The last time that we stayed with my sister in Wollongong, we did North Wollongong parkrun twice. This time I was determined to do some more parkrun tourism. Glen Turner had told me about Shellharbour parkrun and I’d also read about it on the parkrun blog.
The event starts at 8am, so Stu, M and I got up early to ensure that we had enough time to drive down from Cordeaux Heights to Reflections Killalea Reserve. We arrived early, which meant that there was plenty of car parking available.
At the start area, there was a large course map that clearly showed the one-lap route. We already knew that the course was on a mix of terrain with grass, gravel and sand… and I had read that it would be quite hilly. As usual, I didn’t worry too much about remembering the route as I knew there would always be someone ahead of me to follow.
Last week we did Cowra parkrun and Stu was the first finisher. He knew that feat was unlikely to be repeated as he had M in her new MountainBuggy Terrain running buggy.
The course starts with a steep downhill on grass, which then turns into a gravel path, passing Killalea lagoon. I love running downhill but was taking care not to trip on the loose gravel.
The second kilometre is what Shellharbour parkrun is famous for as it includes a beach run before heading back onto a track. The Farm Beach section is about 400m long, however, I definitely didn’t achieve the kind of pace I can achieve on a running track. I hate running on sand, but was loving the experience. There were lots of surfers out enjoying the beautiful conditions. I could also see Stu up ahead struggling with the buggy (and was so pleased that it wasn’t me!)
The third kilometre was mostly along the side of the lagoon with a quite steep section. It made me think how perfect this course would be for cross country racing.
This section started with a bit of downhill before a killer uphill section. There was some grass but it felt quite slippery underfoot, so I struggled to keep running and had a couple of walk breaks.
The final kilometre ended with a flatter section on a path and on grass. I wanted to admire the views, but I also wanted to cross the finish line as I was exhausted!
So how did I do?
After I’d got my breath back a bit (but whilst still looking beetroot red!), Stu and I posed for some photos with M. She loved having her new sports clothes on and looks quite adorable in the pics.
I was quite pleased to receive my results email later in the day: 33:20. I hadn’t had any particular expectations as this was a run that I just wanted to enjoy and take in the surroundings.