The 2018 Commonwealth Games started in the Gold Coast on Wednesday and some special parkrunners were involved in the Australian leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
In the lead up to each Commonwealth Games, the Queen writes a message calling upon the Commonwealth’s athletes to come together in peaceful and friendly competition. Despite technology advances, Skype is not used for delivering this message during the Opening Ceremony. Instead, tradition prevails, and the message is carefully transported 230,000 kilometres through every Commonwealth country on earth (all 70 of them!) via the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR).
The QBR symbolically joins people across the globe and is an opportunity to recognise individuals as Baton Bearers who have achieved something extraordinary, inspired others or made a significant contribution to sport, education, the arts, culture, charity or within their community, contributed to a fun, friendly, vibrant and inclusive community or have excelled, or aspire to excel athletically or personally. Multiple parkrunners across Australia met these criteria and were honoured with nominations for the QBR.
Congratulations to all those nominated Australians who are parkrunners as well, but we’d like to highlight parkrun Australia’s CEO, Tim Oberg who was a Baton Bearer for Queensland! Having completed his first parkrun in Wimbledon Common in the UK way back in 2010, Tim decided he’d bring parkrun to Australia launching the first parkrun in April 2011. Fittingly, Australia’s first parkrun opened on the Gold Coast with the same city hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Tim’s relay leg was completed in Airlie Beach, where he now resides and he feels very honoured by his nomination. “My Mum came up from Brisbane to watch and so I think she’s be pretty chuffed, and my kids (Jack 5, Evie 4 and Archie 1) think it’s pretty cool.”
New Zealand kicked off the final leg of the baton’s 230,000 kilometre voyage around the Commonwealth last year between 18th – 23rd December 2017. The Queen’s Baton travelled to Queenstown, Kaikoura, Christchurch and Auckland.
The Baton’s visit connected current athletes including Sophie Pascoe, Dame Valerie Adams, Richie Patterson with Commonwealth greats such as Sir John Walker, Dick Taylor, Valerie Young and Precious McKenzie, as well as the New Zealand public and the youth of the country.
Around 250 athletes will represent New Zealand at Gold Coast 2018, making it NZ’s largest ever Commonwealth Games team.
New Zealand athletes aim to compete in 18 sports (including four para disciplines). We wish them all the very best in sport over these next couple of weeks.
For more details check out Athletics New Zealand - http://www.athletics.org.nz/Events/Major-Events/2018-Commonwealth-Games
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