Katie Elder and Kaliki James are the current driving force behind the success of parkrun Hervey Bay, ensuring the community comes together every week for a shared experience of health, happiness, and camaraderie. Volunteering as co-Event Directors, their commitment has left an enduring impact on the tens of thousands of participants who have laced up their running shoes and embraced the parkrun spirit for the past nine years.

The decision to become volunteers stemmed from a desire to maintain the continuity of parkrun in Hervey Bay. Katie and Kaliki, following the legacy of previous Event Directors, dedicate their time to organising the event, fostering a sense of community where hundreds gather to run, jog, walk, and share in the joy of physical and mental well-being. Reflecting on their involvement, they express pride and happiness in contributing to this thriving community.

Each week brings forth unique moments that make volunteering worthwhile. From milestone achievements to whimsical costumes during themed events, the parkrun experience is a tapestry of special memories. As Event Directors, Katie and Kaliki find particular joy in witnessing newcomers evolve into regular participants and, eventually, enthusiastic volunteers. The sense of accomplishment radiating from individuals as they progress embodies the true spirit of parkrun.

For Katie and Kaliki, the lasting impression comes from the diverse group of volunteers who make parkrun possible. Recognising the invaluable contributions of the core group, they emphasise the importance of every individual who dedicates their time to ensure the longevity of parkrun in Hervey Bay.

Their advice to potential volunteers is simple: volunteering is fun, free, and easy. A smile and, for some roles, a mobile phone are the only prerequisites. Dispelling nervousness, Katie and Kaliki encourage everyone, regardless of age, shape, size, or running level, to try their hand at the various roles available. Two dedicated volunteers, Grahame and Tim, exemplify that participation doesn’t require being a runner; anyone can contribute to the vibrant parkrun community.

Summing up their volunteer journey in one word, Katie and Kaliki choose “Happiness.” It encapsulates the joy derived from fostering a sense of community, promoting well-being, and witnessing the positive impact on individuals who make parkrun Hervey Bay a vibrant and inclusive gathering every week.