New nation, new group — Hanieh discovered a lot greater than health at her native parkrun


It is a daunting factor to maneuver internationally to a spot you’ve got by no means been earlier than – particularly if you do not know anybody.

So, when Hanieh Kosari arrived in Australia from Iran to review, she was understandably wide-eyed and nervous as she confronted the truth of changing into immersed in a brand new tradition.

The then 28-year-old did not plan to be right here eight years later, however the group she created has a magnetic pull.

“The objective was to do my diploma, however on the best way, various things got here, and finally modified my life,” Hanieh mentioned.

These life-changing occasions all began with a humble Saturday morning parkrun.

The place all of it started

The 12 months was 2014 and Hanieh had been in Australia for 2 weeks.

She was dwelling with an Australian household and had a protracted highway forward, learning for a post-graduate diploma in Environmental Engineering on the College of Newcastle.

Dealing with years of pc work, they inspired her to go alongside to parkrun, a free five-kilometre run at a park down the highway.

Hanieh wasn’t into working however wished 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 mates at parkrun she will now name her group.(parkrun: Glen Turner)

“It is not typical to see individuals out working in Iran, like we see right here,” she mentioned.

“It was thrilling to see how many individuals have been coming in contemporary at 8am on a Saturday.

“They have 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 Rahmat

Rahmat had been going to parkrun for a 12 months earlier than Hanieh got here on the scene.

Additionally from Iran, he got here to Australia to review. As destiny would have it, Rahmat was enrolled on the College of Newcastle too. And it seems, that they had mutual mates.

“A beautiful couple I met via my landlady invited me for breakfast after parkrun,” Hanieh mentioned.

“That couple additionally invited my (now) husband to their home.”

Hanieh holds a red t-shirt while Rahmat holds a picture of a black t-shirt.
Hanieh and Rahmat have each completed virtually 200 parkruns.(Provided)

And they also 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 group after they acquired again.

They now even have a one-year-old son, Kian.

Hanieh and Rahmat each credit score parkrun as being the catalyst for a group that helped them to settle in Australia.

“We all know many individuals there now, and it was the beginning of a variety of friendships,” Rahmat mentioned.

“You simply have a household there.”

Blackbutt parkrun 2
Runners stride alongside the observe at Blackbutt parkrun.(Fb: Blackbutt parkrun)

‘It’s vital in settling’

Dr Michelle Redford immigrated to Australia from the UK the identical 12 months as Hanieh, they usually turned mates via parkrun.

As a GP and parkrun Well being and Wellbeing Ambassador, Dr Redford believes constructing a group is helpful to your well being and in discovering your manner in a brand new nation.

“It’s vital in settling,” she mentioned.

“I believe until you’re a part of a group, your well being goes to undergo, sadly.”

Women with numbers on their shirts smile for the camera.
Michelle (entrance) celebrates her 250th parkrun with mates Lisa, Sally, Susie, Maggie and Hanieh.(Provided)

In comparison with different well being danger elements, Dr Redford says social isolation and loneliness usually fly underneath the radar.

“Loneliness is a danger issue for individuals creating psychological well being issues in addition to bodily well being issues,” she mentioned.

Dr Redford has accomplished greater than 250 parkruns, volunteered over 30 occasions, and constructed her personal group there, too.

So, as a part of the parkrun observe initiative with the Royal Australian Faculty of GPs, she’s assured socially prescribing parkrun to her sufferers if it matches, together with for these shifting right here from abroad.

“GPs have the flexibility to achieve a few of these harder-to-reach communities who may benefit essentially the most,” Dr Redford mentioned.

A parkrun volunteer with a first timers and tourists sign stands and smiles.
There’s a first-timer’s welcome at parkrun, which introduces the occasion and permits individuals to fulfill at the least a few others.(Provided: parkrun)

“Parkrun is a welcoming surroundings. It is not likely concerning the working, it’s extra about coming alongside and being a part of one thing on a weekly foundation.”

And so a lot can come from turning up week in and week out.

A job interview, greatest mates and a child bathe

Together with assembly her future husband, Hanieh credit parkrun with discovering that tight-knit group of mates that raise you up.

“Just a few pretty women I met at parkrun, they’re now my greatest mates 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 have been there for her via the varied lockdowns, and each step of the journey of getting a child.

Hanieh and Rahmat push a pram while on a parkrun next to the water.
Hanieh and Rahmat met at parkrun in 2014, are actually married and have a one-year-old youngster.(Provided)

“These pretty mates who I made at parkrun deliberate and organised all the things for a child bathe for me,” Hanieh mentioned.

Once more, when Hanieh was searching for work, she even acquired a job interview via her parkrun contacts.

“I used to be impressed to get that interview,” she mentioned.

That ‘group really feel’

Rod Pickering is occasion director at Lake Mac parkrun, one other of Hanieh and Rahmat’s locals.

With 180 runs and virtually as many volunteer caps, he says parkrun is a community-oriented occasion and has been for a few years.

A group of people stand in front of a lake for a photo.
Rod Pickering (far proper) is the occasion director at Lake Mac parkrun, which he says promotes a group environment.(Provided: Rod Pickering)

“We have seen a variety of new individuals come alongside and match straight into the group environment that we promote,” Rod mentioned.

“Each parkrun I’m going to, I discover the identical form of group really feel.”

With out parkrun, Hanieh would not assume she’d have the identical help as she does now.

“I do not assume I might discover these pretty individuals anyplace else,” she mentioned.

Identical goes for Rahmat, who did not assume he’d nonetheless be dwelling in Newcastle.

“I didn’t know the place I’d find yourself,” he mentioned.

Because of parkrun ushering them right into a group, they’ve each landed in a spot they’ll name house.

ABC Sport is partnering with parkrun to advertise the advantages of bodily exercise and group participation.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here