEAPS of parkrunners taking part in each of the running events and whether running, volunteering or cheering, much fun was had by all! The support of our fellow parkrunners really amplified the enjoyment of the day and I know many are still buzzing with the afterglow of the event. Head over to the Kawana parkrun page to check out some of the pictures of the day.
Zoo Run - Thank you SO MUCH for all your help in telling everyone about the Zoo Run fundraiser for Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital on Sunday the 27th of October. We now have over 100 Runners! It is so cool, and so many runners are telling me it is from your newsletter!
Leonie Pye - This morning I (legally blind) and my sighted guide Chris Mill completed our very first Ginninderra parkrun in Canberra proudly wearing our Achilles Running Sydney shirts. My goal was to do the 5 km in under 50 minutes (a previous PB many years ago) and we SMASHED it crossing the finishing line in 49:21. We both look forward to our next parkrun later next month. A big thanks to Achilles Running for giving me a way to walk fast like anyone else.
Dani Katz - Just saw the article on The Today Show. As a heart attack and bypass surgery survivor myself I can only endorse this activity. I must find out more and if there is a group on the Gold Coast.
Sally Hockey - I just wanted to thank everyone at Balyang Sanctuary parkrun in Geelong for a terrific year. I managed to win the ‘female parkrunner of the year’ just by turning up enough times and volunteering. Thank you for the gifts. I became a ‘runner’ about 8 years ago as my son was an athlete with some talent. To spend time with him I started running, now he leaves me for dead but I have developed a love for running. When I take him to competitions I also run instead of standing about shivering in the cold. The parkrun concept is so simple, just come and run. Initially I dragged two of my friends along, kicking and screaming I must say. Now this is our Saturday morning ritual, parkrun and a coffee and chat. I can't say they ‘love’ running, but they keep coming back.
The best part of parkrun is hanging around the finish line and cheering on those that come in after me. I have met some delightful people at parkrun and to see the change in body shape and way of thinking is an inspiration to me. The team at Balyang Sanctuary parkrun are awesome, friendly, encouraging and up for a bit of fun. Keep up the great work!
Debra Mills - I DID IT! Yesterday I completed my first 10km run pushing my daughter Sienna and I would like to thank parkrun for challenging me to get out there and run. In March 2013 I did my first parkrun at Main Beach and walked most of the way pushing my daughter in her stroller. It was a challenge with the terrain but got such a buzz that I could not wait to do it again. I should mention that prior to this parkrun I had never done anything like this before and doing 5km was quite a feat. I started alternating between Main Beach and Coomera parkruns and the latter had a different challenge – hills! We also went up to South Brisbane for a conference and decided to work in South Bank parkrun - this was so well organised except I missed the ramp so I carried the stroller and Sienna down the steps which was a little precarious. I kept on doing parkrun and then in July on my daughter's 2nd birthday weekend I did the Gold Coast 5.7km run with Sienna. At this stage I was only doing the parkruns as structured exercise with a few long walks during the week. But then I got the bug and wanted to achieve more. In early July we moved up to the Sunshine Coast and started attending Kawana parkrun which has a great atmosphere with people clapping at the end which is brilliant. I am usually so exhausted but driving for a PB that I give out a yell or roll on the floor once I know my time. Now my time is not great but the feeling of finishing a 5km on Saturday morning makes me feel on top of the world. I especially like the coastal runs as Sienna gets to enjoy the ocean whilst I sweat and push her up hills. I usually have a stack of treaties to keep her happy. Well this weekend I did it - I did the Sunshine Coast 10km in 1:26 with Sienna in the stroller. She was absolutely amazing until 7km then she wanted to escape as we ran past 2 playgrounds and our house twice. But through the screaming we got to the finish line and the atmosphere was electrifying. It was great to see the parkrun tent and the supporters make you feel part of a real community. It is a wonderful memory that we will have together and look forward to my next parkrun to work on my PB. I have struggled with injuries and cold after cold but I cannot wait to celebrate my 40th birthday in early September and feel proud that I accomplished a 10km race with Sienna when in March I had never ran in my life. parkrun has been a wonderful catalyst for me to feel happier about myself and given me a focus. I am already looking for the next challenge in my life.
Nicole Giudes - I can’t express my appreciation and gratitude for parkrun enough. I have completed 11 parkruns in a row and there has only been one week where I have not achieved a PB. I have never been a naturally ‘sporty’ or ‘fit’ person so for me to reach a (very loosely) set goal of completing the 5km without walking was an amazing feeling and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have been able to get there without parkrun. Thanks for keeping this amazing event alive, not to mention the event directors and the weekly volunteers for putting in their valuable time every Saturday morning.
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: Horst Kramer
Home parkrun: Sandon Point
Number of runs: 4
PB: 35:41 @ Sandon Point / 35:20 @ Wynnum
Number of times volunteered: 4
Favourite volunteer role: Marshal
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: I like to give something back to the running fraternity and give encouragement to the runners, which is appreciated.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: I like all runs.
How can we improve parkrun: Marking every kilometer would be liked by most runners, it gives them something to aim at.