David Sillikens and daughter Eve, are a perfect parkrun duo. David has been participating at Ballarat parkrun since it was launched in 2015, notching up over 50 runs. Eve is a relative newcomer to parkrun with 10 runs to her name. To begin with, Eve started going to parkrun to improve her fitness for ballet and David is thrilled she has started to join him. He absolutely loves having his 12-year-old daughter come along. Now parkrun has become a common interest for them both.
David has been a runner for 20 years and began doing parkrun with a few mates. But having Eve along has brought out a different side of parkrun for David. He loves spending time with Eve and they both like having a chat as they run along. David says it’s a good opportunity for him to ask about what’s happening with Eve, what’s going on at school and what her friends are up to. parkrun has become less about focused training and chasing down PBs, and more about family time, socialising and connecting. David says, “I love having Eve come to parkrun. I like spending time together and I get to show my beautiful daughter off to everyone!” It’s clear David is as proud as punch! But he is quick to establish that he does not push her into his passion. He leaves it up to Eve to decide if she will go or not. And Eve can verify that her Dad isn’t too pushy saying, “he’s not too mean!”
For David, parkrun has made a big impact on his running. He says he has met new people, enjoys the social aspect and likes having a chat. He particularly likes that it’s free and entirely run by volunteers. He has been able to reconnect with people he used to know from tri clubs and various running clubs around town. The ideal thing for David is that you don’t need to organise a meetup, you just turn up and chat to those who are there. For Eve, parkrun has a different meaning. She enjoys running with her Dad and spending time with him. She likes to work on her PB and is aiming to get faster. Eve wants to get fitter to help her improve her ballet. She is a talented ballerina and has won many trophies at regional Eisteddfods around Victoria. David is more than willing to share his knowledge of running to Eve, and is also happy to be able to help her improve her strength and fitness for ballet. David would otherwise be a bit of an outsider with Eve’s passion, so parkrun has been something that they can both do together.
Eve believes she can learn a lot from her Dad and from others at parkrun saying, “Dad has some good advice about running and the people at parkrun are all very nice and encouraging.” She also likes that you don’t have to commit to every Saturday morning. Eve has just started Secondary School, plus she has a heavy schedule with her ballet commitments, so its nice that she can skip a Saturday morning if she wants to. Eve would definitely recommend parkrun to her friends and other girls her age. parkrun is an ideal way for teen girls to get some exercise as there is little commitment, no fees and it’s the same time and place each week making it easier to schedule in other commitments.
David and Eve have always had a close relationship, but David believes that having a shared interest will help keep the connection strong as Eve goes through the teenage years. parkrun provides a welcoming and friendly environment for all ages, so its perfect for parents to bring their teens along. Plus, the atmosphere is non-competitive and non-judgemental which is great for teenagers developing their self-confidence. It is also an opportunity for parents to spend time with their children, but also allow them to have some independence.
David would encourage any parents, and in particular fathers, to invite their daughters along with them to parkrun. Sometimes even all of the family attend, with David’s wife Tracy walking Rosie the dog, and his son Jacob running as well. But David is thrilled that Eve has shown an interest in parkrun and that he has a firm connection with his daughter. parkrun is a great starting point for their weekend and further encourages more activity as a family. Sometimes David will do a lap of the lake after parkrun with Eve riding her bike. Or sometimes they all walk the dog together. But despite both David and Eve loving parkrun and spending time together, they agree that the most important part of their Saturday morning is the traditional bacon and eggs breakfast!
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