My guide to Brisbane's best* parkruns

For the last few months I've been enjoying time off serious training and spending many Saturday mornings being a parkrun tourist.

By my calculations, Brisbane has 18 park runs, including west to Ipswich, south to Logan River, and north to North Lakes. I've done 11 of them now. So the * in my blog title is a disclaimer that my ratings are based on *most* but not *all* parkruns in Brisbane.

My training now has to get a little more specific for what lies ahead, which means I'll have less time to parkrun in the near future. While I intend to get to the rest of the parkruns as soon as I can, I thought I'd summarise my time as a parkrun tourist with my awards for the fastest, the friendliest, the hardest, most scenic, best community atmosphere, and the most surprising.

Officially my home parkrun is New Farm, which I've completed three times. I've also been a parkrun tourist to:

Fastest course

I set my personal best for 5ks at Riverside Rocks where I ran with my much faster friend. But word on the street is that Minnippi is a fast course. This is where I set my second best parkrun time and from memory my friend and fellow blogger Bron recently set a PB here. So, given I had some serious outside assistance at Rocks Riverside, I will name Minnippi as the fastest Brisbane course.
Athletic Powerhouse triathlete chronicles at Minnippi parkrun
Minnippi parkrun. Thanks to the organisers for the photo.

Most challenging course

This one has to be Bunyaville, as it's hilly and on trails. I have heard that Augustine Heights is hilly too so I'll take people's word for it and name it a runner up.
Brisbane's toughest parkrun - Bunyaville. I'm smiling but my fellow runner isn't.
Toughest parkrun, Bunyaville. I'm smiling but the runner behind me isn't. 

Friendliest parkrun

This is a tough one because I think by nature all parkrun events are fairly friendly places to be. I have to give it to Logan River though, with an honourable mention to Bunyaville.

Bunyaville seems to draw a smaller crowd than many parkruns and they seem to be a really close knit gang. Even so, I felt really at home as a tourist, and they welcomed me with open arms when I volunteered after Christmas too.
It was a dreary day when I volunteered at parkrun Bunyaville.
I ran Logan River on New Years Day, and many of the runners had also done Berrinba, so the comraderie may have been inflated, but I'll award it the friendliest because the nature of it being an out and back, then an out and back, and then another out and back course, means that you have lots of opportunities to cheer on and high-five other runners. And lot of that happens! There was a particularly excellent atmosphere today though, with an added activity of naming your goal for 2015 and recording it for accountability on their Facebook page. It was a nice touch.
I published my goal for 2015 at Logan River parkrun: to complete two qualifying races for the UTMB.
It's official. My goal for 2015 is public, thanks to the team at Logan River parkrun.

Biggest parkrun

I know size doesn't matter but the reality is that parkrun is growing at an enormous rate. I did South Bank on Christmas Day and there were over 500 runners! So this counts as a win in the biggest parkrun category.

Most scenic course

I took my best parkrun photo at Wynnum - gorgeous palm trees - so I'm going to name Wynnum as the winner in the most scenic course category.
A row of palm trees
Good picture, right? Hawaii? No, parkrun Wynnum.

Best sense of community

I ran North Lakes parkrun on their second (?) anniversary. It was a great vibe with special prizes for fancy dress and a ukelele playing under the introductory speeches. They had plenty of prizes up for grabs and seemed to be a fairly tight night group of parkrunners.  Although Logan River is a close second on this front, for the reasons why they get my 'friendliest' award.
Grass skirts, hawaiian shirts, and a ukelele at North Lakes parkrun's birthday.
This isn't Hawaii either, it's hawaiian themed day at North Lakes parkrun's birthday.

Most surprising course

At the risk of offending the locals, when I decided to make the trek down to Browns Plains for my first run of the 2015 I wasn't really expecting much. I'd been to Browns Plains before, admittedly many years ago, and there wasn't much to see. Boy was I wrong. Berrinba Parklands is a terrific spot. Beautiful parklands, gorgeous bush paths, and a lovely lake - with pelicans!
Pelicans at Berrinba parkrun. The bushland was striking too.


So that's my guide to parkrunning in Brisbane.

What do you think? Did I get it wrong? Is there a category I've missed that you'd like me to award? Which of the other Brisbane parkruns that I haven't done, should I put at the top of my list?

2 comments:

  1. Such an interesting idea. Will have to see if there is anything equivalent over here (and get off the couch to actually do them!)

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    1. The Jackson 5 - parkrun is very undeveloped in the US. There are only four! In the whole country!
      The closest one to you is Livonia in Michigan. http://www.parkrun.us/livonia/

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