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Cool (park)runnings

In racing they call it a ‘fast start’: getting out of the blocks quickly, pushing hard from the off for an early lead.

Think Usain Bolt over 100m or Grant Hackett over 1500m. Don’t think, according to John Candy’s 1993 classic ‘Cool Runnings’, the Jamaican bobsled team. Over any distance.*

On Saturday, VSA got off to the fastest start possible. On day one of DVA’s Veterans’ Health Week, we encouraged veterans from around the country to pull on their running shoes to do their local parkrun.

The response from around the country was huge.

The official launch of our parkrun initiative was held at Lake Macquarie in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. Veterans and their families from up and down the coast came to take part and were joined by the local mayor and state MP. Local parkrun Event Director Jason Becker even brought some old military trucks down for the morning, and the local Toronto Men’s Shed put on a delicious BBQ.

Give it a crack

There are more than 365 parkruns around Australia and people of all abilities and ages are encouraged to get involved as walkers, runners and volunteers. Parkruns are 5km community events held in parks and open spaces around Australia every Saturday morning.

Peter Nisbet is a veteran and a regular parkrunner from Queensland. He’s finished over 50 parkruns and was representing VSA on Saturday at South Bank in Brisbane. “I love the community that you join when you get involved in your local parkrun and the challenge of trying to beat the clock every week,” said Peter. “A sense of community and being physically active both come second nature to veterans.”

Peter’s also a member of the Veteran Sport Australia parkrun ‘Running Club’ and is encouraging all veterans to join him. “I’d encourage all veterans and their families from around Australia to get to your local parkrun and give it a crack.”

Special shout outs

We also had great support on Saturday from political figures from around the country. Special shout outs to veteran and Federal Member for Herbert, Phillip Thompson OAM MP, who ran his local parkrun in Townsville, and NSW Veterans Minister Geoff Lee, who got involved in Parramatta.

There was also great support from regular parkrunner and Federal Veterans’ Affairs Minister Darren Chester. “Encouraging our veteran community and their families to join their local parkrun community and get active is a great initiative from Veteran Sport Australia,” said Minister Chester. “Being part of a supportive network and integrating into your local community through sport is a game-changer.”

You can still get involved

Last Saturday might have seen us get out the blocks quickly for Veterans’ Health Week, but there’s still time to get involved. Registering for parkrun and joining the Veteran Sport Australia ‘Running Club’ is easy and free. Join today and make sure you let us know over social media by posting a picture! #vsamovement

New to parkrun?

Just complete this online registration form:

Make sure that you join the Veteran Sport Australia ‘Running Club’ from the optional dropdown menu!

Already registered with parkrun?

  1. Log in to your parkrun account:
  2. Click ‘update’ to update your details
  3. Choose the Veteran Sport Australia ‘Running Club’ from the optional dropdown menu!

* the Jamaican bobsled team did actually go on to do some pretty amazing things including beating Australia, Russia, France and the US in the 1994 Winter Olympics and getting funded to go to the 2014 Games by a random cryptocurrency community!