welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter we discuss the state of the parkrun nation, hear about some special journeys to our 50-club and adidas share with us some great prizes.
On Saturday I attended the launch of Stones Corner parkrun in Brisbane. Yes that’s right, another new parkrun event in Queensland’s capital. By my calculation that takes the total to 15, depending on where you draw the city’s boundaries. Given that the population of Brisbane is approximately 2 million people, this is pretty amazing, especially when you consider that Sydney (population 4.5 million) has only 5 events and Melbourne (population 4 million) has 7.
So what does this all mean? Are Queenslanders more active than the rest? Is parkrun irrelevant in the big cities? How do our other state capitals fit into this mix?
The truth is that parkrun has such a strong density of events in Southeast Queensland for historical reasons. The first event was launched at Main Beach on the Gold Coast in April 2011 and has grown exponentially in the surrounding regions since then… a bit like a plague! At some point a tipping point was reached and now the demand for parkrun continues to grow and grow.
I have no doubt we will see this trend in other regions as time goes on. In fact I think we are on the cusp in Perth and Melbourne, with a number of new events coming online in the next few months. Sydney, our most famous and populous city, may be the toughest nut for parkrun to crack but once we do the variety of course locations that will develop will be breathtaking. And let’s not forget Canberra, Adelaide and Darwin where we have some wonderful existing events, and Hobart where we are in advanced planning to get a first event on the go. Exciting times are ahead!
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
p.s. Only 158 days until International parkrun Day 2014
Professor Alan’s Essential Stats
Number of runners – 8,992
Number of volunteers – 567
Number of new registrations – 1,595
Total number of registered parkrunners – 104,822
A Special Moment by Andrew Dodd
We had a special parkrun moment and celebration at Newy parkrun last Saturday when Chris Smith celebrated his 50th parkrun at Newy's 100th event.
Chris walked his first parkrun on New Year's Day 2013 in just under an hour and burst into tears at the finish line. Dave Robbo and I were standing nearby and thought perhaps he had lost his barcode out on course! We talked to him and found that this very overweight man was so overcome by emotion at completing a 5km walk. He was in the early stages of a weight loss program and has since lost over 50kg, with parkrun becoming an important part of his weight loss and fitness program. After a while Chris started jogging bits of the course; 100m, 200m then a kilometre. And then a few weeks ago he ran the whole way for the first time which he now does every week.
Chris has been greatly inspired by parkrun and parkrunners - and in turn is an incredible encouragement and inspiration to others. He epitomises what parkrun is all about. The photo above says it all with his smile and hand outstretched for a high-5 as he completes his 50th - escorted by his beloved Wooters. Well done Chris!
My Journey to 50 by Terry Baker aka Bakerman
In 2007 I was told I had type 2 diabetes and I could be put on medication or I could change my diet and start to exercise again. A sports injury in 2001 meant I could not do any activity that may involve any physical contact so I fell back on my old favourite, running.
Following lots of posts and comments from my friend Kathy Rae about parkrun I decided to investigate further. I liked what I was reading and way back on the 10/11/12 I ventured out to St Peters parkrun for my first event. On a Saturday morning it meant switching through 3 different Sydney trains to get there and I was glad I made the effort.
With a busy schedule it was another seven weeks until I could do parkrun #2, setting what remains my St Peters PB (33:37). Since then I have averaged 2 runs a month and visited 6 other parkrun courses, all of them unique and with their own special challenge.
In February 2013 I undertook my first bout of parkrun tourism heading off to Newy and my first wet parkrun. Since then I have done Parramatta (24), St Peters (18), Newy (2), Sandon Point (2), Fingal Bay (1), Torrens (1) and the newest course at Campbelltown (2).
To show that parkrun is powered from the bottom up, in July 2013 I sent a message to parkrun HQ asking if they liked the idea of everyone wearing their favourite sports teams colours and so the event know as “Show Your Colours Day” was born and the reaction from people around Australia to get on board really blew me away.
Of course parkrun is all about the people and I have met so many, from Tim Oberg down through the Event and Run Directors and of course the volunteers, who have such passion to see parkrun succeed to even beyond the dizzy height we have already hit.
My friends at the five30runners group are a great source of inspiration, motivation and information, so much so that I joined them on the Run Down Under to help my parkrun training and this has seen my all course PB fall 3 times in the past 6 weeks after standing unchallenged for almost a year.
parkrun #50 was at my local course at Campbelltown and while not a PB it was a special run for me. Thanks to so many people who have been part of ‘My Journey to 50’ and to all the new friends I will meet as I head now towards 100 parkruns.
All in for the Sydney Half Marathon
adidas has partnered with the Sydney Half Marathon in 2014 and wants to share the love with parkrun, by giving 5 of you the chance to represent parkrun at the event on May 18. Whether you’re a first time event runner, a practiced marathoner or just want to #boost your weekly run, adidas wants to see you there.
Simply tell adidas at firstname.lastname@example.org why you need a boost to win. Winners will be announced in next week’s newsletter so get entering. #boostyourun
Upcoming Special Events
3 - Cleveland (Qld) 1st anniversary
10 - Yarrabilba (Qld) launch, Curl Curl (NSW) 1st anniversary
17 - Roma (Qld) launch, Varsity Lakes (Qld) 1st anniversary
24 - Pittsworth (Qld) launch, Penrith Lakes (NSW) launch, Highlands (Vic) 1st anniversary, Warwick (Qld) cancelled
31 – Mt Penang (NSW) launch
7 - Sandon Point (NSW) 1st anniversary, Canning River (WA) 1st anniversary
14 - Mitchelton (Qld) 1st anniversary, Newy (NSW) 2nd anniversary, Frog Hollow (Vic) launch
21 - North Shore (Qld) 1st anniversary, Gladstone (Qld) 1st anniversary
28 - Logan River (Qld) 1st anniversary
Feedback from the field
Peter Coughlan - I’m really pleased to see the report from Annette and Tony O’Shea in a recent newsletter. Due to procrastination and slackness I didn’t get to send my thanks to Sarah and her team at Albury & Wodonga parkrun for a wonderful event. Being a long term (Hunter) Region of Runners parkrunner I’ll always be biased about our local runs. However Albury was so good I did send this quick email to my local contacts: “Have to say the course at Albury is stunning. On a beautiful Autumn day with the grass after recent rain the most vivid fluoro green, the changing colours in the leaves on an out and back course alongside the Murray river entirely through parkland except for a short bridge crossing (means the run is half each NSW/Victoria) there really was no better place to be. If you are travelling suggest you go there.” Sincerely hope to see the event grow with both locals and a burgeoning parkrun tourist trade. Wonderful work and look forward to my next run when back in town. On another front just wanted to point out Annette’s result and especially the age grade – 93.79%. Must be close to an Australian record?
Faye Dingaway - Did anyone notice Wilson Kipsang wearing my shoes during the London Marathon?
Maarten Kamp - I didn’t run at New Farm last week, but on checking the results noted that there was a running legend who did - Bernie Portenski. She is a multiple world record holder, from New Zealand, for 3k up to marathon for 60-64 year old females, ran the highest age graded performance of any parkrun in the world last Saturday (>97%), and this was only her 2nd parkrun ever. I presume she was here on holidays. Her story is a good one - having just missed Olympic participation in 1992, and going on to be the world’s best for age. I think her presence and performance is worth noting in the Australian parkrun newsletter. One of the wonderful things about parkrun is that ordinary runners like me get the opportunity to see and run with some truly great, world class athletes, across all age groups.
Kelly Gurski - It was a chilly 15 degrees celcius when I headed off to Stones Corner parkrun at 5:30 on Saturday. Getting up in the dark and cold is so hard. I started parkrun this time a year ago to keep me motivated in winter and to add another day of cardio into my life. A year ago I was fit and loved running, but never trained to run specifically. My first run was timed at 24:04. I had never really timed myself before, I knew I could do 5km in about 25 minutes and sporadically used an app on my iPhone to keep time. I have been working hard since September last year on a 5km running program. I have been chipping away at my time and today, 1 year from my first parkrun I PBed at 22:02. My brother-in-law was hot on my heels the whole way and he got me this time. Next time he will eat my dust!! He has improved out of sight in recent months though, so my dust might just tickle his nose. I am nearly 45, not built to run fast, I am short, I have little legs, a bad back, a dodgy thyroid, high needs kids, a part-time job and a business, but despite all of those things (or because of) I have a indomitable will. I refuse to be categorised or labelled. I refuse to give in, although I have wanted to so many times. It is hard each and every time I run. It doesn't get easier! I just get better. I am not saying everything is possible, because we all have our limits, but we are all capable of far more than we allow ourselves to believe. When you think you have dug as deep as you can, dig deeper, there is always more! Always!
Kathy Rae – This is me wearing an Australia t-shirt and being the only person currently and the 1st female to do every NSW parkrun.
Jennifer Hetherington - Just realised that a new younger age category was created a little while back when I saw my son came 3rd in his age category today (he is 7). Great for the younger kids to be able to have more of a chance now!
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: Mandy Lee
Home parkrun: North Shore parkrun in Townsville.
Number of runs: 34
Number of times volunteered: 3
Favourite volunteer role: Finish tokens
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: Without volunteers parkrun won't exist so just helping out and waiting in anticipation as to who is going to lead the pack home.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: I think every parkrun is memorable. Just watching the faces of those coming across the finish line is priceless. Whether they've done a PB, they're plain exhausted, or just completed their first parkrun… everyone is priceless.
How can we improve parkrun: At North Shore parkrun we're pretty lucky to have shade, shelter and water which is great. So for us – nothing!