Parkrun review Rocks Riverside

Last weekend, I collected the letter ‘R’ parkrun last week when I ran Rocks Riverside. Yes, it was a 50 minute drive from my local parkrun, but definitely worth the early morning start (which I’m used to now anyway!) because it’s a beautiful 2.5km out and back course along the Brisbane River (and there’s some gorgeous boats and mansions to be admired). I also enjoyed the industrial start line, right on top of the site of the former Queensland Cement Quarry. Quite unique indeed! If you’re looking for an ‘R’ to add to your Parkruns then definitely head to Rocks Riverside.

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Dad’s marathons

While hunting through 60 years of albums and digital photos of my mum for her birthday, I came across a few of dad’s marathon race photos. Even better, when I mentioned my find to mum, she (who keeps everything) found a Lever Arch folder filled with race booklets, medals, newspaper clippings and Queensland Marathon & Road Runners Club newsletters from 1987, and more. Today, I’m excited to share the tale of some of Dad’s marathons.

Dad has always said he’s run 13 marathons, which is what I’m aiming for, and perhaps I can convince him to run/walk a 14th when I run my 13th. That would motivate me to reach 14!

My dad was a gazelle: check out those finishing times! His best was 2:56:05 at the Ninth “Brooks” University Marathon 1986 (age: 33). While chatting to Dad in the car one day, he mentioned that his times stayed around the same as his training didn’t change much.

Below is some of the history from 9 of his races.

1. The Alan Black Gold Coast International Marathon 1984 (age: 32)

Date: 5 August 1984
Time: 3:32:50
Location: Gold Coast

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I was just shy of 16 months old, and mum was due to have my brother 2 months later.

Here’s the how the Gold Coast Marathon organisers summarise the race: http://goldcoastmarathon.com.au/about/history/1979-1988/

2. Bob Jane T-Marts Gold Coast Marathon 1985 (age 33)

Date: 21 July 1985
Time: 3:15:29
Location: Gold Coast

While I finish marathons roughly 2-3 hours AFTER the first runner crosses the finish line (note: not when they start!), my dad was only 58 minutes behind Pat Carroll who won his second Gold Coast Marathon when he crossed the line.

More history: http://goldcoastmarathon.com.au/about/history/1979-1988/

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3. Ninth “Brooks” University Marathon 1986 (age: 33)

Date: 11 May 1986
Time: 2:56:05
Location: Queensland University 5km circuit

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Dad kicked this one out of the park winning the male age category 30-34! Here’s a look at his splits:

  • 2.195km: 8.50
  • 7km: 20.02
  • 12km: 20.16
  • 17km: 19.47 (negative split!)
  • 22km: 19.59
  • 27km: 20.05
  • 32km: 20.51
  • 37km: 22.18
  • 42km: 23.57

4. XXXX Gold Coast Marathon 1986 (age 34)

Date: 20 July 1986
Time: 2:57:43
Location: Gold Coast

How about that XXXX Beer sponsor? Beer and running? Maybe beer post-running! There were some interesting sponsorship choices 30+ years ago.

In this race, Dad was only 43 minutes behind the first place male.

More history: http://goldcoastmarathon.com.au/about/history/1979-1988/

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I clearly didn’t inherit my activewear addiction from Dad. He’s wearing the same outfit, or versions of it in 8 marathons! I have a different outfit and shoes for every marathon (always broken in first, of course!), whereas he likes to wear the same one to every event, or mixed versions of it. The irony is that at mum’s birthday he made the same comment about mum’s attire and 12 photos he found from our 1996 6-month trip overseas.

The introductory line of this newspaper article is incredible: “Despite assurances from all the pundits that the running boom was over, 2076 runners decided differently and entered the 1986 XXX Gold Coast International Marathon and Half Marathon.” Uhh… yeahhh… that was a bad bet to place. Last year’s race (30 years later!) saw 6,216 entrants with 5,448 finishers in the marathon distance alone. And there were more than 26,000 entrants across all distances in 2016. Moral of the story: Never bet against a runner running.

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5. Sea World Gold Coast Marathon 1987 (age: 35)

Date: 26 July 1987
Time: 2:57:30
Location: Gold Coast

Check out the Gold Coast Marathon history section here: http://goldcoastmarathon.com.au/about/history/1979-1988/

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What I found fascinating about this marathon was the results piece mentioning that Sea World didn’t come on board as a Sponsor until 5 days BEFORE race day. As a marketer, I can imagine the mad turn around on printing that must have taken place to get the principal sponsor’s logo on all signage, promotions, etc. OH THE HORROR!

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6. Sunny Queen International Marathon 1988 (age: 36)

Date: 12 June 1988
Time: 3:00:09
Location: World Expo ’88 to Redcliffe

According to this site, https://ausrunning.net/marathons/race/1171/moreton-bay-1988, this race had 356 participants (but the race booklet says 362)! What I truly love about this one is that it ran from World Expo ’88 event to Redcliffe. I have fond memories of Expo 88, where I had half a face paint, and my brother the other half, and Kylie Minogue/John Farnham singing.

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7. Japan Air Lines Gold Coast Marathon 1988 (age: 36)

Date: 24 July 1988
Time: 2:57:41
Location: Gold Coast

Check out the Gold Coast Marathon history section here: http://goldcoastmarathon.com.au/about/history/1979-1988/

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8. JAL Gold Coast Marathon 1989 (age: 37)

Date: 23 July 1989
Time: 3:04:59
Location: Gold Coast

Check out the Gold Coast Marathon history section here: http://goldcoastmarathon.com.au/about/history/1989-1998/

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Here’s a good reason to not be a winner sometimes (the Gold Coast is beautiful but I’m not sure that’s the way to show it off! But great job by the winners!):

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9. Sunny Queen International Marathon 1989 (age: 37)

Date: 11 June 1989
Time: 3:14:23
Location: Brisbane City Hall to Redcliffe

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Interesting marathon advertisement coming across the Houghton Bridge:

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Equally amazing was the vast array of companies sponsoring these marathons and other distances/races: Japan Air Lines, Sea World, The Ansett University of Queensland, Kmart, Pick n Pay Hypermarket, Wallace Bishop, Qantas, Brooks, and many more.

Now I can understand why there’s a big push on the sub 2 hour marathon at the moment. Looking over 30 years of marathon history, and elite athletes have come a long way, and close but are yet to get under that pesky 2 hour time. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little tale, and can see how my Dad inspires me to run every day.

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50 Parkruns Club

I’m now a member of the elite 50 Parkruns Club! Today I earned my red 50 shirt by completing my 50th Parkrun at New Farm Park, all while looking flash in a pink tutu and in an ok time of 30:32. Ok because instead of Monday rest day, it was a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday rest days. Work was intense this week and I’m still catching up on sleep. But it did do my calves good to have a break. Tomorrow is 16kms (shock horror! But I can handle it!)

Here’s a pre Parkrun pic:


And another with the cute bib the awesome organizers gave me (it ensured plenty of celebratory cheers and high 5s along the route):


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Parkrun review: Ashgrove

This morning I collected the first letter of the alphabet with the Ashgrove Parkrun, ran what felt like the longest oval run ever (it’s actually two ovals!) and witnessed one woman achieve 100 Parkruns, and celebrated a gentleman completing 100 last week and reaching 25 volunteers today! Despite earlier rain, the overcast made for a cooler later morning run. It’s mostly an out and back course starting around the oval, with a little extra thrown in on the bikepath before finishing with a loop back around the oval. It was the longest oval ever! Never ending! But at the finish were a bunch of smiling, happy, super amazing and friendly volunteers so totally worth it!


It was quite a morning and not just at Parkrun. Before I arrived I had already run 6kms (in the lovely rain) to ensure I reached my 11km quota for today, and after it concluded the dogs enjoyed almost 4kms walk, then off to a 2hr high ropes activity (one of the adventure activities currently only offer by my local council (I’m also signed up for kayaking, self defence and need to book indoor rock climbing). The high ropes was brilliant fun; and despite falling off the first one, I got back on, finished it and completed the other two successfully too!


Ps – this is not an attractive look but it’s even worse for the guys.

Next week is my 50th Parkrun. I think it’ll be at New Farm or Nambour… or I’m just not sure but am just a little excited about collecting my red 50 shirt once I’m done!

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Parkrun review: Town of Seaside

Today, I was up at 5am and had already completed a 9km run along Peregian Beach/Marcus Beach as part of my weekend long run when I headed to Parkrun to finish the remaining 5kms (yes, today’s long run was 14kms). 

Town of Seaside Parkrun is just as unique as its name. This morning’s welcome included a ‘congratulations’ in the form of a guard line up and cheer to an under 11yo wearing a cape running past. He achieved 10 Parkruns today. 

Set along the boardwalk, this Parkrun is picturesque and flat. It’s not a straight out and back but heads out about 700m before turning back, running past exit to the finish line towards and past the surf club before turning around and finishing. As usual there were plenty of volunteers and happy runners, walkers and locals. The beach is pet friendly so perfect for taking dogs for a post run cool off (although my two didn’t join me today). 

Despite the 9kms earlier, I finished in a very satisfying 28:22 for my 48th Parkrun. Now off to a day on a pontoon with friends! Happy Saturday! 

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Parkrun review: Golden Beach

A couple of weeks ago I learned that there’s such a thing as “collecting the alphabet of Parkruns” which basically means each Parkrun counts towards a letter of the alphabet. So far I have B, C, K, M, N, P, S, W. I actually have multiple N, S and Ws! Today I accomplished a new letter, G with the Sunshine Coast’s Golden Beach Parkrun.

It was a great day to Parkrun!


Golden Beach, like all Parkruns is beautiful, and run by a friendly bunch of walkers, runners and volunteers. It runs along the foreshore towards Caloundra so naturally it’s a gorgeous view. And it’s flat, and mostly shady, which I love! What was really sweet to hear this time from the organizer was that they’d arrange an escort for kids under 11yo if the kid was faster than the parent. I watched an amazing mother push one child in a pram while running with another alongside, and she was kicking my butt for 3/4 of the distance until they stopped for a bubbler break. I finished in 29:03.  


The only sad part to report was watching someone I overtook twice (she was walking very slowly both times, in the same direction as me), and the second time I thought she was just a local out, until she crossed the finish line around 35mins. It’s sad because she didn’t complete the full 5km course and is simply cheating herself, lying to herself about earning the token. Sad. 

On a positive note, today was my 47th Parkrun. I’ll soon earn my red 50th shirt! 

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Runcationing in France

I am sooo excited!! I registered for Marathon du Medoc in October last year (with the race being on the 9 September 2017) and that’s this epic 5 day itinerary all on its own, but I’ll actually be in Europe for 1 month. During the past week I’ve been researching options around the marathon dates, including Parkruns, running tours, walking paths, and a half marathon. There are so many runcation choices around! I’m having to reign myself in.

So far, I’ve decided on:

  • Parkrun du Bois de Boulogne in Paris (I can’t head to Europe and not run my first international Parkrun! Even better that it will take place in France, my second favourite country, and Paris, my favourite city outside of my hometown).
  • The Green Line 10 mile walk (I’ll run it though) around Nantes, France.
  • The Semi-Marathon St Malo/Cancale 2017 – yes, I’m signed up for a half marathon the week prior to a full, but I can’t stop training! I really enjoyed testing out my French skills with this website (I am qualified at a Beginners level but it’s been a while since I’ve had an opportunity to really test out my abilities), and then there’s the luxury accommodation with Celtic Baths run by a former Michelin chef and his family (of course, I booked a delicious meal in his restaurant one night) that I found in a nearby chateau.
  • I also plan on booking the same running tour guide in Paris that I used in 2014 because he was awesome.

Just a few little things to look forward to…

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