Everyone who goes to parkrun knows how special Saturday mornings are as communities come together to walk, jog, run and volunteer – then celebrate with a coffee afterwards!
One way to bring the parkrun experience to life is through photography – and two of parkrun NZ’s Photography Ambassadors, Richard Berber and Andy Walmsley, tell us what it’s like to be behind the camera…
I am Richard Berber of Palmerston North parkrun, Manawatu. I work full-time as a Storeman and participate in as many parkrun events nationwide as I can. I enjoy healthy living and looking after my fitness.
While I was on holiday many years ago, I was nicknamed ‘confirmed clicker’ because I took so many photos! I remember from my first point and shoot camera, according to the file names numbering, I had taken over 10,000 photos!
My knowledge of photography has been self-taught. My cameras have all been given to me as presents. Therefore, I haven’t chosen the specifications neither have I read the manuals.
My first parkrun was in 2016 in Sandgate, a suburb of Brisbane. I then emailed parkrun New Zealand to see if there will be one starting in Palmerston North.
I was referred to Kate and Leanne, who were also keen to start a club here and it went from there!
I was one of the first ones to get the volunteer 25 shirt and now working on my 50th milestone shirt too. I soon became involved in the photography and video for parkrun, then becoming an Ambassador.
It gives me immense pleasure in reading the positive feedback from the photos I take and if I’m at your local parkrun, whilst I’m no expert, I’d always be happy to give anyone photography tips and tricks!
Meanwhile, Andy Walmsley parkrun story started back in 2013:
Having gained my UK Athletics Leadership In Running Fitness qualification I was leading a recreational running group in Ramsbottom, a small northern town huddled below the rainswept Pennine hills.
I wanted to create a group with the aim of making running fun and to bridge the gap between non-runners and club runners. We had a fabulous mixed group of experienced runners and complete newcomers and one of our gang suggested we set our newbies the goal of completing a parkrun.
parkrun? Tell me more! (I didn’t know back then that parkrun was spelt with a small ‘p!’). A week later, on a cold November morning, a dozen or so of us headed to the largest municipal park in the world, Heaton Park, on the outskirts of Manchester.
I was immediately struck by the inclusiveness and friendliness of parkrun. By the time I’d had my barcode scanned and washed down a bacon butty with a mug of hot tea in the park cafe I was smitten!
Earlier in the year I’d become a father for the first time. A few weeks after my initial run I took my wife Emily & baby daughter back to Heaton Park for the Christmas run.
Dressed as Santa I ran my first ‘buggy push’ parkrun and subsequently the vast majority of my first 100 parkruns would be done pushing Daisy and or her brother Teddy when he arrived in 2015. I just loved this time with my babies and was so sad when first Daisy then Teddy retired from buggy riding!
I’m a photographer by trade and I first volunteered at parkrun in that capacity on the occasion of legendary British distance runner Dr Ron Hill MBE’s celebration of running every day for 50 years. Every day for 50 years!
I took my camera along and snapped Ron approaching the finishing line accompanied by parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE as well as 100s of other happy panting parkrunners.
I felt so at home being part of the Heaton parkrun family accompanied by my own family and an ever-increasing number of ‘Rammy Runners.’ Event founder Rick Bennett had lit the fuse!
In April 2018 we emigrated to New Zealand settling in New Plymouth. The only thing I could complain about life in Taranaki was that there was no parkrun!
Fortunately I didn’t have to wait too long as plans were already in hand and East End’s inaugural event took place in September that year. It’s a beautiful scenic course along the coastal walkway with views of the mighty Mount Taranaki framed by the Te Rewa Rewa bridge.
As the children had retired from buggy riding but were still a little too young to take part themselves, I threw myself into the volunteering side of things, mainly as a photographer but also filling all other roles in turn.
The event has a wonderful family vibe and we’ve met many of our new friends through parkrun and created our own Tuesday night running group made up of parkrunners. I just can’t wait for Saturday’s to come round now!
When I was asked to join the event organisers team I was so proud and now follow a 3-week cycle of Run Director, photographer & runner. To make things even better Daisy has started running with me and recently completed her junior milestone 10th parkrun.
She also loves snapping parkrunners after the event and has her first ‘photography volunteer’ credit under her belt. One happy Dad!
When I saw the Photography Ambassador role advertised I knew I had to apply for it. I love promoting parkrun amongst my friends and local community and this was a chance to do it in a more official capacity.
My aim is always to capture positive, inspiring photographs for our local runners at East End and its great to now see these images being shared nationally and globally.
I recently received a very warm welcome at Greytown Woodside Trail parkrun and I’m looking forward to making many more ‘ambassadorial’ visits to parkruns throughout New Zealand.
If I can encourage more people to experience both the joy of parkrun and photography then I’ll feel that I’m doing my job as an ambassador for the amazing organisation that is parkrun.
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