welcome to the newsletter
This week we achieved a significant milestone in the short history of parkrun in Australia with the registration of our 300,000th member. Wow! I can still remember when 10,000, 50,000 and even 100,000 was a BIG deal. This Saturday is also the fifth anniversary of our very first event at Main Beach parkrun so the timing of this milestone is just lovely.
What is interesting however is that of these 300,000 only 210,121 have actually made it to a parkrun event to have their barcode scanned for the first time. So that means almost 90,000 people have registered for parkrun in Australia but are yet to attend… are you one of these people?
In Victoria we are currently partners in a physical activity campaign with VicHealth that aims to inspire women between the ages of 25 and 44 to come along to their first parkrun. Last Saturday was the first weekend of the campaign, called ‘Find Your Motivation’, and it was interesting to see the results across the various parkrun age categories by Victorian women:
Age - # first timers
20-24 - 21
25-29 - 37
30-34 - 45
35-39 - 66
40-44 - 53
45-49 - 49
That’s a really good result and we’ll hope to see this continue as the campaign progresses. Interestingly across the country we had a major lift in first timers with 4,388 compared to last week’s 3,120. Great to see so many have found their motivation to parkrun!
So why would someone register for parkrun and not attend? It’s an interesting question and one that we have done some research on in the UK. The number one reason is the worry about not being ‘fit enough’ and the fear of ‘coming last’. If you are a regular parkrunner you would know that EVERYONE is welcome at parkrun and therefore everyone IS in fact ‘fit enough’. You would also know that the last person across the line is celebrated as much as, if not more, than the first person to finish.
So if you know of anyone who is registered for parkrun but is currently ‘sitting on the fence’ perhaps give them a gentle nudge this week and invite them to join you this Saturday.
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
"Why I parkrun" by Bradley Scott
I was born with a heart condition that resulted in two operations when I was four years old. Eventually I will need a valve replacement, although my doctors can't predict when. Every year I go in for my check-up and they say "not this year, Bradley". I'm very fortunate in that there is very little that my condition stops me doing. Hanging the washing on the line exhausts me because my arms are above my head, but that's nothing considering that had I been born 100 years ago I would have died as a child.
The reason that I come to parkrun every Saturday is to get as fit as possible before my valve replacement. I know that I am going to be a huge inconvenience to my wife and parents when I am incapacitated after the operation. The fitter that I am when it happens, the quicker I will recover. I'm not a fast runner, but that really doesn't matter.
Volunteering was important to me because every week I saw run directors Mark, Ange and Anika taking on a huge amount of work and I wanted to help share the load. Setting up the signs and doing the new runners' induction is a great way to help and still get a run.
I've been to every Chermside parkrun so far, and I plan to continue to attend for as long as possible.
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Upcoming Special Events
02/04 – Lismore (NSW), Kedron (Qld)
16/04 – Lalor (Vic), Mackay (Qld)
23/04 – Clare Valley (SA)
30/04 – Parkville (Vic)
07/05 – Batemans Bay (NSW)
14/05 – The Entrance (NSW)
21/05 – Portland (Vic)
02/04 – Main Beach (Qld) 5th, Traralgon (Vic) 1st
09/04 – Fingal Bay (NSW) 3rd, Warragul (Vic) 1st
16/04 – Augustine Heights (Qld) 3rd, Cottesloe (WA) 1st, Sale (Vic) 1st
23/04 – Ginninderra (ACT) 4th, Lillydale Lake (Vic) 2nd, Rockingham (WA) 3rd, Stones Corner (Qld) 2nd
02/04 – Dubbo (NSW), Pittsworth (Qld)
09/04 – Hervey Bay (Qld)
23/04 – Port Macquarie (NSW), Chermside (Qld)
30/04 – Port Macquarie (NSW), Geographe Bay (WA)
07/05 – Sirromet (Qld)
parkdog of the week
My name is Heidi and I was Toowoomba parkrun’s first parkdog to join the 50-club back in September last year (on the same day as my human Louise). We love coming to parkrun together and I especially love all of the pats and high-fours I get when I cross the finish line.
Feedback from the field
Anne Grunseit - Great to read the article about parkrun in South Africa - so pleased it is having a good impact where it is most needed.
Jeremy Clapham - I run at the Joondalup parkrun in WA, but am originally from South Africa. I read this week’s newsletter with much interest, as I come from Komatipoort, which is near to Tonga in Mpumalanga. Bruce Fordyce was connected to our running club in Komatipoort a couple of times, helping us promote the half marathon that we used to run, called the Kaftan Half Marathon (run along the mountains on the Mozambique border, finishing in Komatipoort). I remember chatting with Bruce at Ngwenya Lodge just before I moved to Australia in 2008. I mentioned to him that I was emigrating to Australia and he said (tongue in cheek) "what do you want to go there for?" He is truly a running legend and I am sure a great ambassador for parkrun in South Africa. Now that I know there is a parkrun near Komatipoort, I will try and visit it when I next go back on holiday.
Simon Redhead - The Jones family from Newy parkrun are proof that the family that parkruns together, has lots of barcodes, lots of 50 shirts, lots of bunny ears and is automatically able to arrange themselves from shortest to tallest.
Bob Paxton - I run at the Campbelltown parkrun in NSW and it is the highlight of my week. For a long time I have not been able to break my PB, until last Saturday. That was the first parkrun following my run in the Six Foot Track Marathon. I think my effort in the 6FT helped me to break my PB. The 6FT is a highlight in my running year. I've now done 13 runs in the 6FT and enjoy the tremendous challenge of it. It's on my running calendar each year, this means, to enter, to train, to keep abreast of updates on changes and to get to the start line early, and also to the point of arriving at Katoomba the day before and staying at a friend's home (in Katoomba)overnight. This means that I don't need to rise very early and travel from home so early on the race morning. Most years, my running club the Campbelltown Joggers Club has several members running in the 6FT.
Clare Meyerhoff - Firstly congratulations on being so fabulous. I have loved parkrun for a long time and after moving internationally was delighted to find a new parkrun home. However what I want to share is my Mum's story. She completed her first parkrun in November 2015, aged 72. Mum unfortunately suffers with memory difficulties. She has always been an avid 'rambler' and was in a local group in Launceston. Unfortunately after a fall last year she was asked to stop joining the group (she was one of the oldest and their insurance was going to sky rocket because mum fell whilst out with them). Mum understood and stopped rambling. I invited her to join me (and my 4 year old daughter) on my daughter's first official parkrun. She's been in the pram a lot. Mum loved it and we came in at about 53 mins. Mum has since joined her local parkrun and goes every week. She's found something to keep her active and allowed her to ramble again. Thank you so much! As I said, you are fabulous!
Simon Chawner - Loving parkrun! Just done number 36 but here at Lake Mac parkrun in summer the 8am start is so hot! Maybe starting next year at daylight savings we could push it back to 7am. I know a lot of people would really love that! Then daylight savings back to 8am at the moment is just become pleasant to run!
Ricky Gribling - I joined my first parkrun on March 12 when I was visiting in Gippsland. I am used to walking 3km in 30 minutes but never 5km. However I finished it in 50:23 minutes, 23 seconds slower than my normal pace. I was highly amused when I received your email that I came first in my age group. It was so funny because I was the ONLY ONE in that age group. I am an 80 years young female. I hope to see you all at Paradise Point on Saturday. I hope it isn't too hot. I won't be running but walking and I have my barcode.
Blair Habberjam – We had ‘Kids in Charge’ day at Capalaba parkrun last Saturday... Here they all are posing for a selfie with Run Director Ted.
Kerry Bray - Along with a couple of wonderful friends, I travelled from Sydney to The Terrace parkrun last Saturday. We three Woodstock Runners were warmly welcomed at the superbly organised and very scenic course and all enjoyed our runs. Breakfast at the nearby Cups'n'Saucers cafe was pretty terrific, too. Thanks to all volunteers for a fantastic morning.
Sue Quinn – Last Saturday 19th of March was my first ever run (I am a walker). My time was 30 mins but most importantly I managed to run the whole distance. I'm not sure what I expected from the parkrun but I am so glad I turned up to the event. Everyone including the volunteers was so supportive and encouraging. I was so proud of myself and even more so when I received your email with my time, PB, age grading etc. I will definitely be making it a regular event.
Barry Toll - Reading last week’s newsletter reminded me of my days in PNG in the early 80s. I was involved with a group that organised a weekly run – 3, 5 and 10km each week across about 10 repeated locations. We used to get between 100-200 locals each week from the surrounding squatter villages – most in bare feet (some of our courses had hard gravel roads.) As runners crossed the line, the time keeper called out a time which was recorded and the runner handed over a cardboard tag attached to their wrist with a rubber band on which they had written their name and distance. This was pushed onto a spike in order of finishing. As a check the time recorder would when time allowed record a known runners initials. The results would be typed up, copied and brought along the following week – I think they also got into local paper. There were some good runners – Tau John Tokwepota was a regular – 31 ten and 2:28 marathon – he represented PNG at Olympics and Commonwealth Games in both running and boxing (at the same games I recall)!
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: “Aunty” Fay Galloway
Home parkrun: The Terrace
Occupation: Self-Employed Cleaner
Number of runs: 64
Number of times volunteered: 12
Favourite volunteer role: Pre-Event Set-Up
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: When some of my children started parkrun especially my daughter-in-law pushing my two year old grand-child in a pram.
I volunteer at parkrun because: I like to help and encourage runners just like the volunteers did when I first started at Newy parkrun.
One thing I love about parkrun is: It is so friendly and encouraging to see everyone having a go either walking or running.