Joining parkrun in 2016, Col walked 127 times before a doctor diagnosed him with a collapsed foot and told him it was time to hang up his walking shoes. Yet it never occurred to Col that this should be a reason to stop coming each Saturday morning.
Col has been married to Joyce for 48 years, lived at the same address for 47, and spent his career working for the same firm for 50 (and a half) years.
Calamvale parkrun is the metronome to his week. You’ll find Col sat in the same spot close to the start line, rain or shine. From his little canvas chair with a cheery “G’day” and applause, he encourages each parkrunner as they pass by.
“I just love turning up every week,” he says.
“When you have people coming up to you at the end of the event saying how much they appreciate your support. That makes you feel very good about yourself.
“I get a real kick out of what I do. Only last week a couple that I had never seen before introduced themselves and said how much they appreciated my support.”
Col also likes to get personal with his encouragement. But as a friend asked him, “How do you know everybody’s name?”
While he has made many friends amongst the regulars, by checking the results each week, he’s quick to discover the name of a new parkrunner, committing it to memory.
“To call out their name, saying c’mon, c’mon, people get a real kick out of it.”
Mike Butler, the Event Director at Calamvale says Col’s support means a lot to the event, highlighting his consistency in both attendance and demeanour.
“He’s always got a smile on his face and you’ll get the same thing from Col 52 weeks of the year.
“It says community to us, and it says commitment.”
While admitting that someone who is pushing eighty might not be a natural bedfellow to younger parkrunners, Mike Butler says that Col Chesher is able to connect and inspire younger generations.
“He befriended a girl who was very shy and reluctant because of the language barrier, and he brought her out of her shell, and now thanks to his support she’s doing marathons.”
One of the secrets of longevity is said to be an active interest in life and Col Chesher says that he has no intention of giving up coming along to parkrun each week.
“If you start to stop at my age you’ll finish in a box before you know it, and I’ll be going to parkrun the day I die.
“I have great ambitions to live to be 100.”
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