Every year around the country, in each Council or Shire, community members and groups are recognised for their valuable service to their community. This year, like many before, a number of our parkrun event teams were honoured.
Curl Curl were the recipient of the Outstanding Community Service Award from Sydney’s Northern Beaches Council. Kim Joss parkrun Curl Curl’s Event Director received the award from Mayor Regan on behalf of her Run Directing team: Paul Rainbow, Dana Lanceman, Michelle Watts, Stuart Watts, Blair Milne and Glenn Moore, the hundreds of volunteers and the 6000 registered runners and walkers.
Since its inception in May 2013, Kim, along with her husband Darren and the ever-present RD Paul Rainbow have been instrumental creating a fantastic event that is fun and inclusive for all in the local community. Last Saturday’s pre-run briefing was therefore slightly longer than normal and a double celebration as it was also Curl Curl’s 250th event!
At Albury Wodonga Sarah and Curtis Briggs were very thankful for the nomination in the Australia Day Albury Awards for Community Group of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. Like everyone, they don’t do it for the awards, but because they love it. Launching parkrun almost four years ago has been one of the most rewarding things they have done and thank everyone for their support, week in and week out!
We asked Sarah and Curits to reflect on their parkrun journey so far…
“We were visiting family in Newcastle for the weekend for a birthday. They knew we were runners and invited us to a “fun run” on Saturday. Uncle Bryan (Newy parkrunner) sent us a link to register which we dutifully did. Still under the impression this was a fun run event, we printed our barcodes and jumped in with them to Newy parkrun.
That day was like nothing I ever experienced before. We made our way to the starting area and looked around in confusion at the lack of runners. With only 15 minutes to start time and a small crowd of runners we thought it was going to be an easy run. Within 5 minutes to start time, there was between 400 – 500 people! We had no idea where they had all come from. And just like that, the parkrun magic was upon us!
Although we loved the event, what really hooked us was receiving the parkrun newsletter. We started reading everyone’s story and it kept that parkrun magic alive. So, with only one parkrun under our running belt, no volunteer experience and no parkrun within three hours of Albury… I decided we should start an event.
And so it started. I was meeting with councils (two, Albury and Wodonga), talking to sponsors and sourcing funding through community grants with only my one parkrun to base my knowledge on. Fair to say I winged-it a bit! Even more so when the kit arrived only days before our “trial event” and only one week out from launch!
Albury Wodonga parkrun (first cross-border parkrun) launched in March 2014 with 88 participants and a handful of clueless volunteers, self-included. The results were processed without any issues, and the parkrun magic was upon the Albury Wodonga community. Since then, we have over 5000 people registered. We have twice been nominated for Community Group of the Year (2015 and 2018) and Volunteer of the Year (2018). We have watched a strong parkrun community form and other events launch close by. We are so grateful for the opportunity parkrun has given us to give to our community and meet so many people we wouldn’t otherwise.
People often come to us and thank us for giving up our time and doing parkrun each week, but the rewards are all ours.”
Queanbeyan parkrun is only 40 weeks young and are supported by an amazing local Event Team. Vanessa Palmer (ED), Erin Murphy, Deirdre Kershaw (RD’s) and Denise Clarke (EA) were invited to the council’s Australia Day celebrations to accept the award and enjoy refreshments as VIP’s of the local Mayor.
The Ponds parkrun in Sydney is one of our highest attended parkruns in the country and was a finalist for Blacktown Community Event of the Year Award. While Ararat, located in regional Victoria received the Community Spirit award.
Other regional Victorian events to receive Community Event of the Year were Shepparton and Cobram and our Wangaratta ED, Laura Tonkin, was a finalist for Citizen of the year.
Clare Valley, Yamba, Chermside, Bunbury, Palmerston and Darwin were also recognised for their amazing contributions to creating happier and healthier communities around all corners of Australia.
These two photos show how lucky we are to have access to defibrillators at parkrun. 30 seconds after the first photo was taken Tanya went into cardiac arrest. Out for her regular Saturday morning run at Blackbutt parkrun, Tanya Barlow felt ‘a bit dizzy’ so sat down and that’s all she remembers. Luckily Blackbutt…
Mitch and his father never considered themselves runners, until they discovered parkrun. That lead them all the way to Hamburg to achieve something that neither thought would be possible. Wind back to October 2015 and I would loudly and proudly announce my disgust for organised running. There was nothing worse I could think of…