parkrun tourism @ wilson botanic

Another parkrun launched last weekend over the other side of Melbourne however, with Balyang’s birthday, I couldn’t make the launch so Jo and I headed over for their second event on Saturday.

Another early start and another long drive but the scenery that greeted us made it worth it. Wilson Botanic Park in Berwick is an oasis in this area of suburbia with picturesque gardens, quirky sculptures and constantly changing scenery. We arrived early enough for a toilet stop at the Visitors Centre (possibly the nicest toilets encountered at a parkrun!) and then a wander around to find the start (into the park and right up the incline towards the amphitheatre).

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A quick briefing done, we all gathered at the start line – numbers were clearly back to a comfortable level after a successful launch and it felt like a small, friendly event. The course is a 2 lap circuit, heading across along a tree covered walkway not long after the start which makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a fantasy world. Shortly after this is a rather steep hill – not the worst I’ve encountered but hard enough, especially when you know you’re going to have to do it again on the second lap. From the top of the hill, there are great views across the suburban backyards to the city skyline and, with the outside world noise not really filtering in, it’s a very serene place to run. Back down the steady decline and through the gardens beside the lake, you loop back to the start for the second lap.

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The first finisher was crossing the line as I was starting on my second lap which I had expected although it wasn’t as disheartening as I thought – the scenery really was taking my mind off everything and I looked forward to another lap. The hill was possibly easier the second time – I knew to expect it and just put my head down and got it over with as quickly as possible.

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I finished a few minutes slower than my regular parkrun time but wasn’t at all disappointed – my goal these days is to ‘run happy’ and get through each run feeling strong, happy and positive. All were definitely achieved on this run. There was a great vibe across the finish and people hung around to cheer on all the finishers, despite the rain clouds threatening overhead.

As we were on our way out, there was a plant sale in full swing and a coffee cart in action afterwards for those in need of a caffeine fix. It’s clearly a popular park for all sorts of pursuits and would be a particularly gorgeous spot to hang out in Summer.

Having travelled now to quite a few parkruns, I’m building a bit of a list of my favourites and this is definitely somewhere on it – scenery + just enough challenge + great community feel = perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.

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