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News - 20th May 2022

parkrun saved my life


Jane Luke and her mother Catherine start every weekend in a similar way to thousands of others in Australia – with a parkrun! But the journey to enjoying their weekly ritual has taken some twists and turns.


The journey started just over eight years ago when we were in Melbourne visiting my sister and I, being a seasoned parkrunner and avid tourist, decided to run the nearby Maribyrnong parkrun. Mum decided to join me for her first parkrun.


On our return home to Adelaide, she would run with me intermittently, but if I was venturing further afield or not running, she wouldn’t come. That changed in 2017 when I went overseas for a month (remember overseas travel?) and she started going on her own.




Sometimes we run together, sometimes I do my own thing and then come back and run the last bit with her.


In March 2020, only a week before COVID shut SA parkruns down for the best part of 9 months, she completed her 100th parkrun, this time with the whole family in attendance! (On the plus side, she had her 100 t-shirt in time for her 101st parkrun!)


During the COVID shutdown, we’d do a 5k (not)parkrun every week.


Fast forward to May 2021, on this particular day she opted to go to Torrens (our most regularly attended event) instead of joining me at the launch of The Avenues. On that occasion, she tells me she was having a great run before it all ‘went to hell’, with a collapse within sight of the finish line. (I’m reliably informed that her first concern was the fact that she was doing a great time and now wouldn’t get a time at all!) Fortunately there were several doctors among the parkrunners on that day who provided first aid and arranged an ambulance to the nearby Royal Adelaide Hospital. They did a brain scan which didn’t reveal anything, but did recommend she see a cardiologist. The cardiologist diagnosed aortic stenosis and quickly booked an aortic valve replacement. That was in July, just under seven weeks ago.


Since then she’s been parkrunning most weeks, gradually getting her times back down and regularly running the whole way!




It’s amazing that if not for parkrun she never would have known she had this issue – so ‘the incident’ was really a blessing in disguise – she can quite honestly say, “parkrun saved my life”!


Jane Luke

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