welcome to the newsletter
Have you ever done something extraordinary, perhaps even outrageous, just to get to a parkrun? Over the last 4 years I’ve heard of people driving huge distances, skipping significant family occasions… even paying big money to reschedule international flights, all in the name of getting their free, timed, 5km fix! Well on Saturday I joined this crazy club. Let me explain.
As mentioned in this newsletter 2 weeks ago, my wife and I recently made the big decision to move our family from the Gold Coast to Cannonvale, some 1,200km north. Our completion date was scheduled for September 2 and our drive would take us through several parkrun towns, namely Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Gladstone. A quick look at our ‘Upcoming Special Events’ section (as per below) told me that Hervey Bay parkrun’s 1st anniversary was to be celebrated on August 22 which meant only one thing; I needed to change the completion date of our house purchase to enable us to attend Hervey Bay’s big day!
Easier said than done, let me tell you. Working back from August 22 we calculated that we could depart the Gold Coast on August 20 and drive to Noosa. The following day we would travel on to Toogoom (15km north of Hervey Bay) and spend the night with our mates Adam and Bec, owners of restaurant Goody’s On The Beach (there’s your shameless plug Adam), so we could be there nice and early for parkrun. We would then punch out 800km all the way to Mackay by Saturday nightfall. And then Sunday we would finish off with an easy 90 minutes to our new home in Cannonvale. In order to have the keys waiting for us we would need to complete the house purchase on the last working day which would be Friday August 21, so that was the request I put in to our solicitor and she in turn put to the seller who thankfully agreed.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. As we were leaving the Gold Coast we received a call from our solicitor saying that our bank was having some ‘technical difficulties’ and there was a very good chance we wouldn’t complete on time. This would mean that we would be homeless in Cannonvale on the Sunday night… however thankfully we received another call on Friday afternoon saying that completion would in fact happen on time meaning that the keys were indeed waiting for us on Sunday and I’m now typing this in our new home!
So can anyone top that?
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
Essential Stats for Australia & Singapore – 22/08/2015:
Number of locations – 132
Number of runners – 14,871
Number of PBs – 2,652
Number of first timers – 2,244
Number of volunteers – 1,189
All time registrations – 228,816
‘Our parkrun journey’ by Charina Giron
Before coming to Australia from The Philippines in 2000, volunteering was an alien concept to me. Doing things for free was not the "thing to do" except perhaps within the church community. There was always a price to service, right? Or at least we expected it.
In Australia, volunteering is at the core of what makes this country great. One does not really talk much about it because there are other bigger things to grind, and maybe because volunteering is such a natural thing to do here, no one really makes a big deal of it.
I found many ways of giving. The first time I had a taste of it was at my kids' schools. One can volunteer to teach little ones struggling in Maths or English a few hours each week. I volunteered a few times at my son's high school canteen. I take a day off work just to serve hungry teenagers at Normanhurst Boys' High School. I get to see how a school canteen operates, meet other mums and immerse myself in the school culture from the canteen perspective. Another way to give up our precious bandwidth is to raise funds for various organisations that we believe in - World Vision, Red Cross, Cancer Council etc. I found myself doing all of the above without really thinking much about the value and merit of it to myself and to my community. Someone asked and I simply responded wholeheartedly. End of story. All because these contributions were one-off's, no ongoing commitment required!
Until today. Because today, my husband Ariel, just became a parkrun Run Director and that means I too, with him. We discovered Parramatta parkrun in 2014 via several Running Mums Australia posts in Facebook. Ariel and I were hooked. We have been to Penrith Lakes parkrun too. We did a Main Beach freedom run two days before my first marathon at the Gold Coast in July 2015. We discovered that most parkrunners design their holidays so that they can parkrun around Australia and the world. We got excited. We fully intend to do parkrun Southwark, London in our upcoming September trip.
"How do we give back to running, that which has given us health, self-awareness, confidence, pride and purpose in our 40s?", we asked ourselves often. parkrun gave us the answer.
When The Ponds parkrun launched 13 weeks ago, Ariel volunteered as a timekeeper and I gave out the finish tokens. It was fun to be on the other side. It was fulfilling to see people's faces as they cross the finish line. The heavy breathing, the pained but elated smiles. We kept coming back to help out. I have volunteered more than I have run at The Ponds. Ariel and I have only run it once, opting to do our own long runs on Sundays instead. Since this parkrun chapter is still at its infancy, volunteers were badly needed to keep the event alive every Saturday. And that's how we responded to The Ponds call!
I don't know any of the runners and walkers who come every Saturday, but that does not matter at all. We give up our time and energy for them, gladly. I now know what real and lasting "giving" is all about. We simply found something that captured our imagination, something that ignited us. Surprisingly, we don't feel the need to run all the time. Rather, we want to be part of the behind-the-scenes that allowed people to have a place to go to for their fitness. parkrun is about sharing an experience, it's a place of solace for some and kinship for all. Each one of us are on personal fitness journeys. To some, parkrun may be their only form of exercise after a hard work week.
Ultimately, my husband and I just want to be around people on similar trajectories. I am a proud RD wifey. We are both introverted, so I love that as a couple, we continue to grow and flex ourselves in unchartered directions. This is how we choose to journey and I am happy to show up most Saturdays at 7.00am for the love of parkrunning.
Like most events, The Ponds is in need of more Run Directors. Have you thought about giving it a go? You will get hands on training and it helps to sustain this parkrun amazing parkrun community. Start a conversation with your Event Director after your next parkrun or contact them through your event’s Facebook. What are you waiting for?
Director - Voluntary Role – FINAL CALL
From quiet beginnings, parkrun Australia has grown to be a major force for grassroots athletic participation and community engagement. To reflect this rapid development, we are seeking nominations for a Director to join our Board and help guide us through our next phase.
Looking to the future, our challenge is to continue to thrive and expand in a sustainable manner, making the most of the opportunities offered to us and seeking new opportunities. With over 200,000 people registered with us in Australia, our aims are to encourage them to continue to participate, welcome new people and work with our volunteer teams and participants to provide fun and friendly weekly events.
We are looking for Directors who possesses the skills and experience to make a significant contribution to the governance of parkrun Australia.
Together with other Board members, the successful applicant will be involved in shaping the strategic aims of the organisation. This is an opportunity to provide creative, informed and constructive input to the objectives and plans submitted by the Chief Executive Officer.
The position will be confirmed at the parkrun Australia AGM on 10th October 2015 and the post holder will be required to commit several hours per month, which includes board meeting teleconferences every six weeks in addition to attending the Annual General Meeting in 2016. Reasonable out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed.
We are seeking individuals who are or have been a board member (or equivalent) in the public, private or voluntary sector, or a trustee of a charity. Individuals with expert knowledge, skills and professional experience in the areas of sponsorship, marketing, communications, corporations law, finance, risk management or human resources would complement the skills set of our current Board members.
If you are interested, please email a short CV (no longer than three pages) outlining your past achievements, plus a one page statement setting out what you think you can bring to the role. Send via email to email@example.com.
parkrun Australia is an equal opportunities employer. Applications are welcomed from all sectors of society and all appointments are made on merit alone.
The closing date for applications is 5pm, this Friday 28/08/2015.
Entertainment Book Free Postage
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parkdog of the week
My name is Bear and I am a 23 month old German Shepherd. My human Amechai Bawden is a regular at Mt Gambier parkrun in South Australia. He is way too fast for me so even though I sometimes go to watch I'm still waiting for my first run. I must be a volunteer supporter!
Upcoming Special Events
05/09 – Warner Lakes (Qld), Lochiel (SA)
12/09 – Bega (NSW)
26/09 – Ashgrove (Qld)
03/10 – Hamilton Island (Qld), Petrie (Qld)
10/10 – Hamilton (Vic)
31/10 – Port Macquarie (NSW)
29/08 – Cairns (Qld) 2nd, Capalaba (Qld) 1st, Lake Joondalup (WA) 1st
05/09 – Blue Gum Hills (NSW) 1st, Broadbeach Waters (Qld) 1st, Heirisson Island (WA) 1st, Warwick (Qld) 2nd
12/09 – Inverloch (Vic) 1st, Wynnum (Qld) 3rd
19/09 – New Farm (Qld) 4th, Pakenham (Vic) 1st
26/09 – Bowral (NSW) 1st, Merimbula (NSW) 2nd, Tamworth (NSW) 1st, Toowoomba (Qld) 2nd
Until further notice – Heirisson Island (WA)
29/08 – Albury Wodonga (NSW)
12/09 – Chermside (Qld), Penrith Lakes (NSW), Diamond Creek (Vic)
19/09 – Penrith Lakes (NSW)
26/09 – Penrith Lakes (NSW)
03/10 – Penrith Lakes (NSW)
10/10 – Geographe Bay (WA)
24/10 – Chermside (Qld)
31/10 – Wangaratta (Vic), Penrith Lakes (NSW)
14/11 – Tamborine Mountain (Qld)
28/11 – Penrith Lakes (NSW)
13/02 – Geographe Bay (WA)
03/10 – International parkrun Day
Feedback from the field
Louise McDonald - I ran for my second time last week and beat my previous record by over 3 minutes. I love it. The views throughout the run are great, the people are great and it's such an amazing feeling after each run. A big thank you to parkrun and its volunteers.
Debbi Weaver - Thanks so much for highlighting Lavinia Petrie's amazing achievements in your newsletter. I am also a regular runner at Lillydale Lake parkrun, but right at the back of the field, so I usually only get to see Lavinia when she is doing her 'cool-down' run. She runs the same route, but in the opposite direction, and always offers encouragement as she passes us stragglers. I was lucky enough to run with Lavinia when she volunteered as tail-runner (yes, she does her share of volunteering duties!), and am very proud to say that I was the grateful recipient of some excellent running tips from a multiple world champion! Not only an inspirational athlete on the world stage, but a genuinely lovely person – so typical of parkrunners.
Spencer and Kerry Robinson - We'd like to tell you about our daughter, Amelia. We all started Yarrabilba parkrun this year, Amelia has volunteered 4 times and celebrated her 10th run last weekend with a PB, smashing her best by 2min 15sec. Amelia has yet to run the whole 5km, but was very happy with only walking about 30m to recover. But we were very proud of how strongly she finished, running away from dad big time. A great photo of her on the way to finish line. We love our parkrunning.
Nev Sheather - I was so happy to see the 'wave if you love parkrun sign' (I did – wave that is) near the end of the City 2 Surf, as I had just recovered from an Achilles and calf injury, wasn't sure if I was going to make it. But I completed my 17th C2S in a slow jog time, that's all that matters!
Peter Hawken - Have just read this week’s newsletter and at the start there is a line that parkrun is not about winning. While I totally agree that winning the run each week is not what parkrun is about I truly believe that parkrun is all about WINNING. I run at Parramatta parkrun and have only run 11 times and volunteered 3 times in a year due to other commitments. I finish in about 30 minutes so would never be in the category to "win" each week, but I have won so so much in that year thanks in part to parkrun. I have won some amazing friends by attending parkrun, people that I doubt I would have met otherwise. I have won a running family that supports each other when finding it hard out on the road. Just today at the 4km mark I slowed and immediately someone else running encouraged me and my pace increased. I have won a new thing to talk about with existing friends all over the world, some of whomever a parkrunning converts now. I have won a shortlist of holiday destinations, as I always check if there is a parkrun before booking (p.s. Can you organise a Fiji parkrun as wouldn't mind a holiday there). I have won my fitness back, having lost 10kg in a year with parkrun being a big part of that as I always want to do better and having a regular event to go to for free always gives me a target to aim for. And most of all I have won my life back, losing 10kg has given me more energy and I have more fun with my son who has already helped twice as a marshal even though he is still under 4. He always asks me how I did and tells me off if I don't go when not otherwise committed to something. Winning all these things tells me that parkrun is ALL ABOUT WINNING but not the run.
Belinda Jones - Just like you practice your new signature before you get married; Petrie parkrun co-Event Director Kelly has been practicing her parkrun logo on the concrete verandah around her house using chalk!
Elizabeth Antaw - I went to Blue Gum Hills parkrun today. Unfortunately I didn't finish as I took a bit of a tumble just before 3km (the damage looks worse than it actually is). But what amazed me was that nearly everyone who either saw me go down or went past me as I hobbled down to the Marshall offered their assistance. Some people were even prepared to sacrifice their own run to help me! I was totally blown away by everyone's kindness.
Melvyn Cox - My first parkrun for 11 weeks today, so quite excited. I was 2.2km in when I suddenly realised I hadn't brought my barcode! Thoughts quickly turned to: can I get home and back in time to get scanned? I live 18 traffic lights away but it was worth a shot, so crossed the finish line and headed straight to the car, token still in hand. Went home, got the barcode, came back just in time to get scanned as the tail runner approached the finish line. Phew, disaster averted!
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: Steve Chilcott
Home parkrun: Bunbury
Occupation: Refinery Process Operator
Number of runs: 31
Number of times volunteered: 63
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: I'd have to say our Christmas run in 2014. I donned an inflatable Santa suit which looked awesome but wasn't overly practical given it was air tight and it was 30 degrees plus that morning. I still managed to get around the course without collapsing although it was touch and go for the last Km. Getting waves and honks from passing cars, singing Christmas carols while trying to run and not swallow a giant beard and stopping for selfies with tourists out for a morning walk was such a great fun day and still makes me laugh looking back at the photos. It will be hard to top that costume for Christmas 2015...
I volunteer at parkrun because: It's usually a good excuse to get me out of running, especially in the cold and the wet! When I'm running I don't get to see the most of our runners putting in the hard yards or lead runners finishing and the volunteers enjoying the other side of parkrun. Volunteering gives me the social aspect of running that I don't get in training or racing and it is the reason I look forward to Saturday mornings so much. Everyone is so grateful to have parkrun in our city and I love being able to be a part of this community and helping out to make the events happen each week.
One thing I love about parkrun is: The parkrun community both at my local parkrun and the greater parkrun community. Especially in WA the camaraderie at all our major events is amazing and I have met so many great people over my couple of years being involved. I love to see visitors to our parkrun no matter where they have travelled from be it Perth, Mt Clarence, Kalgoorlie, Geographe Bay or from the East Coast being able to be a part of the larger parkrun family is an incredible feeling. To be able to see the passion and excitement in everyone who comes along from all walks of life makes the events as awesome as they are.