News - 7th December 2016

parkrun volunteers unite to strengthen ‘one sport’ vision


Over the noise of the V8 cars racing around the Sydney Olympic Park course last Saturday, an important course was taking place just 100 metres away. And while the V8 cars have ended their association with Sydney Olympic Park, a course for recreational running leaders is setting a new pathway of collaboration between the traditional athletics organisations and recreational running groups, as both strive for continuous improvement for their members and participants.


On December 3, Athletics NSW conducted a special Level 1 Recreational Run Leader Course. It was unprecedented in bringing together 18 parkrun volunteers from throughout NSW. The course had three facilitators and was led by former elite runner Jane Miles, Athletics NSW’s leading course facilitator.  Other facilitators included Olympian Ben St Lawrence, who also spoke about his experiences in both parkrun and Athletics NSW events along with Running Mums Australia Ambassador Anna Fitzgerald.


Athletics NSW CEO, Duncan Tweed said “ANSW is committed to connecting, engaging and growing the Athletics Movement in our state.  It is fantastic for us as an organisation to be working alongside parkrun to create initiatives like this and we’re looking forward to finding similar opportunities in 2017”.


The ‘Level 1 Recreational Run Leader’ Course introduces the key component of recreational run group leadership, how to lead a recreational run group. During the course, participants learn the fundamental skills of running and how to design the warm up and cool down components of a session. Other topics covered during the course include; the introduction to training runners, encouraging long-term participation, design of warm-up and cool down, fundamental skills of run, run training elements and how to successfully lead run groups.


parkrun Australia CEO Tim Oberg was glowing in his praise of this initiative. “There is an obvious appetite from within the parkrun community to not just be happier and healthier but also smarter. Coaching courses like this help parkrunners understand the basic principles of running and give them the tools to share these with others. For parkrun and Athletics, it’s a win-win!”


There was uniform agreement from the participants about the benefits of the course and the gathering together of this key group of volunteers.


“It was awesome to finally meet so many parkrun identities in the one place! And thank you to Jane, Anna and Ben for sharing their wealth of knowledge; ANSW has some wonderful talent to draw on,” wrote Brendan Scollary, Event Director from Shellharbour parkrun.


“Massive thanks to Jane for her excellent facilitation, to Anna and Ben for their great tips and advice throughout the day and not forgetting, Athletics NSW for providing us parkrunners with  the generous opportunity to get involved. See you at the next parkrun!” – Silpa Parmar, parkrun Territory Director for Sydney.


Athletics NSW has weekly summer and winter club/local races. They can be viewed here.

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