News - 6th September 2023

Joy through volunteering

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Amanda Kwong started parkrunning ten years ago as a way to fill her time whilst her partner was away on a one-year volunteering trip overseas. Since then, she has completed more than 250 5ks and found a love of volunteering as a VI Guide and photographer.


My favourite thing about parkrun is that it is so inclusive! Anyone can get involved and I love that I’ve been able to relate to it in many stages of my life. parkrun is an instant community wherever you go. My biggest friendship group is people I’ve met through parkrun.


Choosing a favourite parkrun is like choosing a favourite child – impossible! But if I had to choose, it would be Ginninderra parkrun because that’s where I started. Running around Lake Ginninderra on a frosty winter morning with the golden sunrise is spectacular. Wimmera River parkrun, Horsham gets a special mention too. It’s flat with amazing river views the whole way.




My first parkrun was ten years ago, though I have only a sketchy memory of it. I liked the idea that it was community-based, free, non-competitive and motivated me to get up early on a Saturday morning – which is especially hard in Canberra where winter mornings can be below zero degrees! I caught up with my friends at the start and my lungs were screaming at me the whole time while my friends cruised on ahead. I’m not convinced that I ran the whole way. I do remember seeing cows though!


I also love volunteering and my favourite role is VI Guide. There’s no better feeling than helping someone smash a parkrun. It can be super tricky, especially at the start of a parkrun when you’re trying to navigate crowds and guide a person with vision impairment safely through the course. However, when you’re running together through a clear patch, you’re in sync and you feel like you’re flying through the course, it’s a great feeling. I also really like being the photographer. I enjoy photography and it gives me joy seeing the determination, joy, satisfaction (and sometimes pain!), on people’s faces. If I’m able to capture one photo that someone feels proud of sharing, then it’s nice to know I’ve contributed to that moment.


parkrun has made me more active and want to strive towards faster times, longer distances and being more consistent with my physical activity. Through parkrun, I was also introduced to the Achilles Running Club when I was living in Canberra. This connection helped me feel confident founding the Achilles chapter in Melbourne.


I’ve had two children since starting parkrun, and each time, it’s been a huge motivator to work towards returning to parkrun. Knowing that I’m welcome to run with my baby in a pram has been comforting.


Amanda Kwong

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