welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s edition of the newsletter we go seriously viral, rev it up on the GC and beat the black dog for the last time.
Just over a month ago I made an early morning drive north up the M1 past Brisbane to the beautiful Sunshine Coast for a breakfast meeting with some local council reps and parkrun Event Directors Mel Erbacher and Rachelle Crawford. After the meeting I sat down for a debrief with Mel and Rachelle and the discussion quickly turned to the upcoming launch of our 100th event in Australia at Calamvale. We all agreed this was a very exciting prospect and that it would be great to do something big to celebrate… but what?
Discussion then moved onto the usual stuff: work, parkrun, family, parkrun etc; and Mel mentioned that her husband Adam worked in film production. Knowing that a number of other parkrunners are also budding Spielbergs it made us think that we could probably throw together a pretty awesome parkrun promotional film.
Then the penny dropped. Let’s get each parkrun event to submit a video of their most beautiful or iconic 50m stretch. 100 events x 50m = 5km of footage i.e. the ultimate parkrun!
Without hesitation Mel piped up – “We’ll do it!”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Over the last month Mel and Adam have spent countless hours coordinating this project, codenamed #parkrunAU100, with the support of all 100 parkrun Event Directors across Australia, to create what is, without question, the single most impressive piece of parkrun media ever made. And the stats don’t lie.
Since we released the film last Thursday evening on Facebook and YouTube it has been viewed over 51,000 times and reached over 187,000 people. This is an unprecedented level of exposure for parkrun and easily the most successful social media foray we’ve ever been part of.
Have you watched it?
If not, do yourself a favour and CLICK HERE.
So Mel and Adam Erbacher, and every parkrun Event Director who helped make this incredible film happen, I salute you.
Finally, I just want to note that this week’s ‘Beating the Black Dog’ will be the last in what has been an incredible series of deeply personal stories shared with me (and you) by parkrunners across Australia. I can say, without hesitation, that nothing has made me prouder than reading these and I want to thank everyone who contributed, although of course not all of them were able to be published. Keep up the great work everyone.
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
Essential Stats for Australia & Singapore
Number of locations – 100
Number of runners – 12,185
Number of PBs – 2,225
Number of first timers – 1,744
Number of volunteers – 899
Number of members – 155,834
parkrunners Rev It Up!!!
The usual Saturday morning run took on a different form a few weeks ago when the V8 Supercars visited the Gold Coast. A large number of parkrunners from across South East Qld got to test their speed in the 3km ‘Runners Hot Lap’ around the racetrack that was part of the V8 Superfest. In doing so, 'Team parkrun' not only raised some valuable funds for Surf Lifesaving QLD, but were also lucky enough to come away with the $2000 Community Running Reward. Former Kirra parkrun Event Directors Chris van Hoof and Matt Judd, now known as Those Guys Events loved seeing familiar faces crossing the finish line. "It's always great to see parkrunners get out there and enjoy running in different environments. We saw at the Runners Hot Lap and we are also seeing at the Brisbane and Gold Coast Trail Running Series. The confidence that parkrun instills in people is always inspiring".
There are only two days of the year where we allow parkrun events to take place outside of a Saturday morning… Christmas Day and New Year's Day. To see if your home event is hosting a parkrun on either of these days please visit our Christmas Compendium.
‘Beating the Black Dog’ by Anonymous
I have a Black Dog and most days now the Black Dog is happy just to roam freely in the garden and park, playing and enjoying the sunshine, but this has not always been the case.
I have suffered from depression for probably my whole adult life, but I have been through three huge battles in dealing with this depression over the past 14 years. All three times, exercise has helped me get better, it has only been during the past 22 months that I have actually managed my depression, recovered and got better.
Counselling has helped, however, the biggest and greatest change for me has come in changing the foods I eat. I am Gluten Free, Grain Free and pretty much Sugar free and I just eat real whole foods.
The other is parkrun and running!
In January 2013 I started walking to help with weight loss and keep my body moving. Walking turned into jog between trees or power poles, and then it just became more jogging and less walking. I set myself a goal of completing Bridge to Brisbane in under 1 hour. To achieve this I had to run more. Hell, I had to be able to actually run 10km and not stop.
I joined the local running club and attended every fortnight at their runs. I began running at parkrun on the 25th of May. I was scared, I thought I would be last and that they would be waiting for me. How wrong was I?
I love being part of parkrun. I love the family that it has created. I love running. I love cheering and supporting my fellow runners. It was all about the kms and being a part of a community each week. It was about me being out there running, for me. It was during all these runs at parkrun and making the effort for me, that is when my life began to change.
Sure I lost weight. But I had to start to process and deal with the stuff that was going around my head, while I was running. Running makes you accountable to you. Running gives you back so much more than you could ever give it.
Running gave me – “If I can’t run fast I can look good doing it”, I am known for my Fluro tights, crazy hair and motivating people on the run. Others would call it yelling….
Running has given me so many amazing friends and stories from over the past 12 months.
Running is now part of my daily, weekly life. I can put my runners on and open the front door and just run. I can now run and get to a place of complete blankness while running.
I have now completed 2 half marathons, I can easily run 10km without even flinching at this distance.
Running has changed me. Running allows me to be not so broken. Running has given me truly amazing new friends, who I know will be with me for life.
So now my Black Dog comes running with me, but it is me that is out running him now, he can’t catch me.
As many of you are now proud owners of the official parkrun t-shirt we have started a new photo segment here in the newsletter where you can wear (or hold) the shirt in an interesting and exciting location… or perhaps even with a celebrity! Think “standing in front of the Pyramids” or getting Mick Jagger wearing it!!! I’m sure you get the drift.
Once you have the photo please email it to us and post it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #showusyourparkrun
This week’s entry was taken at the launch of Calamvale parkrun, our event #100, and includes many of our Brisbane Event Directors and friends.
parkdog of the week
Say hello to Humphrey, our ‘parkdog of the week’. Humphrey and his beagle buddies attend Balyang Sanctuary parkrun in Geelong with their Foster Mum Jo MacCarthy.
My name is Humphrey and I’m 9.5 years old. I’m lucky enough to have made several appearances at Balyang Sanctuary parkrun with my Foster Mum Jo. Jo got me and my buddies from Beagle Rescue Victoria although of course she can only take 1 of us at a time to parkrun! We may not be the fastest pair, but I love getting to sniff every metre of the course, and having a splash in the Barwon River afterwards. Jo often says “Never has a name suited a dog more as Humphrey gets into all manner of strife."
FAQ - Will I be photographed or filmed at parkrun events?
Many of our events have volunteer photographers videoing or photographing parkrunners, for the benefit of the runners. These photographs or videos may be uploaded to our websites or Facebook pages for non-commercial purposes.
To view these photos, please go to the event’s Facebook page.
If you would like to have a specific photo taken down, please get in contact with the event team directly, by going to the event website.
Upcoming Special Events
29/11 - The Beaches (NSW); 13/12 - Stanthorpe (Qld), Menai (NSW), Cottesloe (WA).
29/11 - Minnippi (Qld) 1st; 6/12 - Bunyaville (Qld) 1st, Lakeview (NSW) 1st, Torrens (SA) 2nd, Mt Gambier (SA) 1st.
29/11 - Lillydale Lake (Vic).
Feedback from the field
Shontae Gama - I'm a keen parkrunner from Carine Glades parkrun in WA and just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for putting a picture of my two boys in last week’s newsletter!!! They can't believe that they're now famous. They loved volunteering with me and are keen parkrun supporters. I think parkrun is an AMAZING initiative and I'm so grateful it exists. Thank you for all your hard work.
Sarah Firth - Having signed up to parkrun and getting my barcode many months ago, I FINALLY did my first parkrun at Claisebrook Cove in WA on Saturday. I normally do group fitness on a Saturday, but I was persuaded this week by your promotion of a 'naked' run without all the gadgets. Not only was it a beautiful morning in a beautiful location, but everyone was friendly and the atmosphere was great! And I took your advice and had no watch and no music, I just paced myself within the crowd and listened to my body. I didn't get a personal best, but it also wasn't a personal worst and it's a good starting point for me to improve on. I will definitely be making the effort to get down there on a more regular basis and run 'naked' more often!
Nikki and Ben - We want to say a huge thanks to Nikki and Phil at Mount Gambier parkrun for making us feel so welcome. It's such a beautiful course around the Blue Lake with just the right amount of hills to keep you puffing! Thanks too to all the people who chatted with us - there were so many friendly faces. It was also great to head out for coffee and breakfast afterwards. A well run event, beautiful course and a social catch up afterwards... just what parkrun is all about!
Shell Bell - I used to run long distance in school. 2 years and 2 months ago, at age 38, I took up running again as I needed to lose some weight after my 4th baby. I started off running 5km with my goal time of 30 minutes. I did this quite quickly so then progressed on to 10km, just running the local Oxenford Regatta Lake. I now run between 12 and 16km by myself and for 2 years wanted to do the Gold Coast Marathon 10km or eventually the half. I have been nervous to do it so have never registered, nervous because the big crowds worried me. So I eventually signed up to parkrun a few weeks ago as I thought this could be a good starting point to rid me of my nerves. Last week I ran my first parkrun at Coomera. I was super nervous but I made it to the start line ready to run. I did my average 5km time which was 28 minutes. I don’t do 5km much as I prefer to do 10+ and I only run flat tracks as I did some damage at the beginning to quads and hamstrings and haven’t risked damage again. But 2 years on I can say I finally gave it a go and even though I was nervous I did it… and I’m going to go back and hopefully get the courage to register for the half marathon next year. Thank you for the fantastic opportunity of running with this awesome organization. I think I’ll love it!
Linda Charnock - I was a tourist at New Farm in Brisbane on Saturday and just wanted to pass on my thanks for the warm welcome! I was very excited to be a parkrun tourist having been a Tuggeranong 'purist' for 27 runs! The earlier start was good but this southerner still found it hot going! It was interesting to see the similarity but differences between the parkruns. New Farm gives runners joining the 50 club a bib to wear which is a great idea and ensures lots of high fives! New Farm also do a warm up which was fun too. I missed the marshal at the half way point which Tuggeranong has as the smile and a word of encouragement helps as you head back. A great experience and I encourage everyone to try the parkrun tourist experience. Oh yes, really enjoying the ‘parkdog of the week’ and the positive stories on how running has helped people beat mental illness too. Go parkrun!
Daniel Behrend - Just want to tell you how much my partner (Zor Maung) and I enjoyed our recent trip to Perth. We are parkrunners from Edinburgh and were down under visiting family and holidaying. We did Claisebrook Cove on 8/11 and Rockingham on 15/11. It was great to get a round of applause from all the runners when they heard where we had travelled from. We'd love to welcome you all to Edinburgh. Strangely, both runs were very similar to Edinburgh, especially Rockingham (except the weather, obviously).
We can't wait to come back.
Clinton Bishop - I just wanted to thank everybody at Canning River for making my 50th parkrun so special. Run Director Dan Baldwin let everyone know about my parkrun journey, Ben Harris paced me and others to a new PB and people came from parkruns all over the place to run with me. I knew I had a lot of great friends at parkrun, but Saturday blew my mind. It really is an event packed with awesome.
Jon Storey - This is a picture from Bramhall parkrun (01/10/2011). My son Cameron was 7 years old and completed his first parkrun (33:24). Cameron has since completed a further 113 parkruns and achieved a PB at Geographe Bay parkrun of 24:41. Today, Tuesday 25th November, Cameron turns 11 and he's really looking forward to being able to run parkrun unsupervised. This coming Saturday Cameron will be running at his home parkrun, Claisebrook Cove parkrun. Happy Birthday Cameron.
Steve Harris - Was it really two years ago? An article in the local paper – ‘Running event to start at Sandgate on Saturday - 5km’. Bah humbug, I don't put my running shoes on for anything less than 10km. But… it was only down the road and it was a nice morning so along I went, and even got my wife, Elaine, out for her first run in 25 years. After a week or two of maybe/maybe not, we were hooked. Now Sandgate parkrun has just had its second birthday party (a very tasteful beach party theme) and I have run 100 parkruns - and Elaine is not far off that number either. Along the way, lots of friends, fun and fitness. But my greatest pleasure is seeing the improvement in the MULTITUDE of people - most of who now seem to be passing me each week. A very big thank you to Event Directors - Dean and Vanessa, our array of Run Directors, the many many volunteers, as well as Tim, Sarah & Gareth in HQ, all of who are essential links in the success of this phenomenon that is parkrun. And I now hardly put my running shoes on for anything over 5km.
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: Scott Marshall
Club: Tuggeranong Vikings Triathlon Club
Home parkrun: Tuggeranong
Occupation: Public Servant
Number of runs: 79 (including 8 x parkrun tourist)
Number of times volunteered: 6
Favourite volunteer role: Any/all – preferably near the start/finish to share the parkrun atmosphere.
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: I am happy to help an event that sees people getting out and doing something proactive for their own health.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: None in particular.
How can we improve parkrun: We get a free coffee at the café after for volunteering, sounds pretty good to me already!