PB central at parkrun: Henry ticks over 100
RUNNING. It's a healthy pursuit for mind, body and soul. Just ask Henry Sheehan.
Henry completed his 100th parkrun on Saturday at the Grafton event at Junction Hill, and did it in a personal best time of 18 minutes 50 seconds.
"The excuse to try and do a PB on the 100th run helped me over the line," he said.
"About six weeks ago I first thought to give it a whirl. I was certainly aiming to get back in under 19 minutes, so I'm very happy to squeeze another 10 seconds off that.
"I was proud to have done the 50. The 60s and 70s seemed to take forever and then all of a sudden the 100th popped up, and I'm really pleased that I made it and hopefully can get to 200 now."
He said running helped clear the mind, while parkrun - a free 5km run/walk organised by volunteers - created a ready-made friendly community.
"I've run on and off for the last 15 years mainly for mental health, and always lined up for the Jaca Fun Run since I moved to Grafton 10 years ago," he said.
"I heard about parkrun three years ago, and I've been coming as often as I could ever since.
"From the day I arrived when I didn't know anyone, just the encouragement and support we get from everyone here is wonderful and I feel like I'm really part of that community now.
"It's nice to know most of the faces running or volunteering around the course and it's a great way to start the weekend."
Running in the male 45-49 age category, Sheehan was beaten to the line by his younger rival Jonothan Murdock (male 35-39), who also ran a personal best time of 18.48.
Ben Smith, currently in training for the Brisbane Marathon on June 2, rounded out the podium in third spot in 19.27, outside his PB of 18.46.
It was PB central on Saturday, with 22 out of a total of 76 starters achieving personal best times.
Rodgers closes in on Age Graded League record
One of Grafton Parkrun's older runners has been turning heads of late, continually cutting swathes off his personal best times and now closing in on the Age Graded League record.
Donald Rodgers, who runs in the male 65-69 category, finished fourth on Saturday in a new PB of 20.55.
Rodgers has run a new PB in 10 of his past 16 parkruns since he ran 22.09 on December 29, 2018.
He holds the VM65-69 record and is now closing in on the Grafton Age Graded League record - which rates the runner's time as a percentage of the Australian parkrun time in that age category.
Reece Edwards, who ran the Grafton course in 15.43 in the SM25-59 category, holds the record at 82.08%. Rodgers has moved up to third on 81.67%.
*The Daily Examiner's rough calculations estimate Rodgers is about seven seconds away from the required time to break the record)
There's a story behind every face
Regular Grafton parkrunner Greg Eather recently featured on the Parkrun website, sharing his story of surviving prostate cancer and a heart attack before the age of 60, and how his determination to reclaim his physical fitness has played a significant role in his recovery.
Meanwhile Sarah Blackman created a fundraiser - Running 4 Harlow - to help support her nephew who has Aicardi-Goutières-Syndrome (AGS) as a source of motivation for her current health kick.
She is in the midst of slashing her times every Saturday morning as she prepares to tackle the ASICS Half Marathon on the Gold Coast on July 7, and this year has reduced her best mark by four and a half minutes from 27.54 to 23.14.
The Running 4 Harlow GoFundMe page has so far raised $14,045.
There's plenty of great stories at parkrun - so why not come along and join the parkrun community to hear them first hand, while starting one of your own.
The beauty of parkrun is it doesn't matter how fast or slow, young or old you are, it is a truly inclusive event where athletes training for marathons share the same course as people taking their first steps towards a healthy lifestyle.
You don't have to run sub four-minute kilometre splits like parkrun centurion Henry Sheehan. Of a total of 76 starters at Grafton on Saturday, 33 finished outside 30 minutes (six-minute splits), while the tail walker Leila Thompson, who proudly completed her 50th parkrun, came in just under the hour mark in 59.54.
In 2018, on an average Saturday around a quarter of a million runners took part in 1,500 parkrun events spread over 20 countries. Parkrun events are staged at more than 350 venues in Australia including Grafton and Yamba in the Clarence Valley.
Grafton Parkrun starts at 7am every Saturday morning from Terry West Field at Barnier Park, Junction Hill. Meanwhile, Yamba's waterfront course starts from Ford Park at the same time.