COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Former Yamba parkrun coordinator Vicki James, with Lismore parkrun event director Belinda Smith and Yamba parkrun's new coordinator Jess Causley.
COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Former Yamba parkrun coordinator Vicki James, with Lismore parkrun event director Belinda Smith and Yamba parkrun's new coordinator Jess Causley.

Yamba parkrun founder passes on the baton

PARKRUN: Vicki James started the parkrun in Yamba with fellow runner Meg Dougherty before it became the nationwide phenomenon it is today.

After four years at the helm, volunteering 125 times and running 62, James will hand over the baton, with her farewell coinciding with the club's fourth birthday last weekend.

While the outfits weren't exactly Olympic standard, the club turned out in the rain to congratulate James on her service and enjoy another day of community spirit.

"I love being involved with parkrun to see the improvements in people's fitness, celebrating when personal bests are achieved, the new friends I've made and watching people achieve more than they think they are capable of,” James said.

"I am so proud when I see the number of parkrunners and walkers that participate every Saturday morning and know that myself and the core volunteer team bring this event to Yamba every single week and have done so for the past four years.”

A highlight over her time at parkrun was seeing Commonwealth Games rep Celia Sullohern smash the Yamba parkrun female record with a time of 16.11.

"Another was when we had our highest attendance record of 142 participants. It was so awesome seeing so many people on the course,” she said.

James will hand over the co-ordinator role to avid runner Jess Causley, and although she has the title, it won't stop James from turning up on a Saturday morning.

"I'll stay on as a regular volunteer as volunteers are the heart of parkrun, and when not volunteering, I'll be participating and enjoying all the great things parkrun offers,” she said.

"Yamba parkrun is a strong and positive community and I'm thrilled that someone passionate about parkrun has taken over the reins.

"Jess will continue to bring a fabulous event to Yamba supported by a strong team. I know Yamba parkrun is in good hands.”

For those interested, or even a little scared about parkrun, James said they welcomed everyone, where no one comes last.

”We'd love to invite anyone who has been thinking about coming down to please join us - we are a friendly bunch,” she said.

"If you are scared of being too slow, don't be! Parkrun has a tailwalker and you will never come last. We'd love to share parkun with you.”



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