Willoughby parkrun is located in the leafy green parklands of Artarmon, a suburb within Sydney’s lower north shore. The course starts on the oval within Artarmon Reserve, then along undulating paths mostly through the parks and bushland with a small concrete section under the freeway. There are lots of ups and down, but no ‘proper’ hills.
Most people are surprised that there is so much greenery so close to the City of Sydney. The highlight of our course is the Aboriginal artwork tunnel at the far turnaround point of the course that parkrunners go through twice. It’s a great course for all abilities and they are a very friendly group at Willoughby parkrun.
As the Willoughby area is hugely diverse with many different cultures, there’s a real mix of demographics in the area, with people from all over the world living in and around Willoughby council. There are many immigrant and ex-pat families run with us regularly. Often the families consist of 2 or even 3 generations, and there are lots of kids each week too. parkrun has helped build stronger community bonds as it has connected a diverse group of people. And most Saturdays see international tourists visiting friends or family who live in the area.
Co-Event Director, Grant Berthold, ran his first few events at Bushy Park before coming home to Australia in 2011. Grant comments, “I started off at St Peters, then Parramatta, then the reincarnation of Mosman parkrun at their new course. Mosman changed my parkrun experience from just turning up and running at bigger, to being part of a small, friendly event. The event team and regulars at Mosman were all lovely people and I ended up joining the RD team. I joined Willoughby just as it started in November 2016, as it was much closer to home and it needed to build up an event team. I’ve been Co-ED for 18 months now and we have built up a great team with lots of great volunteers, many regular parkrunners and a friendly, community-oriented feel.”
The all-important post parkrun coffee is at Everyday Canteen at Artarmon. It’s the nearest group of shops to the start/finish line of Willoughby parkrun and therefore on the way home for most people. Some weeks every table is taken up with our parkrun crew, so there’s always someone to chat to. The staff are very welcoming of the parkrun crew and the breakfast burgers are legendary!
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My parkrun journey started in 2016 when my beautiful partner (Kathy) suggested we try out this new community 5km run along the Torrens in Adelaide. Little did I know what an inspiring journey I was about to embark on and how much it was going to become a part of my everyday life. 2…