We don’t have many celebrities at parkrun but Bev Vallance from Rosebud parkrun is making a case to be our most widely recognised parkrunner.
Bev has recently starred in a TV commercial from our friends at Medibank and is learning to manage her newfound fame. It’s a long way from when she first started volunteering at Rosebud parkrun last year, and told Event Director, Nadine Crawford, she would help but not in the rain.
Since then, it has rained at Rosebud parkrun and Bev was there marshalling at the first turn around point on the bayside course, happily cheering all of the crazy, soggy runners on.
Bev, 72, clocked up 80 times as a volunteer this weekend – and the event has only been running for just over 90 weeks.
She’s never run or walked the course, preferring instead to help make sure the event runs smoothly for others. Being a marshal is her favourite role, but she’s also happy to sort the finish tokens when needed.
Bev heard about parkrun through her daughter Vanessa, who is a regular at Berwick Springs parkrun. When Vanessa heard a parkrun was starting in Rosebud, close to Bev’s home in Rye, she encouraged her mum to get involved.
Little did Bev know how much she’d end up loving it, and that she’d be there just about every week – even in the rain.
“Vanessa rang and said to me – mum, you have to go down there and help Nadine. Then the next week I helped and the next week, now Nadine calls me Ma,” Bev said.
Bev said while she was fit and well enough to complete the 5km course, being an avid participant in a local walking group, she said she preferred to volunteer. “I fell over a couple of years ago and fractured my vertebrae and was in a back brace for 14 weeks. I’ve got a heart condition too. I do regular walks up to about two and a half hours long, but I prefer to volunteer at parkrun – it’s how I do my bit for the community,” she said.
Bev said through parkrun, she’d made some great new friends. She said while her husband Ray joined her some weeks, as well as Vanessa when she was in the area, she was happy to go alone and mix with all of her new parkrun friends. She said if Vanessa wasn’t with her at parkrun, they would spend a good chunk of time talking about it on the phone afterwards.
Bev said volunteering at parkrun not only helped with her mental wellbeing, but also helped her feel physically well. “The familiar faces are great, it’s what keeps you coming back. I certainly think it helps me physically as I’m not sitting around at home feeling sorry for myself – I’m up and about doing something useful. I’m lucky, it’s such a beautiful course and you can see the sea the whole time – that helps.
“I love seeing all the kids out there too. Even they come out in the rain. It’s great,” she said.
Click here to watch the video of Bev
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