When I heard that it was Ballarat parkrun’s 100th run on Easter Saturday, I knew I had to go – it’s been on my list for a while, really isn’t that far away and you’ve got to love a good celebration. So husband and I were up early and on the road. I attended University in Ballarat so I know the typical Ballarat weather only too well – we were certainly greeted with blue skies (once we’d driven through the fog) but the temperature did steadily drop as we got nearer and I was grateful I’d remembered my jacket.
Taking place in Victoria Park, Ballarat parkrun has all the required facilities – clean and plentiful toilets, ample parking and shelter from the weather (which I’m sure comes in handy!).
A reasonable crowd had gathered as we moved in for the briefing. It was lovely to hear the pride in the Run Director’s voice and justifiably so – it takes a lot of work to get a parkrun off the ground so is an achievement to have not only done that but to have sustained it and grown the community over 100 events.
Briefing ended with a countdown to the start….I realised too late that we had been briefed at the start line where I should not have been standing so close to the front so had to get out of the way as the faster runners came past. Fortunately it’s a wide start and there’s lots of room for people to find their comfortable place and pace.
The path is a gravel track around Victoria Park and is a great surface to run on and ample width for all the comings and goings. From the start, we followed the track then turned left to a turnaround point before running back along an outer track and back over the start line for a second, longer loop.
I was cold and was feeling it in my breathing for the first couple of kilometres but had warmed up by the start of the second lap. It is certainly a scenic spot with trees all around and autumn twinges in the leaves and between the scenery and not being alone on the course (thanks to the out and back loops), the time and kilometres pass pretty quickly. The course markings and marshals are also great and I was thankful for them, particularly the section of the cones at about 4km as my clearly addled running brain had forgotten where I had to go.
I was welcomed over the finish line with cowbells and cheers and the finish line atmosphere was made even better by the crowd hanging out and having breakfast with a bbq kindly provided by volunteers as part of the 100th event celebrations.
Overall, I really enjoyed this parkrun which is no mean feat for a 2-lap course – great scenery, flat course, friendly community, varied runners/walkers/in betweens. With this one only being an hour away, I suspect we might be back sometime.