welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s edition of the newsletter we salute the true heroes of parkrun, Doddy gets moving in Kathmandu and we hear from a pointy parkrunning tri-star.
It rained on the Gold Coast last week… a lot! Never one to miss a headline, the Gold Coast Bulletin wrote “Gold Coasters were left clinging to rocks and cars as more than 300mm of rain wreaked havoc across the city…”
Obviously this had a significant impact on the local parkrun events with a number being forced to cancel including Tamborine Mountain parkrun which was due to launch on Saturday morning. This was the first time we have ever had to postpone a launch event but it was absolutely the correct decision.
When we cancel a parkrun event there are two steps we ask our Event Directors to take: 1. They cancel the event in our online event management system which automatically posts the news to their event’s website; and 2. They announce the cancelation on Facebook and any other available social media channels. Whilst we know not everyone will get these messages, most will, so we’re satisfied that these steps are sufficient.
What I witnessed on Saturday really blew me away.
Not only did all of our Event Directors follow the steps as given above, each of them then also went to the normal meeting point for their event… in the rain… to direct anyone who didn’t get the message to the nearest parkrun event that hadn’t been forced to cancel! I didn’t ask them to do this. I certainly didn’t expect them to do this. But they did it. Incredible!
This type of selfless act is typical of the type of people who are Event Directors at each and every one of our parkrun events around Australia. They are the kind of people who put the needs of others before their own needs. They are committed to making a difference in their local communities for little or no reward for themselves. They display the best of the Australian spirit, so it’s no wonder that so many have been recognized this week at a number of different Australia Day celebrations.
So to all of our Event Directors, I salute you. You are the true heroes of parkrun… my heroes... I applaud you for your amazing work. Well done.
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
Essential Stats for Australia & Singapore
Number of locations – 98
Number of runners – 14,868
Number of PBs – 2,757
Number of first timers – 2,782
Number of volunteers – 911
Number of members – 173,703
‘Kathmandu Valley parkrun’ by Andrew ‘Doddy’ Dodd
The inaugural Kathmandu Valley (popup) parkrun was held this week at an altitude of over 1400m with a course gain of over 100m. The field of two consisted of Region of Runners representatives Phil Tweed and me - both currently in Nepal for various community development projects. Ironically Phil and Andrew first met not 100m from the start line 3 years ago through a set of coincidences - and then discovered each other were keen runners. They kept in touch on returning to Newcastle just before parkrun exploded into the scene.
The out and back course took them through some busy streets before weaving up a steepish hill with spectacular views of the Kathmandu Valley at halfway. They got a lot of strange looks and comments from a population that is yet to be hit by the running boom.
The Pointy End
Who are you? Albury Wodonga parkrun course record holder (15:11) and professional triathlete, Jesse Featonby. Albury local Jesse has competed in and won a number of international triathlon events and is now ranked in the top 45 athletes in the world.
How the hell do you run so fast? Train hard, eat well, recover and repeat. A good strong coffee also helps!
How many km do you run in an average training week? At the moment about 70km per week which is mixed in with my swimming and riding.
How long have you been running and have you always been so damn good? I have been doing triathlon for the last 10 years and only started running when I began tris.
What is your favourite distance? 10km is my favourite. 5km or shorter is so painful but 10km I feel a little more relaxed.
Do you have a coach and do you train with a squad? Lone wolf at the moment but getting some great results this way.
How much faster would you like to go? I can’t wait to go sub 15. I think it is only two weeks away.
What big events do you want to run? World Tri Champs this season. I have the first world cup in Mooloolaba in March and hoping to continue running this quick.
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 Eiffel Tower” or getting Prince Harry wearing it!!! I’m sure you get the drift.
Once you have the photo please email it to us or post it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #showusyourparkrun
This week’s entry is from Hans Juergen Grollius who writes “Well friends... Happy Australia Day to all you great AUSSIES!”
parkdog of the week
Hi, my name is Bert and I’m a bull mastiff cross. I feel like the luckiest dog in the world as last year my Mummy Tammy adopted me from the pound. Better yet, she then started taking me to Berrinba parkrun! How lucky am I? I love going to parkrun and giving out free cuddles and of course slobber! I’ve struggled a bit over this hot summer so haven’t run much but am looking forward to it getting cooler in the months ahead so I get resume my quest for the 50-club red collar!
FAQ – What is the parkrun Research Board?
parkrun supports research. Our database of run records and access to our runners provides researchers with a unique and valuable resource. The projects we support and our research support request form can be found here.
14/02 - Lake Mac (NSW) 2nd, Golden Beach (Qld) 1st, Ipswich (Qld) 1st; 21/02 - Kirra (Qld) 3rd; 28/02 - Tuggeranong (ACT) 2nd.
07/02 – Geographe Bay (WA); 25/04 – Augustine Heights (Qld); 02/05 – Geographe Bay (WA); 30/05 Mitchelton (Qld)
Upcoming Special Events
31/01 – Cooks River (NSW); 07/02 – Toolern Creek (Vic); 14/03 – Dawesville (WA).
Feedback from the field
Nikki Waterfall - Congrats to Craig and the team at Point Cook parkrun for their first year anniversary. We headed over to help them celebrate and had a great time. Everyone was super friendly and it was awesome to see so much encouragement on the track. It was also great to see so many people dressed up and then stick around afterwards to socialise and eat cake. Well done on the fantastic community you guys have created.
Suzanne Williams - I am so pleased to see the walk/jog/run email addressed in this week's Newsletter. I have completed one run, but hoped to get better at running before trying again to avoid embarrassment. The Newsletter this week has encouraged me to just get out there and give it a go. I'll warm up my shoes for this weekend!
Joe Kuriel - First parkrun for our family. Thanks for an excellent start to the weekend.
Meg Littler - Thank you for highlighting that IT"S OKAY to walk. I really appreciate seeing this in print and looking official. My first parkrun (walk) was in late October, on holiday we joined extended family members for their regular parkrun. Some of them walked, plus I had the company of my 6 year old daughter (definitely not up to long run yet). We had fun and just felt encouraged that we'd finished. A month later at the age of 47 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. A mastectomy followed. Eleven days later I completed my second parkrun, at a park close to home (definitely a WALK that day, and still with 6 year old as company so older members of family could run). But of course us being newbies none of the organisers/volunteers knew this. And as this cancer journey was/is still new not something I was broadcasting to all and sundry. So please THANK and encourage and support those volunteers who act as the "sweeper", remain at the finish line and tables, for us "slowies". I personally am very grateful. As one lovely lady said "At least you are doing more than those people still at home on the couch!" And yes please promote more widely "It's okay to walk" – I'd love some company at the back as I now battle through chemo.
Bede Webster - A follow up story about "walkers" at parkrun. My brother Greg Webster recently ran his 100th parkrun. As he was visiting family in Canberra for Christmas, he wanted as many family members to join him as possible. As you can see from the photo below, we managed to get quite a few family members together. Greg is third from the left. Standing, second from the right, is Greg's niece, Christine. Christine came straight from her Friday night "clubbing" still wearing a tight skirt and her Doc Marten ten hole boots. She walked the Ginninderra course with a few of the more relaxed family members before she went to home to bed. For the record, Greg finished third and Christine finished 141st. But we all finished! So the message is, get out there and walk (but maybe choose footwear a little more suitable that Doc Martens!)
Lana Ricardo - Last weekend was my first parkrun, and yes, I walked the course at Singleton. I walked with a friend from aqua aerobics and we had a great time. My back problem prevents me from running so I will continue walking and hopefully better my time this weekend. My friend, Ros, bettered her time for the walk and she was very excited with that. I hope the lady who was worried about walking gives it go.
Kerry Bray - I was part of a group of Woodstock Runners from Sydney who travelled to Tasmania a fortnight ago. Hobart parkrunners were so welcoming and we thoroughly enjoyed their scenic hilly run around the dam. A week later four of our Club enjoyed a lovely, though flatter course along flood levees at the Launceston parkrun where, once more, we were made most welcome. Thank you Tassie parkrunners.
Deb Thompson - On the 20th December I had the pleasure of having all my children and husband running in the Mount Gambier parkrun in South Australia. It is the first time we have been able to achieve this as one of my daughters has recently returned from overseas and is living in Perth. I am so proud of them all. They all love running, keeping fit and participating in different types of exercise. I am wondering if it is a record to have 5 members of the same family running in parkrun at the same time? I have attached a photo of us, from left: Myles Hopkinson, Rose Thompson, Joshua Thompson, Deb Thompson, Hannah Thompson and Robert Thompson).
Cecilia King - I have successfully competed in my 3rd Pioneer parkrun and yes I am a Walker. I feel comforted to know that the walkers of parkrun are viewed respectfully and are more than welcome. I am in the 60-65 bracket and don't ever intend to run again so this wonderful attitude to walkers spurs me on to attending each and every Saturday morning. Everybody is supportive and helpful with hi fives and a cheering squad as we walkers pass thru the flags. BTW I had a PB last week. Yeah for me
Vicki Thornbury - My husband has just run his 40th parkrun and throughout 2014 he used to set his sights on someone he thought would push him along (without them knowing of course), so last week it was very rewarding to have a fellow runner come up and shake his hand and thank him for pushing him along.... dejavu!
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: Kerry Connolly
Home parkrun: Shepparton parkrun
Occupation: Case worker
Number of runs: 1
Number of times volunteered: 35
Favourite volunteer role: Barcode Scanning (but love doing all positions)
What do like about volunteering at parkrun: When you volunteer as much as me you get to know the parkrunners and their personal achievements. It is great when they come up to me and say that they have improved their PB or ran all the way without walking etc.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: When I volunteer as photographer and the parkrunners try to show off in front of the camera and I always miss the shot.
How can we improve parkrun: Encourage people to volunteer, remind them that our parkrun is totally volunteer run and without them we would not be able to go ahead each week. Trying to get the better runners to volunteer is so hard. You remind them they love to run each week but without volunteers they wouldn’t be able to.