For a relatively new parkrun in South Gippsland, Victoria, the opportunity to wear a cape is one that very few people have experienced so far, let alone the privilege of wearing the black cape. For Event Director Ebony Knox, the black cape is a symbol of friendship, regularity, recruitment and the courage to start something new. The black cape does not symbolise achievement or ability.
The black cape made its debut run along the picturesque Koonwarra parkrun course at Event # 39 on Saturday 14th July. I would have been happy for this milestone to quietly fly under the radar. The suggestion of a low key affair was quickly squashed and replaced with plans for a ‘hoo-ha.’ Some may say it’s because of my glory seeking. But mostly, people understand the enormous thrill and satisfaction I experience when it comes to anything Koonwarra parkrun related. So, instead of resisting, I relished!
They say that some situations in life, you work out who your real friends are. My friends are people that have heard my parkrun preaching and given in, setting their alarms, rolling out of bed, tying up their laces, meeting me at the start line. Friends are people that I have been introduced to on a Saturday morning and shared a story with. My friends are my family who pretend the struggle of forgoing their Saturday morning sleep in is real. These experiences might have only happened once. But once is all it takes.
It takes once to learn about parkrun. It takes once to have the courage to go to your first parkrun. It takes once to have the courage to front up to your second parkrun. It takes once to venture to an unfamiliar course with unfamiliar people. It takes once to see the letters PB beside your name and be eager to do it all again. It takes once to cheer on a stranger. It takes once to go home and spend your Saturday afternoon statistic stalking. It takes once to inspire someone else’s once. It takes one to look forward to every other Saturday morning.
Here’s to the people that have ran with me once, cheered for me once, volunteered with me once. Here’s to the people that have heard me say “parkrun” more than once!
It takes once a hundred times to receive the honour of wearing the black cape. And if you haven’t yet experienced Koonwarra parkrun, all it takes is once!
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