North Sydney parkrunner David Crook has written a book called On Every Saturday celebrating parkrun’s first decade in Australia. David discovered parkrun when friends invited him to their ‘local’ parkrun in Evesham in the UK.
In researching the book, David found it was quite a common way for people to first experience parkrun – through an invitation from a family member or a friend – and that, for many, the invitation could bring life-changing benefits.
My wife and I had been living in the UK through the mid-2010s, while I was on a diplomatic posting. I’d known about parkrun, but 5km was a little shorter than my usual run, so I hadn’t gone along – but once I had that first experience, I realised what a great thing parkrun was.
My local parkrun is now North Sydney. It’s right at the end of my street so I have no excuses for not getting along. I’ve been more of a once-a-month parkrunner than an every-week parkrunner, since my 2018 debut, partly due to the odd niggling injury and of course the occasional COVID lockdown.
The idea for writing the book came from a graduate writing programme I’m doing at UTS. Then it kind of took on a life of its own and has practically consumed my life for about the last eight months.
The reason I stayed committed to it is really the fantastic enthusiasm of all the volunteers I’ve spoken with for the stories in the book. I spoke with around 50 volunteers, put together profiles of 32 different parkruns from across the country, interviewed Paul Sinton-Hewitt and found out how it was he came to be an Australian. Paul also emphasised it is “the strength and the will and the drive of volunteers who make parkrun the best it can possibly be”.
It was a very satisfying experience to tell so many parkrun stories.
I’m grateful to all the volunteers and HQ staff who make parkrun possible. The idea there is a fantastic, timed event, organised entirely by volunteers, right at the end of my street, on every Saturday and is free to participate in, is still a little hard to believe.
I called the book On Every Saturday because that’s exactly what parkrun is.
It really seeks to celebrate Australia’s first ten parkrun years. It outlines parkrun’s history, in Australia and across the world, provides examples of Australia’s amazing parkruns and the people who’ve created them. It also explains how easy it is to become involved as well as the different forms that involvement can take.
You can pre-order On Every Saturday via Booktopia.
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