Mark Malone – The Man With The Most Runs

In the history of parkrun in New Zealand there have been 19 occasions when Mark Malone hasn’t recorded a parkrun finish.

One of those was the week before he ventured down to the Lower Hutt parkrun course.

The others have been when he’s volunteered or the rare event of a clash.

Not only does Mark have 406 running finishes to his name – the highest of anyone in New Zealand who started their parkrun life in the country – but he also has 132 volunteer credits.

“I knew [Lower Hutt parkru] was starting because I read about it in the local newspaper. Usually I run trails going up and down the hills but I thought I’d go and do a timed run on a flat surface.

“There was another event on the day it started so I went down to the second one.”

First impressions

“I was early for that first one. I wandered over the finish area where Richard [McChesney, founding event director] was setting up. I asked him how it all worked.

“I did the run and then went home. I didn’t go to the cafe, though I do these days. I thought I could do better, so I went back the next week to try again.

“After a few weeks in a row I thought I should volunteer. I try to make a habit of things, I thought here’s a good reason to get up on a Saturday morning. That’s why I kept going at the start.”

The volunteering has been habitual as the running. Mark has carried out 11 distinct volunteer roles on at least 132 occasions.

And then there were two

By the end of May 2012 – and only a few weeks of parkrunning – Mark’s wife Shelley registered for her barcode.

She’s now completed 360 parkruns at 14 different events, she’s one of the women with the highest number of parkruns to her name.

Shelley Malone

“Back then I’d go along, run and then go home fairly quickly.

“Then Richard asked me to be a run director while he and Kent (Stead) were both going to be away.

“He said to me that I was quick enough to run and still run direct (in the days when you could – editor) so I should do it.

“I had about a week’s training and then they were both away and had to do it by myself.

“I’m into computers so I could handle all the technical stuff.”

And in Mark’s own words “it’s become a habit”.

“I’m not anal about doing it every week but if we can do it then we will. There’s only a few times when we’ve not run a parkrun due to other events being held the same day or being overseas.”

Keeping company

What makes it habitual is the company, he says. Whereas in the past he’d go straight home, now he goes to the cafe afterwards.

“A year or so ago I started working from home so it’s good to get out and see people. I’m a trail runner and I do a lot of trail running by myself, but parkrun is a more social way of running.”

Mark can often be found giving additional scanning support once he’s finished his run. It’s a role where you get to put faces to names and helpful from a run director perspective.

“It’s useful to know who people are so if things go wrong it’s easier to figure out. We video the finish too and it’s quite fun when you pull the video out.

“We’ve had a few funny things happen at the finish line – a woman let go of her buggy and it rolled into the video camera and knocked it over.

“When people do a volunteer role it’s good for them to get an understanding of how it works; it helps for their next run.”

While Mark won’t be the first runner in New Zealand to achieve his 500 shirt, when the occasion rolls around (potentially August 2022), he will be the first parkrunner of New Zealand origin (as in, started his parkrunning in New Zealand) to do so.

Some stats*:

Barcode: A280578

Number of parkruns: 406

Total parkrun distance: 2030km

Most parkruns in a year: 54, 2018, 2019

Total volunteer roles: 132

Total distinct volunteer roles: 11

*As of September 22

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