welcome to the newsletter
Every now and then an email comes across my desk (figuratively) that needs no editing and no explanation. The following words by Catherine Minifie, entitled ‘parkrun saved my Dad’ is a case in point.
This is not a story about an individual overcoming exceptional circumstances to succeed.
This is, however, a story about how a 5km run each week – a mere 25-or-so minutes every Saturday, where a 61-year-old man who happens to be my Dad, came back to life once he joined parkrun.
My Dad is one of the hardest workers and most selfless people that I know. He never complains. As a child, all I can remember is him working exceptionally hard, but always having time to take my brother and I to our sports games, rowing regattas or social engagements. So, when Dad was made redundant, out of the blue, in November 2014, it was a devastating blow for a man who has known nothing since he finished university, but work. His spark for life dissipated and he seemed to lose his purpose.
According to Beyond Blue, one in eight men will have depression at some stage in their lives. Men are less likely than women to talk about depression and The Black Dog Institute states that an estimated 72% of males do not seek help for mental disorders. Being male instantly puts my Dad at an increased risk in regards to him seeking help. Being from a family who finds it difficult to express feelings, I was worried for the wellbeing of my Dad when he lost his job. Luckily, Dad had run his first parkrun in August of that same year which conveniently happened to be in the reserve directly behind our house.
After his redundancy, his involvement really ramped up and it became something that he looked forward to every week. Dad has competed in 36 (!) City to Surf’s, so he is no stranger to hitting the pavement, but parkrun offered him a free, accessible and sociable event every Saturday morning – I had no idea what a game changer that 25 minutes on a Saturday would be for him. I honestly think that parkrun saved my Dad. It gave him something to look forward to every week. It gave him interaction with other people. It gave him physical health. And it gave him back his life after work.
I am not exaggerating when I say - these days, give Dad five minutes and no matter who he is talking to, or what the intended subject matter is, the conversation will have somehow made its way to parkrun. He is one of parkruns biggest advocates and looks forward to Saturdays so much. So much so, that on a recent trip to visit my brother overseas, part of the trip logistics had to be arranged around parkrun. Mum can’t organise anything on a Saturday morning, unless it allows Dad to run parkrun. At the time of writing, Dad has completed 60 parkruns in Maitland, along with runs at St Peters, Wangaratta, Noosa, Newy, Blue Gum Hills, Curl Curl, Perth (UK) and Ginninderra, to clock up a total of 72 runs.
He is keen to give back to parkrun too, and has volunteered multiple times at Maitland parkrun, however, it does tend to be a pack up or pack down job, therefore allowing him to run too!
My Dad turns 62 on July 26 and it would be the greatest gift if this story might be able to be published around the time of his birthday as he reads the newsletter religiously.
The physical benefits of getting people out of bed and off the couch in a day and age where we are increasingly sedentary are clear, but it is the mental, emotional and social benefits that I would like to thank parkrun for.
Thank you parkrun, for saving my Dad’s life.
Tim from parkrun Australia (get in touch)
Strive: Be a parkrunner
Some great words from our friends at Strava -
Not everyone can make it to a parkrun, but everyone should run like a parkrunner at least once in a while. The format is simple: Every Saturday rain or shine, run 5k with your community, and absolutely anyone is welcome. The parkrun gang has managed to strike a perfect balance of getting faster and total inclusivity. It’s exactly what is about.
Click here to watch the clip.
Win with Entertainment Book
If you purchase an Entertainment™ Membership before the 31st July 2016 then you will go into the draw to win $100 in Wish GiftCards. Wish Gift cards can be used at any Woolworths, Big W, Masters, BWS, Caltex, Dan Murphys or Cellar Masters across the whole of Australia.
The Entertainment™ Membership entitles you to over $20,000 worth of valuable up to 50% OFF and 2-for-1 offers from many of your area's best restaurants, cafés, attractions, hotel accommodation, travel and much more.
Click here for your chance to go into the draw to win this brilliant prize then purchase your Entertainment™ Membership now.
Upcoming Special Events
06/08 – Blackbutt (NSW) 3rd, Claisebrook Cove (WA) 4th, Victor Harbor (SA) 2nd
13/08 – Callaghan (NSW) 1st, Wishart (Qld) 2nd
20/08 – Hobart (Tas) 2nd
27/08 – Balyang Sanctuary (Vic) 4th, Cairns (Qld) 3rd, Capalaba (Qld) 2nd, Chermside (Qld) 1st, Hervey Bay (Qld) 2nd, Lake Joondalup (WA) 2nd, Maribyrnong (Vic) 2nd, Mt Clarence (WA) 2nd, Singleton (NSW) 2nd
10/09 – Mt Penang (NSW), Diamond Creek (Vic)
15/10 – Launceston (Tas)
12/11 – Mt Penang (NSW)
19/11 – Tamborine Mountain (Qld)
parkdog of the week
My name is Noni. I am a 20-month old Kelpie and I LOVE running. Saturdays at Ginninderra parkrun in Canberra are my favourite time of week. I run with my Dad (Joe) and Mum (Carlie). Everyone at Ginninderra parkrun knows me because I get very excited at the starting line. I pull my Mum or Dad along for the first km or so, and after this we settle in to a nice steady pace. Because I run so fast for the first bit, my Mum and Dad have to run hard just to keep up. This means that they get some awesome PBs with me. In fact, they've both set their PBs with me helping. They like to say that it's just motivation, because they're trying to catch me for the first part, but I know better. My PB with Dad is 20.08 and with Mum is 24.18. I love to help my Mum and Dad get PBs. After I have crossed the finish line I like to go swimming in the lake, even on the freezing cold winter mornings.
Are you a parkrun-loving dog, aka a parkdog? If so, and you’re clever enough to read this newsletter, we’d love to hear from you. Please send your profile to helloAU@parkrun.com with the subject ‘parkdog of the week’. And remember, don’t forget your bark-code. Woof!
Feedback from the field
David Ryan - Coomera parkrun turned 4 on Saturday. Our theme was crazy hair day and plenty got into the spirit to help make it a wonderful event. I could show you lots of photos of the effort everyone went to but this photo stood out. A parkrunner and a volunteer who both look to be about as old as our event. What a gorgeous shot.
Allison Hunter – It was just a little cold at Kalgoorlie Boulder parkrun on Saturday. Check out the ice on the ground!
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: Maria Mills
Home parkrun: The wonderful Forest Rec parkrun in Nottingham, England
Occupation: School Crossing Patrol aka Lollipop Lady
Number of runs: 30
Number of times volunteered: 33
I volunteer at parkrun because: I like to give encouragement, meet new parkrunners, but most of all because I love it.
You should visit my parkrun because: Of the friendliness, the sense of belonging and the excellent and challenging course. You will be singing from your heart for days after your visit.
And when you're in town you should also check out: Our other parkruns; and there are plenty of them!