parkrunner(s) spotlight: the Yun family!

This is the next in our series of interviews with Lillie parkrun participants to help strengthen our connections during this COVID-19 pause in operations. Many thanks to the Yun family for stepping up to be interviewed and to Marie Hamlin for conducting the interview. If you'd like to join the fun, contact us via our social media and we'll add you to the queue!

Yun family at Mt Taranaki

Hello Yun family! Let’s start off with you telling us a little bit about yourselves? 

Charles: T. Charles Yun, 48, born in Ann Arbor, work at the University of Michigan.

Kristine: Kristine Yun, 44, born in Grand Blanc, currently sheltering in place and grateful I don't have to work at the same time.

Aldus: Aldus Yun, almost 13, born in the Netherlands, currently in 8th grade.

Torsten: Torsten Yun, almost 11, born in the Netherlands, currently in 5th grade.

Charles and Kristine could you tell us how you met?  

We met at Albion College 26 years ago, and we've been married 17 years. We're both native Michiganders but lived in the Netherlands and New Zealand for several years. We came back home to Ann Arbor three years ago.

Young Yuns at Albion College

Oh my goodness! Look at you two!  This is adorable!  We are all glad that you have moved back to Michigan.

When did you start running seriously? 

Charles: I started running cross country and track in middle school because my parents said I had to take up a sport.  I continued through high school and on/off since then.  

Kristine: I started "running" (jogging leisurely?) shortly after Torsten was born. I needed some exercise that was more than walking the dog, and I enjoyed having time all by myself!

Aldus: When I was 4 I started running a weekly 2.5k in the summer. Running is just fun.

Torsten: I did Running Club at school because everyone else was doing it, and it was kind of fun.

Aldus and Torsten's first race

All great reasons to run – parental pressure, me time, for the fun of it, and peer pressure. Where is your favorite place to go running? 

Charles: out in nature, in the woods (at the Arb, or Matthaei).  But I mostly run with Tui around the neighborhood.

Kristine: For running, Lillie parkrun is my favorite. If I'm just walking I prefer Bird Hills or walking from home into downtown Ann Arbor. The place I miss walking is the south coast of Wellington (NZ); I loved the sound and the color of the waves as they rolled in on a sunny day.

Torsten: My favorite places to walk used to be Zealandia (a native wildlife sanctuary in New Zealand) and Karori Cemetery

After reading this I might just have to take a trip to New Zealand. I hear they have parkrun there too. What do you like about Lillie parkrun?

Charles: It is social (Biggby Coffee is a really nice late morning Saturday routine).  Families participate.  And the people are all fantastic.

I agree, the people are fantastic, and having a chance to get together at Biggby afterwards is a great way to start your weekend.

Kristine: I love the community feel and how welcoming and supportive it is for people of all abilities and ages. There's no judgement, and the only serious competition is with yourself.

Yes. Everyone cheers your accomplishment whether you’re 1st, 15th, or near the end. 

Aldus: There are lots of nice people, I get hot chocolate afterwards, and it's timed.

The people are really nice, and getting hot chocolate after your run is the icing on the cake.

Torsten: Dogs.

Tosten, all the dogs love to get snuggles from you before and after the run.  For them, you are the icing on their cake!

What’s your favorite volunteer role at parkrun?

Charles: Tail walking. Because I can continue to practice heels with Tui while she is distracted by WAS THAT A SQUIRREL?!!

Oh No! You just say the S word! It is the one word that drives most dogs up a tree.

Kristine: First timers' briefing. I want people to feel as welcome as I did when I started, and I want them to come back and volunteer! I also want people to know what to expect.

Kristine, with your easy-going welcoming demeanor, you set everyone at ease.

Aldus: Event photographer. I haven't done it, but I'd like to.

I think something could be arranged in the near future.

Torsten: Token sorting

That is an important job, especially for the person handing out tokens the following week.

Do you have any tips for parkrunners or first timers who are coming to visit Lillie parkrun?

Charles: Just join in, it is fun and low pressure.  Walk the first time just to observe.  

Kristine: Enjoy the course! And if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask. Everyone is super friendly and helpful.

Aldus: Get there early for the first-timers' briefing and to see the course a bit. Don't take the tokens home. Remember that you don't have to run.

Torsten: Pet every single dog.  

All of this is great advice. Have you had the chance to visit any other parkruns? 

Charles: We have only been to one other parkrun - Meadowvale parkrun outside of Toronto.  It was nice to see that parkrun self-selects for generous, kind and welcoming people (n=2).  

Aldus: It was a really fun course that wasn't too repetitive (two laps), and there was cake and hot chocolate for their 100th run anniversary.

Yum! Cake and hot chocolate - I am starting to pick up a pattern here. Are there other activities that you really enjoy?

Charles: I have a rowing machine that is surprisingly rewarding. It gives me a reason to sit for an hour with the TV on.  

Kristine: I enjoy reading, cooking, baking (another reason to run), being silly with Amanda S., and petting dogs.

Aldus: Lacrosse, riding my bike, football and baseball with Torsten in the front yard, cello, reading, indoor rock climbing, more running, and more lacrosse.

Torsten: Playing Minecraft, cello, throwing the football, whiffle ball, and petting Tui.

Yun cellists

Do you have any hobbies?

Charles: I had many; then I had kids and only a few hobbies survived; and now I have kids & a puppy...

Kristine: Practicing calligraphy (occasionally).

Aldus: See activities above. And Minecraft.

Torsten: Cello

You certainly are a busy family. Do you volunteer your time anywhere?

Charles: I am a mentor at the University for several different programs (entrepreneurship, professional growth/advice, and DEI reference).

Do you belong to any clubs or organizations?

Aldus: The "Particle Physics Gang," which is basically just a group chat of 22 kids from school that I organized to go to a movie together.

Do you have children?

Kristine: Just these two nut jobs.

Yun family pineapples and mustaches

I have to say - the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree. Do you have any pets?

Just Tui for now. Previously Maui the vizsla (RIP) and Bubbles the goldfish (RIP).



Do you like to travel?

Charles: We have lived in a few different places around the planet. We used to travel a lot more, but the move to the States has seen that stop. Once covidgeddon is done, we hope to be able to have our Grand Canyon summer holiday. We shall see...

Aldus: YES. My favorite place I've been is New Zealand. I'd like to go to Iceland, Antarctica, and somewhere in South America.

Torsten: Yes. My favorite place I've traveled is Hawaii because we saw sharks, lava, seagulls, sea turtles, and a fish that tried to eat my flipper, and we went swimming with dolphins.



Kristine: YES. We used to be able to travel a lot more than we do now. (That's an understatement these days! And true for everyone, isn't it?) Now that we're back in the U.S. most of our vacation time is spent visiting family, but we're hoping to show the boys more of the country whenever we can. We'll definitely be on the lookout for other parkruns wherever we go.

Yun family on the Hobbiton set


Such great adventures you have already experienced. I look forward to seeing pictures of your future travels. But more than that, I look forward to the day we can all get together at Lillie Park and share a cup of coffee at Biggby afterwards. 

Kristine: We're all really looking forward to seeing all the Lillie parkrunners in person again, too. Until then we hope you and everyone else is healthy and safe!

Yun family parkrun stats: Kristine, Charles, AldusTorsten