Ebony Knox addresses the parkrunners before they set off on the first Koonwarra parkrun on Saturday morning. N144517

Michael Tripodi from Traralgon was the first finisher in 17:36. N164517

Leongatha’s Sarah Lewis was the first female finisher in 19:05. N174517

THE first Koonwarra parkrun held on Saturday morning was a stunning success, with 255 participants hitting the Great Southern Rail Trail for the 5km event.
They came from all over Victoria and loved the setting.
First finisher Michael Tripodi from Traralgon ran out over the new bridges towards Meeniyan and back in the impressive time of 17 minutes and 36 seconds.
“It’s one of the most beautiful courses I’ve seen in a long time,” Michael said, and he’s ticked many parkruns off his list in his 117 starts.
In fact, many participants strive for parkrun ‘Statesman’ status, which means they’ve completed every parkrun in the state.
That’s why there were so many there on Saturday.
“You’re all first timers at Koonwarra,” run director Ebony Knox said to the participants before they set off.
Afterwards, she said she was thrilled with the response.
“This is incredible… it certainly exceeded our expectations!”
She thanked the team of volunteers who’ve worked to get the event up and running, and also the local community for its support.
“The people of Koonwarra and the businesses have been fantastic to work with. They jumped on board straight away.
“Everyone will benefit because parkrun tourism is massive.
“The Koonwarra-Leongatha RSL cricket club is also behind it and so is the MDU Football Netball Club which will use the event for preseason training.”
For the record, Leongatha’s Sarah Lewis was the first female finisher and in third place overall in a time of 19:05.
This is the third parkrun to be established in this region, following on from Inverloch and Churchill Island.
Parkrun is a free, weekly, timed walk/jog/run at 8am every Saturday morning.
The event is organised entirely by volunteers and is a great way to get outdoors and become involved in the local community.
To participate in parkrun you must first visit www.parkrun.com.au/register/form and register to receive your barcode which keeps track of your time each week.
For more information on the Koonwarra parkrun visit www.parkrun.com.au/koonwarra