Twin Win

September 25th, 2019
Twin Win
by Oliver Brown

Mount barker parkrun world record
Oliver Brown

Twins Harriet and Phoebe Farrugia from Heathfield might have set a new world record as the youngest twins to reach 100 parkruns in the world.

The twins – who turned six last week – along with their three sisters and parents have been participating in the Mount Barker 5km Parkrun every Saturday morning for the past several years.

The girls’ father Fernando said when he and his wife Mel started having children, participating in the Parkrun was originally about improving his fitness, but it soon became a whole family activity.

“I started going first, but then it was a month or two later that my older children started asking if they could come,” Fernando said.

“My wife, who had just finished recovering from the ‘twin coma’, then said we should bring everyone along.”

So, by the middle of 2016, the whole Farrugia family – with Harriet and Phoebe strapped in their double stroller – were spending almost every Saturday morning at the Parkrun.

According to Parkrun rules, the twins couldn’t be properly registered as participants until they turned four, but according to Fernando, they were raring to go as soon as they could.

It was around this time that he came across the first clue that his girls were running for something more than exercise.

“We stumbled upon an article about six-year-old twins from Newcastle who had the record for youngest twins to complete 100 Parkruns,” he said.

“I just quickly did the numbers in my head and realised the girls could potentially overtake them.”

Fernando and Mel initially decided to keep the record a secret from their girls, though sure enough, on August 31, Harriet and Phoebe completed their 100th Parkrun while still aged five.

Co-event director of Mount Barker Parkrun Paul Butler said while he couldn’t officially verify Harriet and Phoebe as the new record holders, their achievement was notable nonetheless.

“It’s pretty unusual to get one child under the age of six to achieve a 100 milestone, let alone two,” Paul said.

“I’m fairly confident it is a record though I haven’t fully checked into it.”

Fellow Mount Barker Parkrun participant Ruth Taylor-Hull has been attending regularly since its inception five years ago, and is herself approaching 250 parkruns, the next milestone tier after 100.

In that time, she and her husband Steve met and became quite close with the Farrugia’s, who coincidentally only live a few doors down from them.

Ruth said the Mount Barker Parkrun community has become very tight-knit over the years where every milestone is a communal celebration.

“I think that the Parkrun is such a supportive community that it’s become so much more than a Saturday morning run,” she said.

“When the girls got to their milestone, it wasn’t just for them, but also their family and we just wanted to celebrate with the whole community.”

As for the twins, Fernando said the accomplishment has had very little impact on them, and they were much more proud of achieving a personal best time a couple of weeks ago.

The 5km Mount Barker Parkrun course can be completed at any pace and starts every Saturday at 8am at the Homemaker Centre in Mount Barker.

The event is free and open to all-comers, though participants are encouraged to register online before their first run at http://www.parkrun.com.au/register/.





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