Hamilton Island parkrun would be on the top of many parkrun tourist’s list. Steve Jackson was the establishing Event Director and has seen the event grow, survive cyclones and become an important part of the local community.
For most of Australian parkrunners, layering up with jumpers, beanies and gloves is an essential part of a Saturday morning. We can only dream of an island escape with crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches. For some lucky touristing parkrunners, that dream is a reality on Hamilton Island.
Hamilton Island is located in the Whitsunday Islands and is of course hugely popular with holiday-makers all year round. It is mostly a tourism destination with very few residents actually living on Hamilton Island. Steve, the Activities and Sports Manager of the island, started parkrun to complement the activities and fun runs already organised for guests. Hamilton Island parkrun is unique as it actually introduces many people to parkrun who are holidaying. Steve says, “I thought parkrun would give added impetus to the existing weekly fun run that we did. We have actually introduced many people to parkrun. We’ve also had parkrun tourists; people who were holidaying and saw that we had a parkrun and were keen to tick it off their list.”
Steve started Hamilton Island parkrun in October 2015. The average number of weekly parkrunners is usually in the mid-20s. Steve comments on the unique set up of this particular parkrun, “When we first started out, we actually ran parkrun internally, with staff taking on many of the volunteer roles, but are now getting the locals to volunteer. The Island has a small core of parkrunners and such is the dynamic nature of the community, that the numbers often fluctuate.”
Steve says it has been a rewarding experience to introduce parkrun to so many guests who have stayed on the island. He goes on to say, “it’s been great to unite so many parkrunners from different parts of the country, or indeed the world, and that one connection has sparked some great conversations, and better yet, some friendships that have continued beyond the holiday.” Steve also comments on how a parkrun on the island has been a good link between staff and guests, “its been great for guests to connect on a deeper level with staff and residents. So many people are interested (and envious!) of life on an Island and are curious about everything from where we live, to where the power and water come from!”
As well as the parkrun Event Director and Activities and Sports manager of Hamilton Island, Steve is also the Editor of Multisport Magazine, contributes to managing several tri and running events in Queensland and organises a Run Club. Steve says that in his role of Editor he is keen to, “highlight the amazing people of parkrun and bring a greater insight to all the remarkable aspects of the parkrun community.”
Steve is obviously passionate about having an active lifestyle and loves sports, in particular running. He has always been a huge supporter of the parkrun ethos saying, “parkrun advertises that it’s whatever you want it to be. For some its a chance to go fast; for some its a chance to be with friends and family being active together; for some its a chance to give back to the community and for others it’s a social time to connect. parkrun is about uniting people, where all normal ‘barriers’ to friendships and experiences are removed.”
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