welcome to the newsletter
Do you remember your first parkrun experience? Did you get your time? Were you surprised that it really was free of charge? Did you feel welcome, no matter your speed, shape or fitness? Most importantly, was it fun?
Last week I spent 3 days in Cork, Ireland with my colleagues from the 11 other parkrun countries, founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt and new CEO Nick Pearson (as shown in the above photo taken at the launch of Tramore Valley parkrun). As you can guess we had plenty of topics to cover however one common theme that ran across the 3 days was that as we grow (which is inevitable) the standard Saturday parkrun experience must not change; it must always be free; you will always get your time; we must be fully inclusive; and we must all always remember that at its core parkrun is about having fun.
This is our commitment to you, the parkrun family, and we expect you to hold us to account!
On the topic of inclusiveness, today is World Heart Day so it's fitting that I can announce a new partnership with Heart Foundation Walking that enables their members to participate at any of our events and earn points towards their Walker Recognition Scheme (a little bit like our 10, 50 and 100-clubs). The key message for parkrunners from this is to reiterate that the slowest of the slow walkers are just as welcome (and arguably far more important) as the fastest of the fast runners at every single one of our events.
Finally, this Saturday is International parkrun Day on which we commemorate the launch of Bushy parkrun on October 2, 2004 and celebrate the fact that one man's little idea has now become the largest running event on the planet. Many events are having themed runs / fancy dress so please check the Facebook page of your home event to ensure you don't miss out on the fun!
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
Essential Stats for Australia & Singapore – 26/09/2015:
Number of locations – 134
Number of runners – 16,147
Number of PBs – 2,878
Number of first timers – 2,948
Number of volunteers – 1,260
All time registrations – 239,653
‘An Expat back home – From St Peters to Bushy parkrun’ by Shaun Rainford
A somewhat inconsistent and occasional runner I did my first ever parkrun last December in Sydney after printing out my barcode 12 months previously. Nothing like easing in gently.
After heading down to my nearest parkrun – St Peters in Sydney, I joined the start line one very hot and sweaty Saturday morning and puffed my way around the course. It was a struggle first time (second time, third…) around but I enjoyed the challenge. I’ve improved a bit since then, the run is a great motivator and I look forward to it kicking off the weekend.
Since then I have done nearly 20 parkruns here in Sydney, and whilst organising a recent trip back home to UK to see friends and family in July I realised that a planned re-union with two of my oldest mates and their families in Teddington, UK was just minutes from the home of parkrun in Bushy Park. A few phonecalls and we had organised to do the run together on the Saturday morning. A splendid idea apart from the inevitable drinks on the Friday night.
According to close sources (Google) Bushy parkrun started on 2 October 2004 with just 13 runners taking part in the inaugural event. It was the first ever parkrun and had over 1700 people run it last year as part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations. Bushy Park is the second largest of London's Royal Parks, and was created by Henry VIII, whom being a keen hunter, had established the park as deer-hunting grounds. And so we headed off along the 5km course in a figure of 8 through Henry’s backyard, complete with fountains, hundreds of ancient oak trees and the descendants of Henry’s furry friends.
The run was fantastic, it was a sunny day more typical of my own backyard, and whilst the 3 of us felt the effects of the previous night’s beers and the unseasonably hot temperature, it was a great feeling for three old mates to run together. The run was packed, there were hundreds of people but it was all managed by Volunteers and ran like clockwork.
A great highlight of our trip back home, I can highly recommend a parkrun when overseas – you never know where you might run or who you might meet.
parkdog of the week
My name's Ruby the Bwgcolman dog. I'm an 8 month-old crossbreed rescue dog originally from Palm Island in North Queensland, now living in Townsville, and I love to go to Riverway parkrun with my human Rachel, who is co-Event Director there. "Bwgcolman" is an aboriginal word used to describe the people who live on Palm Island and means "many tribes". I am still learning to pace myself when we run, I tend to get a little over-excited when they say "GO!", but I'm learning to settle into a steady pace without pulling after the first Km and I've already helped my human run some fast runs this year: today I pulled her along to finish in 24:10 which is a parkdog PB for me and a very good time for her! I also like to volunteer when Rachel is Run Directing, and my favourite role is "Race Start Cheer Squad", I cheer so loudly I think I embarrass my human sometimes! I don't think she appreciates it when I practise my cheering during her run briefs though. I love all the attention I get from other parkrunners and parkdogs, I wish it could be parkrun every day!
Upcoming Special Events
03/10 – Hamilton Island (Qld), Petrie (Qld)
10/10 – Hamilton (Vic)
17/10 – Grafton (NSW), Paradise Point (Qld)
31/10 – Port Macquarie (NSW)
10/10 – Berwick Springs (Vic) 2nd, Kalgoorlie-Boulder (WA) 2nd
17/10 – Brightwater (Qld) 1st, Gungahlin (ACT) 2nd, Kingscliff (NSW) 3rd, Mosman (NSW) 2nd, North Lakes (Qld) 3rd, Murray Bridge (SA) 1st
24/10 – Bunbury (WA) 2nd, Darwin (NT) 2nd, Kawana (Qld) 3rd, Mudgeeraba (Qld) 2nd, Westerfolds (Vic) 2nd
Until further notice – Heirisson Island (WA)
03/10 – Penrith Lakes (NSW)
10/10 – Geographe Bay (WA)
17/10 – Launceston (Tas)
24/10 – Chermside (Qld)
31/10 – Wangaratta (Vic), Penrith Lakes (NSW)
14/11 – Tamborine Mountain (Qld), Shepparton (Vic)
28/11 – Penrith Lakes (NSW), Lillydale Lake (Vic)
13/02 – Geographe Bay (WA)
03/10 – International parkrun Day
Feedback from the field
Natasha Konners - My running bestie, one of our fabulous events directors at North Lakes parkrun, celebrated her 100th run today ~ and this is on top of her 40x volunteering! This picture shows what parkrun is all about - getting out there supporting and encouraging others to be the best we can be. Good on you Jules Venz - giving back to you today the super support that you give to our parkrunners every week.
Keren Brown - My dog Ruff doing his first ever parkrun at Yarrabilba QLD, he ran well but either did not want it to end or he was spooked by the finishing flags and the cheer squad bringing us in!!
Jo Black - We had one of our Augustine Heights parkrunners Darren Lenham reach 50 a couple of weeks ago. He has been a huge part of the community spirit as the main scout organiser for Redbank Plains scouts along with his wife Peta for many years. But as there brood has slowly flocked the nest they have slowly began swapping there passion for scouting activities for running activities & helping hugely on a regular basis with our parkrun September 12th saw Darren Lanham, one of our regular participants complete his 50th parkrun. Darren loves to have fun and really enjoys his weekly parkrun so what better way to celebrate than with some balloons! He arrived at Augustine Heights with 1 traditional 50 balloon (as far as he knew) which his family gave him and gradually his parkrun family added to this - when he set off at 7am for his run he had over 60 balloons tied to him which looked fabulous with his rainbow tutu and cape topped off with a beautiful parkrun wand! Darren who has a PB of 21.20 still managed to run his 5km in an awesome time of 24.38 even with 60 balloons dragging behind and having to dodge the trees! Everyone then enjoyed a lovely spread of food and a huge, yep huge cake, biggest Augustine Heights has seen. Congratulations Darren on achieving your 50th parkrun and for having so much fun doing it.
Peter Truscott - No particular reason to email but to say how much I love the parkrun concept. I run Parramatta parkrun and absolutely love it. Keep up the brilliant work.
Jo MacCarthy - I'd love to thank everyone at Balyang Sanctuary parkrun on the 26th September. The day before, my 10.5 year old beagle Humphrey (past parkrun dog of the week) died in his sleep. My fellow Run Directors quickly volunteered to take on my rostered role, and on Saturday I had a crowd of friends waiting to give me a hug. The support I got before and throughout the run inspired me to run my fastest time for the year!
It's hard to believe Humphrey will never pull me up the halfway-hill again, or make me stop so he can have a quick swim at the canoe crossing. This is the one of the last pictures I have with him – running at Balyang Sanctuary's 3rd Birthday Pyjama Party last month. Saturday was also the day Lyn Quinlivan and I were surprised at the finish line with a joint birthday cake made by the amazing Lea-Anne Harrison. All of these fabulous people have been brought together by parkrun – I'm very lucky to have found this group.
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: Renee Russell
Age: Wrong side of 40
Home parkrun: Varsity Lakes
Occupation: Customer Service Leader - QBT
Number of runs: 14
PB: 25.30 this was quite a while ago (a long way off it these days)
Number of times volunteered: 65
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Depicted in the above photo - This was Varsity Lakes 2nd Anniversary in May this year. Whilst I had only been Event Director since November 2014, I was overwhelmed with the recognition I received for doing what I see as a pretty simple job, from both parkrun Territory Director Renee Gimbert (also pictured) and the Varsity Lakes parkrunners who welcomed me when I initially started as a runner in January 2014 and have continued to support me in my role as Varsity Lakes Event Director.
I volunteer at parkun because:: It is a very small amount of time out of my day to provide enjoyment to so many people every Saturday.
One thing I love about parkrun is:: The families at Varsity Lakes parkrun! I love that entire families participate together. I also have one family with 2 boys who are our super star junior volunteers - this makes getting out of bed early every Saturday morning worth it!