Saturday, November 23, 2013

Diamond Creek parkrun

It's been a few weeks since the Diamond Creek parkrun launch, and I'm yet to write up a review of the run! I fell sick the week or so after, so have been a bit swamped with work and sleep. I didn't cycle at all for that week, and haven't run since the launch, and thus I also neglected this blog during that time!

Diamond Creek is the site of my second-closest parkrun, although it probably takes about the same amount of time to get there as Berwick Springs! As an indication of how much more convenient Westerfolds Park is, I drove past it on the way to Diamond Creek.

The parkrun begins (and ends) on the western side of Marngrook Oval. It's a fairly straightforward course as you follow the path down to Allendale Road and then return. There's a clearly marked (and well marshalled) detour at Diamond Creek Reserve in order to make the run up to 5km. Organisation was fantastic, and there were definitely coffee facilities available across the road but I had to get back home straight after the run! I didn't need have time to scope out toilet facilities either. Parking shouldn't be too much of a problem - it is limited, but there were plenty of spaces on the east and west sides of Marngrook Oval. Diamond Creek railway station is nearby too, so it should be easy to figure out how to get there by public transport!

The "old" Diamond Creek parkrun course. Feedback from the launch run now means that the T-shaped part of the
course is now only encountered once (on the way back from Allendale Road) instead of both times. To make up the
extra distance, the looped path just east of the T is now taken on the trip to Allendale Road. 

One of the incentives to go to Diamond Creek was that it would be a much flatter course than Westerfolds Park. This is undoubtedly true - but it does not automatically make it a PB course due to it's out-and-back structure. I found that I lost a lot of time and momentum on the three U-turns along the course. Since the launch, one of the U-turns has been removed, but two U-turns will still slow you down. Of course, the out-and-back structure makes this a really good High Five course, so make sure you're ready to cheer on your fellow parkrunners!

Back to the elevation - while the course is relatively flat (Strava's given it an elevation of 12m), I definitely felt the first climb back from Allendale Road at about 3km. I don't know if I would run this course again, but I now know not to bother trying to regain momentum from the U-turn at Allendale Road straight away as that little incline knocked it out of me straight away. For comparative purposes, Berwick Springs is flatter (the Strava elevation is 0m on my run, but 4m on the segment - and I would agree with the latter) and the loop structure makes it a better PB course.

Another downside to Diamond Creek parkrun is that the path is entirely concrete! It's not a surface I enjoy running on, and while I didn't experience any problems during the run, my lower back was definitely sore the next day! Berwick Springs has a mix of concrete and gravel paths, so I suppose it's a better course from that perspective - but I hate doing laps! Despite the hill and lack of regular access to coffee, Westerfolds Park is definitely winning as my preferred parkrun. Give me bitumen and plenty of parking (and good public transport as I discovered today), and I'll run up whatever hill you throw at me.

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