News - 7th February 2022

Parliamentary Friends of Running


Parliamentary Friends of Running was formed to celebrate running, and encourage more Australians to take up the sport.


Independent MP Zali Steggall, Nationals MP Darren Chester and Labor MP Andrew Leigh all share a love of running and are supportive of parkrun. They explain why parkrun has been successful in reaching more Australians to become healthier and happier.


Across Australia, parkrun epitomises the simplicity of running. Saturday. Five kilometres. And it’s free. The beauty of the parkrun model attracts thousands of Australians to put on sneakers every week and hit the course, often with their local MP  joining them walking, running or volunteering.


More people are using parkrun to motivate a ‘couch to 5k’ ambition. Indeed, a great marker of parkrun’s success is that the average time is getting slower each year – not because individuals are slowing down, but because more people are joining who don’t have a running background.


The physical health benefits of running are obvious but parkrun also builds mental well-being, reduces loneliness and connects people to their communities. Thanks to parkrun Australia and the strength of the parkrun community, parkruns have survived lockdown, and we hope they’ll thrive in 2022.




As for the Parliamentary Friends of Running group, each of us approaches running in a different way.


After retiring from elite sport, Zali Steggall took up the new challenge of ultrarunning, and has since completed multiple ultramarathons. Darren Chester is a veteran of the Melbourne Marathon, and has now completed the race more than a dozen times. Andrew Leigh is a supporter of the Indigenous Marathon Project, with a marathon PB of 2:42. Along with parliamentary colleagues from all political parties, we’ve shown that politicians can not only run for office, but also keep running while we’re in office.




See you on the trails.


Zali Steggall, Member for Warringah

Darren Chester, Member for Gippsland

Andrew Leigh, Member for Fenner


Co-Chairs, Parliamentary Friends of Running

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