welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter we marvel at the extraordinary feats of our ultra-parkrunners, celebrate some wonderful volunteers at Curl Curl and remind you to be an early bird for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.
I often jokingly describe parkrun as a filter that attracts non-runners into the mix and spits them out on the other side as marathon runners! Never has this been truer than in the case of Steve Fairbanks. Steve made his parkrun debut way back on 9 April 2011 at the 2nd ever Main Beach parkrun, running 31:14. I remember noticing Steve in those early days as he would alternate between wearing an England football jersey and a Stoke football jersey, as in the above picture. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that back then he was carrying a few extra kilos and was generally out of shape.
Weeks and months passed and as we began to launch more parkrun events around the country I spent less and less time at Main Beach parkrun. It was probably in mid-2012 that I was back there having a run and the guy in the Stoke jersey was there again however… he was only half the man he had been the year previous. Steve had lost a heap of weight and his 5km PB was down to a very respectable 24:16.
Fast forward to late 2013 and Steve had now completed 68 parkruns, his PB was 21:39 and, even better, he was also now a Run Director at Main Beach parkrun working side by side with his good mate, Event Director Libby Sargent whose own amazing journey of self discovery at parkrun has been covered previously in this newsletter.
Over the last 6 months Steve and Libby have been training side by side for hours on end with one goal in mind… to complete the grueling North Face 100 trail ultramarathon in the Blue Mountains. The last time I saw Libby, probably a month ago, her body was battered and she hadn’t been able to train properly for several weeks, hardly the ideal preparation!
I’m delighted to report that on the weekend just gone Steve and Libby achieved their goal of completing the 100km trail ultramarathon in a touch over 19 hours. What an amazing achievement by 2 people who little over 3 years ago were so far away from being ‘runners’ that the thought of doing this would have been laughable. I’m proud to know both of you and even prouder to think that parkrun played a small part in helping you achieve something truly remarkable.
Last Friday I was invited to attend the launch of Suncorp Bank’s runPositive campaign for 2014 where I was lucky enough to meet and go for a run with cricket legend Adam Gilchrist. Gilly has a reputation for being one of Australian sports ‘nice guys’ and I’m pleased to say that he didn’t disappoint. Back in 2001 when I was living in London I spend the summer working at Lords Cricket Ground during the Ashes and I’ll never forget watching Gilly stay back long after the match had finished and the rest of his team mates had left to sign autographs for his adoring fans. This made a real impression on me so it’s a real thrill for me to now get to associate with him professionally. The next step of course is to get him to a parkrun so for those of you on Twitter you can Tweet him on @gilly381 using the #getgillytoparkrun hash tag.
Finally, at some point last week parkrun registered its one millionth member! Congratulations to Tracy from PE Hobie Beach parkrun in South Africa for becoming the owner of parkrun ID 1000000.
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
p.s. Only 137 days until International parkrun Day 2014
Professor Alan’s Essential Stats
Number of runners – 9,132
Number of volunteers – 641
Number of new registrations – 1,434
Total number of registered parkrunners – 109,004
Volunteers put the Curl in Curl Curl by Kim Joss
After reading Tim's story on volunteers in the 6th May newsletter I wanted to share our volunteer experience at Curl Curl parkrun. Like most Event Directors I am often trying to fill the last few volunteer roles late on a Friday afternoon. Debbie Solms, owner and Head Trainer of local business Beauty of Exercise, has pitched in to help by connecting with her Northern Beaches coaches/PT network to ask for their support by providing volunteers for a month from their client base. It's a win-win as Curl Curl parkrun has a guaranteed volunteer roster and the local fitness companies use parkrun as part of their training schedules and also to promote their businesses. This venture started in April with Beauty of Exercise providing volunteers for the month, now OzSquad are providing volunteers for the month of May and I am in the process of lining up June volunteers.
Feedback from the volunteers so far include comments like "I never realised that providing a few encouraging words to passing runners can boost someone’s run”. Also “I never realised how good it feels when a runner thanks you for being a marshal as they pass by. I will always remember to say thank you to the marshals from now on."
So a massive thank you from Curl Curl parkrun to Debbie Solms at Beauty of Exercise for making this happen.
It’s time to be a part of history and race in Australia’s first and only gold label marathon! Secure your Gold Coast Airport Marathon entry today and take advantage of the early bird fees which finish this Wednesday, 21 May. Join your fellow parkrunners at the home of parkrun Australia and strive for a personal best on our flat, fast and scenic course across a number of races including the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Wheelchair 15km, Southern Cross University 10km Run, Suncorp Bank 5.7km Challenge and the 4km & 2km Junior Dash.
Click here to enter or for more information.
Upcoming Special Events
24 - Penrith Lakes (NSW) launch, Highlands (Vic) 1st anniversary, Warwick (Qld) cancelled
31 – Mt Penang (NSW) launch
7 - Berrinba Wetlands (Qld) launch, Sandon Point (NSW) 1st anniversary, Canning River (WA) 1st anniversary, Newy (NSW) 2nd anniversary
14 - Frog Hollow (Vic) launch, Shellharbour (launch), Mitchelton (Qld) 1st anniversary
21 - Pittsworth (Qld) launch, North Shore (Qld) 1st anniversary, Gladstone (Qld) 1st anniversary, Carine Glades (WA) launch
28 - Logan River (Qld) 1st anniversary
Feedback from the field
Michael Neville - After downloading my barcodes months ago and procrastinating ever since I finally attended my first parkrun on 3rd May at Main Beach. I must say I was very impressed with how organised it was and I was also surprised at how many people there were (200+). It was an excellent way to start the weekend and although I was unimpressed with my 30.21 time I will now be dedicating my Saturday mornings to bettering it! Thanks parkrun this is a great concept and I will be trying to get the rest of my family out of bed on a Saturday morning to enjoy it as well.
Natasha Konners - This is arguably THE best parkrun photo I have ever seen. The smiles on these girls shows what parkrun is all about: Socialising; Memories; Inspiration; Laps; Encouragement; Speed! Love these girls - Belinda Jones, Kelly Suzane, Kaz Landry and Michelle Peckover! Thanks Sandgate parkrun for the awesome pics.
Julia Dalgliesh - On Saturday I went and enjoyed Wynnum parkrun again. I was really keen to try for a PB on Saturday as my training during the week has been going well lately. I headed off on the run and at about the 1km mark I got behind a lady (Carol I found out afterwards) who was going at a good steady pace so I just sat behind her for a while. She was great. At the 4km mark I decided I wanted to pick up the pace a bit for the last km home. I turned at the flag and the chap beside me gave me an encouraging “you’re doing great”. I gave him a fairly breathless, “I’m heading for a PB”. From that point on he ran with me and kept encouraging me. About 500m from the end he said “Got a sprint left in you?”, so I gave it my all. He even let me finish just before him!!! And yes, I got that PB by 33 seconds!! Thanks so much to both Carol and Jason (I think that’s who it was) for your help, support and encouragement. parkrun is a great place to challenge yourself and get great support while doing it. Thanks for a great event.
Milette Borchardt - I am heading off today to South Africa and am planning to run a parkrun there during my holidays with my daughter. We have recently signed up and we both participate at the Pioneer parkrun near Gosnells. We are taking our barcodes with us!
Chris Weier - Had my first parkrun on Saturday at Kirra. This is a great thing to offer the community. Keep up the great work.
Chris Reid – This Saturday I aim to complete my 100th parkrun at Rocks Riverside. I will not be the only one as Kim Wilkinson, also at Rocks Riverside, is scheduled to reach the milestone on the same day, so congratulations to Kym. Upon reflection of the last couple of years and the growth of parkrun in Australia, which has been amazing, I reached the simple realisation that this was not my achievement. I have been fortunate enough to reach this milestone due to the efforts of others, namely the parkrun volunteers. To put the volunteering effort in perspective I have parkrun at New Farm, Southbank and Rocks Riverside each have approximately 10 volunteers per run so to reach my 100th parkrun has involved at least 1,000 volunteer efforts. Some of these people I know but many I do not. I find this number quite humbling so to all the volunteers, THANK YOU. A special thank you for the encouragement, support and enthusiasm goes to Gareth Saunders, Karen McLeod, Richard Hudson, Lorna Davin, Ben and Ali Powell, Phil and Claire Anderson, Neil Bath, Rhondda Wetton, Wendy Crompton, Reece Anderson, Helen Velkov, Julie Leary, Steve Bennett, Moray Skilling, James Rees, James Bell and of course Tim Oberg... I apologise for missing anyone off. Finally, if you love to parkrun, then I highly suggest you also volunteer... I'll be putting on the volunteer vest in the coming weeks and look forward to encouraging others to achieve their 50, 100 or 250 parkrun and, of course, PBs.
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: Liv Drury
Home parkrun: Albert Melbourne parkrun
Occupation: Self-employed audio typist
Number of runs: 1 running, 1 walking
PB: 31:56 (aiming for 28:00!)
Number of times volunteered: 16
Favourite volunteer role: Timekeeper
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: I've been injured since I started parkrun so I've volunteered quite a bit. I find the best thing about parkrun is the attitude of the volunteers - everyone is there because they genuinely want to be, and it's such a positive environment to be in. It's a really great start to the weekend.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: My most memorable parkrun moment was being tail runner with a couple of ladies who had really interesting stories to tell about their weight loss journeys. They met at a weight loss retreat and decided to try parkrun together. One woman was worried about being able to finish the course but they both finished and their effort was really inspiring. One of the best things about parkrun is that you really do see people of all shapes and sizes getting out there and having a go.
How can we improve parkrun: Name and shame people who have been running for ages but have never volunteered!