New country, new community — Hanieh found so much more than fitness at her local parkrun

It’s a frightening factor to maneuver the world over to a spot you have by no means been earlier than – particularly if you do not know anybody.So, when Hanieh Kosari arrived in Australia from Iran to check, she was understandably wide-eyed and nervous as she confronted the fact of turning into immersed in a new tradition.The then 28-year-old did not plan to be right here eight years later, however the community she created has a magnetic pull.”The aim was to do my diploma, however on the best way, various things got here, and finally modified my life,” Hanieh mentioned.Those life-changing occasions all began with a humble Saturday morning parkrun.Where all of it startedThe yr was 2014 and Hanieh had been in Australia for 2 weeks.She was residing with an Australian household and had a protracted street forward, learning for a post-graduate diploma in Environmental Engineering at the University of Newcastle.Facing years of pc work, they inspired her to go alongside to parkrun, a free five-kilometre run at a park down the street.Hanieh wasn’t into working however needed one thing to fight the stress of relocating, learning and sitting — a jog was precisely what she wanted.She says the environment was a distinction to what she left behind in Iran. Hanieh developed a large circle of associates at parkrun she will now name her community.(parkrun: Glen Turner)”It’s not regular to see individuals out working in Iran, like we see right here,” she mentioned.”It was thrilling to see how many individuals had been coming in contemporary at 8am on a Saturday.”They had been all smiling and welcoming new individuals, and that was pretty.”Hanieh met lots of people at that very first parkrun at Blackbutt, however there was one stand-out.When Hanieh met RahmatRahmat had been going to parkrun for a yr earlier than Hanieh got here on the scene.Also from Iran, he got here to Australia to check. As destiny would have it, Rahmat was enrolled at the University of Newcastle too. And it seems, they’d mutual associates.”A beautiful couple I met by way of my landlady invited me for breakfast after parkrun,” Hanieh mentioned.”That couple additionally invited my (now) husband to their home.” Hanieh and Rahmat have each accomplished nearly 200 parkruns.(Supplied)And so they hit it off, and Hanieh’s first parkrun sparked the beginning of a relationship that blossomed, and finally led to a wedding.The couple wed in Iran and celebrated with their parkrun community once they bought again.They now even have a one-year-old son, Kian.Hanieh and Rahmat each credit score parkrun as being the catalyst for a community that helped them to settle in Australia.”We know many individuals there now, and it was the beginning of a variety of friendships,” Rahmat mentioned.”You simply have a household there.” Runners stride alongside the observe at Blackbutt parkrun.(Facebook: Blackbutt parkrun)’It’s crucial in settling’Dr Michelle Redford immigrated to Australia from the UK the identical yr as Hanieh, they usually turned associates by way of parkrun.As a GP and parkrun Health and Wellbeing Ambassador, Dr Redford believes constructing a community is helpful to your well being and in discovering your means in a new nation.“It’s crucial in settling,” she mentioned.“I feel except you’re a part of a community, your well being goes to endure, sadly.” Michelle (entrance) celebrates her 250th parkrun with associates Lisa, Sally, Susie, Maggie and Hanieh.(Supplied)Compared to different well being threat elements, Dr Redford says social isolation and loneliness typically fly underneath the radar.”Loneliness is a threat issue for individuals growing psychological well being issues in addition to bodily well being issues,” she mentioned.Dr Redford has accomplished more than 250 parkruns, volunteered over 30 occasions, and constructed her personal community there, too.So, as a part of the parkrun apply initiative with the Royal Australian College of GPs, she’s assured socially prescribing parkrun to her sufferers if it suits, together with for these transferring right here from abroad.”GPs have the flexibility to achieve a few of these harder-to-reach communities who may benefit probably the most,” Dr Redford mentioned. There is a first-timer’s welcome at parkrun, which introduces the occasion and permits individuals to fulfill at least a few others.(Supplied: parkrun)“Parkrun is a welcoming atmosphere. It’s probably not in regards to the working, it’s more about coming alongside and being a part of one thing on a weekly foundation.”And so much can come from turning up week in and week out.A job interview, greatest associates and a child showerAlong with assembly her future husband, Hanieh credit parkrun with discovering that tight-knit group of associates that elevate you up.”Just a few pretty girls I met at parkrun, they’re now my greatest associates right here in Newcastle,” she mentioned.Hanieh loves that she was given the chance of a weekly gathering, to get to know them.She says they had been there for her by way of the varied lockdowns, and each step of the journey of getting a child. Hanieh and Rahmat met at parkrun in 2014, at the moment are married and have a one-year-old little one.(Supplied)”Those pretty associates who I made at parkrun deliberate and organised every part for a child bathe for me,” Hanieh mentioned.Again, when Hanieh was in search of work, she even bought a job interview by way of her parkrun contacts.”I used to be impressed to get that interview,” she mentioned.That ‘community really feel’Rod Pickering is occasion director at Lake Mac parkrun, one other of Hanieh and Rahmat’s locals.With 180 runs and nearly as many volunteer caps, he says parkrun is a community-oriented occasion and has been for a few years. Rod Pickering (far proper) is the occasion director at Lake Mac parkrun, which he says promotes a community environment.(Supplied: Rod Pickering)”We’ve seen a variety of new individuals come alongside and match straight into the community environment that we promote,” Rod mentioned.”Every parkrun I’m going to, I discover the identical type of community really feel.”Without parkrun, Hanieh does not assume she’d have the identical help as she does now.”I do not assume I might discover these pretty individuals wherever else,” she mentioned.Same goes for Rahmat, who did not assume he’d nonetheless be residing in Newcastle.“I didn’t know the place I’d find yourself,” he mentioned.Thanks to parkrun ushering them right into a community, they’ve each landed in a spot they’ll name dwelling.ABC Sport is partnering with parkrun to advertise the advantages of bodily exercise and community participation.

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