Parkrun volunteer, Noel Darr, to reach a first time milestone with the weekly event

Long-time Richmond resident Noel Darr will be accomplishing a brilliant milestone with East Richmond Parkrun on Saturday, February 13.

Noel will volunteer at the weekly event for the 100th time. Having been a part of the local Parkrun since it's beginning in 2017, the 83-year-old has only missed a few weekends, despite having a pacemaker installed.

100th: East Richmond Parkrun volunteer Noel Darr stands on the path at Ham Common. Picture: Simon Bennett.

100th: East Richmond Parkrun volunteer Noel Darr stands on the path at Ham Common. Picture: Simon Bennett.

"It feels good," Noel said. "I'm a bit embarrassed because I never expected this. It is just something I like doing."

The first run at East Richmond was on November 4, 2017 and was originally organised by a local named Allison, who recruited the volunteers.

Noel has become well known along the Ham Common track, with one of the stations becoming known as "Noel's corner".

"I saw an advertisement for [Parkrun] and put my hand up," he said. "I used to do a lot of running myself and I wanted to give something back to the community.

"So, I come down on a Saturday morning and help with the set up and then I stand there and encourage people of all-ages.

"That's what I do, I just help out."

Often equipped with a spray bottle in hand during summer runs, Noel will spray down the runners as they pass by.

"The previous summer (2018) I thought I might just bring out a spray bottle, but then I needed to bring out a bigger spray bottle," said Noel.

"All the fast runners, I don't worry about them because they just want to keep to their time, but the other people they look forward to it now."

Noel is an ex-runner himself, running in marathon's, Sydney's City 2 Surf and other long-distance events.

"I used to run for about 30 years and then eventually my doctor said stop ... so, now I just play golf and walk during the week," he said.

In 1990, at the age of 52-years-old, he completed the Honolulu Marathon three and a half hours.

Noel was a load-master in the RAAF with the 37th Squadron who flew 49 missions to Vietnam between 1968 and 1972 and held a world record at the time of his retirement.

"When I retired in 1994 they had a dining out night for me in the Sargent's mess and a representative from Lockheed was there," he said

"He said that amount of hours I had flown on the Hercules E Model was at that time a world record."

Runners: East Richmond Parkrun members (L to R) Kim Harris, Sally Myers, Karryn McGregor and Dianne Murray, run past volunteer Noel Darr. Picture: Simon Bennett.

Runners: East Richmond Parkrun members (L to R) Kim Harris, Sally Myers, Karryn McGregor and Dianne Murray, run past volunteer Noel Darr. Picture: Simon Bennett.

After a short break during his retirement Noel began his volunteer work. First at the Wayside Chapel in Kingscross, followed by 14 years volunteering at UWS.

Noel said that he unexpectedly was awarded the Order of Australia medal in January, 1986 for services to the military.

"I didn't expect that, it just sort of came out of the blue," he said.

Noel's favourite thing about Parkrun is being with the people.

"I've made friends with a lot of people," he said. "There is a lady who comes along ... and I try to help her because there are times where she has been quite stressed.

"There are young kids who you see week-to-week. One of the women bring her three daughters who had their personal bests last week, and they will run again [this week].

"I just try to encourage people, that's just me."

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