Two Saturdays, two out and back parkruns in sunshine. My experience of Australian parkruns is that they tend to be out-and-back, and I’ve not been to one to change that view just yet. Stones Corner is fairly central in Brisbane, if not one of the larger runs, but having been here before, I had run the best-attended central ones, like Southbank. It was still only a 4km jog from my hostel in the Southbank/West End area, though, and my 250 shirt was greeted with gentle excitement from the run director and a few ‘well done!’s.
Out and back, a few slight undulations – if anything, it’s slightly uphill on the way out, down on the way back, with a couple of twists over bridges to keep you honest. I enjoyed it, it was warm without being boiling, and again the first finisher was out of sight. This time a Brit, the excellent Ross, with whom I chatted afterwards before jogging back to then head to the Gabba for another engrossing day’s cricket.
On 2nd December I was in Adelaide. When I was here last, there was only Torrens parkrun, in front of the Oval, anywhere near. Now there are several options. I’d idly checked the map, spotting three that looked doable – Mawson Lakes, Gawler and Carisbrooke. The reality, though, was that the first two needed a train ride, and the train is a good 2.5 miles away, and that only if you cut across the freeway. Carisbrooke is either 7 miles or nearer 10 if you don’t cut the freeway, but that still seemed the better option, as I wouldn’t then need to make sure to get to the station on time, and also get a train that got me close to parkrun in time. For Carisbrooke, just get up early enough to get there.
It all worked out. It’s a bit more of a pop-up parkrun than some, with no one in sight at 7.30, though the course director had posted on Facebook before then, probably because he was at the far end of the course to add the turn-around marker. The course is a more undulating and twisty out and back than others, running along the side of the Parra river (which in places is more of a stream). One bridge crossing, near the end of the out section, into an exposed area, turn around and back into tree cover and gentle undulations.
Although it was sunny – with the best weather of the whole day between 7.30 and 9.00 (it got cold – actually cold – later for the cricket) – it wasn’t overly hot, and a breeze made for a warm but not hot run, cooler than Brisbane. I was behind the front two for most of the run, close enough to keep me interested, but one of them broke away and opened the gap wider. Second may be as high up as I get, here. Only 53 runners made for a friendly atmosphere post run. There’s a coffee van, part of a social project to get youngsters into work, but that did business beforehand, with people running and mostly then heading off. I followed suit, but was deep in conversation with the other Brit, the excellent Peter and we continued as we walked off. He was also staying out of town, though had managed to pick somewhere nearer public transport, in Elizabeth. The journey back seemed much shorter, though, helped by us walking the first mile, and then by having company for the run.