parkrun tourist @ Studley parkrun

I’ve been lucky enough to visit a couple of different parkruns the last 2 weeks for launches so you’ll have to forgive me while I catch up with the posts. This morning was the launch of Studley parkrun in the gorgeous Studley Park in Melbourne.

My friend and arrived early as we were predicting large numbers and parking scarcity but we had no trouble at all, finding a park just across the bridge in Yarra Bend Park. Easy parking, plentiful toilet facilities and stunning views – it was already ticking all the boxes.

We meandered over the bridge to the starting area for the briefing. Having been to a lot of different parkruns and heard a lot of briefings, I can honestly say this was one of the most welcoming and friendly. As well as the usual details about the route and the thanks to the many and varied people who helped get this event off the ground, walkers were also warmly welcomed and we were encouraged to ‘look after each other’ out there.20160227_073218.jpg

So, in a happy (if somewhat nervous – the course was very much an unknown!) state of mind, we gathered at the start line and were off. Only a short way into the course, there is a very tight bottle neck where we had to slow to a walk but the marshalls did their job brilliantly and the other parkrunners were courteous and patient and we soon got through. We ran a small loop initially on a trail running through the trees then turned right and ran over the bridge which was both wobbly and stunning. Actually less wobbly when you’re running than when you’re walking over it!

We then turned left and ran along the river, heading gradually down until we were almost level. And time to go back up again – this time through a zig zag concrete section, weaving through the trees and up the hill. It was also here that I met most of the faster runners coming back down so it was a bit tight but not too bad.

The turnaround point is just before Dights Falls and it felt good knowing that, even though it was the turnaround, we were already more than halfway thanks to the initial loop.

20160227_073323.jpgThe return was quick and painless with those few ‘undulations’ to keep it interesting and the joy of running down the zigzag instead of puffing up it! Soon enough, we were back and running over the bridge again and down to the finish.

After the run, we had a coffee at Studley Park Boathouse and sat admiring the river, talking about how stunning the course was and planning for our return. This one is a course you must do, at least once – we’ll definitely be back!

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Bellarine sunset run – race recap

I’m not normally a big fan of late starting events so it shows the power of persuasion that my running friends hold over me that saw me sign up for the Bellarine sunset 10km run which we ran yesterday.

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I headed down to the staging area to pick up my bib and meet up with the crew. Most of them were running the half marathon option but, as it had turned out quite warm, I was glad to have chosen the 10km. They all started at 5.30pm so I waved them off for their briefing, cheered them over the start line then waited for the bus to take me to the start of the 10km in St Leonards. We were greeted aboard the bus by a pirate – you don’t get a better start to an event than that!

The bus trip was great, taking in the course that we’d be running on and passing all of those on the outbound lap of the half marathon. It did, however, feel a little long and my pre-event butterflies were starting to flutter. Was I really up to running all the way back?!

The start line was very casual and, as we were waiting, we saw the first couple of half marathoners come through for the turnaround – inspirational stuff as they were powering along. Dion Milne (who organised the event along with his wife, Liberty), shared something of the origins and intentions of this inaugural event then sent us off on our way. This event really is testament to his determination and the positive role that running and the supportive network it offers can play in people’s lives and that’s what my head was full of as I set off.

While the start was a little crowded, we soon thinned out and, somehow, magically, there was room not only for us but for the trickle of half marathoners who had reached the turnaround point and were on their way home. It all just seemed to work beautifully. The trail hugged the coast and gave stunning views and cooling sea breezes which were much appreciated as I was boiling. Even better, the course ran along the edge of a couple of caravan parks, complete with happy campers who yelled encouragement (including our names thanks to them being printed on our bibs) and hosed us down as we passed – bliss! We were also lucky enough to have 2 fabulous running buddies there as support crew with encouragement, drinks and lollies along the way. The drink stations were well stocked and environmentally friendly so we used our collapsible cups which we bought at registration.

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I had felt thoroughly exhausted in the first couple of kilometres but felt better as the sun went down and took the temperature with it. In the last kilometre, another running friend who was running the half caught up and we ran to the finish together.

 

12657816_1678368965752461_1604587142262684756_oI was hot, tired and thirsty but happy and hung around to cheer our running buddies over the line.

We stuck around for presentations (which had been timed so that most people would have finished for them) and to generally soak up the atmosphere. I wasn’t in the mood for a cider afterwards which was a shame considering who the sponsor was 🙂

This was an absolutely brilliant event – gorgeous course, friendly and inclusive atmosphere (even for those as far at the back of the pack as me), well resourced with fabulous volunteers. As much as I still don’t like afternoon events, this is one I’ll definitely be keen to do again – so much fun (and great bling!). Well done to all involved & a huge congratulations to Dion and Liberty – you should be proud of what you’ve achieved.

Scenes from my run

I live in an amazing part of the world and am so lucky to run where I do. Hence why I’m very excited this week to link up with Erika, Patty and Marcia for Tuesdays on the run to share ‘scenes from my run’.

I’ve got some picturesque neighbourhood runs through man-made wetland areas which I tend to stick to during the week as they’re close (although are starting to get a little too familiar!). On weekends, I like to take my long run somewhere a little different so head either for the hills (5 minutes drive) or the beach (from about 20 minutes drive). My absolutely favourite place to run at the moment is along the Surf Coast trail & Great Ocean Road – they can only be described as stunning!

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In fact, I’m about to do something a little crazy and sign up for the Surf Coast trail half marathon in June. I’ve got the Great Ocean Road half in May along some amazing coastline so this just seems to make it the perfect pair. I’m a little nervous about it being a trail half (including some beach running!) but I used to think 5km seemed like a ridiculously long way so I just have to keep remembering that I’ve overcome self-doubt before and can do it again. Wish me luck!