Rhydan sprints to 250 with spring in his step
Park Run: While most of us are still fast asleep, Rhydan Stone is lacing up his runners.
For nearly six years, the Mount Hallen teenager has spent his Saturday mornings doing what most of us would dread - running a 5km timed course around Lake Apex.
A regular participant at the Gatton Park Run, Rhydan reach an important milestone on Australia Day - notching his 250th run.
Rhydan is just the fourth runner under the age of 18 to reach the milestone in Australia and said it "felt good” to be part of such an exclusive club.
What makes the achievement even more impressive was Rhydan's triumph over a serious injury to make the milestone.
In 2016, he broke his femur in a motorcycle accident and spent several months in a wheelchair as a result.
Despite this set back, Rhydan returned to the weekly runs.
While he was initially worried his injury would affect his times, he was quickly able to regain them before surpassing them -his personal best time now stands at 19 minutes and 8 seconds.
"It feels good - I didn't think I was ever going to get under 20 minutes,” Rhydan said.
"I never hit under twenty (minutes) before I broke my leg.”
He completed his first park run on June 15, 2013 in 25 minutes and 33 seconds.
His mum Tara Stone was equally impressed by his recovery.
"He did a really good job of it (the injury),” Tara joked.
"It's pretty amazing that he's managed to get his times back.”
Rhydan now hopes to beat his new personal best even further and is aiming to break under 19 minutes.
In making the 250 club, Rhydan has now run 1250km over his time at the park run.
He has completed park runs right across Australia and even some in New Zealand and the UK while on holidays.
Rhydan said the passion and commitment to the weekly activity came from from his family - the whole Stone clan heads to the Park Run each Saturday.
"They do it every week and I got motivated to just keep getting up in the morning and just go with my family.” he said.
Gatton Park Run now boosts three, 250 club members among its ranks, and Tara said the growth in the group was incredible.
"At the start we only had 35 people and the last few weeks we've been getting over 100,” she said.
Rhydan encouraged more people to take up the challenge especially younger members.
"I would encourage young kids to go out there and have a go,” he said.
"It's a good way of being healthy - you are getting out there for 5 km every week.”