welcome to the newsletter
On this day 50 years ago, Ron Clarke broke his own 10,000m world record at the opening of the new stadium at Bislett in Oslo. His time of 27:39.4 obliterated the previous world record by an astonishing 34.6 seconds and he became the first man to run 10,000m in under 28 minutes. The 14th of July has added poignancy as it was his late brother, Jacks Clarke’s birthday.
So it was only fitting that today Ron was giving his final farewell at the Melbourne Cricket Ground where he famously lit the Olympic cauldron as a 19 year old in 1956. It was a beautiful memorial, MCed by Bruce McAvaney, a close friend of Ron’s for the past 35 years, who had to hold back the tears on several occasions as he recounted some of the many great moments in Ron’s life. The crowd was a who’s who of Olympians from Ron’s generation and beyond including John Landy, Marjorie Jackson, Ralph Doebell, Kerry O’Brien, Steve Moneghetti, Craig Mottram and Sonia O’Sullivan. It was an honour and joy to be in attendance with a number of other parkrunners and it left me with an even greater appreciation for the life and legacy of this great man.
But this wasn’t the first memorial event for Ron.
On Saturday several hundred people gathered at the Runaway Bay Super Sports Centre (built by Ron in the 1990s) on the Gold Coast to pay their respects. Ron’s family afforded me the incredible honour of saying a few words about the impact Ron’s support had on parkrun Australia. There I was, sitting alongside Olympic gold medalists Sally Pearson and Mike Wenden, marathon legend Rob de Castella and former Australian swimming coach Bill Sweetenham. It was surreal. I was so nervous. But it went well and it was an opportunity and an experience that I will never forget. Thank you Helen and Nicolas.
It’s been quite a week.
Finally, on a different topic, most of you have probably never heard of Chris Wright aka Crispy. Chris has been Paul Sinton-Hewitt’s right-hand-man since 2007 and a huge help to me since I started up parkrun here in Australia in 2011. Crispy finished up his tenure with parkrun last week and I have shared his signing off words below. Thanks Crispy, it’s safe to say there would be no parkrun Australia without your efforts over the past 8 years.
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
Were you a first timer last weekend, did you run a personal best or do you have any other feedback? We would love to hear from you on email, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Essential Stats for Australia & Singapore – 11/07/2015:
Number of locations – 129
Number of runners – 13,091
Number of PBs – 2,366
Number of first timers – 2,195
Number of volunteers – 1,176
Number of members – 218,518
‘Long may you sparkle’ by Chris ‘Crispy’ Wright
In August 2007 parkrun didn’t exist, although something called UKTT had just been born. With three events in the UK, it had already chalked up 24,500 runs by 5,000 registered athletes. And that month I became employee number one. As time passed it slowly dawned on us that this beast was going to be big. I was privileged enough to have been involved in some of the defining moments in parkrun history (for that is what UKTT became), and have continued to be amazed as it has grown and grown. parkrun currently operates in 11 countries, has around 650 weekly events at which 1.7 million registered parkrunners have notched up close to 10 million runs. But all good things come to an end. It’s time, after eight years, for me to move on to new challenges. Many thanks to all my colleagues (in particular to Alan, James, Jane, John and Richard: aka ‘The Technology Team’) for their skill, dedication, enthusiasm and commitment. Many thanks to the parkrunners everywhere (particularly the ones who, even now, still say kind things about ‘Crispy Corner’ - apparently there are stats fans everywhere). And last but not least, many thanks to each and every volunteer who has helped make parkrun happen. You always have been the stars of parkrun – long may you sparkle.
‘Update – Hearts Across Australia’ by Gary Wilmot
Can it really be only 2 months since I was writing about my plans to cross Australia on foot, and visit a few parkruns along the way? Seems a lifetime ago, and so much has happened since, so allow me to bring you up to date!
We left as planned on May 16th. It was a wet start, but over 170 parkrunners turned up at Canning River anyway, many coming from other WA parkruns to be part of the event. Channel 10 also showed up, resulting in excellent coverage that not only gave good exposure NATIONALLY to Hearts Across Australia, but for parkrun too! There was a similar story with the local 7 news team.
Since then, we have made it to Kalgoorlie, run the awesome Kalgoorlie-Boulder parkrun, with Ols and Ben (the two support crew) running their first ever parkrun there, crossed the Nullarbor, and now sit just days away from Adelaide, where we will be taking on the 5km of Torrens parkrun. Having walked and run over 2700km to get here, I hope the weather doesn’t spoil things! I have to say though, that THE standout for me, from the first 8 weeks (soon to be 9) of the 18 week adventure, is people. The support, encouragement, assistance and generosity of people. Of these, a significant number have been members of the parkrun community. Whether it’s providing a guard of honour as I finished Canning River parkrun, hanging around in the rain while I chatted to media and then seeing me off, spending the entire first day running and walking with me, driving out to run some of the way on day 2, driving even further out on day 3 to bring a delayed delivery of supplies, bringing donated food out to Kalgoorlie, being part of my “war room” group on Facebook, obtaining donations of hotel accommodation, donations of food vouchers from supermarkets, being a delivery point for supplies to be sent to in Adelaide, or memorably, the WA parkrun group on Facebook posting maps and instructions when I couldn’t find my way on the Kep track late on day 2…
There are far too many people to thank individually, and I have already done so in person or online to those people - but in general I have to give a massive thank you to Canning River, Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Torrens parkruns, and thanks to the parkrun Australia community in general; your support has been and continues to be absolutely amazing, so thank you for that! Just finally, while we are very much looking forward to Torrens this Saturday, planning is already in progress for Albert parkrun around Aug 1st!
Thanks again, happy parkrunning, and hope to see some of you at a parkrun soon!
‘Why?’ by Mark Connolly (Event Director @ Darwin parkrun)
“Why did you start Darwin parkrun?”
This is the question I get asked most and one of the hardest to answer.
Just like almost everything, there were many different things that led to the decision to kick it off. Things like feeling empowered with the knowledge that with time and some consistent work, results happen that surprise us. Things like seeing the enjoyment of every runner at fun runs, no matter what their pace. Things like knowing that almost everyone of all shapes and sizes can run. Things like stories from other parkruns (on podcasts, newsletters, Facebook etc). Things like how the Claisebrook Cove parkrun made it look very simple. (the only parkrun I had attended beforehand). All those things added up and one phone call with Tim Oberg and the fuse was lit. Tim filled the conversation with enthusiasm and excitement for parkrun.
“Why do you keep doing it?”
This question is easy to answer.
The people. The group of runners at the pointy end, who push each other each week. The last finisher who gets the biggest cheer. The runners with double prams, both fast and less fast. The fist pumps when completing the full 5km for the first time. The relief on faces when breaking that hard fought PB. The disappointment of missing a PB, that soon turns to determination with the realisation they can have another crack next week. The runner who walks over to each volunteer every week and thanks them. The smiles and laughter from the volunteers. When the volunteers are introducing themselves and one volunteer says “I have been chasing you for 6 months. I keep getting quicker, but not any closer.’ The 9 year old girl who drags her dad out of bed to be there. The father who couldn’t run 5km, but because his daughter had dragged him out of bed, he thought he might as well give it a go (now a 50 clubber). The whole families that all turn up and all run at their own pace for their own enjoyment. The tourists from other parkruns. The runners and volunteers at the post parkrun coffee. And the stories… here is just one example.
Last Christmas a handful of runners wanted to attend a Christmas Day parkrun, but it would be hard without the usual Run Directors available. So Lisa (see ‘The Pointy End’ below) put her hand up and her partner Richard (see ‘Volunteer Profile’ below) was on the stopwatch. Later that day on a long run, Richard popped the question and of course Lisa said yes. Just over 6 months later and with the wedding done and dusted, Lisa and Richard headed off to their honeymoon… to the Gold Coast for their first Marathon. After “learning a lot about running” they finished their first marathons together.
All of these runners and volunteers I would not have met or known if it wasn’t for parkrun.
So every week these are the reasons I keep coming back. They are the reasons that I look forward to not having a sleep in on Saturday mornings. Those reasons and post parkrun coffee and cake.
‘In-VIN-cible’ spoken by Scott and Joanne Watkins (Event Directors @ Albert Melbourne parkrun)
Vin Martin is a stalwart of the running community in Melbourne and is the heart and soul of Albert Melbourne parkrun.
Vin was one of the 64 people who turned up to event number 1 at Albert Park and has since run 93 more times here as well as at New Farm, Point Cook, Carine Glades, Altona Beach and Westerfolds.
When he was a little younger, Vin was an extremely competitive runner including a marathon PB of 2 hrs 58 mins here in South Melbourne in 1990. Vin is still young and has maintained his edge at parkrun, despite a few injuries, with a PB of 22:52. This is the 36th fastest time for his age category here at Albert Park.
Many of you will recognize Vin's incredibly generous spirit, whether it's supporting or advising other runners, soliciting for volunteers or run directing. However, Vin's biggest contribution to parkrun is definitely the run reports that he painstakingly prepares every week. Quite simply, we would not have these run reports without Vin and many other parkruns around the country look on in awe and have used his reports as a basis for theirs. Many people who might never have considered themselves runners have got a huge buzz out of being named in a run report and Vin takes so much time and care to highlight the achievements and contributions of others every single week. Vin is always considerate and inclusive in the things he highlights and loves his statistics as well as a good pun or granddad joke. In addition volunteering every week to write the report Vin has volunteered another 22 times in a variety of roles.
We couldn't mention Vin without mentioning his beloved Richmond Tigers and it's quite appropriate that Friday night the Tigers triumphed over the Swans, who were once based not far from us in South Melbourne. Vin has certainly proven himself a champion of parkrun and, like the Tigers of old, he's strong and bold!
Thank you Vin, from everyone you've ever cheered, raced, paced, cajoled, encouraged, written about and most importantly befriended here at Albert Melbourne parkrun. Congratulations on 100 runs!"
Help our Polish cousins
For the second year in a row parkrun Poland has been nominated for the Best Polish Running Event Award. Last year votes from our fellow parkrunners in Poland got them to a respectable fourth place but this year they are looking to steal the crown. parkrun Poland was established in 2011 and there are now 24 events and nearly 30,000 registered parkrunners. Some of you have already visited Poland and enjoyed parkrunning on one of these great course. By winning the title parkrun Poland wishes to recognise its value and thank all of their volunteers for making it happen! Help our parkrun family in Poland make their dream come true and become the best running event in the country in 2015!
Please click here to vote!
In order to cast your vote please take the following steps:
1. Select ‘Parkrun polska’ from the list under ‘Biegowe Wydarzenie Roku! *’ (Best Running event)
2. Give your email address* (a confirmation email will be sent)
3. Give your mobile number* (a text will be sent)
4. Type the verification code (Kod weryfikujący). You can request a new code by clicking on ‘Pobierz nowy kod’
5. You will then get message “Dziękujemy za oddanie glosu. Zgłoszenie zostało wysłane. Sprawdź pocztę aby dokonać potwierdzenia linkiem aktywacyjnym.” This means “Thank you for voting. The report has been sent.
Please check your confirmation to make the activation link.”
6. The final step is to click the confirmation link in the email you will receive.
* FYI, the data protection act in Poland is one of the strictest in Europe so you can feel safe providing your email / phone number to this website.
Your donations are now tax deductible
Just in time for the end of financial year, I’m delighted to announce that parkrun has partnered with the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF) to offer tax deductions on all donations over $2 made via the new ‘parkrun 4 everyone’ portal. The ASF was established by the Australian Government in 1986 with the mission to raise money for Australian sport and this new portal, which is now live, will soon replace our previous PayPal donations system.
ARC15 is coming!
The Australian Running Convention is being held on Saturday 5th September at Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne and parkrun will be there!
Whether you're brand new to parkrun or you're a seasoned 100-clubber, ARC15 has so much to offer you! And us! As for every Full Access ticket sold ($49) ARC will donate $10 to parkrun and for every General Admin ticket ($25) parkrun receives $5.
All we ask is that you enter 'parkrun' as your Partner Code during checkout (note, this is a different to the coupon code box). And then come and say hello on Sep 5!
Entertainment Books support parkrun
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. 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 is this? Lisa Allen from Darwin parkrun. Lisa has completed 56 parkruns and finished first female 33 times with a PB of 19:38, down from 26:00.
How the hell do you run so fast? I just hope for low humidity mornings! When you step off the plain and attempt to train up here, you will understand!
How many km do you run in an average training week? At the moment close to 60km, mainly before work and the heat. The stillness of the early morning is so pleasant.
What type of training do you typically do? Aside from running, I love my fun gym classes, which consist of weights, aerobics and spin. The instructors at Timeout Fitness Darwin are just so enthusiastic and happy. On average I do about 8 classes a week and a couple of pool sessions.
How long have you been running and have you always been so damn good? Not very long, my first parkrun was January 2014, but I’ve always been somewhat active to counteract the frequent chocolate incidents! But let’s not speak of these…
What is your favorite distance? You have to love a good fast 5km, that’s why parkrunday is my favorite day of the week. However at the moment, I love the challenge of long distance, I feel I can hold a good pace for 20km.
Do you have a coach and do you train with a squad? I enjoy running with a group on Wednesday evenings, Darwin Runners Club. They really lift your 5km times IF you can try to keep up. The fast members at the front are in a league of their own. It is well organised, like parkrun, so you can similarly try to beat your times.
How much faster would you like to go? I would love to get into the 18 minute 5km club, which would be brilliant! The Darwin parkrun course consists of almost stopping three times for the turnaround points, so to reach this time I know it will require hill sessions and interval training. But I do try to register for every different community run, just to attempt to ‘race’ with fast people, in different locations and for different causes.
What big events do you want to run? We have just completed our first marathon on the Gold Coast which was incredibly exciting! Richard was ahead of me but hit the wall at about the 29km mark. I ended up catching him and we crossed the line together in 3:39. We both learnt a lot about running that day!
This week’s entry is from Geoff Maxwell who writes – “Couldn't attend my Sandon Point parkrun this week as I was travelling in Far North Queensland. Here is a picture of me in Cape York, the most northern point of Australia.”
parkdog of the week
I’m Sierra, a 10 month old Siberian Husky that loves to run! I need lots of exercise and am so pleased that I’ve been able to get to parkruns at both Frog Hollow and Berwick Springs. I also love swimming and often try to jump in the lake mid-parkrun! I’m very friendly often pulling on the lead to say hello to someone. My human, Megan Gillette, gets a bit cranky when I pull too hard though!
Upcoming Special Events
25/07 – Maryborough (Qld)
15/08 – Uni (NSW)
22/08 – Chermside (Qld)
18/07 – Noosa (Qld) 1st
25/07 – Coomera (Qld) 3rd
01/08 – Blackbutt (NSW) 2nd, Victor Harbor (SA) 1st, Claisebrook Cove (WA) 3rd
08/08 – Wishart (Qld) 1st, Armidale (NSW) 1st
15/08 – Hobart (Tas) 1st
22/08 – Hervey Bay (Qld) 1st, Singleton (NSW) 1st, Balyang Sanctuary (Vic) 3rd, Maribyrnong (Vic) 1st, Mt Clarence (WA) 1st
29/08 – Cairns (Qld) 2nd, Capalaba (Qld) 1st, Lake Joondalup (WA) 1st
Until further notice – Heirisson Island (WA)
25/07 – Rocks Riverside (Qld)
10/10 – Geographe Bay (WA)
03/10 – International parkrun Day
Feedback from the field
Mel Erbacher – Last week the Sunshine Coast parkrun community lost one of own. The Fabulous Flo Page, Brightwater parkrun regular and parkrunner of the Month for February, passed away peacefully on Saturday 4th July surrounded by her family. A truly graceful and inspirational lady, Flo’s gentle kindness and positive attitude were always present, along with her luminous smile and cheeky giggle. Our love and sympathies go to Donella, Belinda, Sam, and their families. Thank you Flo, for sharing your sunshine with us all.
Claire Jemmett-Page – On Saturday during my 5km the true spirit of parkrun was on show. There I was, 500m to go and pushing for a PB. My legs were sore, my nose running, and mentally I was pushing myself every step. Then I got a side cramp, only a little one, but it was enough to bargain with myself to walk. Just 20 steps of walking I told myself, although I doubt that I would have been able to resist the pleasures of walking. Just as the 20 steps were about to be up a fellow runner passed me with the encouragement of "Keep going". That was enough for me to start up again, focus on the end and get my PB. Would I have gotten there without the walking? Probably not as my pace had slowed down far too much. Would I have gotten there without the support of the unknown runner? Most definitely not. So I would like to say thank you to all of the runners, especially my unknown runner, and volunteers who put in the effort to make sure that everyone has their best run.
Barry White - Just a quick note to thank you and everyone at parkrun for keeping this great machine going! Thanks also to Tim for coming to our (Logan River) 2nd birthday the other week. It was awesome to run with the parkrun legend and I was chuffed to stay in front of you for at least the first kilometre! I am fairly new to running, and have done 29 parkruns now, and PB at 21:26. I hope one day to have a results table like yours. I am sure you inspire a lot of people with your work for parkrun and your actual parkruns that make it look as easy as a jog down the road to post a letter.
Joan Perry - Last Saturday (4th June) I completed my 4th parkrun at Jells in Victoria. I was introduced to parkrun when visiting family at Coomera in Queensland. I did two there over two visits. Being new to running having always been a walker I said “when they start one close by to home I'll think about it.” So on the 27th June Jells started and I went along. As I say, I'm no runner, but bettered my Coomera PB by 8 minutes, then last week by another 2 minutes. I'm hooked, even though its cold, wet, dark and windy at 7am driving to Jells parkrun. Congratulations to all those concerned in starting up here and to the volunteers. I'm doing mine next week. I can boast that I came 1st in my age group last week, Oh' by the way I'm 72 years old (female).
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: Richard Allen
Club: Darwin Runners and Walkers Inc
Home parkrun: Darwin
Number of runs: 30
PB: 18:10 (equaled 3 times)
Number of times volunteered: Officially 4, but always doing the extras.
Favourite volunteer role: Photographer, as you can really capture everyone’s enjoyment, especially when pushing for a PB!
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: I enjoy giving back to a community event that has given me so much! And I do feel a bit guilty if I don’t, ha!
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: The Christmas day parkrun, seeing everyone run in Santa suits in the peak of the wet season!
How can we improve parkrun: Slip and Slide finish?