It’s not always about the running

I’m not running as much as I would like as studying is taking the lead, but I am getting out there and enjoying what I can.  I did manage to get two runs in this week, one after work and one before parkrun yesterday.  I was rather pleased with yesterdays run 10k in 59 minutes, when I was just out to enjoy it.  Which is a challenge as this little hernia is making itself known more 25 05 19

Disappointingly we seem to having a volunteer drought at parkrun with a lack of folk stepping up each week.  Not wanting to let anyone down I put my hand up.

This week was a special one as one of our Race Directors Mione, was running her 50th run and her son, Logan, our youngest member was running his 10th.  To make it a special day the request was put out to make it a fancy dress run.  Of course I completely forgot this was the case, not that my dressing up box is overflowing, and didn’t have anything with me.  There was a good turnout of fancy dress wearers getting into the spirit of the thing for Mione and Logan which was great to see. 

parkrun 26 05 19 fullFortunately Mione turned up with a spare yellow tu-tu which happened to match my Ghanaian Black Stars soccer shirt so I was good to go.  What was really handy was that we’d decided to switch to the scanner App for the first time.  As I was scanning barcodes it was easy for the runners to be sent to find the bloke in the skirt.  This might have to become the new uniform.

finish scan 250519

I’m fortunate that I can run to the parkrun course before the star, which is great as in recent weeks I’ve done more volunteering than running.  Yesterday was heaps of fun milling around making sure everyone was scanned, having a chat and a laugh with regulars and visitors alike and enjoying the morning.   Volunteering actually makes parkrun just as enjoyable as just doing the running.  As I say it’s not always about the running.

I hope everyone had a good weekend.  Happy Running Everyone.


Older and Wiser

Couple of things going on recently which has impacted on my running enjoyment.  I’ve had it confirmed, that I do in fact have a hernia and if I want to continue to enjoy running,  exercise and not saying “ouch” each time I sneeze, I really do need to get it fixed.  All being well, within the next month or so we can have that sorted.  The other thing that’s messed it up is being a student again, where I’m two units into my BA Accounting with three weeks to go until  the end of this semester and a LAW exam.

What I’ve done is swap my running time for studying.  All of the planning and motivation I put into my marathon plan has been diverted into my studies.  Which is amazing when I consider that 27 years ago when I went to uni the first time I didn’t put anywhere near the effort I do now into anything (apart from drinking and generally enjoying the experience).

With time comes experience and maturity.  At 45 I’m fitter, though in a different way to what I was when I was 18 and I’m far more organised and disciplined in all that I do.   Who knew that was possible?  There was no way I would’ve considered what I do now and what I do now is just part of normal life.  Funny how things work out.

This week I am marginally ahead of my studies and in a real need for a run.  I looked at Smashrun which informed me I’d only run once this month, not cool.  Yesterday I made a conscious effort to take my gear to work and get out in the afternoon.  As the nights are drawing in I was prepared with my head torch and knocked off 10k in just over an hour.  Not bad for a fat student.   I have to say running at night through Mon Repos is one of my favorite activities.  No one around, just me enjoying myself, can’t beat it.

Not content with that I went out again in the dark and ran the parkrun course before pulling on the fluro vest as parkrun Race Director.   Two really enjoyable runs and reassured that my breaks through studying haven’t impacted too much.  Though the hernia is making itself known now.

sat run 20 05 19

Now all the running is done I feel refreshed and able to get back to my studies.  Thanks to my hard work I’m on track for a HD in the first accounts unit and will definitely have a good pass in LAW.

Happy Running!

Token Tragedy!

Today is parkrun day, formally known as Saturday.  Earlier in the week the call went out from the Bargara ED’s for volunteers and as the roster was a bit light on I stepped up to help.

As I’m not getting as many runs in at the moment (and for the next three years) I went out for a cheeky 10k before the start.  Really pleased with this, sub 60 minute time and negative splits for the 5k back to the parkrun start.  And I saw a mummy roo with her joey.  I can never see enough kangaroos, I absolutely love them

zombies run 6 04 19mummy roo

The parkrun volunteer team was all assembled and after my breathing returned to normal I dropped my gear and picked up the finish tokens.  A quick chat with Chris who was on the stopwatch and we’re all good to go.  Or are we?

No problems at all.  First 50 over the line, no worries.  Then comes in #51 and I hand over what I thought was the right token.  I look closely and it was 151!!

Hang on says I, I’ve given you the wrong one.  I quickly swap it out, for #101!! Turns out I have an aversion for #’s 51 to 100 and left these numbers in the box!

A quick, sorry to RD Kate to explain what I’d done and we carried on.  There were a few odd looks and many apologies from me to explain.  It could be worse I could’ve been out by an odd number.

There was lots of laughs and cries of “you had one job”.  Which is perfectly acceptable and adds to the fun of volunteering.  We have a great volunteer pool at Bargara so it’s all meant well.

As an experienced RD, this is a bit of a faux pas, and goes to show that we all make mistakes.  As it was mine I stayed back with Kate and Nicole to help make sure the times all added up.

We have such a great team at Bargara, honestly feel privileged to be part of it and here we all are.  parkrun! the best way to start your Saturday!

Park run RD's

Happy Running folks!

Hey, Hey It’s Saturday!

I haven’t been active here for while, I haven’t stopped running, I’ve been a bit busy.

When I started 2019 I had a plan to introduce RED January to our company and run the Sunshine Coast Marathon and beat my 2018 time.  As the say the “best laid plans of mice and men”, don’t always work out as intended.

RED January was an amazing success!  I had no idea how it was going to go down and it went far better than I could have imagined.  So much so that my office continues to plank every day at 11:30 and we do our aerobic stretching thing at 2:30.  The ones that participate love it and they continue to do it when I’m not there.  Amazing.

As for the marathon, not so good.

I’ve been having some doubts about my career, I’m rather specialized as a Master Brewer.  I now make brewed soft drinks and as I’m not exposed to alcohol on a daily basis (and don’t get free beer) I don’t drink much.  To be honest I don’t miss it.  So a future where my career options could include breweries and beer are no longer appealing.  Don’t get me wrong beer has got me around the world and back and I appreciate that.  I’m just not into it anymore.

Six weeks ago, around 4:30 am, I made a decision and applied to university.  After a bit of hassle proving my original qualifications (turns out I needn’t have bothered) I was accepted on to a Bachelors in Accounting through Central Queensland University.

I’m now 4 weeks into the first two units and I’m rather enjoying myself.  What it means though is the time I was dedicating to running is now dedicated to study.  I’m still up at 4:30, but instead of exercising my legs, I’m giving the brain a workout instead.

I haven’t stopped running completely.  We have a little running group in the office now and we get out two evenings a week for 5 to 8k’s.  It’s great to run with friends and as Kasey, our accountant, is doing her MBA, it’s a way of keeping her sane and healthy while she studies as well.Kasey Drew and Paul

I am still getting a parkrun in when the opportunity allows.  Let me tell you of the most recent.

I was in Brisbane to do a short 5 minute talk about the company at a dinner. Also on stage were Chris from Eumundi Brewery (Chris worked for me 10 years ago at the Swan Brewery in WA) and the chap from Bundaberg Rum.  We said our piece and then enjoyed the food, drink (lots of!) and entertainment from Rugby League legend Trevor Gillmeister.  Who was very entertaining, a top bloke to boot and spent some time on the table with us.paul gilly matt

Marginally hungover on Saturday morning I trotted the mile from the hotel to the start line of the Brisbane South Bank parkrun.  As I came up to the line I saw a shirt with “Tring” written on it.  I’m pretty sure there is only one Tring in the world and it’s in Hertfordshire in the UK.  I happened to own a house there between ’98 and ’06 and did the parkrun in October last year.  So of course I had to say hello and had a nice chat with John and his daughter before the off.

john from tring

I’ve run South Bank lots of times when I stayed in Brisbane for work so I think I know it reasonably well.  This was my first time at the parkrun.  I think I’ve run bits of the course before but I wasn’t completely certain, so I was into the unknown which was nice.  It was super humid so I didn’t push it and went steady.

southbank zombie parkrunIt’s a well It’s a well laid out course running towards Kangaroo Point before heading into the botanical gardens and back again.  The gardens are nice and shady and quite lovely to go through.  It takes 18 volunteers to manage the 600+ runners every week and they do a great job.

Here’s a couple of course photo’s taken on the run (literally)

As they don’t have parkrun frame the best I could get was this one at the end.

South bank parkrun, great course well organised, would definitely do again.








The Impact of RED January

I’ve not written much recently, simply because I didn’t consider myself to have anything worthy to write about.  But over the last 6 weeks since the end of RED January there has been some developments.

At our head office the prevailing view was to carry on with the daily activities and we’re still planking at 11:30 and stretching at 2:30.  This carries on regardless if I’m there, someone in the office will pop their head up and mobilise the team to get on with it.  This is amazing!

The other positive aspects is that two of the ladies in the finance team are going out for a decent walk three evenings a week.  I couldn’t get them to run, but I did get them out and about.  That’s another great win.

Good things seem to come in threes. The third is that I’ve got a weekly running group happening of a Wednesday evening with our accountant and whoever else wants to take part.  I got Kasey into regular running through RED January and she doesn’t want to stop.  It’s great to get out with her once or twice a week.

I’ve mentioned that I’m a big parkrun fan, both participating and volunteering.  This week I hit the 25 volunteer milestone.  Which I’m really pleased with.  I’ll be ordering my purple shirt soon.


This year I was going to run my third marathon and had started the training.  Change of plan. Three weeks ago I decided to go back to uni park time and do a BA in Accounting.  This starts officially on Monday 11th.  So the time I would be spending running I will now be spending hitting the books.  All going well I’ll have completed my second degree by the time I’m 50!.

I’m not stopping completely just changing focus.  I’ve got a Brisbane parkrun planned for the end of the month and having the weekly runs with Kasey (who’s doing her MBA, so running helps her mental health) will keep the blood flowing, especially with a few Zombie, Run episodes thrown in.

Happy Running (and studying) Everyone

Ch, Ch,Ch, Changes!

One person can make a difference and it is possible to change a culture!

I’ve worked in lots of breweries across the world and been involved in lots of change management programs, with short and long term expectations.  I’ve had some wins and some almost, but not quite, results as well.  This most recent one I’m going to chalk up as my best win yet.

In December I started the groundwork for RED January.  I had to speed up the planning a bit as I went down with shingles and spent the last two weeks of December off work.  Fortunately I’d set it up well and had 40 people signed up to do just that little bit extra RED activity in January.

Throughout January in the head office, where I currently sit, we planked at 11:30 and did some alternative exercises and had some fun at 2:30.  Every single working day throughout January.  Feedback was that it was bringing the departments together and everyone was having fun.

I put out a 9 question Survey Monkey feedback form and of the 16 who responded so far, all enjoyed RED January, and 14 would like it to continue.  So we have.  I got some really positive feedback on the differance this month has made to people achieving their fitness and weightloss goals.  Which is fantastic.  It’s nice to know I’ve helped people.

What’s even better is that I have the backing of the CEO.  He pulled the whole exec team out of their strategy meeting this week to participate in the plank and then went to the Brisbane office to get that team on the plank as well.

When I set out to do RED January with the business I had no idea how it was going to go. I’d hoped for a bit of buy-in, I never expected the whole office to join in and want to keep going.  The even better thing is when I was not available, either in a meeting or off site, someone stepped up and made it happen.  It wasn’t all about me driving the team to do something they didn’t want to do.

I am so pleased that my efforts have made a positive difference to a diverse group of people. That made it all worthwhile.

As an added bonus I was also employee of the month for the company value of “We Care”.  I didn’t start out with the intent of getting a company award as my goal, that wasn’t the point of the exercise.  It’s really nice to be recognised and the $150 paid for new running shoes (my old pair had done over 1000 k’s and were a bit tired).

So with passion, good communication, a bit of effort, a plan, clear goals and expectations and a whole lot of fun, one person can make a difference and change a culture.

Be happy, be active, be RED!  Happy running everyone.

Stat Attack

I like spreadsheets, I like numbers, I like facts and figures, solid evidence that you can compare, analyse and learn from.

I’ve really appreciated the real time monitoring that I’ve got from having a Garmin.  What I hadn’t appreciated what I can actually do with all that information. For my first marathon (well before wearable tech) all my runs we timed and distances estimated and plugged into a spreadsheet.  Since 2015 with my Garmin my records have been more accurate but I’ve still be using the spreadsheet.

But now I’ve been put onto Smashrun.  As I’ve some idle time I’ve started to take a look at what’s on offer. Just looking at the overall distance figures is an interesting start point.

2015 – 55k. I got my first Garmin in May and was living in England and working shifts

2016 – 514k- we moved to Queensland in March, not working shifts, much better environment.

2017 – 340k – more time spent walking with my wife in the morning than actual running.

2018 – 1408k – the most K’s I’ve ever done and my peak month distance of 205k in July.  A consequence of training for the marathon and locking running in as part of my chosen lifestyle.

2019 – 112k in January.  Not a massive amount yet, but it is only the 16th.  The difference at the moment is that I’m running every day as part of RED, so I’m not sure how high I’ll get on the distance.

I’m also pleased to see that as I’m getting older, I’m running longer and faster.  My furthest run in 2015 was 10k and an average pace of 6:51.  In 2016 it went up to 16k and pace improved to 6:31.  2017 I went further again to 21.9k, but a tad slower at 6:36.  The important one was 2018 with 42.2 and an average pace of 6:16.

Definitely improving, which is good to know.  I’d hate for all this effort to have made no difference.  And I feel that I’m definitely in it for the distance.

I’m sure that there’s more to Smashrun that I’ll find in due time.  In the meantime I’m going to keep running every day through January and then reset the marathon plan.  Not sure what race I’m going to do, but I’ll be ready for it.

running weekend

Happy Running!