Amanda Radovic helped launch Mernda Parkrun last June, giving the communities of Mernda and Doreen a chance to meet their neighbours while exercising.
How long have you lived in Whittlesea?
We live in Doreen. We moved here from Greensborough in 2011, so coming up for seven years.
What do you like about the area?
I love the country feel in the suburbs. The community is friendly and we have lots of open spaces to enjoy the great outdoors. I love running and walking and the area is perfect for it.
What, if anything, would you change?
The roads. Plenty Road and Yan Yean Road are so congested – it takes ages to travel anywhere.
How did you become involved with parkrun?
In January, 2016, Sarah, a friend of mine, told me about this “awesome” thing called parkrun in Diamond Creek. She explained that it was a timed five-kilometre run every Saturday at 8am and it was free because it’s run by volunteers. So I came along with my daughter and Sarah to try it out. My mind was blown – it was an awesome experience. Diamond Creek is a very busy parkrun – they often get in excess of 300 runners and walkers. So in May, we tried out the newly launched Lalor Parkrun. By the end of the year, I was a run director at Lalor Parkrun and was entertaining the idea of founding a parkrun in my own neighbourhood. Initially, we had a course set in Doreen, until one of the parkrun event ambassadors mentioned the possibility of the Mernda course.
Why do you think it is important to have community sessions?
Parkrun isn’t so much an exercise session, but rather a community activity. It’s as much about running as it is about families going for a gentle stroll, as it is about volunteers coming along and helping and being involved in their local community. My father only ever volunteers at parkrun – he never participates in the running or walking – yet he looks forward to it as much as my super competitive running brother and husband. What is so magical about parkrun is that it is all-inclusive. It doesn’t matter your pace, your form or technique. What matters is that the community is getting together, people are getting out in the fresh air and moving – and making friends in the process.
Why do you think parkrun is so popular?
Because it’s so simple. You register once, it’s on every Saturday at 8am and you come as often or as little as you wish. It’s family friendly – you’ll see families pushing kids in pushers, people walking or running with their dogs, fast runners, mid-paced runners, slow runners, walkers, strollers. It’s such a positive way to start your weekend.
What is your favourite local place to spend time?
Mernda Parkrun – I mean it. At parkrun, we call Saturday “parkrunday” … it’s our favourite day of the week. We get to spend it at the beautiful park, with friends from our local community, and get the high from going for a run, too.