Studley parkrun, Melbourne

Studley parkrun route
Studley parkrun route.

I travelled yesterday. A scoot to the airport from Bicheno, ticking the trip meter over the 2,000km marker on the way, then a flight to Melbourne. Again I was in the emergency aisle seat; I think that Jetstar just like me. As a result I was first off the plane and could hear the incredulity from the ground staff as the plane completed a round trip. “Oh” said Brad, cabin staff-in-charge, looking outside after we’d taxied to the terminal, “It’s whatserface who saw us off!”. “My” said whatserface, “that was quick! How many hours was that!”. 50 minutes to Hobart, 50 minutes back, barely time to even miss the crew.

I am in Melbourne, in the suburb of Coburg at an AirBnB. I picked Coburg because there’s a parkrun there which is running on Christmas day. However, it’s also running as part of a double on New Year’s Day, so I jogged down to Studley parkrun today instead. By sheer good luck, the route there from here is, or can be, scenic: mostly along the Merri Creek route then into Yarra Bend park. I cut the corners a bit, cutting across a few roads, but for a longer run, following Merri Creek would get you there.

People gathered in the sun, by tall trees, for the briefing
Studley parkrun briefing.
Sign says Merri Creek Trail
Merri Creek sign. Yes, it seemed amusing on Christmas morning.

Melbourne has some lovely open spaces in its outer suburbs, I ran past chittering birds, a velodrome, several cricket pitches and a running track that seemed to be open for anyone to use. A few people were doing just that as I ran back, impressive effort for Christmas morning.

Suspension bridge with red pedestrian barriers
Kanes Bridge, a suspension bridge, run over after 1k (other way) and 4.7 or so (this way). Wobbles a bit.

The run got a decent turnout, 160, including several Brits there for the cricket – no quips made. No need. There are toilets near the start if you need them. And a barbecue at the finish area, which got good use today. Every other public barbecue I spotted on my way back was being setup ready for a Christmas meal – get in early if you want to follow suit!

View of a brown river from the bridge
View from Kanes bridge.

The route takes in a 1km loop, bottom right of the route map, up first to thin the crowd out a bit before the charge over the bridge, then it’s an out and back. Plenty of uneven terrain, tree roots and the like, to keep it interesting, and a couple of testing hills. I wasn’t pushing too hard, but tagged along with a group of local runners who were clearly running within themselves, which made it a nice progressive effort, accelerating towards the finish. We were a group of 4, only 3 at the end, and the one dropped wasn’t me, though I ended the run pretty much flat out while the other two jogged in. And we weren’t especially quick overall (22:00 for me). None of them checked in, so there are several unknowns in the results – not wanting to put their names to the time.

I did, of course. And then enjoyed some of the breakfast provided by Old Xaverians, who have been running and eating here on Christmas Day since the 1970s and now combine it with parkrun, which is excellent.

Sausage, bacon and egg for breakfast
Breakfast. There was fruit, cake and drinks as well. Had I not found a supermarket last night, I might have stocked up to save me going hungry/getting bored of tuna and pasta.
A volunteer stands beyond the finish line, which is marked by cones and parkrun flags
Studley parkrun finish.
Elevation map of Studley parkrun
Studley parkrun elevation. Nothing massive, but the climb near the end (which you run down on the way out, just after crossing the bridge, 1km in) is enough to give pause.

It’s a lovely run. It is still mostly an out and back, in Aussie style, but the loop, surroundings and changing underfoot conditions keep it interesting and a decent challenge. The conditions would change a bit, possibly even be a little easier, with a bit of rain – it was hard-packed mud today, so no relief if you got foot placing wrong in a rut or tree root.

A pillar stands on the grass
Pillar of Yarra Bend asylum. This is all that’s left of the asylum, placed here because it was more or less enclosed by water. Conditions were not good.

The run back was good, too, with plenty of locals out exercising to start their Christmas Day. Easy when it’s 20 degrees and sunny.

Results from Studley parkrun, event 98, 25/12/17.

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