I got a wonderful Christmas present this year – Christmas falls on a Sunday which turns it into a 2 parkrun weekend! Not one to turn down the opportunity for some touristing, my husband and I set our alarm ridiculously early (4.30am – ouch!) and set off for Phillip Island.
Phillip Island parkrun is actually on Churchill Island, a beautiful little detour off the main road as you come into Phillip Island. Driving up, I already knew I was going to enjoy it – the scenery is gorgeous, the temperature wasn’t bad (for Summer!) and, as we arrived, a Farmers’ market was just setting up, providing ample diversion while we waited.
We all gathered at the steps of the cafe for the briefing and it was great to see the event team had Christmas-ed themselves for the occasion. There were a few other tourists and a small but dedicated crew of locals. Briefing done, we were taken down to the start area by the water and I was glad we’d got there early enough to catch the briefing as I wouldn’t have known where they’d all disappeared to without it!
And off we went! The run director had warned of undulations and there were a few – no great hills but, on a warm morning, the first one I encountered was enough to steal some of my energy. The gravel course meanders around the coastline of the island so you’re never far from beautiful views and a pleasant breeze kept finding its way to me through the trees. There was also enough shade throughout to keep the worst of the sun away.
I slowed down a lot this morning as the early start and the heat was really sapping my energy but I also used it as an opportunity to take in the gorgeous views and take a few pictures – too pretty not to! We’d been warned not to miss the turn around point (if you get to the cattle grid, you’ve gone too far) but it was pretty easy to spot and I was soon on my way back.
The uphill section at the start makes a brilliant finish – a wide, downhill stretch all the way to the finish line. And, not only was I greeted by a friendly reception, I even got a Christmas cookie, care of the thoughtful barcode scanning volunteer.
We then followed up with a wander around the fabulous Farmers’ market and great coffee at the cafe while soaking up the sunshine. Another great parkrun community and venue – one of the friendliest and most welcoming crowds I’ve seen and a scenic and interesting course. Definitely worth the early start and the drive to get there and a perfect way to spend Christmas Eve. parkrun #75 – done!