Gerry Lovett used to regularly walk the popular Diamond Creek parkrun trail on a Saturday morning and get a bit grumpy when the hundreds of runners started coming towards him.
He mentioned this to a friend, who happened to be a regular Diamond Creek parkrunner, who told Gerry to stop whinging, and join in. And with a new “if you can’t beat them, join them” mindset, in April 2017, long-time Diamond Creek local Gerry attended his first parkrun.
Gerry has completed 29 parkruns – all at Diamond Creek – but about a year ago, ill health meant he could no longer keep covering the 5k distance.
Rather than give it all away, Gerry has since become an integral part of the Diamond Creek parkrun community and to date has volunteered over 70 times. “I don’t care which role I do, so long as I’m involved,” Gerry said. “It’s such a lovely community. I’ve got some wonderful friends there and of course, made some new friends since going along too.”
Gerry turned 80 a couple of weeks ago and his birthday was celebrated on Saturday morning with his parkrunning friends and family, much to his surprise.
Gerry said the hardest thing about getting older was not being able to do all the things he wanted to, such as walking, but that he wouldn’t miss volunteering at parkrun “for quids”.
Diamond Creek parkrun co-Event Director Nikki Waterfall said Gerry was a well-loved and much-respected member of the Diamond Creek parkrun community. Nikki said Gerry was a wonderful “people person” and always made an effort to have a chat and say hello.
“The best thing Gerry does at parkrun is talk to people. He remembers the names of regulars and says hello to newcomers,” Nikki said. “I remember walking with Gerry one Saturday morning and he said hello to a lady who was walking the other way with her head down. He said something among the lines of – you’ve got to get them to talk, to say hello – it felt like a life lesson. “Gerry makes a point of noticing and acknowledging those around him. In our busy world when we can be rushing from other thing to another, Gerry continues to demonstrate the impact of slowing down to notice and connect with others,” she said.
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