There are certain inevitabilities when you’re a parkrun enthusiast. For instance, when your colleagues ask you “what are you doing this weekend?” your first answer is “parkrun”. When you plan a weekend away, you check the Event List to find suitable destinations (and check the start time for that event). Your family find themselves getting out of bed a little earlier than they would like and have a barcode printed for them.
And so it was, in March 2016, when my father-in-law visited Melbourne for the Formula 1 Grand Prix, having recently completed a Couch 2 5km programme, I told him that we’d be going to Coburg parkrun on Saturday. 8am is an early start for Denis, but he acquiesced and completed his first parkrun somewhere between my wife and me. Denis either enjoyed the run, the scenery, or the post-event coffee, because much to my surprise he was up and ready for his second parkrun at the same time the following week. The week after he got a PB and again the week after that! By the time his stay in Australia had come to an end, he’d completed eleven parkrun events at Coburg and joined me at Launceston parkrun when we were there for the weekend. An impressive record but would he continue without his son-in-law to nag him on a Friday evening?
Denis returned to the UK after our trip to Launceston and stayed with his other daughter and her family in Derbyshire. On his first Saturday back in the UK he took one of his granddaughters to the Markeaton parkrun where she completed her first parkrun! Not only had he caught the bug… he was spreading it!
Tees Barrage parkrun became Denis’ home parkrun the following week and hardly a week has gone by since March 2016 where Denis has missed a parkrun; even when my mother-in-law took him away for a milestone birthday, Denis packed his running gear and did a tourist run at Bath Skyline parkrun on that birthday! Denis’ volunteer record is great, too, filling 5 distinct roles across 17 different events.
Denis’ granddaughter Emma has run with him a number of times when he’s visited and has recently arrived here in Melbourne for a family holiday. The morning after she arrived from the UK I figured the best cure for jetlag was to be out in the fresh air, and on Saturday morning she completed her first overseas parkrun at Coburg! In the cafe afterwards, once the results were processed, we discovered that this was Emma’s tenth parkrun! I felt very proud to have been a part of this.
Saturday was a double celebration because not only did Emma join the junior 10 club, her grandad joined the 100 club at his home parkrun!
Credit: Ann Brown
We’re all very proud of Denis and Emma’s achievements.
Coburg parkrunner A1001388
In October 2017 we were approached by Sumitomo Life with regards the possibility of starting parkrun in Japan, they were also preparing to launch SUMITOMO LIFE Vitality Shared-Value Insurance. As we already had strong relationships with Vitality in South Africa and the UK, and as Japan being a country we were already interested in, we decided to…