welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s edition of the newsletter we go face to face with a cyclone, ask you about any privacy concerns and Bunyaville gets a big thumbs up.
I awoke on Friday morning to the sound of thundering rain and a 24 hour weather forecast that didn’t look promising. Cyclone Marcia was baring down on Queensland’s Capricorn Coast and her impact was being felt for some 800km south, as far as the Gold Coast and northern NSW. Clearly this was going to have a big impact on our parkrun events caught in the crossfire so I decided to immediately consult with our Territory Directors who oversee this region.
We quickly decided that due to the nature of the Cyclone (category 5), the predicted weather for the next few days and the obvious threat of having 1000s of parkrunners on the road early on Saturday morning we would take the unprecedented step of cancelling all coastal parkrun events between Gladstone and Kingscliff, 33 events in all. This wasn’t a decision that we took lightly as we are well aware of what an important weekly ritual parkrun is for many of you however we were comfortable in knowing that it was the right decision with regards to putting the safety of our volunteers and runners first. This decision was certainly justified as throughout the day many Event Directors were sharing photos of their courses totally underwater as you can see above.
One of the implications of this blanket cancelation was that my home event, Kirra parkrun, was unable to celebrate its 3rd anniversary so I’d like to thank Pete, Laura and all of the team for being so understanding and flexible. They will instead be celebrating this Saturday which of course means they have had even more time to bake their cake!
Speaking of this Saturday, I’m taking my family across the Tasman to the ‘home of parkrun in New Zealand’, Lower Hutt. Lower Hutt parkrun was New Zealand’s first, launching on 5th May 2012. In the lead up to my visit the hospitality shown by Event Director Mark Malone has been wonderful. Mark has arranged a lift for us from Wellington, including 2 child seats, plus an additional running pram so we can all take part. They also have a tradition of holding a 100m egg and spoon race every 50 events at Lower Hutt and we are lucky enough to be there for this. I assume this will also involve cake!
The following Saturday we will be at Hagley parkrun in Christchurch so I hope to have plenty of good stories for this newsletter in the coming weeks.
Finally this week, many congratulations to Tom Williams and his team at parkrun UK who registered their 1 millionth parkrunner during the week. They are currently sitting on 1,002,849 which is just staggering!
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
Thank you for your donations
Thank you to the following ‘passionistas’ who have donated to parkrun since we opened our online donation portal in October last year. The money they have donated directly supports our existing events and is also used for the development of new events around the country.
Adam Leishman, Adrian Royce, Alison Jones, Andrew Chuter, Bibs N Bubs Embroidery, Brendan Brady, Brendan Peel, Catherine Fung, Colin Fitzgibbon, Colleen Kelly, Deborah Robinson, Elsa Barrand-Lee, Gabriel Kenniff, Gareth Dean, Gavin Barnett, Graeme Pritchard, Gregory Payne, Helen Beatson, Ian Hubbard, Jeremy Silk, Joe Aquilina, Kelly Underwood, Leanne Forrest, Lee Saccuzzo, Lyndon Storey, Lynette Petkov, Mark Kerr, Matt Bennett, Matthew Trent, Mrs V J Neibling, Nay Tun, Paul Perkins, Peter Turner, Phill Driver, Phillipa Greig, Raghu Srighakolapu, Rebecca Raschke, Renier Maritz, Robbie Juod, Rohan Durrant, Rosie Powell, Ross Pentland, Sarah Barnes, Shelley Tinworth, Silpa Parmar, Steve Harris and Vincent Patrick.
Essential Stats for Australia & Singapore – 21/02/2015:
Number of locations – 71
Number of runners – 9,586
Number of PBs – 2,288
Number of first timers – 1,360
Number of volunteers – 650
Numbers of runs (all time) – 919,806
Number of members – 183,021
Number of members (global) – 1,481,764
Your privacy at parkrun
We had an interesting email during the week from a keen parkrunner who has some specific concerns about having photos of them at parkrun uploaded to Facebook. Without going into too much detail, this person has in the past been the victim of a stalker and as such doesn’t want any details regarding their life being made available publicly. This is absolutely fair enough.
I know there may also be people who need to remain private for other reasons. It actually reminds me of the story of former Wallaby rugby player Dan Crowley who couldn’t have his photo printed in any match programs as in his day job he was an undercover police officer. This was in the good old days before rugby was professional.
So I guess we’d just like some feedback on this issue from anyone who may have concerns. And please be assured that if any image is published of you on Facebook (or anywhere else) that you would like removed, all you need to do is ask.
‘Australia Day at Bunyaville parkrun!’ by Tony Jennings
On Australia Day weekend I completed my 70th and 18th different event as a diehard parkrun tourist at Bunyaville.
Driving down from the Sunshine Coast after two days of incessant rain, I was super keen to try out this hilly forest trail style run. I had heard good reports about it being a challenging scenic course! I was not disappointed. Situated in Moreton Bay to the north of Brisbane, I was pleasantly surprised to find such a picturesque regional forest park setting!
Right from when I arrived, meeting the run director, a couple of volunteers and some of the runners, I was amongst kindred spirits and a most welcoming atmosphere.
From the only really flat section of the course, a circuit of a soft sodden grassy paddock at the start, I knew this course was going to be tough! Sixty parkrunners took off at a pace definitely slower than any other event I have done!
Then the course became a series of long descents and ascents through a beautiful forest canopy. Being an out and back course, every downhill became an uphill grind and vice versa! The rough stony downhills, wet from all the rain meant for careful foot placement and a quick lesson in proprioception for those used to smooth paths.
There was even a creek crossing (done twice) calf deep and requiring at least two or three steps into it to cross (for me anyway).
Crossing the finishing line about six minutes slower than my current average time, which I understand is quite usual for this course, (four minutes I'm told on a dry day), I was super satisfied with my decision to try out Bunyaville.
Even though I live over 100km from the course, I will certainly come back, probably several times. It is a course that will take practice to tame! Just the challenging nature, the forest setting, coupled with a really friendly and helpful volunteer group and running contingent, certainly puts it amongst my favourite parkruns.
Although the extremely wet weather added to the challenge this week, under normal conditions it is a tough one. I'd recommend everyone to try it out at least once, forget about your average times, just do it.
Thank you Bunyaville for an enjoyable morning!
The Pointy End
Who are you? Campbelltown parkrun W40 age record holder Sonia McDermott – 19:47.
How the hell do you run so fast? Well I’m not super fast, but I’m still improving & while that is the case I’m still motivated.
How many km do you run in an average training week? Usually about 100 km per week.
What type of training do you typically do? Mostly trail running, I love the unpredictable nature of technical trails, the scenery & the challenging terrain. I try to do hills, speed, stairs and a long run but mix it up depending on what I’m training for.
How long have you been running and have you always been so damn good? I didn’t start running until my late 30s. I was trying to get rid of some post baby weight and found running to be the most enjoyable form of exercise. Well I don’t consider myself to be that fast, I’m built for endurance but still get a buzz out of trying to run fast.
What is your favourite distance? My favourite distance would have to be 100kms.
Do you have a coach and do you train with a squad? Yes I train with Mile 27. I’m a busy Mum with a full time job and it helps not having to think about training, just get my program and get it done. I still fit in a social run each week with some girls I’ve been running with for a few years now.
How much faster would you like to go? I’d like to get much faster! Who doesn’t? But I was born too early, so time is not on my side.
What big events do you want to run? Oh too many to list! I’d love to pick a race in a different country each year, what a great way to see the world. I think the TRANSVULCANIA (Mountain Race on Canary Islands) would have to be right up there.
As many of you are now proud owners of some of the official parkrun merchandise available from our online store we have started a new photo segment here in the newsletter where you can wear (or hold) the kit in an interesting and exciting location… or perhaps even with a celebrity!
Once you have the photo please email it to us or post it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #showusyourparkrun
This week’s entry is from Canning River parkrunner Scott Bunny who writes – “Guess where? 5 seconds later, I had my jumper back on! Yes, it was cold!”
parkdog of the week
My name is Oskar and I’m a four-year-old Miniature Schnauzer.
My favourite place to run is New Farm parkrun where my family take me most Saturday mornings since we moved to Brisbane from Perth. Karen and Chris are run directors, and Nick (junior) loves barcode scanning as well as running with me.
I’m not really sure how many parkruns I’ve done, because I just put my nose down and follow the crowd when I’m not stopping to smell something interesting, checking out what's happening at the markets, or saying hello to all the friendly parkrunners along the course.
Karen and Nick keep me going, and make sure that I keep a steady pace, even though my legs are quite short.
New Farm parkrun has a beautiful course along the Brisbane River with lots of water stops and friendly humans every week, but the part I really like is all the rubs and scratches I get as a reward at the end.
I'm totally puffed after parkrun but take it from me, it's absolutely worth it!
FAQ - Who pays for parkrun?
parkrun in Australia is mostly paid for by our national sponsors Suncorp Bank and Stockland. Local Councils have also been great supporters of parkrun over the years as well as some state government departments for which we are extremely grateful.
In Australia we also have a donations system. We are incredibly grateful for whatever amount we receive. Most of the money we receive through donations goes directly to the donor's event, with the remainder going into a 'New Events' fund.
Upcoming Special Events
14/03 – Dawesville (WA); 21/03 – Yamba (NSW)
28/02 - Tuggeranong (ACT) 2nd; 14/03 – Parramatta (NSW) 2nd, Albury Wodonga (NSW) 1st; 21/03 – Campbelltown (NSW) 1st, Mount Barker (SA) 1st; 28/03 – Riverway (Qld) 2nd, Manjimup (WA) 1st
; 04/04 – Main Beach (Qld) 4th; 11/04 - Fingal Bay (NSW) 2nd; 18/04 - Augustine Heights (Qld) 2nd; 02/05 – Ginninderra (ACT) 3rd, Rockingham (WA) 2nd, Stones Corner (Qld) 1st, Cleveland (Qld) 2nd, Lillydale Lake (1st).
28 /02 – Mosman (NSW); 07/03 – Pittsworth (Qld), Mt Penang (NSW), Penrith Lakes (NSW); 14/03 – Armidale (NSW), Albert Melbourne (Vic); 28/03 – Launceston (Tas), Penrith Lakes (NSW); 25/04 – Augustine Heights (Qld), Kawana (Qld), Wynnum (Qld); 02/05 – Geographe Bay (WA); 30/05 Mitchelton (Qld)
Feedback from the field
Bright Pink - What???? parkrun is cancelled just about everywhere in SE Queensland tomorrow due to torrential rain. What am I going to do? I feel lost. I guess I am going to have to wade through the streets of my local town and race my own clock.
Kerryn Robson – Thanks from a parkrun first-timer. What a wonderful initiative! Great community activity, provides encouragement and collegiality without the problem of elitism. Volunteers were great and experienced runners/walkers were positive. Very accessible for any stage of life, ability, level of health, interests and family situation. Looking forward to next time!
Chris Newman - This week's newsletter was one of the best I've read. It really demonstrates what an inclusive organisation parkrun is, and I just LOVED the doggy parkrun tips. Keep up the good work.
Gynelle Murray - Fantastic newsletter as usual Tim. I especially loved Bonnie the Border Collie's Top 10 Doggy parkrunning tips (even though I don't own a dog I find myself thinking that there are so many of these tips that I can put into play). Thank you so very much Bonnie and you're such a gorgeous doggy as well!
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: Matthew Little
Club: Multisport Gold
Home parkrun: Coomera
Occupation: General Manager - Metcash
Number of runs: 60
Number of times volunteered: 14
Favourite volunteer role: Timekeeper
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: Encouraging others to do better, and seeing all the new faces that join up each week.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Being the photographer on "funny dress" days - and then watching as runners slowly discard bits of their costume as they get hotter and realize the mistake they have made! (yes I'm talking about you Santa!)
How can we improve parkrun: I don't think it can be improved - the system is great - and the support is awesome.