welcome to the newsletter
This week’s newsletter is coming to you from Brisbane’s north, in the beautiful bayside suburb of Sandgate. We are Dean & Vanessa Gibson, and we started up Sandgate parkrun almost 3 years ago. I (Vanessa) was a very new runner, Dean was a sporadic one and our kids, Hope and Jed, were 1 and 2 years old. We just wanted someone to start a parkrun in Sandgate, and figured if no-one else was doing it, we might as well give it a go! We had no idea what we were in for, and could never have imagined the incredible community that would develop from it. We have gotten back so much more than what we’ve put in.
We became Territory Directors last year for the Brisbane northside, including North Lakes, Mitchelton, New Farm, Stones Corner, Bunyaville, Sandgate, and in the past few weeks, have launched Chermside, Warner Lakes and Petrie. It sure is booming over here, with all credit to the amazing group of passionate Event Directors who keep it going week to week.
Our other “baby” is an event we started in our community in 2014, called the Sandgate Sunset Run. It’s a 2-hour team relay around the 250-metre roundabout in the centre of town. It’s a very unique, crazy, fun, charity event, run entirely by a passionate team of volunteers, who all happen to be parkrunners. It happened to fall on the weekend just gone, coinciding with the parkrun Event Director’s “powwow” and parkrun AGM.
A heap of the parkrun crew had registered teams, while others looked on as spectators. We loved having them there and they really got into the spirit of the run! There was a real buzz around the team made up of two Olympians, Marty Dent and Benita Willis, along with new parkrun Australia President, Gareth Candy. They didn’t disappoint, winning the prize for the most laps for a mixed team! An incredible night was had by all, and we are so grateful to the parkrun crew for helping to make it such a success!
We are such proud parkrunners, and just love the community of people our kids are growing up with and the wonderful friendships we’ve made. Hope, aged 5, has now done 10 parkruns – most of those with her Nana, while Jed, aged 4 has one on the official record, plus a few others where he’s jogged and walked a bit, and piggy-backed the rest!
Enjoy this snapshot of our community and keep that parkrun spirit going!
Dean and Vanessa Gibson
Essential Stats for Australia & Singapore – 10/10/2015:
Number of locations – 136
Number of runners – 18,008
Number of PBs – 3,009
Number of first timers – 2,759
Number of volunteers – 1,277
All time registrations – 244,225
‘My Story’ by Kyle Marsden
Up until 10 years ago I have been fairly active sort of person by playing and coaching netball and judo. After somewhat retiring from playing any sports, I turned my attention to just coaching; I have four kids aged 16, 14, 11 and 7 who all are involved in sports. This would mean we as a family were out every night of the week attending different sports and I was falling into the trap of eating poorly.
By Christmas 2014, I had ballooned to 135kg. I was struggling to get up in the morning with joint pain in my hips and knees and it was starting to affect all aspects of my life. My normal high confidence was at an all time low and I knew if I wanted to start enjoying being me again I needed to make a dramatic lifestyle change. On Boxing Day 2014, I hit the gym and signed up for an 8 week challenge.
My first week of the challenge was exciting but pure hell as well! After my first session with my personal trainer Troy, I sat in the car for 15 minutes as it was a manual and I didn’t have the strength left in me to push the clutch in to drive it home! That first PT session I would nowadays use as a warm up!
Troy and I decided that for me to keep being motivated to lose further weight I needed to keep setting challenges for myself - one was doing a 5k run and I decided to give Sandgate parkrun a try.
Since starting up running and doing parkrun, I have met and become friends with so many people that are incredibly supportive. I have been involved in many sporting clubs and associations over the years, and they all pale in comparison to the support I have received through this community. Sandgate parkrun is now a major part of my weekly routine - the bonus is that it costs nothing and the whole family can get involved, and I absolutely love running with my 7 yr old daughter! I have been humbled by being named “parkrunner of the month” and obtained 6 PBs so far.
My life has changed and improved so much and I could not have done any of it without the support and friendship I have received from what I now call my fitness family.
‘RIP Sooty’ by James Alexander
On Saturday 3rd October - International parkrun Day - my wife and I lost our best friend and amazing parkdog Sooty, a 10 year old black lab. She passed away while we were getting ready for her regular Saturday parkrun at Sandon Point.
Being a bit older she wasn't great at running the full 5km (more of a 1km sprinter followed by a snooze), but that was ok because Sooty was part of what makes parkrun so great - she was a volunteer. She was our support volunteer.
Both of us live with depression and anxiety which can make the small things like just getting up on the weekends seem impossible. Our Soot loved heading to parkrun, and knowing how much she loved it got us up and out. Sometimes all you need is a bit of support and motivation and it's amazing what your mind can overcome. For me that was Soot's wet black dog nose poking the side of my face, waking me up and telling me it's time to get up and go. For us that's what she was - our support volunteer. You can't measure how much that support helps in recovery.
It didn't matter if it was Rain, sun, or wind on a Saturday morning - if Sooty was up for parkrun then so were we. There was always an eager chase to take off with the front runners, followed by a very puffed Soot heading to the beach to cool off, then she was good to cheer on everyone at the finish flags. More than a few puffed out people doubled over on the grass at Bulli have worn a surprise face lick from Soot congratulating them on finishing - once again, her way of giving support.
Sooty's passing had left a hole in our lives that seems impossible to fill right now, but hopefully all the memories will fill this with time, along with more than a few parkruns in her memory. We'll always miss her.
‘RDOZ takes over Coomera’ by Geoff Dusha & Andrew Spriggs
Andrew and I were not runners in any shape or form until earlier this year, but initially inspired by our respective (beautiful and supportive) wives, we both found running a convenient method of exercising when travelling away from home for work.
When the Running Dads Oz (RDOZ) Facebook group started up, I became a member and Andrew did too shortly after – we found that our stories weren’t unique – there were lots of dads with similar tales and struggles, along with those who were lifelong runners. Many of us had ‘found’ running through our wives (many of those through RMA), or inspired by our kids, or by the need to demonstrate healthy and active lifestyle our kids.
When the call went out for the ‘RDOZ to takeover Coomera parkrun’ event, neither Andrew nor I gave it so much as a second thought – I was struggling with another bought of the flu that eventually turned into bronchitis, and Andrew was struggling to run 1km (let alone 5) due to continuing shin splint issues. Even a couple of days before the event, neither Andrew nor I had been able to run. Things changed on the Thursday night/Friday before the event when Andrew managed a broken 10km run, and I managed to eek out a slow 5km.
An exchange of text messages and phone calls followed, and Andrew got himself registered with parkrun (I had done one parkrun event previously), and we committed to attend the Coomera parkrun event. We got there nice and early to scope out the course (not flat like we had hoped) and Andrew purchased himself a RDOZ singlet (said to take minutes off your PB!) and we met a lot of fellow RDOZ members (easy to spot all decked out in their RDOZ gear). As we chatted and warmed up, more and more RDOZ members turned up – we were even out numbering the RMAs!
I think the final count was 17 with members from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, Ipswich and Brisbane – it was great to see.
The Coomera parkrun community was very inclusive and tight knit, with the pre-event briefing taking the time to provide recognition to its members, and welcoming the turnout of visiting dads (as well as the necessary detailing of the course). Out on the run of the picturesque, undulating course, there were high fives aplenty (both between runners and from those on the sideline) and many, many chants of “go Running Dad” or “go dads”. The good vibes must have worked – many PBs were run (including from Andrew and myself).
Thanks to Gavin, Chris & Mark for organising the event, and thank you Coomera parkrun for making the visitors feel welcome.
parkdog of the week
Hi! I'm Radar the Siberian Husky and Sandgate is my home parkrun. Every Saturday I get sooo excited when my family gets ready for parkrun. I can't wait to get down to the start line to meet up with all the other parkrun dogs. Last Saturday I ran a PB of 19:45 and was officially crowned the 'fastest dog in Sandgate' before having a swim in the bay to cool down.
Upcoming Special Events
17/10 – Grafton (NSW), Paradise Point (Qld)
31/10 – Port Macquarie (NSW)
28/11 – Surfers Paradise (Qld)
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, Westerfolds (Vic) 2nd
31/10 – Mudgeeraba (Qld) 2nd
Until further notice – Heirisson Island (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)
Feedback from the field
Daphne & John Day - My wife & I have been attending Cleveland parkrun for 2.5 years since its start date in May 2013. We are in our mid 80s and the friendly atmosphere engendered by the different age groups at Cleveland has been a really wonderful experience which we look forward to each week. We have just returned from a holiday trip to England and beyond and took the opportunity to take part in Southampton parkrun on September 5. There were 628 runners on that day, yet on our admission that we were parkrun tourists from Australia we were given an unbelievingly warm welcome by several of the local runners who seemed genuinely interested to hear about our home parkrun which even scored a mention in the Southampton parkrun newsletter for that week. It seems that the warm spirit that typifies parkrun knows no national boundaries; we rate our UK parkrun the highlight of our overseas trip.
Mark Potten - Thank you Parramatta parkrun volunteers for your support and encouragement on my first parkrun following my surgery two weeks ago. Certainly not a PB but happy with my efforts this morning.
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: Tracy King (Adams)
Home parkrun: Sandgate – the most beautiful parkrun in Australia
Occupation: Federal Government Employee (27 years)
Number of runs: (runner): I hesitate to really call myself a runner, I do intervals, but I have completed 61 parkruns (59 at Sandgate), finally tried the tourist parkrun out for 2 recent launches at Ashgrove and Petrie.
(volunteer): 24, booked to do 25 in a couple of weeks.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: There are many memorable moments, The friends I have made since I started, some of these people have become very important to me and part of my life in other ways, including regular running buddies, breakfast buddies and coffee buddies. Celebrating with friends when they achieve their milestones.
I volunteer at parkrun because:: It means I get to see and talk to many people I wouldn’t normally see on a parkrun day, because I am near the back of the pack, most people have gone home by the time I finish. I love to encourage people as I am participating, either running or in a volunteer role. My favourite volunteer role is photographer. By volunteering, means you are giving something back to the group you associate with every week.
One thing I love about parkrun is:: There are many things to love about parkrun, but I think the one big thing for me is that I discovered a love for running after starting at parkrun 2.5 years ago. I’d never been a runner and although I run intervals and am very slow, I keep coming back and I still love it.