News - 22nd October 2020

I’ve never been a runner


As parkrun returned in Tasmania last weekend, Val Warwick returned to volunteer as photographer in the pouring rain and wind at Devonport parkrun.


Never considering herself to be athletic, but being married to a runner, she was introduced to parkrun. After volunteering, walking, jogging and running all over Australia she feels completely embraced by the parkrun community.


One Saturday I saw a friend’s post on Facebook in which she had written that she was glad to see another person back at parkrun. Wondering what parkrun was, I googled it for Steve and he registered.


The second Saturday I went down to take photos of him and discovered people I had worked with and so I took more photos than just Steve. For the next two weeks I took lots of photos and shared them to the Devonport parkrun page. The following week one of the RDs suggested that I register and become “official”.




I was amazed that an overweight non-runner could register and it took quite a few months of spending Saturday mornings as photographer at Devonport before I really realised the inclusiveness of parkrun.


Even though I knew that the Devonport crowd appreciated my photos and included me in the group for coffee, it wasn’t until the purple shirt that I really understood that volunteers are the backbone of parkrun.


The following year I began to walk as well as volunteer, and I have even managed to add some jogging into those Saturday morning walks which still amazes me when it happens. I particularly like those dress-up days. My favourite dress up was the Saturday prior to Christmas when I was on tokens and I dressed up as a Christmas tree with my granddaughter beside me giving out candy canes as gifts to those who wanted a sugar treat.




We had enjoyed our parkrun touristing adventures so much when we were doing interim ministries in churches in our retirement, that we are now on a huge two-year adventure of participating in parkruns as runners [Steve] or walkers [me] or volunteers [both of us].


So far we’ve been to 28 different parkruns on 33 Saturdays in Victoria, SA and WA. We’ve walked or run numerous others as Freedom runs during the week and have thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Each parkrun is different but the same!


There just aren’t enough Saturdays when were already in our 70′s to do all the Aussie events.


The three standouts of our journey so far are: 1) doing my 100th at Lochiel in SA, chosen because I had walked with the ED from there at home in Devonport and we’d kept in contact, 2) meeting the Sliwinskis and the Schroders who were also parkrun touristing and planning to meet up again in Canberra, and 3) being ‘adopted’ by some EDs and RDs when we’ve stayed a little longer in a place.




parkrun has meant that we have been making friends across the continent.


After our four months participating at parkruns in the southern half of WA we felt like family, having been to two inaugural events, one trial and a pre-trial walk on the Mundy Regional parkrun trail. When we return to WA, I will definitely be volunteering at that one!


What a wonderful thing is parkrun when even a non-athlete can be an active participant.





Val Warwick


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