Health and Fitness: Lake Mac parkrun set to mark milestone event

ALL WELCOME: No matter what age, size, fitness level, gender or even breed  (you can take your dogs on a short leash to some courses), you are made to feel encouraged and supported at parkrun events.
ALL WELCOME: No matter what age, size, fitness level, gender or even breed (you can take your dogs on a short leash to some courses), you are made to feel encouraged and supported at parkrun events.

One of the things I love about Newcastle is we have plenty of community fitness events.

Over the Australia Day long weekend there were loads of people heading outdoors to take part in various activities, which was great to see.

On Friday, around 400 people jumped into Newcastle harbour for the return of the Across the Harbour swim for Australia Day.

The next day there were perfect conditions for the Nobbys to Newcastle Ocean Swim.

But, along with the annual events such as those and the likes of the Sparke Helmonre Triathlon (February 24) and NewRun (April 15), there are plenty of opportunities on a weekly basis to get moving in the community.

On Saturday, I made a long-awaited return to Newy parkrun with a few friends and also managed to coax along some first-timers.

It had been about four years since I ran the Carrington event and it was telling, with about a minute added for each year missed.

But that is one of the many motivating factors of parkrun – being able to see how your time each week compares to your previous efforts.

You can also compare it to the times of your friends, people in your own age group and those in younger and older age brackets.

Every week there are newcomers running or walking alongside people who have done as many as 260-odd parkruns.

Some facts you might not know about Newy parkrun include:

  • It was the region’s first parkrun and has been running for over seven years;
  • Rio Olympian Scott Westcott holds the record for the fastest time, of 14 minutes and 23 seconds;
  • Celia Sullohern set the quickest female time of 15.57 in September of last year, not long before winning the Melbourne marathon;
  • Around 21,700 personal best times have been recorded and, collectively, over 616,000km have been run or walked.

The great thing about the Carrington parkrun is its accessibility, so you see people of all ages there.

Another flat parkrun is the Lake Mac event at Booragul, which is getting ready to mark its fifth birthday on February 10.

It is a beautiful course, winding around Lake Macquarie from Booragul to Speers Point and back, crossing the five islands bridge each way.

It is concrete paths the whole way and event director Jason Becker described it as “probably one of the most pram friendly courses in the region”.

He said numbers had been up since the start of the year and hoped for a strong turnout to celebrate the milestone event Saturday week.

Some interesting facts about Lake Mac parkrun include:

  • Scott Westcott also has the best time out there, of 14.49;
  • The average number of runners each week is 276 with an average run time of 32.52;
  • The fastest female time is held by Hayley Gustard, of 16.48;
  • There have been 14,152 PBs set and over 371,000km covered.

Participants are urged to get into party mode for the fifth birthday by dressing up in an ‘L’ or ‘P’ theme.

Cancer survivor Lisa Greissl will be hosting a Barbecure event to raise funds for Cure Cancer Australia.


A HMRI nutritional supplement study being conducted at the University of Newcastle is looking for overweight adults between the ages of 50 and 80 for a 16-week trial.

Volunteers must do less than 2½ hours of planned exercise per week, not including walking, and not be taking fish oil or curcumin supplements.

For more information, phone Julie Kuszewski on 4921 8616 or email

Sizzling Summer Sessions

To let muscles recover you can alternate upper body sessions with lower body workouts. Lower body sessions could look like this:

Session one: 10 squats, 10 dead lifts, 10 lunges on each leg, 20 high knees on the spot, 20 mountain climbers/standing shuffles. Repeat twice.

Session two: Perform each exercise set 2-3 times with 30-second to 60-second rests before moving on to the next. 

Session three: Run 50 metres between each exercise. Go through exercises 2-3 times. 10 x squat then lunge with left leg, 10 squat then lunge with right leg, 10 dead lifts, 10 squat jumps.

Upcoming fitness events

Free lunchtime yoga class, Civic Park, January 30: Revitalising Newcastle are hosting a range of health and fitness activities this month and this week it is a yoga class for all abilities. Class starts at 12.30pm.

Run 2 of Summer Run Series, Carrington, February 4: The second instalment of the inaugural 10-kilometre series. A flat course promising a fast time.

Lake Mac parkrun fifth birthday, Booragul, February 10: Get in creative mode and start planning your dress-up outfit, themed with the letters ‘L’ and ‘P’, to celebrate a milestone for this free 5km event. There will be a charity barbecue afterwards.  

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.