Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Not Westerfolds Wednesday: Maribyrnong parkrun

With the Westerfolds parkrun roster looking nice and full, I headed off to Maribyrnong parkrun for a spot of parkrun tourism and final hit-out before the Sussan Women's 10km the following week. As I made my way towards the city I tried to remember the last time I had been out that way with the car, I think it was when I worked at City West Water! Years ago! I had to concentrate while driving just to make sure I didn't end up at the offices in Sunshine...

The trip was fairly easy - inbound via the Eastern Fwy, onto Macarthur Rd and past the zoo, a right after passing through Royal Park to get onto Flemington Rd, a left to get onto Maribyrnong Rd and then a right immediately after crossing the Maribyrnong River to get to the recommended parking at the local pub, the Anglers Tavern. Crossing Maribyrnong Road as a pedestrian is very easy as there's an underpass from the pub that follows the river, and the path takes you towards some familiar looking parkrun flags (and less familiar Maribyrnong Active ones!)

The Maribyrnong parkrun route is a "lollipop" style course - it heads downstream, goes around Edgewater Lake in a clockwise direction, and then returns to the same path to head back to the start. It's mostly tarmac - and it's a flat course where there's tarmac, but concrete where's it's not so flat!

A three-dimensional view of the Maribyrnong parkrun course - mostly flat except for the hill near the start (and near the end!)
Image created with Veloviewer.
There are a couple of mini-climbs as bridges are crossed to hop on and off Burndap Park Island (yup, you get to visit an island while doing this parkrun), but there's one main climb which you get to do twice! It's at 0.3 km (and again on the way back at 4.7 km), and is the section of the course that runs directly alongside Van Ness Avenue. This section was the longest stretch of concrete on the course (and really the only stretch if I exclude the bridges).

It was a very cloudy morning, so I didn't pay too much attention to the lack of sun cover for most of the run - although it was nice to run through the section along Pipemakers Park as there was so much shelter from the trees. Aside from a lack of kilometre-markings, it was really nice course along the western bank of the Maribyrnong River.

In case you're wondering, yes, that's the hill.
While I parked at the nearby pub, there is also limited parking closer to the start, and is perhaps best saved for those that need the easy access to the start of the parkrun (eg. volunteers bringing in parkrun equipment, families with prams and lots of littlies), especially considering how easy it was to get to the start of the parkrun from the pub.

The Maribyrnong Road underpass back to the pub. The cones in the foreground are part of parktun, and help finishers find the barcode scanner.
There are toilets at the start too, which is always part of what makes a good parkrun location (my perfect parkrun has public transport access; sufficient parking; a tarmac, gravel or trail surface; is not an out-and-back course or one with 180° turns; and, of course, toilets). There is also a playground nearby... but on the other side of the Maribyrnong River. As always, the volunteers were fantastic.

I didn't stick around to find out if there was post-parkrun coffee as I needed to get back to my side of Melbourne in order to vote (and to visit the land where Officeworks doesn't wait until 10am to open on a weekend - I had some printer cartridges to dispose of at their recycling facilities)!

My parkrun

After last week's failed hit out, I decided to have another crack at a fast parkrun and ended up improving my parkrun best from 24:50 (that time I went hard around Highlands in May, but didn't expect a PB) to 24:23! My pacing was a bit off as I bolted at the start in order to make my own space and settle into a pace (4:41, 4:48, 4:48, 4:52, 4:47), but I am happy that all the splits were sub-5:00.

I'm now trying to have a super-easy week so that I can be well-rested for Sunday! McMillan Running suggests that my 24:23 parkrun equates to a 50:38 10km - while that means 5:03 splits, I'm going to try and settle into 5:05 next weekend. Wish me luck!

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