welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s edition of the newsletter we welcome a speedy new parkrunner to our family, we get ready for book madness at New Farm and… it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
A couple of days ago I received a message from Stones Corner parkrun Event Director, Ian Hay, telling me their course record had just been broken with a speedy time of 15:40. The runner was completing only his 4th parkrun and his name… Lamaa Kuruu.
Lamaa is one of our new Australians having fled his homeland of Ethiopia 4 years ago to arrive in Brisbane on a humanitarian refugee visa. Prior to this, Lamaa was an elite runner, living in a house with 60 other runners and two coaches, training twice a day on the track on the trails. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately not.
During this time it wasn’t uncommon for Lamaa and his friends to receive random beatings in the streets by Ethiopian government forces. These could occur at any time, for any reason.
His journey out of Ethiopia was staggering; He walked more than 1,000km from Addis Ababa to Sudan where he stayed for two months, before travelling on an overcrowded vehicle to Cairo. It was in the Egyptian capital where he was reunited with his wife and granted permanent refugee status by the Australian Government. The couple flew to Australia, arriving in Brisbane in July 2013, and are now busy rebuilding their lives.
Part of this journey for Lamaa is to regain his fitness so he can once again compete as an elite runner, however he now runs for Australia. Lamaa made his parkrun debut at South Bank in September finishing in first place in 16:31. His run at Stones Corner on Saturday was his 4th parkrun and his new parkrun PB. It will be interesting to watch his progress in the coming months.
The last week has been a tough one for Australian society to digest. Taking all of this in account, and with Christmas only 2 sleeps away, it makes me immensely proud to know that someone like Lamaa is able to find a home at parkrun, and that our incredible parkrun community has welcomed him with open arms… For more about Lamaa’s story please click here.
Special mention this week must go to Cristiano Bonato, formerly of Bushy parkrun and now registered at Parramatta, who is on track to join the 250-club this coming Saturday. He completed his 249th last Saturday and is volunteering on Christmas Day before his 250th run next Saturday. As far as I am aware, he will be the first person to reach the 250 club at an Australian parkrun. WOW!
Finally, there will be no newsletter next Tuesday. We’re closing the office after a HUGE year. See you in 2015.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone.
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
Essential Stats for Australia & Singapore
Number of locations – 104
Number of runners – 12,089
Number of PBs – 1,850
Number of first timers – 1,745
Number of volunteers – 944
Number of members – 161,095
There are only two days of the year where we allow parkrun events to take place outside of a Saturday morning… Christmas Day and New Year's Day. To see if your home event is hosting a parkrun on either of these days please visit our Christmas Compendium.
Please note the following:
- On Christmas Day runners will not be able to register more than one run.
- On New Year's Day runners can register a maximum of two runs.
#DFYB - Don't Forget Your Bookmark
Join us at New Farm parkrun on January 10 for a special morning of book-fun 'parkrun style'.
parkrun Australia General Manager, Tim Oberg, will have 60 copies of ‘parkrun: much more than just a run in the park' by Debra Bourne, exclusively hand signed by parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt.
But that's not even the best bit!
Sandgate parkrun Event Director, Vanessa Gibson, and Kawana parkrun founder, Kelly Daly, will be there with copies of their new cookbooks 'Keep It Simple!" and 'The Bare Basics' respectively.
Ness and Kelly have even promised a 'cook-off' to the death (well maybe not to the death, but you get the drift)!!!
Click here for more info about this event.
The Pointy End
Who are you? Multiple parkrun course record holder (New Farm, Logan River, Minnippi, Wynnum, Calamvale and Stones Corner) and one of Australia’s top female runners, Clare Geraghty.
How the hell do you run so fast? To be honest I have no idea!!! I am very little so maybe that helps me get around courses quickly. I run very much on my toes and have a quick turnover. I have a strong mind and I think that helps me push through the pain barriers.
How many km do you run in an average training week? 100km
What type of training do you typically do? I do 2 speed sessions a week, tempo runs, recovery runs, Park run, long run. I also swim 7 days a weeks for recovery and to loosen up after training sessions. I do a strength/PT session once a week as well to focus on core strength.
How long have you been running and have you always been so damn good? I started cross country at primary school and continued in secondary school with athletics as well. I thoroughly enjoyed participating I was naturally good but never trained or took it seriously. As Irish Dancing was my main priority. I found on leaving school that I missed it greatly. I decided then to join a running club and have never looked back!! I started running competitively in 2006. I suppose my natural ability in endurance combined with an appetite for competition has aided in my success.
What is your favourite distance? I love running Half Marathons and I also enjoy racing the 14k events.
Do you have a coach and do you train with a squad? My coach/mentor is Sean Williams based in Sydney but I train with Chris Gale and the Gale Force Running Squad here in Brisbane who are such a fun group of people made up of all abilities. (My parents are also part of this squad)
How much faster would you like to go? A LOT!!! My main goal is to represent Australia in the Marathon meaning I have to be faster over all the shorter distances to reach that standard. That’s why Park Run always fits into the training program!! Obviously I want to break all my PB’s across the distances which are 5k 16:35, 10k 34:00, Half Marathon 1:14:17, Marathon 2:48
What big events do you want to run? I would Love to compete in all the Big City Marathons that would be amazing!!
As many of you are now proud owners of the official parkrun t-shirt we have started a new photo segment here in the newsletter where you can wear (or hold) the shirt in an interesting and exciting location… or perhaps even with a celebrity! Think “standing in front of the Pyramids” or getting Mick Jagger wearing it!!! I’m sure you get the drift.
Once you have the photo please email it to us and post it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #showusyourparkrun
This week’s entry is from former Albert Melbourne parkrun and East Coast park parkrun Event Director Carol Cunningham. Carol says – “Today was awesome. I went cross country skiing, crossed the Arctic Circle with the official passport stamp and the best bit by far, the bit I've been waiting since a kid; I met the REAL Father Christmas in Lapland today. I love Christmas.”
parkdog of the week
Say hello to Lexie, our ‘parkdogs of the week’. Lexie is a regular at Launceston parkrun with her Dada Glenn Thomas.
I’m Lexie from Launceston parkrun. I have completed 10 runs and volunteered several times. I would like to pass on my best wishes and a merry festive season to all the runners out there.
FAQ – Are there course direction signs?
Some events do, some don't.
We advise all runners to study the course guides on the event's web site, listen to announcements before the start about the course, watch where the regulars run, and follow the guidance of any marshals on the route.
It is our aim that all courses are as simple as possible. You should be able to describe the route in a single sentence.
Upcoming Special Events
03/01 – Lawson (NSW); 24/01 – Tamborine Mountain (Qld), Bibra Lake (WA); 31/01 – Cooks River (NSW); 07/02 – Toolern Creek (Vic).
03/01 – Rocks Riverside (Qld) 1st; 10/01 – Pioneer (WA) 1st, Shepparton (Vic) 1st; 17/01 – St Peters (NSW) 3rd, Point Cook (Vic) 1st; 14/02 - Lake Mac (NSW) 2nd, Golden Beach (Qld) 1st, Ipswich (Qld) 1st; 21/02 - Kirra (Qld) 3rd; 28/02 - Tuggeranong (ACT) 2nd.
27/12 – Pittsworth (Qld); 10/01 – Mt Clarence (WA); 07/02 – Geographe Bay (WA); 25/04 – Augustine Heights (Qld)
Feedback from the field
Suzanne Jolley - I met my inspiration, Lavinia Petrie, at Albury Wodonga parkrun last Saturday. She achieved 104% age grading!! What an amazing athlete!
Sean Barry - My son Finn and I did our first parkrun at Wynnum last Saturday. We enjoyed the first timer’s welcome and friendly atmosphere. Sometimes a little anxious doing new things, Finn felt comfortable enough to bolt from the start coming in first in his age category (1st JM10). Being able to do something active together in a safe environment was fantastic. The support of the volunteers and other runners made it even more memorable and encouraging to return again. Having a few photos to share with friends via the FB page was a nice touch too.
Josie Kidman - I love our Mt Clarence parkrun, we are only into our 18th run but Bill does an amazing job as Event Director and Roxy is always there to step up and give him a break when requested. I have been a member of Albany Athletics and participating in the winter Cross Country events for the last three years and numbers are not very high. When I heard that Albany was to get a parkrun I thought that we would be battling to get more than 10 or so runners, I think that the record is 59! More and more runners just keep coming out of the woodwork. I love volunteering just as much as participating in a run, initially I thought that I might attend a parkrun every now and then but I just don't seem to be able to keep away. My daughter and son-in-law introduced me to parkrun several years ago but prior to Mt Clarence I had only attended one parkrun, Main Beach on the Gold Coast. When away from home I will now endeavour to attend a parkrun wherever I am - I have since attended Herrison Island parkrun. Long live parkrun everywhere!
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: Alison Cone
Club: I'm not in a formal club but I run with a great bunch of women called Sunday Worship (it's good for the sole) and occasionally fundraise with another group called Team ERMAGERD. And I sometimes run around Lake Burley Griffin at lunchtime with a bunch of runners from work. I'm far from the fastest in any of those groups but I think I do all right for someone who'd never willingly run a step before the age of 37! My old friends still ask me who I am and what have I done with the old Alison...
Home parkrun: Tuggeranong
Occupation: Internal communications specialist in the Australian public service.
Number of runs: 54 – Finally made the 50-club!
PB: 29:04 - that's faster than I ever thought I'd be able to run, and I'm aiming for a sub-25 time in the next 12 months.
Number of times volunteered: The official count is 16, but I'm pretty sure there was one that wasn't recorded! I'm way past the three per year that I get points for, so it doesn't really matter.
Favourite volunteer role: I've done just about everything except tail runner and halfway marshal, usually because I'm too sore to run out - that's why I'm volunteering in the first place! I like timekeeper - it's high pressure and you really have to work as a team with the person handing out the tokens. It's a real feeling of accomplishment to get it right all the way to the end (although I've had to pocket a few tokens in my time to make it all even out). But I like barcode scanning too, you get to talk to people and find out how they've done.
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: I've had a rough trot this past 12 months - calf muscle tears, ankle sprains, ITB problems, and a lot of hard work to change my gait to minimise further injury. Volunteering at parkrun has let me stay connected to the local running community while I take the time I need to heal and reset my brain, and it lets me give back to an event which has been so good for my running development.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: I don't know that there's been a single moment – there's a real camaraderie amongst the volunteers, especially the 'regulars' who are riding out injuries or have their own reasons for volunteering instead of running. It's always a lot of fun, and our run directors make us feel appreciated so it's always been a positive experience.
How can we improve parkrun: I can't think of an improvement, because our parkrun does it so well. Good communication from our run directors, a free coffee for volunteers at 5 Senses Café in Tuggeranong afterwards, lots of lovely hi-vis singlets that look so flattering in the run photos – who could ask for more?