I’m a huge fan of parkrun. Who wouldn’t enjoy a free, weekly 5km run? My home parkrun is Southbank, but I’ve run at a lot of different events around South East Queensland so I thought I’d share my wisdom! I initially provided my PB to show the difference between courses, but apart from New Farm and Main Beach the PBs are all very similar.
parkrun is not a race. There’s a difference between running fast and racing, and parkrun has a really positive, inclusive ethos.
New Farm is a good course for running fast, but it has a three of 180 degree turns. They’ve moved the start line a few times to try to accommodate more runners but the course essentially goes next to the river from New Farm park to Teneriffe and back. There is a bit of construction going on at the moment but I haven’t seen what effect this has had on the course.
My New Farm PB is 21:03.
Kirra has my favourite view out of the events that I’ve run so far. It runs on a path by the beach, and you can see the water for a vast majority of the run. I’ve now run at Kirra twice, and the first time it was exceptionally windy. There are two 180 degree turns, and it is pancake flat. It would be a super fast course if the conditions were good.
My Kirra PB is 22:12.
Main Beach was the first Australian event. Like Kirra, the whole run is by the beach. It is not a super fast course: there are no hills (just some undulations), but half the course is on gravel paths through the sand dunes. It is a really fun course!
My Main Beach PB is 22:54.
Southbank started on the 3rd of November last year, with the aim to reduce numbers at New Farm a little bit. The 2 runs now get approximately the same number of runners as each other. The course starts at the artificial beach at Southbank, goes over the Goodwill Bridge then along the riverside bike path. There’s a set of stairs to navigate (to get up to the Go Between Bridge), followed by a run past GOMA, and finishing 400m north of the start line. It won’t be as fast as New Farm because there is the climb over the first bridge, then the stairs up and down the second bridge. At least the rest of it is completely flat! The bike paths on this section of the river are very busy but I haven’t had any issues with major congestion. This is now my home parkrun – I can do a 2-3km warmup from home.
My Southbank PB is 21:57
I ran Coomera near Christmas time last year and I really enjoyed it. They get a small crowd but there is a real sense of community. This is the first event that I’ve run that is 2 laps and relatively hilly. See my initial post here.
My Coomera PB is 22:01.
I ran at the inaugral Cleveland event in early May. The course is stunning: on bike paths and boardwalks through wetlands. It is another out and back course with one hill. I was really impressed with how many new runners they attracted – I’d say that over half the runners at the first event had never done another parkrun. This is the beauty of parkrun. It is so accessible.
My Cleveland PB is 21:48
This is the only event that I’ve visited that is not near water. It is also in a suburb that I wouldn’t normally visit, so I guess I really was a tourist for the morning! Another 2 lap, slightly hilly course. I was a bit concerned about getting lost but I managed to make my way around fairly easily.
My Augustine Heights PB is 22:01.
Kingscliff isn’t exactly in South East Qld but it’s just over the border so I think it deserves a mention. Another flat beach front run, but a bit smaller than its neighbour just a few km north (Kirra). From what I’ve seen on their facebook page I think they have cake most weeks, which is reason enough to visit! I didn’t have time to stay for cake when I ran here, but that just means I need to make the trip back down!
My Kingscliff PB is 22:04
To find other locations in Australia have a look at this link.