Reaching a 50 parkrun milestone has given Annette Hadley a sense of great accomplishment – but the journey getting there has given her so much more.
After hearing about parkruns through the sport’s passionate Moree founder, Carmel Kennedy, Hadley thought she’d give the free weekly event a try.
“I wasn’t very confident. I walked at least half of it, I think,” she said.
Hadley can now run the whole course, has improved her overall time by 12 minutes and 32 seconds, has been a first-female finisher and can run up hills better than before.
Although it felt like she’d been in the 40s for a long time, the passionate parkrunner was relieved to complete 50 parkruns.
Along with the Moree course, Hadley has been lucky enough to run the Warwick, Stanthorpe, South Bank, Toowoomba, Callaghan, Tamworth and Blackbutt courses.
“The most challenging I did was on January 27 this year at Blackbutt Reserve, Newcastle. It has a two-kilometre section that’s all uphill and partially on dirt.
“The largest one I’ve been to is South Bank in Brisbane where there were nearly 400 participants and took you over the river. On New Year’s Day this year and last, I participated in double, which is two runs in one day, and that was Warwick then Stanthorpe,” she said.
Hadley said the personal challenge was what kept her determined to attend parkrun each week – to get that bit better, fitter, faster and stronger, both mentally and physically.
Every run is timed, so you can see your progress every week. Hadley also liked the fact parkrun was about encouraging one another and commending fellow runners for “giving it a go”.
“I’ve met so many people and made new friends. We have some extremely passionate volunteers who are always there giving their time, and we get visitors too.
“It really is a little community. I love being a part of something that other people enjoy. So helping keep that going also motivates me to get there every week,” she said.
Hadley became a co-event director in September 2017 sharing overall responsibility for the event through liaising with event ambassadors and parkrun Australia regarding any changes, news or updates.
Moree parkrun has a great group of run directors who are responsible for parkrun on the day.
“I mainly maintain the Facebook page, look after equipment (flags, computers, timers, stopwatches, volunteer vests etc), train or arrange training for new run directors and test trial new technologies.”
She also keeps an eye on parkrunners progress so acknowledgement of special events and milestones is given to local participants.
Hadley described Moree’s two-lap course as “deceptively simple”.
“A lot of people would imagine a nice flat run, but each lap has five inclines, so you get 10 hills/rises over the 5km. There’s a bit of grassed section but it’s mostly on paved, following the river just under Dr Geoffrey Hunter Bridge.”
For more information regarding parkrun in Moree, visit www.parkrun.com.au/moree/.