A course that changes with the seasons, Armidale parkrun offers something different all year round.
In winter you can expect to run in minus temperatures but enjoy the beauty of the winter wonderland frosts. The summers are mild, and parts of the course are shady. In autumn there is a spectacular kaleidoscope of colours, and in spring you can enjoy vivid greens.
Run on a mix of surfaces (grass, gravel, pavement). The course commences on the sports fields located at the front of Sport UNE and goes around part of these fields before parkrunners cross a causeway and run back alongside a creek. You then complete a lovely tree loop before reaching the halfway point – the tough hill commences, and everyone is glad to reach the top and turn around.
The hill catches a lot of visitors unawares and is more challenging than it looks with an elevation of 33 metres. Armidale is at 1,000 metres altitude, so that also makes the hill a little tougher to complete but also provides a great way to get in some altitude training for your running. Visitors need to bear in mind though that no dogs are allowed at Armidale parkrun as it is held on University grounds.
Event Director Tim Dyall got involved with parkrun soon after Armidale parkrun commenced in July 2014. “I was recovering from a significant hockey injury (broken nose and fractured cheekbone) and thought parkrun would be a great way of motivating myself to get fit again. I am so glad I got involved! I have completed over 140 parkruns now, volunteered more than 70 times and been a Run Director and now Event Director for more than 2 years.”
Tim shares the Event Director duties with Paul Billings – an equally highly skilled and experienced parkrunner.
Since Armidale parkrun commenced, over 3,000 people have participated, which is more than 12% of our population and continues to average 140 participants per week. The spirit of volunteering is also high as they now have more than 30 parkrunners who have achieved their 25 volunteer status. Participant ages range from bubs in prams right through to over 80s.
Hamish McMillan is one of the regulars and always has everyone in stitches with his enthusiasm and funny antics. He is only 6 years old, was registered on his 4th birthday, and has already completed over 80 parkruns and volunteered on 20 occasions. He often features in the photos along with mum Mary and dad Aaron who is one of our most committed Run Directors.
Located on the picturesque grounds of the University of New England (UNE), the post-parkrun coffee takes place right beside the finish line, so people only have to walk a short way to get a coffee. Some people get a takeaway coffee in a keep cup so they can socialise outside with other parkrunners, while others prefer to go inside, get a coffee and sit down in one of the comfy chairs or couches. The University groundstaff pride themselves on keeping the grounds in tiptop condition week in week out. Quite often, regular international visitors that are studying at or visiting the university try parkrun and become hooked.
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