A little parkrun tourism…

I’ve written about parkrun before, but just in case you have been living under a rock for the last little while, here’s a brief rundown.

parkrun (ALWAYS one word and a lower case ‘p’) is a global phenomenon. The concept is simple – a free, timed, 5k run every weekend, same time, same place, until the end of time. (Side note: if you haven’t registered yet, go to www.parkrun.com and get on board!)

Australia first got parkrun in 2011 and South Australia followed close behind in late 2012 with Torrens parkrun. I was there along with 43 other runners and 4 volunteers. Now, Torrens is regularly getting over 300 runners and at the end of last year SA got its 20th parkrun.

parkrun tourism is a thing. There is a list on the parkrun website of ‘most events’ – the parkrunners who have done the most different parkruns. It is a great honour to get your name on this list (you have to do a minimum of 20 different parkruns to qualify for the Australian list, and 30 to get on the global list). I am on the Australian list and am working towards getting onto the global list by the end of the year. With parkrun exploding in SA as it did last year (jumping from 11 to 20 events in just one year) I don’t think that will be too hard!)

parkrun tourism is also a great way to see places you might not otherwise go to. For example, when in Washington DC last year I decided to do the Roosevelt Island parkrun and if not for that, I never would have known that Roosevelt Island existed! I’d also been to Renmark for the first time because of parkrun!

Anyway, this weekend SA welcomed its 21st parkrun, at seaside Edithburgh, on Yorke Peninsula. I hadn’t been to Yorkes since I worked at Minlaton in late 2008, and it didn’t hurt that Adelaide was experiencing 40+ temperatures at the time – perfect weekend to get out of town!

As always with new parkrun launches, there is always a large contingent of tourists. Usually the tourists outnumber the locals! Week 2 is probably the best indicator of what the ‘usual’ number will be, where you get to see how many of the locals will be there week in and week out.

Edithburgh is about 250km away from Adelaide, approximately a 2.5 to 3 hour drive. With parkrun starting at 8am, I didn’t fancy leaving home before 5am (therefore probably getting up at 4am – on a Saturday!) to get there in time, so I decided to stay overnight on Friday. At the semi-last minute I managed to book a cabin at the Coobowie Caravan Park, an easy 5 minute drive from the parkrun location at Edithburgh.

By the time I arrived at about 6:30pm on Friday the temperature had dropped considerably – a welcome relief! There is a tidal pool at Edithburgh – I did go for a quick dip in there but it was actually a bit too cool by the time I got in!

On Saturday morning, I got up around 6ish, thinking to myself that I would already have been up for 2 hours if I hadn’t stayed overnight! NO THANKS!

Some crazy people (actually quite a lot of crazy people) HAD made the drive up on the morning. Admittedly some of them live a bit further north than me, so it wasn’t QUITE so long a drive, but some of them live even further away than me! And some of them were driving back home the same day!

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With Justin (Mawson Lakes ED), Neil (ML and Carisbrooke RD, and fellow former Torrens RD) at the start.

A lot of people had decided to make a weekend of it, with SA’s 22nd parkrun, Port Broughton, which is launching in a few weeks, having a trial run on the Sunday. Port Broughton is quite far from Edithburgh but a bit closer to Adelaide.

There were 70-odd people there for the inaugural event, with just under half of those being locals. That’s a great sign – what you don’t really want in a parkrun is a huge crowd of tourists at the launch, and then NOBODY the next week!

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With well known parkrun tourist (and paparazzo) Gary – one of the crazies who drove the 250+ km Saturday morning, stayed in town about 3 hours then turned around and went back!

It is a simple out and back course, mostly along the coast. We had a tail wind on the way out and consequently a head wind on the way back. The finish was a little bit brutal (if you can use such a word to describe a beautiful seaside parkrun!) in that you could see the finish line from about 500m away, and also you had to go up a hill into the wind to finish! Funny, I didn’t recall running downhill with the wind at the start! Funny how that happens!

I managed just over 23 minutes but made the rookie mistake of stopping my watch without looking – Garmin made the distance 4.98km, which of course would be rounded down by Strava to 4.9km! Of course that’s just GPS error as I’m certain that the course IS really 5k!

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With my oldest running friend (oldest in terms of how long we’ve known each other, not age!) Justin, who drove up on Saturday and then was staying for the Port Broughton trial on Sunday

After a bit of socialising at the finish line and a few group photos – I’m sure wrangling 70+ parkrunners (plus doggos) for a photo is akin to taking a school class photo – we headed to the local coffee shop for the obligatory post-parkrun coffee.

Location Café is a perfect place for coffee – plenty of space for parkrunners, great coffee, inside AND outside options, and looked like a pretty good brekky! I made my way around the tables and didn’t leave there until nearly midday (I think that’s a new record for me and post-parkrun coffee!)

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Post parkrun coffee with Alicia whose hair matched the colour of the sea!

From there I took the long route back home – stopping for lunch in Moonta, a quick dip in the swimming enclosure at Wallaroo (actually just a paddle – the water was divine!) and a coffee. (I wasn’t going in the water but I heard someone calling my name – I thought I was imagining things but it was fellow tourist Kelly, stopping for a dip on the way to Port Broughton, so I went down to say hi!)

All up I covered 550+km (on a single tank of petrol!) but it was well worth it!

Congratulations to Edithburgh parkrun EDs Zoe and Danielle for this fantastic new event! Hopefully I’ll make it back down there again soon!