News - 23rd September 2021

Enjoy parkrun your own way

Lidia Knox Shellh

Lidia Setiawan is one of a growing number of people from the Deaf community who regularly take part in parkrun.


I am 47 and I began my parkrun journey in 2016. I was inspired to go along by my friends posting about their weekly parkrun activity on social media and my husband, Ian, encouraged me to go with him as much as I was able to do so. My friends who did parkrun explained to me what to expect beforehand so I was excited to try and see how far I could run!


A typical parkrunday for me involves meeting our interpreter before each parkrun, and if I am volunteering the interpreter comes with me for my volunteer role. Otherwise our interpreter stays until we complete our parkrun to enable us to chat to other parkrunners.


For people in the Deaf community there are often challenges accessing events, especially when it comes to interpreters. While it’s easier to book in large cities, it can be difficult to book interpreters in rural towns and smaller cities, so we message the event team a few days prior via social media. Recently when we were visiting Fingal Bay parkrun, the Run Director found a volunteer to show us the course directions and where to do lap turnbacks before he went to do the First Timer Welcome. That personal touch was greatly appreciated.


My husband and I are keen parkrun tourists because it gives us the chance to meet other Deaf parkrunners at their home events. The social aspect of spending time with other people and travelling with my husband is incredibly rewarding. Last Saturday at Wildflower parkrun I was handing out finish tokens while my husband was volunteering as timekeeper. It was great that we could communicate with each other!


Thanks to parkrun, I feel more confident at maintaining my fitness and my family remarks that my breathing is better than it was before I started parkrun. Margaret Johnston, a Run Director from Penrith Lakes parkrun who is Deaf, has inspired us all in the local Deaf community through her commitment to parkrun.


I would encourage all women and girls to consider coming along to parkrun. It’s completely normal to be nervous, so I would suggest having a word with one of the friendly volunteers beforehand. They will reassure you that parkrun is all about having fun and you can walk the course if you want to. The most important thing is to enjoy parkrun your own way.


Lidia Setiawan
parkrunner A2840934


Lidia Knox

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