Saturday, July 26, 2014

Frog Hollow parkrun

Frog Hollow parkrun launched a couple of months ago and I finally found the time to visit this weekend! It took me less than 20 minutes to get there by car, so I'll probably head back there again next time I feel like a change from Westerfolds (although I still have other parkrun locations that I need to visit first!)

Frog Hollow parkrun is fairly easy to get to by car as it's just off the Monash Freeway on Belgrave-Hallam Rd, which is the first exit after the South Gippy (South Gippsland Freeway) if you're heading out from the city. Parking is limited to David Collins Drive as the parking area inside the Frog Hollow Reserve is used by the local rugby club that has its junior matches on Saturday mornings too. There's plenty of on-road parking and it's very close to the start, so it's not a problem at all.

This board was at the main entrance to Frog Hollow Reserve, but there's a later point where you can park and cut through the houses on David Collins Drive that is closer to the start/finish area

There are toilets, and I spotted that the rugby club's canteen was open at parkrun time but didn't find out any more at the time. I wasn't sure of the arrangement details between parkrun and the rugby club, so I just left it alone. The Frog Hollow parkrun crew have a marquee set up for their barcode scanner, and most parkrunners threw their jumpers under a table that had been setup inside just before moving over to the start line (a little further NE than the finish line).

There was a warm-up too. I don't participate in these things... neither did these two ladies!

Frog Hollow parkrun is definitely the flattest course I've run on - it's in a wetland area and the only "climbs" are on the return from the turn-around point as you come back under the freeway, and a short climb at the north-east corner of the lake which you taken on twice (once at the turn-off for the lake-lap, and the second time as you keep going towards the finish). If you're interested in what the Strava segment for this parkrun looks like, click here.

There are a few boardwalk sections at about 1km, 3km and during the lake-lap. We were warned that they may be a bit slippery as it had been raining that morning, but I didn't notice anything on my 400km-old Saucony Triumphs. 

During the first 2km I was wondering how windy the area might become, and if there were ever horrible head-winds (which I'd experienced on my second trip to Berwick Springs). There was a slight head wind on the way back on the northern side of the lake, so I experienced that twice, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as that last time at Berwick Springs!

The wetland on the left is the "lake" that one goes around at the end before returning to this path again and heading towards the finish.

With Run Melbourne on the next day (and the kids event on the Saturday), numbers were relatively low. Only 26 parkrunners attended, which was their lowest attendance at the time. Frog Hollow parkrun is very close to Berwick Springs parkrun (they had a strong launch, were regularly hitting over 200 parkrunners from January to May, hitting over 300 twice in February), and I think it was started to help lighten the load at Berwick Springs. It seems to have worked as the Berwick Springs numbers are back to double figures and with only occasional 100+ attendances. 

Mornington Peninsula parkrun launched at the end of June - while it's not as close to Berwick Springs as Frog Hollow is, I can imagine parkrunners from that area would have been making the trip to Berwick Springs too. Pakenham parkrun is another in the "area" that is kicking off soon, and they had a trial run on the weekend. I'm assuming all these new parkruns have reduced the attendance at Berwick Springs, but I haven't really had a chat to anyone about it.

Frog Hollow parkrun #7 volunteers

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