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Park runners back on track

Monday, 1st July, 2019

People came from around Australia to use the track behind the Willyama High School. PICTURE: Michael Murphy People came from around Australia to use the track behind the Willyama High School. PICTURE: Michael Murphy

By Emily McInerney

City Council has given the Broken Hill Parkrun permission to use the racecourse and surrounding areas for their runs.

Councillors unanimously voted during confidential matters at last week’s monthly meeting to let the Broken Hill Parkrun use the Willyama Common Trust for their regular runs.

In March, it was revealed that council withdrew permission for the Parkrun to use a course they developed in bushland behind Willyama High School.

“We regret to announce that the event planned for Saturday March 9 has been cancelled,” the group posted on their Facebook page at the time.

“Broken Hill City Council have withdrawn permission to use the track while they re-evaluate their risk assessment. 

“We are hopeful that it will be reinstated very soon, and parkrun HQ are working behind the scenes on our behalf.” 

The group then worked hard to get approval for a new track and get the initiative up and running in the city again.

Before the meeting, event director Tabitha Schultz spoke at the newly-integrated public forum.

She spoke to the confidential report about the use of the Willyama Common Trust licence for the parkrun.

“We believe we have found suitable land for our participants; the racecourse and the adjoining Willyama Common,” she said.

Fellow Parkrun member Grant Shepherd also spoke to the report during the public forum.

“The parkruns are a worldwide phenomenon,” he said.

“You can walk with your friends, family, and your dogs. It becomes a habit and a healthy lifestyle.”

Mr Shepherd received his “50 runs” top to signify his commitment to the initiative.

“A motivating factor is not how fast you run, but how often you do it.

“We’ve hosted 67 runs in the past two years and we average 33.6 participants each run.

“It does bring tourists to Broken Hill, I’ve had people calling me asking if the run was going ahead.

“They’ve then said they will go to Mildura because ours wasn’t running anymore.”

Mr Shepherd said the new track for the parkrun was completely accessible and it was something he could enjoy with his whole family.

Yesterday, the group announced that the runs will be returning.

“Details yet to come, but we can officially reveal ... land owner permissions are in place and Parkrun is returning to Broken Hill,” a post on the parkrun Facebook page revealed.

“We don’t know the rest of the details yet, so we’ll keep you updated as they are confirmed.”

After the meeting, General Manager James Roncon said it was positive to see locals utilising the new public forum set up.

“We had two more people speak than we normally would, that was a bonus.

“I would have to say it was an absolute success.”

Mr Roncon said it was about making people feel comfortable and that could have their say without feeling like they were cutting into the Council meeting.

“We will fine tune it from now and work through it.

“I think the big thing is, that people don’t have to just wait for a Council meeting to address any issues.

“Come and see us between meetings.”

Mr Roncon said it was a favourable outcome for the Parkrun initiative to be able to start up again.

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