Tag Archives: parkrun tourism

parkrunning Down Under

18 Oct

As soon as we had booked our flights to Australia, I got online to check out where the nearest parkruns were. I found that there was a parkrun at Gosling Creek in Orange, just a couple of miles away from where my brother lives and that just two weeks before we were due to arrive a new parkrun was starting in North Wollongong, which is near to where my sister lives. Sadly, there are no parkruns in Hong Kong (yet – see this page where someone is trying to set one up), so we knew we’d have to miss one run whilst away.

The first parkrun that Stuart and I did was run #3 at North Wollongong parkrun. It seems as though there has been some disagreement with the local council about parking, so the start of this run has changed from being in Wollongong to being at Fairy Meadow, which is a shame as there are no facilities there, whereas there are lots of cafes and coffee shops in Wollongong.

It is an out and back course, starting in a small park before heading off on a sandy path. It’s an interesting route with a little uphill, a board walk section and a section on grass. It is picturesque and not too busy. Also, it starts at 8am, which is earlier in the UK, but not as early as parkruns in Queensland which usually start at 7am!

Near the start of North Wollongong parkrun

The original plan had been for Stuart to run with M in her ‘new’ running buggy, but my sister and her husband decided not to run, so M was able to wait with them whilst Stu and I ran.

Nearing the turnaround point

I always perceive Australia to be a very sporty country, so I was surprised at how few competitive runners were taking part – more people were jog/walking with quite a few children. I think it’s great that it’s such an inclusive event. It might be because the weather was quite warm, which made the conditions challenging – maybe the speedier runners are out earlier?

North Wollongong parkrun

The lack of lots of super speedy people meant that I came 11/121 females and was 3/15 in my age group.

My next Australian parkrun was Orange parkrun. This is a much more established event that takes place at a nature reserve called Gosling Creek.

The Run Director did a nice briefing and there were quite a few tourists at the event – I’m guessing that some of them were in Orange because of the mine, rather than just as sight-seers. We got a huge round of applause for having come from the UK, possibly because Orange is off the tourist trail, although there are some lovely wineries in the region.

This time, M was joining us in her running buggy, so Stu agreed to push M and to run with me. Neither of us is on form, but even with a running buggy, Stuart is much faster than I am, so it was quite a challenge.

Again, this parkrun was a nice mix of surfaces. It is a looping course with some reasonably steep inclines that are fairly short. There are sections on grass, trail and board walk and the scenery is lovely.

The Run Director welcomed each runner back individually and then took a photo of the three of us. As you can see, M was exhausted by her early morning exertions!

Orange parkrun

My time was relatively slow for me, so I was pleased to find that I was 7/76 females and 1/5 in my age group!

Our final parkrun was again at North Wollongong on our final morning in Australia. M had not slept well, (she’d spent a lot of the night screaming) so I really appreciated Bryony and Jonno getting up early to take us.

M stayed at the beach with her Uncle and Aunt and Stu had a foot niggle, so he agreed to run with me. I realised at the start that I had failed to bring my inhaler with me. That was a bad move as the path was very dusty and it made breathing extra hard. I also didn’t have a drink with me.

Second parkrun at North Wollongong

I couldn’t remember how long my previous run had taken me, so I decided that I would aim to finish in the top 20 females. I set off towards the start and when we got towards the turning point, we saw the fastest runners on their way back. I started counting the female runners and could see that I was in the top 20, but that I would need to keep pushing to retain that position.

2nd parkrun at North Wollongong

I was really pleased to finish 15/107 females and 2/17 in my age group. I also achieved a PB for this course.

Overall, I really enjoyed being a parkrun tourist in Australia. There are so many interesting courses and I’ve never been to a parkrun event that wasn’t friendly. I’ve now done 3 international parkruns, but am still stuck on 19 different UK events, so maybe that’s something I need to do more of next year.

Which is your favourite parkrun and why?

Fat Girl to Ironman has been nominated for the 2018 Running Awards. I would be really grateful if you would vote for me. Thank you 🙂


Nominated for The 2018 Running Awards. Please vote for me.

parkrun Tourism

29 Jul Reigate Priory parkrun

As we were staying with my Aunt in Dorking, Stuart and I decided to do a bit of parkrun tourism. My mum was also with us, and she had packed her shoes and barcode, so she was also ready to take part. We had a quick look at the parkrun map and decided to visit Reigate Priory parkrun as that was the nearest event.

We parked in a nearby supermarket. I was a bit worried that we were going to be late as the car park was very busy and it wasn’t easy for us to find a space. We then had to find our way to the start. Fortunately, it was immediately next to the car park, so we were able to get there in time.

Priory Park

On the walk to the start, we were able to admire the beautiful park and buildings. I was also impressed by the children’s play area.

Play area in Reigate Priory Park

Reigate Priory parkrun is all on grass. It has quite a wide start, but quickly the runners form a fairly narrow line. I had decided to run with my mum, so we started near the back.

Reigate Priory parkrun

It is a two loop course, so after Stuart had finished, he came back to cheer us on on our second lap.

We finished in a slow time, but it’s a fairly tough course.

Reigate Priory parkrun

Bournemouth parkrun

16 Aug

This morning, Donna and I went down to Boscombe to watch some clubmates taking part in the VOTwo Salty Sea Dog triathlon. The water looked a bit choppy and at 7am the air temperature was fairly cool.

Two events were taking place – a sprint race and a super sprint.

© Donna Lovelock

© Donna Lovelock

After we saw our club mates exit the water, we stopped to support the slower swimmers coming into T1, before heading over to watch people on the two-lap bike course.


Paul at the end of the bike section.

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Mark heading towards T2

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Halfway through the run, Mark had managed to take the lead.

After our colleagues had finished, Donna and I cycled back up to Bournemouth parkrun. My feet are still feeling a little bruised from Dublin, and I wasn’t sure that I had recovered, so I was aiming for a time of 26-30 minutes, although I wasn’t sure whether even that would be possible. I knew that I had a tough swim coming up later in the day, so I decided that I wouldn’t push too hard and if my breathing became laboured then I would slow down.

The last time that I did Bournemouth parkrun was in October 2013, when I managed 27:31… however, when I started the run, I had no idea of what my previous time was.

Donna and I both started at the back of the pack, which was probably a mistake – somewhere in the middle would have been more appropriate. We both set off fairly quickly and I decided to stick with Donna for as long as possible.

The course wasn’t exactly the same as I remembered: it’s a lap of the field and then two laps that go on a short trail section and out along past the athletics track.

I managed to stay with Donna for nearly 2.5km, but it was much warmer than I had expected and my breathing had started to be affected. I kept going and was pleasantly surprised to find that I finished in just over 26 minutes, so a course PB!

Bournemouth parkrun Aug 2015

Donna also got a new Bournemouth parkrun PB, which is great.

My run splits were not very even:

  1. 4:54
  2. 4:56
  3. 5:26
  4. 5:09
  5. 5:26
  6. 4:42

…but it was nice to find that my legs will still allow me to run faster than 6:30/km! I was also in teh top 50% of finshers as 396 runners completed the event.