“Do you have anything like this in the UK?”
This was my chance to run an inaugural – but in Australia. I’d spotted this one was due to start but as I clicked around different runs and checked the transport timetables, had ruled it out as unreachable -trains and buses may start before 6, but with a 7am start, you have to be on it early. Joining Intraining, though changed that, and Steve had offered me a lift after the first session I had there, nearly two weeks before the run.
At Thursday’s run we’d made our arrangement, with them picking me up at 6 near the house. I worried they were making that a little tight on time for my sake, but we were there by 6.15. I realised then that I had miscalculated; I’d been looking at the Bunyaville run when working out transport, and this was quite reachable. Much nicer to get a lift, though, and I felt part of the gang, with South Bank on Tour for the second week in a row.
When Brisbane days, even in spring, are hot, they start warm early; by 7 it looks like a glorious British summer. After a hot Friday, though, rain had set in overnight, eased at 5.30 as I got up but then thrown it down from 6.30 onwards. The gazebo was popular, and it felt strange to be wet and cold after Friday’s heat. I met Michael, who tops Australia’s most events table (with 24, pah), who was a recognisable type, planning way ahead for future runs. I’d wondered if in those 24 he had covered more kilometres than me, but I think he has mostly been in Queensland and has driven to every one, rather than criss crossing the country by plane. Tourism with limits; not quite the Australian Paul Freyne, who surely would have clocked up air miles to Western Australia by now. Level with him is Brent, who I met next; he offered Michael the chance to get ahead in 2015. Different country, same conversations.
The route itself follows a path for 1km, then has two laps of a lake and back to the start. Popular parlance seems to refer to that style as a lollipop, but the original path is quite twisty, so I think it was more of a balloon and string. After 45 minutes dodging the rain we had to emerge for a briefing; despite taking in ‘a word’ from 4 different people, it was pretty quick, and it helped that the rain had settled for ‘dropping’ as a contrast to the ‘hoying’ it had gone for at 6.30.
We ran. The runs here seem to set off particularly quickly, so this time I let people go. With a broad start but everyone aiming for the path, there’s a squish at the beginning, and I let a lot of people go ahead before working on my position. Up ahead were Tim Oberg, country manager, so I took the chance to show off my 100 shirt by edging past, and Moray, event director from South Bank the week before, and I targeted him. Got to beat a Scot, after all. With those scalps taken, I worked to join the third, biggest, group near the front, tagging on with another runner to head round the lake. Running with others really helps, and my splits were the most even I’ve had in Australia, if still not quite at my best, with 6.01, 6 and 6.02 for an 18.30 overall.
Great run, great inaugural and I had time to talk to some other finishers, be interviewed for the Aussie parkrun show and was back home for a snooze before 9 (11 on Friday night back home – it’s still odd to think that I’ve finished mine before people back home have even gone to bed ahead of theirs). The question at the top came from local dignitary Glenn – not the mayor, but a man who gets things done, and friends think he ought to be in a position of responsibility. He had heard about parkrun in a local meeting they’d put on, and loved the concept already, even though this was his first run. Yes Glenn, we do have something almost exactly like this in the UK. Perfect parkrun, that’s 3 Australian ones completed.
Results from Minnippi parkrun event 1, 30/11/13.