welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter we bring parkrun to Sydney’s west, are inspired by an incredible Newy parkrunner and indulge with an extended dose of feedback from the field.
Since the birth of our 2nd child in December my instances of interstate travel for parkrun events have been few and far between. My wife and I have quickly learned that two children under two is much more than double the trouble! So when I jumped on a plane last Friday night to fly down to Sydney I felt an energy that I hadn’t experienced in many months. I was off to help launch Penrith Lakes parkrun, and I was excited!
And what a fantastic launch it was! Event Director Shelley Cootes (pictured above left) had planned everything to perfection, from the parking arrangements to the signage, the volunteers to the post-run coffee venue… everything was perfect. Even the weather was spot on! But this of course was partly thanks to the help and support of others and it would be remiss of me not to mention the amazing welcome that was provided by Kevin and his team from host venue the Sydney International Regatta Centre. The course is nothing short of spectacular and is a first for us here in Australia as it is on closed roads, amazing! It will be a privilege for us to be able to hold our event there every Saturday, thanks Kevin and well done again Shelley.
A word on Event Directors. It never ceases to amaze me the time, commitment and passion that these amazing people bring to their parkrun events each and every Saturday. It is often a thankless job and they all do it voluntarily, rain, hail or shine. Meeting and becoming friends with our parkrun Event Directors is the single biggest personal benefit I get from parkrun. These people are an inspiration to me so please make an effort to give them all a pat on the back when you are at parkrun this Saturday.
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
p.s. Only 130 days until International parkrun Day 2014
Professor Alan’s Essential Stats
Number of runners – 9,499
Number of volunteers – 562
Number of new registrations – 1,610
Total number of registered parkrunners – 110,729
What I Hate About parkrun by anonymous
- Forgetting my barcode.
- Hills, especially at Blackbutt (Sorry, Garry and crew).
- No upper case “P” in “parkrun” – still can’t get used to that!
- That 4th km – why does it always seem longer than the rest of the course?
- Runners who 12 months ago were struggling just to run 5km, but now pass me in the first km, never to be seen again, and still recording PBs.
- PBs – why can’t I ever seem to be able to get anywhere near mine now?
- Runners with strollers and prams who pass me as if I’m standing still (that includes you, Tim Oberg). Do they have a little motor hidden away?
- Runners who pass me in deep conversation while I am just struggling to breathe.
- Runners finishing looking as fresh as when they started, while I am stuffed, out of breath and a lather of sweat.
- Getting out of my warm car 5 minutes before the start on a cold winter morning, and then taking the first km just to warm up.
See you at Parkrun, whops, sorry, parkrun, next Saturday........and DFYB!
Inspiration at Newy
At Newy parkrun last Saturday Debbie Stennett completed her 50th parkrun - but she has achieved so much more.
Debbie (VW50-54) has fibromyalgia which is a musculoskeletal disorder effecting muscles, connective tissues, tendons and nerve endings. Just 15 months ago Deb struggled with everyday life and being overweight did not help. She couldn’t exercise and could only live in the downstairs part of her two storey home. “I was the Nan that had to sit a lot, and looked at giving up work. A decision had to be made: Give up or Fight!”
And fight she did!
With the encouragement of her friend Karen MacDougal, who herself had lost a lot of weight, she took action. Speaking of local dietician Nicole Barber, Deb says “this Lady changed my life, introduced me to parkrun and keeps me on track. Nic also formed a support group called FLASH – Flash, Ladies, Active, Stronger, Healthier - my ‘get fit family’. I am now 22kgs lighter and still have a way to go. I not only walk parkrun but jog as well now. Who would have thought!? I have family and friends that parkrun now, including my eldest granddaughter. NOT THE NAN SITTING NOW! I am proud of myself to be able to show my family and friends that with hard work you can conquer anything.”
The team at Newy parkrun are very proud of Deb as well – and last week she just snuck under the 40 minute barrier for the first time. She is now an inspiration to many. But we’ll let Deb have the final say,
“What better way to start the weekend then at Newy parkrun - you have played a big part in my New Life. Go you FLASH ladies and parkrun friends.”
Ode to St Peters parkrun by PJ Williams
Come along to parkrun
You're sure to have lots of fun
Whether you're fast or slow
Just give it a go
Every week, yourself you'll test
As you strive to beat your personal best
People will cheer
You can volunteer
So come get fit in the sun
And join St Peters parkrun!
Upcoming Special Events
31 – Mt Penang (NSW) launch, Belmont (NSW) cancelled
7 - Berrinba (Qld) launch, Sandon Point (NSW) 1st anniversary, Canning River (WA) 1st anniversary, Newy (NSW) 2nd anniversary, Belmont (NSW) cancelled
14 - Frog Hollow (Vic) launch, Shellharbour (NSW) launch, Lakeview (NSW) 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, Mornington Peninsula (Vic) launch
5 - Aveley (WA) 1st anniversary
12 - Gatton (Qld) 1st anniversary, Noosa (Qld) launch
19 - Armidale (NSW) launch
26 – Coomera (Qld) 2nd anniversary, Maribyrnong (Vic) launch
Feedback from the field
Brian Hamer – I survived my first Point Cook parkrun last Saturday. I walked the 5km in 38:16, not bad for an old fella (62 in August). It was my best time this year, only 20 seconds away from my times of 10 years ago. I made a comeback to athletics in October 2013 after 30 years break. Looking forward to this week's parkrun.
Gary Clarke – Is Tuggeranong Australia's most picturesque parkrun?
Cassie Burton - Thanks for the newsletter which recently hit my inbox. I signed up for parkrun last week and completed my first run at Stones Corner on Saturday morning alongside my boyfriend. I was particularly inspired by the story on Steve Fairbanks who runs at Main Beach parkrun. I completed the run on Saturday in a similar time (approx. 35mins) and really struggled. I was very fit throughout high school however now I'm 22 years old and have jogged only a couple of times over the past few years. With an athletic, slim build, most people would assume I can just jump up and run 5km easy. I also thought it would be that easy however, I can't complete 5km without stopping for a walk or getting really frustrated. I get caught up in an angry, frustrated mental state when I am running which inhibits the ease to which I can complete it. I am constantly stopping and walking and complaining - for no reason. My boyfriend encourages me along and I get more angry at him each time - he says that I am not breathless or sweating but for some reason I still stop. Mind you, I love the feeling of satisfaction when I go for a run and the rush of adrenalin when I'm near the end. Steve's story really inspired me to get cracking and become fit enough (mentally and physically) to run the 5km without walking - I can't wait to get out of this rut and get a PB. This morning I went for a run and I plan to do so most mornings until I can complete 5km (and beyond). I admire Steve in that he smashed his PB time and time again and just completed the 100km - I am definitely inspired to do this one day. I look forward to the next newsletter with more inspiration to get me going!
Kassandra Reynolds - My husband and I (Noah Reynolds) are regular parkrunners. We have gone from completing the 5km in about 28mins to now reaching sub 24min PBs. We use parkrun as part of our training as we are running the Sunshine Coast Marathon. 42.2km each! We will be raising money for the Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital Foundation - for the parents and babies who were not as lucky as us (our daughter was transferred to the Royal, soon after being born at the Sunshine Coast).
Heidi Westbrook - I was a first timer to parkrun last weekend. In fact, I was a first timer to running in general! I am a Zumba Instructor and have occasionally done a gym session or two, but running 5km or even 2km for that matter has never been high on my list of things I want to do. Last Friday night, after seeing all the advertising around town, I decided I was going to get up early and join the first parkrun event in Roma, Qld. I am so glad I did. What fun! I went along by myself, and met a bunch of lovely people who have been travelling around doing parkrun for years. One guy I met was doing his 106th parkrun. Wow! I was in awe of these people who didn’t really look like die-hard marathon runners, but had travelled at least 6 hours to come and join in our first Roma parkrun. Fantastic! So I was not really prepared for this run, hadn’t done any extra training for it. I just had made the decision I was going to have a go, and the main thing was I had to run the whole way, NO WALKING! I knew if I started walking I wouldn’t start running again! So I did it! WOOT WOO! How amazing I felt. One of the best pieces of advice given to everyone at the beginning was….This is NOT a RACE, this is a RUN. That made all the difference. I was able to keep a constant pace, and smile at all the people who were running alongside me. It was so encouraging. I didn’t do too badly either, for a first timer I ran a time of 33:29, very pleased with myself. I will definitely be there again this weekend. Thank you to those volunteers that have been the ones to get it going in Roma.
Yvette Besaans - I’ve recently returned from a trip to South Africa where one of the ‘goals’ was to do the Voortrekker Monument parkrun in Pretoria to commemorate my first parkrun since turning 40. Now I’d been to the Monument on a previous trip so when I checked out the course online before I left I thought you must start at the top of the mountain and then it would be a downhill run all the way, although the description of the course ‘including steep inclines’ and seeing the recent results which appeared much slower than what I’m used to seeing in Brisbane parkrun results pages had me doubting my memory of my visit somewhat. Justifiably it turns out! I coerced a second cousin to take me to the event on 3rd May, and we agreed to go at our own pace & meet up at the end. The run did start at the top of the mountain and was downhill for quite a ways and I thought, this isn’t so bad. I then passed some marshals & asked where to next as the guys I were following were no longer in sight and they pointed to the top of another mountain (ok, it’s a hill, but it felt like a mountain, especially at altitude!). It was about a 1.5km uphill slog, which admittedly had outstanding views, and I found out later they run night runs there, but never before have I been so glad to finish a parkrun! In the end I was the second female home & now hold the record for the 40-45 age group so am quite chuffed, and would even consider giving it another go when we next return to Pretoria. Would love to see if other Aussies have completed this course & what they thought of it, or if parkrun tourists have discovered other ‘uphill’ courses out there? So different to the flat courses I’m used to racing in Brisbane.
Freya Symons - My partner, Corey Burns and I were in Ireland visiting family and attending a wedding this month and took the opportunity to run in an international parkrun. I am a Claisebrook Cove parkrun regular and occasionally drag Corey along. The later start of 9:30 helped the 1.5 hour travel time to the Citypark parkrun, Craigavon. The temperature was a chilly 10 degrees and the few "wee" hills didn't help our times with Corey finishing 16th in just over 21 minutes while I was the 9th female across the line scraping in just over 24 minutes. Unfortunately no bps but a really fun experience to meet fellow parkrunners on the other side of the world!
Kerry Bray - Last Saturday was my first parkrun outside NSW. As a St Peters person, I was made to feel so welcome at Albert Park, Melbourne and wish to pass on my thanks to everyone especially Jane, Debbie, Christina, Heather, Otto, Richard and Steve. It’s a great course, fabulous people and a brilliant cafe. I was happy with my run too.
Jarad Martin - We're just home from a parkrun Grand Tour of Europe where we lucky enough to multitask a pilgrimage to the Eurovision Song Contest with parkruns in
Skipton (near Leeds), Highbury Fields (in London) and Amager Faelled (Copenhagen). Everywhere we went we were welcomed as kindred spirits, although it took us a few goes to get used to the Northern Hemisphere preference for doing multiple laps. In the case of Highbury Fields, we ended up doing a little over five laps of a lovely park, and I wish I could say that I wasn't tempted to peel off a little early! In Copenhagen I was astounded to see some of the locals using beer for post-run rehydration, but chalked that up to their rich culture. A great experience which I'll hopefully get to repeat one day.
Rebecca Shuptrine - When Warwick first started parkrun I made my husband go with me "to show support" denying that I was a runner or wanted to be one. Our first time was around 48minutes and my husband threw up afterwards! His PB now is 24:36. Still not being a runner I have only missed 3 parkruns since it started in Warwick and have just completed the 5km road race and the 1500m sprint in the Warwick pentathrun which is something we never considered doing before! So today I declared I may be a runner after all with my PB being 36:17!
Ben and Amanda Morris - Our 5 year old son ran in his 6th parkrun at Mudgerraba last Saturday. This is the first time he has run the whole way and you can tell by the look on his face how proud he is of himself. This is what parkrun is to me! It is about each individual competing against themselves in an unbelievably supportive environment! Thank you to the group of complete strangers who cheered for my child like he was competing at the Olympics.
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: Vincent 'Vince' Gibson
Club: No thanks
Age: very lower end of 40-44 age category
Home parkrun: Mitchelton
Occupation: Domestic Engineer
Number of runs: 51
Number of times volunteered: loads
Favourite volunteer role: Run Director, harassing other Mitchelton parkrun Run Directors and posting Facebook updates.
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: Not having to run
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: The time everyone from Mitchelton went to the Toowoomba parkrun launch and left me on my own. Also the time Gab lost the parkrun flags and tried to blame Jo Cootes and the multiple number of times our photographer Tammy has not shown up when I was Run Director!?
How can we improve parkrun: More free coffee and sweets please.