welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s edition of the newsletter we hear from another inspiring parkrun survivor, share in a GCAM journey and reveal the story behind one of our most iconic photos.
For the first time in a long time my alarm didn’t go off on Saturday morning. I’m sure this was the case for many of you also. Strange hey? Of course for some it would have gone off earlier than usual as you would have been attending a Dawn Service. But as the father of 2 under 3 these sorts of things just aren’t logistically on the cards. I’m sure the parents out there know what I mean.
Nonetheless, even with no parkruns in Australia last Saturday, we have one of the most jam packed newsletters ever!
So I’m going to let the newsletter do the talking this week…
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
Essential Stats for Australia & Singapore – 25/04/2015:
Number of locations – 1 (East Coast Park parkrun, Singapore)
Number of runners – 41
Number of PBs – 9
Number of first timers – 10
Number of volunteers – 11
Number of members – 199,605
‘From parkrun to GCAM’ by Karen McNamara
This is the story of how a group of women met through Sandgate parkrun and came to run the Gold Coast Marathon.
It all started back at the end of 2012 when the spectacular Vanessa Gibson and her equally spectacular husband, Dean, decided to set up Sandgate parkrun. Into this wonderful community came the rest of the people in this story - Kim Kelly, Dani Jacobson, Victoria Laird, Rebekah Mannering, Kassi Kartia and myself.
We all arrived at different times, with different running backgrounds and different goals (initially)! Last year, we all ran half marathons in different events around Queensland, and Victoria and Rebekah ran full marathons - Bek in Auckland and Victoria on the Gold Coast. Vanessa had run her first full marathon at the Gold Coast in 2013. It seemed only logical, then, that the next step was for all of us to run a full marathon together and, thus, Training Madness was born!
We set up a group on Facebook messenger and started our challenging journey in January this year. Flexibility in the training was the most important factor. Between us we have 15 children ranging in age from 2-23, full time jobs, own businesses, any number of pets, and husbands who also need to exercise (or are FIFO in Kassi's case) so a strict training schedule was completely out of the question. Kim got hold of a marathon training plan and we have used that as a basis for our training. We started slowly in January, doing parkrun, a Wednesday night run that evolved from parkrun (thanks again to Ness and Dean for that one!) and weekend longer runs when we could. Sunday is the typical long run day but Vanessa, Karen and Kassi often do a long run on Saturday combined with parkrun as Vanessa's husband is also training for GCAM and Karen's husband often does his cycling on a Sunday.
Slowly over several months we gradually increased the distance of our long run, incorporated some early morning hill training, and added a couple of km to the Wednesday evening run. I would describe the build up as "organic" - runs are negotiated, those who can make it come and those who can't figure out an alternative, schedules are tweaked when necessary and bodies are monitored (and runs sometimes bailed on when something doesn't feel right). In general, though, very few runs are done alone. Despite having the same goal, we are all on a different journey. We reached a significant milestone this past Sunday when we hit the 30km mark. The promise of a celebratory breakfast cooked by Victoria's husband may or may not have provided significant motivation there
The group in messenger has been wonderful for organising runs, sharing photos (often of wine being consumed!) and providing support and encouragement to each other. Beware any of us who don't check our messages for a couple of hours...I think the record is 71 messages to catch up on!!
The training certainly hasn't been without incident...both Ness and Kaz are nursing ankle injuries, Bek has learned the value of eating breakfast before a run, Dani has learned the perils of running in the dark and Victoria has learned not to wake her beautiful ridgeback when she sneaks out of the house for an early morning run
Different we may be but one thing is an unwavering constant...we love and respect each other and genuinely want each other to succeed in this venture, whatever form that success may take. We all agree that none of us would have been able to keep going through this crazy journey without the others by her side. While we're talking of support, it would be extremely remiss not to give a huge shout out to our wonderful partners. Training for a marathon is a time consuming and intensive process and would be absolutely impossible without the infinite support (and understanding!) of our other halves, who hold the fort at home, listen to all our running stories and sacrifice their own time so that we can have ours. We are all very lucky, boys. Thank you xxx
Whatever happens at the GC on July 5th, none of us will ever forget the first half of 2015 for the things we have learned (about ourselves and each other) and the milestones we have achieved. Running is so much more than just exercise.
parkrun Australia's 'home marathon', the 37th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon, is being held 4-5 July, 2015. As per usual there will be a big showing from ‘team parkrun’ across both days and all events, from the 2km Junior Dash right through to the 42.2km Marathon. This year we can confirm that parkrun Australia will have a booth at the ASICS Sport & Leisure Expo where parkrunners can congregate and say hi to some of the local management team. We are also hoping to have our own designated ‘cheer station’ out on the course, hopefully we can confirm this in the next few weeks. Early bird entries for finish at 11:59pm AEST on Thursday 30 April... less than a week to go! So get involved and most importantly make sure you join the 'parkrun' team (PIN is 1234) at the very beginning of the registration process.
‘My Story’ by Clare Halloran
Not long ago, I attended a wonderful celebration for Point Cook parkrun's first anniversary. The day was extra significant for me because, coincidentally, that same week also marked the first anniversary of the day I was diagnosed with cancer.
In January last year, at 28 years of age, I received the heart-breaking news that I had Stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma and would need to begin intensive treatment immediately. Within the same breath, I was also told that the impact of the treatment I would need to save my life could mean that I may never be able to run again. I was told that the intensive regimen of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, necessary to kill the cancer cells taking over my body, was so toxic that it could also cause irreparable damage to my heart, lungs and other vital organs.
In many ways the shock and fear of realising that I had cancer, was second to the shock and fear of realising that the treatment I would need to save my life, also threatened to take away the things in my life that were most important to me:
- My ability to one day start a family of my own.
- The perfect health and function of my heart and lungs.
- My passion for running, and my dream of completing a second marathon.
Tears streamed down my face as I was wheeled off for surgery that day. As I closed my eyes all I could envisage was my favourite running route around my local lake, just an ordinary run that I had done and taken for granted so many times before. Running meant being healthy, and young and free. Running symbolised a way of life that ended that day.
Needless to say, after completing almost one year of grueling treatment, all I wanted to do was run again. However, by the time I finally got the all clear medically, I had lost all of my strength and confidence and fitness, and I just didn't know where to start.
This is when I discovered parkrun.
Point Cook parkrun has been such an important part of my recovery, both physical and mental. Although I can't run as fast or as far as I could before, I am enjoying the progress and enjoying the feeling of being in control of my health again. Every week, when the photos are released and results are published, my times get a little shorter and my hair a little longer. What I love most, however, is the incredible community that parkrun represents. Cancer can be an incredibly isolating experience, but through parkrun I have connected with an amazing community of people who each week cheer me on and inspire me to get out of bed and do my best. It's incredibly uplifting to run alongside others, some who are much older or much younger than me, parents with prams, and people facing other mental and physical health challenges who turn up week after week and cheer one another over the finish line.
I am so grateful to all the wonderful organisers, volunteers and participants whose effort, energy and enthusiasm makes parkrun what it is, week after week. Parkrun has helped me, quite literally, to put one foot in front of the other, and to keep moving forward post-cancer. Every time the starting horn blows, I think back to the day I was diagnosed and told I may never be able to run again. I also think back to those lonely and seemingly endless days during treatment when I was too sick and too weak to get out of bed. Now, every parkrun I complete feels like an accomplishment and I get goosebumps every time I cross the finish line. Not only because I am still here, but I am still running, still improving, and still smiling. It's an incredible feeling.
Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story.
‘The story behind THAT photo’ by Damon Bray
The photo below was taken at Menai parkrun on April 18 and it quickly went viral throughout the parkrun world. The photo shows Olympian Eloise Wellings high-fiving first timer Wayne Ward and was taken by 10 year old volunteer photographer Matthew Wilson. Eloise is usually at Menai parkrun every 2nd week. She rarely runs but helps out by marshalling and supporting our parkrunners. Matthew has taken photos for us 2 or 3 times now and is a lovely kid. Below are some words from Eloise, Matthew and his Mum Julia.
Matthew – “I like to spend time taking photos at parkrun because it makes me feel special and I get to hang out with my Mum. It's rare that an Olympian would come to parkrun and I feel proud to have taken a photo like this. This shows that the heart of an Olympian can not only be competitive but kind and welcoming.”
Julia – “I heard about parkrun via a running friend and visited my first one last winter looking to improve my 5km time. I was immediately welcomed into the parkrun family. Matthew started to tag along as his favourite teacher urged him to participate (she is a regular at Sandon Point parkrun). He preferred taking photos to running, but loves the attention he gets from the parkrunners. This one in particular captures what parkrun is all about - everybody is equal, fast or not, we're all in it for our love of running.”
Wayne – “OMG!!! Last week was my very first time with parkrun! Tonight, as I am reading my very first Newsletter – I can't believe my eyes. That is me offering Eloise Wellings a high five as she ran past. She was wonderful. Super-friendly and super-fast. I was already excited about joining parkrun, now I am even more excited! THANKS Matthew for taking the great shot. Your timing was awesome! THANKS Eloise for joining us on Saturday. It was a pleasure to run with you, and I wish you every success in August! I look forward to doing hundreds more parkruns and introducing many of my friends as well.
Eloise – “I first heard about parkrun when I was training in London a few years ago. We would be doing 1km reps in London's Bushy Park on a Saturday morning and out of nowhere there would be literally hundreds of young, old, fast runners and just everyday plodders coming straight for you! I asked my coach Nic where all these people were coming from and he told me about a new movement called parkrun. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves so much! I was delighted when Damon (Menai parkrun Event Director) told me the Sutherland Shire Council had approved a parkrun in Menai. I'm passionate about running. It's enabled me to challenge myself, physically, mentally and spiritually more than any other thing in my life. It's created opportunities to build and make lifelong friendships. It's helped me to learn about the strength of the human spirit and just how much you can achieve when you don't give up. parkrun, in essence creates the opportunity for all of these things. It is, I believe, how sport was meant to be. Pure, challenging, engaging and fun!”
I emailed both Julia and Eloise in the same email requesting some words. Julia let me know that Eloise had already sent an email to Matthew thanking him for the photo and, as Eloise's husband is a photographer, she let him know he had wonderful talent and wished him all the best.
‘My Singapore parkrun Sling’ by Becky Chant
With all the Australian parkruns cancelled this week due to ANZAC Day commemorations there was no other alternative than to get my parkrun fix in Singapore. Luckily for me I already had my ticket booked having flown out for a company convention with over 7,000 people from 150+ countries.
Similar to Queensland, Singapore's East Coast Park parkrun starts at 7am to avoid the heat. On arrival, in the dark, I introduced myself to Dominic the Event Director and the other volunteers. There were several tourists from the UK and Australia and a guy from Boston, the rest of the 41 participants were locals.
After the briefing we all walked a couple hundred metres to start line and already it was starting to warm up. The course is a beautiful out and back course along the bike path through the park and next to the ocean. As we headed to the turnaround point we got a great view of the sunrise, it was absolutely stunning.
Bouncing back from my recent Canberra marathon I was feeling good at the start, but the humidity got the better of me in the second half - Brisbane humidity doesn't even compare to this!!!!
Despite a tough finish, as one of my slowest parkrun courses worldwide, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Dominic does a fantastic job of creating a friendly community that welcomes tourists and we all headed for breakfast and a chat afterwards.
It was a real pleasure to meet some wonderful people from around the globe, and another parkrun course ticked off the bucket list. If you happen to be in Singapore I highly recommend parkrunning at East Coast Park.
Find your motivation with TeamUp
TeamUp is a VicHealth initiative which encourages Victorians to connect with others through local physical activities. TeamUp motivates Victorians to be active, and to stay active.
TeamUp is a social network for getting active and is available for free download via the App Store (for Apple) or Google Play (for Android) or to use online.
From organised activities including parkrun, Zumba, netball, Pilates and group fitness, to more recreational pursuits such as bike riding, walking and swimming, there are activities for all fitness levels and interests.
VicHealth's TeamUp is also an effective (and free) promotional tool for community groups and local clubs, as well as physical activity providers such as personal trainers and fitness instructors looking to recruit new members. TeamUp users are engaged and actively looking for local activities in their area.
Finding the motivation to stay active can be hard, but VicHealth's TeamUp makes it fun and social by connecting you with others in your area. Find your motivation. TeamUp.
Entertainment Books Are Back
The Entertainment Book, and the brand new Entertainment Digital Membership, are your guide to the most popular restaurants, attractions, shopping, travel and more, all with valuable up to 50% off and 2 for 1 offers. In fact there is over $20,000 worth of value in each book!
Purchasing your entertainment book through parkrun helps us in two ways:
- Approximately 20% from each book sold is donated directly to parkrun Australia.
- If 5 people from the same parkrun event make a purchase the Event Director will be provided with a FREE Entertainment Digital Membership.
Click here for more information or to purchase your Entertainment Book or Entertainment Digital Membership.
The Pointy End
Who are you?
Blackbutt parkrun VW 35-39 course record holder Cory Newman who runs 20:49 on one of our toughest courses.
How the hell do you run so fast?
I put one foot in front of the other whilst reminding myself of my old lifestyle... I run from my previously unhealthy self. Oh and there is the "I really want to beat the boys" mentality! I also have the best friends in the world who love to run also. We support and encourage each other to be the best we can be. My family has also been plagued by a rare genetic syndrome, so I celebrate having a healthy body every time I run.
How many km do you run in an average training week?
Depends on what time of year it is. During Comrades training 70-110km per week. Post Comrades 30-40km per week.
What type of training do you typically do?
Weekly: long run, stair / hill session, speed session, and bucket loads of cross training as I'm a PT / group fitness instructor.
How long have you been running and have you always been so damn good?
I've been running for 13 years. I was told I ran like I had a carrot in the wrong place when I was at school and thus avoided running. When I got the courage to run, I was 40kg heavier and bloody slow!!! Learning to run faster has been a loooong, wonderful, rewarding process (being 40kg lighter really helps)!
What is your favourite distance?
I love all distances! I am an endurance bunny though and can just keep on keeping on. So I'm probably best at Ultramarathons.
Do you have a coach and do you train with a squad?
No coach and no squad. My work life doesn't allow me either. I am a qualified coach myself though.
How much faster would you like to go?
As long as I'm pushing my body, remaining injury free and hanging out with like minded folk, I’m a stoked lady! The clock is not why I run.
What big events do you want to run?
I'm up to my 8th Comrades in South Africa. I'm running 4 more in order to gain my green number (10 Runs) and then to run with the green number. The list of runs I'd like to do is endless. They all involve travelling the world!
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 Rochelle Vaisanen, Event Director at Ipswich parkrun in Queensland, who writes “This is Karen (in the pink), her son Joshua and Nicole rocking great in some of the latest parkrun fashions!”
parkdog of the week
My name is Molly, I am a 1.4Kg Yorkshire Terrier and stand 18cm tall. My human runs at Stones Corner parkrun most weeks but despite my amazing turnover speed, my little legs just can't keep up with her for the whole 5km. Last Saturday I finished my very first parkrun... I helped my human in her volunteer role as tail runner. I am proud to say I completed the course and enjoyed all the new smells and of course pats from the two legged parkrunners... I am looking forward to attending parkrun again soon!
Upcoming Special Events
02/05 – Rhodes (NSW)
09/05 – Altona Beach (Vic)
16/05 – Taree (NSW), Coburg (Vic)
23/05 – Castlemaine (Vic)
30/05 – The Ponds (NSW), Devonport (Tas)
06/06 – Ballarat (Vic)
11/07 – Dubbo (NSW)
02/05 – Ginninderra (ACT) 3rd, Rockingham (WA) 2nd, Stones Corner (Qld) 1st, Cleveland (Qld) 2nd, Lillydale Lake (Vic) 1st
09/05 – Curl Curl (NSW) 2nd, Yarrabilba (Qld) 1st
16/05 – Roma (Qld) 1st, Varsity Lakes (Qld) 2nd
23/05 – Highlands (Vic) 2nd, Penrith Lakes (NSW) 1st
30/05 – Mt Penang (NSW) 1st
06/06 – Berrinba (Qld) 1st, Canning River (WA) 2nd, Sandon Point (NSW) 2nd
13/06 – Frog Hollow (Vic) 1st, Mitchelton (Qld) 2nd, Shellharbour (NSW) 1st, Newy (NSW) 3rd
20/06 – Carine Glades (WA) 1st, East Coast Park (Singapore) 1st, North Shore (Qld) 1st
27/06 – Gladstone (Qld) 2nd, Logan River (Qld) 2nd, Mornington Peninsula (Vic) 1st
02/05 – Geographe Bay (WA), Heirisson Island (WA)
23/05 – Warwick (Qld)
30/05 – Mitchelton (Qld)
10/10 – Geographe Bay (WA)
02/05 – Temporary change of start location at South Bank parkrun
16/05 – Wear fluro for National Volunteer Week
03/10 – International parkrun Day
Feedback from the field
Anna McNaughton - Just a quick note to say that I am glad you made the call to cancel all parkruns today. At first I was a bit annoyed, but obviously I realised it was out of respect so I told myself to get over it. But when I got up this morning, I was really glad I didn't have to make the choice between my 5+ year tradition of going to the local 7:30am service with my fiancée and family or my parkrun. It is in fact because of the service of those men and women before us that in Australia we have the freedom and opportunity to do something like parkrun, and it seemed only natural to pay our respects this morning. So thank you for making me realise that. See you next Saturday.
Andy Turner - At the beginning of the year we all set goals for 2015 for parkrun or other running related stuff. I've always set tough goals for myself and usually fail (especially marathons). My goal was to run sub 19mins for parkrun. I've been training really hard with lots of sprint work and specific parkrun training and the previous week missed my goal by 7 seconds. I had another chance recently at Wynnum parkrun and managed 18:51! Probably the hardest 5km I've ever run but so worth that extra push in the last 800m. I've finally achieved a running goal that was probably a bit of a stretch for me!
Rafer Gluyas - I'm not a natural runner, and by natural I mean I'm 6'2" weigh 250lb (down from 300) and am better suited to the lifting of heaving things than shifting heavy things at speed... But I have stayed with it over the years (10+) and am now capable of running 5min / km. It has taken this long to get there and I'll never look "good" while I run at that pace. With this in mind when I read the newsletter on 31st of March I was quite pleased to see "I Found My Smile" and I remarked to my wife how it was great to see a normal person getting featured. It’s great to see the fast people featured in there all the time, but to tell the truth I don't actually read their journey with the same level of enthusiasm as I did that article. Keep up the great work.
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: Ben Danahay
Home parkrun: The awesome "Coomera parkrun"!
Occupation: IT, IMS, QA & WHS Controller at PPW Steel Fabrication & Welding Pty Ltd.
Number of runs: 98 (All at Coomera)
Number of times volunteered: 10 Times
Favourite volunteer role: Photographer
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: Taking photos gives me even more of an opportunity to get closer, cheer, support and encourage each and every one of the fantastic group of runners, walkers, kids and dogs we get each week. There is an awesome group of people and it is a great "Free" community event that I am happy to be a volunteer and a part of.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Taking photos of people smiling, laughing and getting the "Get out of my face, I'm hurting" shots and posting them on Facebook for everyone to laugh at.
How can we improve parkrun: Perhaps a time clock counter at the end of the run so all those super crazy very fast and not so fast running/walking people can perhaps see how they are going when they get close to the finish line? And keep working on establishing more parkruns throughout the world.