parkrunning at 80

At 80 Karys Fearon has every excuse to slow down, but instead her age is a reason not to.

Karys has more than 300 parkruns to her barcode and aims to keep on going for as long as possible.

She and her husband Jon are regular parkrunners at Mt Penang parkrun.

“I wish to stay running as long as I am physically able. To be encouraged and encourage my husband to keep running and stay physically fit.

“When it is wise for us to not run, more vollie roles will keep us connected for as long as we can.”

How it started

Karys first learned of parkrun as St Peters was in its starting stages, her daughter was on “the reconnaissance team” setting it up in Sydney.

“When she heard about a local one for us was about to commence, she told my husband about it so he was there for the beginning of Mt Penang parkrun in Gosford.

“I had recently finished working as a nurse/midwife after 56 years and much of it shift work and on-call so I valued my Saturday morning in bed in winter.

“We were holidaying in Perth, WA when Jon encouraged me to join him on two parkruns – Claisebrook Cove and Heirisson Island. I particularly enjoyed them so coming back home, it was on forever that Saturday morning was parkrun over and above everything else.”

Karys’ home parkrun is Mt Penang, which she has run at more than 160 times. She’s also run in most states/territories in Australia and completed a number of the unofficial challenges.

“I really enjoy the camaraderie with so many interesting people of all ages, the challenge to improve myself and the fact that being older, is an encouragement to so many others.”


“parkrun is a priority on our Saturday every week and a fun extra to arrange when travelling.

“In fact, it has taken us to places we may not have visited so we could run at parkrun, meet interesting people and tick off parkrun challenges.

“A group of us went to Merriwa at the time of the bushfires. About 10 of us stayed in motels overnight, shared parkrun and outnumbered them in fact and then enjoyed breakfast and coffee at the local cafe.

“We wanted to bless our folk in the fire regions. One local runner went straight off again to attend the fire front.

“Our local Runners Shop gave me a bag of free goodies to take with us and bless our remote runners which really overwhelmed them.

“Another time we went west again to Bill Rose Sports Complex parkrun for the same purpose, not bushfire time but just to bless a remote community.

“You Yangs parkrun in Victoria was really wonderful. We did a reconnaissance the day before and just loved that remote parkrun too.”


“I’d still like to get to parkruns in New Zealand, Tasmania and Singapore. I also want to finish the Alphabet challenge at Zillmere and complete Hunter and Sydney region parkruns I’ve not yet done – 14 in all.

“We went to run Zillmere three years ago but it was cancelled the morning we turned up for it.

“Thankfully we were able to get to another parkrun 2km down the road at Chermside so all was not lost.

“We probably would never have been to that parkrun if Zillmere hadn’t cancelled.”

“I’ve several highlights. Being able to take part in two parkrun events in England (Wythenshawe and Trellisick) and run a freedom run on Margaret Island in Budapest – a clear running track for 5 km.

“At home, my husband’s 80th birthday prime wish fulfilled was for all the family – 19 of us – to run at our Mt Penang parkrun before other celebrations.

“This was my desire and fulfilled for my 80th birthday in April 2021 at Dolls Point parkrun when even our Queensland family was able to join us.”

“Our parkrun often is cancelled because of events held in the gardens and surrounding grounds.

“This caused me to celebrate my 50th and 100th parkruns as a tourist at Newcastle district venues.

“It was wonderful to be able to celebrate my 250th parkrun at our home venue and for a friend to run a good distance with me and another regular to come alongside and run with me too.

“How extra special to find I had an all time PB and a palindrome time of 33.33!”


“While Covid has interrupted parkrun for all of us, we have kept Saturday morning as our 5km commitment.

“We had to wait patiently for New South Wales to re-open in December 2021 to run my 300th. Not an official milestone but for us, a definite goal and achievement.

“parkrun is part of many of our family’s connection too so we can share a common interest when we visit them in Cairns and also Sydney.

“parkrun also gives us the training and ability to take part in longer runs of up to half marathon. During our weekdays we make sure we walk at least 10km each day.

“I do get particularly breathless with running so I need to take a breather short walk to recover and keep running.

“The cardiologist cannot find a cause so encourages me to keep running.

“After an anaesthetic I had a 42 pulse rate when transferred to the ward, the doctor assured the staff not to worry because “she is a very fit lady”. Thank you parkrun.”

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