Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Albert Melbourne Parkrun Preview
Only a few kilometres from the main Central Business District of Melbourne we have Albert Park Lake. An artificial lake was created in the late 1800's by moving silt from the natural lagoons and using it as landfill around the lake itself. The lake is home to fish and a multitude of birdlife, with the black swans being one of the highlights as you take in your Saturday parkrun. In spring it is quite common to see the swans with signet's close behind traversing the paths and roads.
The running track around the lake is used quite extensively for organised fun runs, casual joggers and walkers and is 4.7 kms in length. For parkrun the start takes us back 300 metres to ensure we run the full 5kms. The track itself is flat throughout with the first 200 metres or so on grass, the reminder being crushed gravel with a few short concrete crossings near cafes and boat sheds.
Temperatures range from 2 degrees Celsius in winter up to 30 degrees in summer, and there can be the occasional puddle water hazard on your journey, but nothing too daunting. A single small road crossing and the occasional row boat being moved from the sheds (the lake is used for sailing and rowing by a number of Melbourne schools) are the greatest hazards you will generally come across. Strong winds can come at you in all directions (but that's more Melbourne than the lake itself) so don't plan on personal best times every week.
Even though the park is used once a year for the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix, we are able to run at 8am each Saturday for 51 weeks of the year, with a few diversions during the preceding weeks as the track is set up. Our only week off is during the Grand Prix itself.
Albert Melbourne parkrun is home to a large bunch of friendly, helpful and fun runners who welcome all newcomers of all abilities with open arms. If you'd like to run sub 20 mins or even improve to sub 35 mins you'll find someone who will pace or assist you just about every week, with the encouragement and camaraderie kicking on for a while after the run in one of the local cafes where coffee, juice or breakfast is a must. We also have a number of themed events during the year, with the last 12 months seeing fancy dress for the Queen's Jubilee, London Olympics, AFL Grand Final and of course our first birthday.