Two months ago, during a dark and stormy night, a ragtag group of QUT representatives met in an underground bunker for highly classified purposes. The security for this meeting was of such a sophisticated nature that each representative had to pass a variety of clearance tests included eye-retina and finger-print scanning technology. We can thank the boys from our engineering faculty for such innovation. This bunker hosted some of QUT’s finest minds including Casey Sims (QUT Athletics President) and Georgia Robertson (QUT Running President) who knew the score had never been bigger.
At the culmination of this historic meeting Casey and Georgia clasped hands, this symbol of union sending an audible shockwave across the room. You’ve probably deduced the purpose of this meeting from the write up title, but allow me to elaborate for clarity. The mission was simple: QUT Sport, utilising the talent of QUT Athletics and QUT Running would join forces and infiltrate the South Bank 5km parkun. Such a historic feat had never been done before, yet this initiative endeavored to provide volunteers from these clubs to operate as marshals at various checkpoints of the running course. Several Tigers would also run against the clock. The goal was to spread joy and efficiency in such copious quantity, as to leave an indelible mark on parkun forever.
The morning began with furious whipping winds, which failed to deter, but rather strengthened the resolve of our Tigers. I have to say that it was ironic our volunteers experienced nothing but ill-intent on the Goodwill Bridge, courtesy of mother nature. To start the day our volunteers gathered at the parkun starting point, where Georgia Robertson roused the troops with an awe-inspiring speech, blasting away any remaining vestiges of sleep deprivation. QUT Sport’s Officer Adele Rose was spotted wiping away a singular tear, and I think we can deduce the cause of such an emotional reaction. Dan Bond, a QUT Tiger was quoted saying, “You see these kinds of speeches in movies, but to experience this in real life...Well it’s quite mesmerising.” The wonderful Benjamin Leaver, one of parkun’s main volunteers, was also on-site, operating as the main tactician for the Tigers by leading our volunteers to their required checkpoint destinations, providing relevant kit and equipment. Brendan’s instructions were so succinct that he deserves his own training academy, and on top of that a statue made in his likeness at the race starting point.
Our Tigers were all in the optimal strategic position when the participants began running at 7am. At the first QUT Garden’s point checkpoint, we had Louis Yanagisawaand myself (Daniel Jebb) control the flow of parkun Participants. This was an iconic pairing and I couldn’t help but admire Loui, as he expertly shouted words of encouragement to on comers, who seemed to swell with renewed purpose and energy. At the second QUT checkpoint we had another wild bunch of characters emboldening the runners: Andrew Crawshaw, Phedra Chew, Lukas Apel, Alex Ihreskog and Torjus Urke. Special mention to Phedra Chew, who was so enthusiastically and gracefully jumping around her checkpoint, that she could have qualified as a serious contender for “So you think you can dance.” Alex was seen swelling with pride at her performance. This group provided support of such an immense caliber, that their checkpoints possessed the same energy as a Kendrick Lamar or Taylor Swift concert.
At another checkpoint at the foot of the Goodwilll Bridge, we had Daniel Bond, Georgia Robertson and Brittany Waterson light up the area. Their efficiency in directing and cheering the people was so fully fledged that Michael Jackson would have classified them as “Smooth Criminals”. Socrates famously quoted “I am the smartest man alive because I know that I know nothing.” I’m sorry Socrates but we finally know something: The Tigers are a force to be reckoned with.
Casey Sims, was like a chameleon perfectly blending into the environment, snapping photographs left, right and center with her behemoth of a lens. She moved in such a subtle manner that it was almost as if she had a teleportation device strapped to her wrist. The engineers boys? Anyway, I think after exhibiting such brilliant camera ability firsthand, Casey could certainly try her hand at being a private investigator, exploiting the more unscrupulous and depraved elements of Brisbane City. For some reason I don’t think that is a lifestyle Casey desires; Athletics will do for now.
At the remaining checkpoints along the Southbank walkway we had Lukas Michalek, Lachlan Caldwell, Adele Rose, Trinity Chau, Phoebe Chew, Cailum Roberts, Guusje Scheijen and Lena Milacher assist. They treated the parkunners so royally, that it would have been thematically consistent to roll out a red carpet. Phoebe had such a carpet stowed away in her car next to her Six Guccii handbags yet declined to unfurl it during the run for safety reasons. Cailum instead decided to put on a show, pirouetting to the delight of the runners who seconds later increased pace. It should be noted that Lukas Michalek is undertaking a PHD in chemistry, his specialty investigating “Polymer Brushes”. If Lukas had been able to produce a Polymer Brush during this parkun event, he would have been in the presence of his two favouritethings: running and Polymer material. Alas, he had to settle for just the running this time. Perhaps he will have polymer samples at the next parkun.
Aside from marshalling volunteering we also had several Tigers compete for this 5km extravaganza. Firstly Jayden Dows, ran a sensational time of 19:31, attaining 10th position overall. I had the pleasure of high fiving this young man as he zipped past me, an extra gust of wind momentarily causing me to spin on the spot in his impressive wake. Jayden loves his indie films, so I would love to make one about his life. Secondly we had Isuru Dharmasiri run a sensational time of 21:09, coming 23rd for the males. I possessed the best seats in the house, watching this athlete rush past me, his form so impressive I want him to grace the next issue’s cover of Men’s Health, spilling all regarding his breathtaking pace. Additionally we had Kate Ullman run for the team. Whilst usually a sprinter (100/200m), Kate demonstrated that there was no challenge she would not rise to, and that she was versatile to any distance, making me question if there really are limits to human potential.
You’ll want to take a breath for this one folks. If anyone has seen Wonder Woman then they know this titular hero is a force to be reckoned with. Similarly, the QUT Sports Coordinator, Emily Rosemond can be described in a similar fashion. Emily had her boots (maybe running shoes) on the ground with the Tiger Troops, weaving in and out of runners as gracefully as a gazelle. Emily ran a time 24.14, which qualified her as 14th female over the line: a truly picturesque scene. Adele was seen later in possession of a chilled drink, in order to calm her nerves at witnessing such human evolution.
There were other special appearances during the day I would like to make mention to. Firstly, it was great to see the parkun CEO Tim Oberg return to parkun, putting in a great effort for this event. Tim runs for the club, “Dirty Cheetahs,” and I think it’s safe to say that with a PB of 20:17, that his club name could not be more appropriate. Lastly, we had Liesel Jones, former Olympic Swimmer, compete in parkun for her very first time. She attributed part of her success in this event to the volunteers who helped bolster her resolve, as she passed through various checkpoints. It seems Liesel goes with the flow, regardless of whether she is in water or upon land. Congrats Liesel.
Everyone put in a brilliant effort for the QUT SPORT takeover of parkun. Props to Casey and Georgia for getting this off the ground. It proceeded better than we could have expected with 510 participants in total. A special thanks to all the volunteers and runners who helped turn South Bank into an arena for the roar of the Tigers to compete with the roar of the wind. Until the next parkun.