Tag Archives: Australia

I want to tell you about this great little thing called parkrun.

12 Apr

parkrun – the reason I get up earlier on a Saturday, than any other day of the week.

I was first introduced to the wonderful world of parkrun by my cousin, Nic, when I arrived in Brisbane last April. I had heard about it in Scotland a few years before, and knew about one in Glasgow, but I never ran a parkrun until I arrived in Australia.

It’s a free, weekly, timed, 5k event. Brilliant.

The finish line at Southbank parkrun, Brisbane

How did it start?
It started in a park (Bushy Park) in London in 2004, and it’s since spread to 10 countries including: Ireland, Denmark, Poland, Russia, USA, South Africa, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australis – where there are now over 100 parkrun locations in Australia.

I now proudly call Southbank parkrun in Brisbane my ‘home parkrun’.

How does it work?
Simply visit parkrun.com to find your nearest one, register and print off your barcode, and take it with you on the day. It really is that simple.

Once you pass the finish line, you get handed a token (numbered according to the position you crossed the finish line and corresponds with the number on the stopwatch). You take that to a barcode scanner who scans the token then your barcode. The results are then uploaded onto the database and you get the all important email later that morning with your time and other great statistics such as: how many parkruns you’ve ran, your finish place i.e 165th, your all time parkrun personal best. You can also view the full set of results for that event and see how you stacked up against your mates.

Southbank parkrun meets at the parklands on Southbank

What makes it so great?
It’s run by volunteers – both a dedicated events team for each parkrun location, and members who volunteer on a one-off basis on race day for the likes of time keeper, barcode scanner, tokens, marshals, tail end charlie, photographer etc.

It’s open to everyone – no matter your age or fitness level. It encourages all sorts of people (dad’s with prams, grans with their dogs, children, athletes, walkers, super skinny, carrying a little bit of extra junk) to come along each week and bust out their best 5k against a clock.

What’s really great to see is when you introduce parkrun to other people and you watch them catch the parkrun bug. I’ve recently introduced some friends from work, and my cousin, Fiona, and her 2 year old son, Murray – who arguably isn’t a convert yet – the boy likes his sleep!

Parkrun tourism is also a thing. You can literally rock up to any parkrun, anywhere and run! (Yes, even when you’re on holiday!). It’s a great way to see different areas and run in different environments – beaches, footpaths, trails, parks etc. To date, I’ve visited parkruns in Mitchelton, Golden Beach, Stones Corner and Minnippi (all in SE Queensland) and I’ve even managed to persuade (read: force) my boyfriend to come with me to Pollock parkrun in Glasgow (Scotland) next month when visit home!

White girls can’t jump!

What next?
Since I started a year ago, I’ve ran 24 parkruns and got a new PB just last week: 27.51. Which I’m absolutely delighted with, as my goal this year was to run 5k under 28 mins… so now that I’ve already smashed that, I suppose I better set a new goal… I’m also hoping to reach 50 runs by the end of the year, and with comes the prized 50 t-shirt!

Watch this space, and remember – #DFYB (Don’t forget your barcode!)

Riding the Wild Tiger!

27 Feb

I write this post whilst on a plane to Bangkok. I’ll be there for only 12 hours. I’ll meet my friend Pop (we met at University in 2007) and tonight we’ll fly to Siem Reap in Cambodia together. Pop will spend a couple of days with me before flying back to Bangkok. Then I’ll take a bus to the capital Phnom Penh, then onto Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam, and I’ll continue to make my way up the country by bus and by train until I reach Hanoi in a couple of weeks. From there I’ll fly back to Bangkok and catch my onward flight to Perth, Australia.

Yes, AUSTRALIA!! I’m finally DOING IT!!

Anyone that knows me, has heard me bang on, and on, and on about my plans and dreams to go to Australia since I was about 18. That was 10 years ago.

And so after a few bumps in the road, I’ve finally swung my rucksack on my shoulder once more and I am riding the wild tiger, known as ‘Life’!

I have a one-year working holiday visa for Oz. My final destination is Brisbane. But first I’ll spend 2 weeks in South East Asia, then another month or so traveling from Perth, along Australia’s southern coast, to Brisbane. I’ll catch up with old friends in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney and I’ll make new ones along the way! I’m hiring a camper-van with my cousin and best friend (they’re coming down from Brisbane) to road-trip the Great Ocean Road, and I plan to fit in a skydive in my first month too, before finally arriving in Brisbane and catching up with family and friends. One cousin in particular I haven’t seen in 25 years – when he emigrated with his family when I was 3 years old. He now has a 4 year old son and a fiancé!

Words cannot explain how excited I am for what lies ahead of me! This has been my master plan for the past 10 years, everything I have done, all my choices and plans, have been geared towards Australia.

But that’s not to say it was easy leaving home. In fact it’s been bittersweet. If saying goodbye to my nephews, the loves of my life, and my parents, big sister, family and friends wasn’t hard enough, a very special fella walked into my life at the end of last year and knocked my plan out of kilter. In the best way possible of course 🙂

Nevertheless, here I am on the plane. Excited and nervous about what lies ahead for me in the coming year – and that is the absolute beauty of it!

So you can expect to hear a lot more from me, as I make new adventures over the next year.

As David Bowie once said: “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring!”