And they’re off. Eventual winner of the first Grand Ridge Rail Trail parkrun at Mirboo North Sam Quirk leads the field of 297 participants away last Saturday morning. M371819

YOU couldn’t have had a better start to a new local parkrun than thrilled organisers had for the first Grand Ridge Rail Trail parkrun last Saturday morning.
Despite threatening skies and cool temperatures, a Gippsland record 297 participants arrived at the starting line, opposite Baromi Park in Mirboo North, for the 7.45am briefing and the 8am start to the 5km run, walk and push event.
First away and first home was former Mirboo North resident Sam Quirk, competing in the Senior Men’s 25 to 29 category and setting a benchmark time of 16.24 well ahead of the next best Corey Milner 18.01 and Greg Evans 18.41 in third.
Sam Quirk’s father, local resident Steve Quirk, wasn’t all that far away from his speedy son, finishing in 12th place in the very respectable time of 20.36.
First woman across the line was Michelle Harris in 21 minutes even.
But it wasn’t all about the need for speed. Most people took in the tree-lined rail trail run at Mirboo North at their own pace. Many running, a lot walking, some pushing prams and some leading their dogs.
Whichever way they went, they loved it.
“It’s really exciting to see so many people come out. When we saw the overcast skies and cool day when wondered how it would go but we needn’t have been concerned,” said first race director at Mirboo North Stacey Harriage.
“Highlights for me were the numbers of course and also the volunteers cheering everyone in. We also have the Mirboo North Community Foundation and the Bendigo Community Bank Branch for supporting us and fvor coming along today.
“The main thing now is to get more volunteers to sign up and for more local people to join us. You can sign up as volunteer on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/grandridgerailtrailparkrun/”
Gippsland Region Coordinator for parkrun, Tony O’Connell, was also on hand to welcome the latest parkrun, the 28th time he has attended an opening day parkrun.
“They’ve had a huge result here today, a Gippsland record entry,” he said afterwards.
Among those running were local sporting identities Sam and Wendy Gervasi who welcomed the addition to sporting opportunities.
“It’s a pretty course but I think I’ve pulled a calf muscle right at the end,” said Wendy.
The volunteers for Saturday’s first run included Anne Marie Dieperink, Christina Stoertebecker, Dana Eaves, Faith Monnich, Harvey Lanigan, Jaci Hicken, Jacqui O’Connell, Jessie Holland, Jodie Pincini, Kate Lew Ton, Kathryn Smith, Katrina Palmer, Lani Cropley, Lucinda Palmer, Matthew Briggs, Paula Calafiore, Stacey Harriage and Tony O’Connell.
It will all be on again next Saturday at 7.45am for the briefing and 8am sharp for the start. Get yourself a barcode online and we’ll see you there.