It’s spooky to think that we are closing in on 1,700 events around the world, all of which embody the spirit of parkrun.
In this special Hallow’een edition of the parkrun Tourism Series, we start at Frog Hollow parkrun and visit the Gorey haunts of five events on the bucket list of every parkrunner who lives on the edge. So grab your barcode, grab your torch and even grab your friend if you must, as we take you on a supernatural search for parkrun Cannibals, Gooles and Graves.
Trick-or-treat! Don’t be scared now…
Frog Hollow parkrun might sound a little eerie, but you’ve got nothing to fear with these caped crusaders standing alongside you on the start line!
This event, which takes place in the Melbourne suburb of Endeavour Hills, is the local haunt for 1,300 intrepid parkrunners. Despite the hilly nature of the area the course is flat and fast – ideal for escaping any unwanted supernatural attention!
Starting by the main lake in the Frog Hollow Reserve, the out and back course winds its way along a boardwalk and past a BBQ area, playground and BMX track, with an extra lap of the lake thrown in for good measure. After you’re back safely it’s off to the local cafe to share your adventure stories.
Cannibals Cave parkrun launched in 2014 in the Royal Natal National Park and takes its name from a local tourist attraction – which you can read about in your own time!
This event is sure to whet the appetite of every parkrun Tourist thanks to its stunning mountain views and diverse community. Set at the foot of the mighty Drakensberg Mountains, that tower more than 3,000 metres into the sky, it’s considered Africa’s finest mountainscape. It is said that if a raindrop falls on a specific spot on this mountain, one part of it will eventually end up in the Indian Ocean and the other thousands of kilometres away in the Atlantic.
The course itself is pretty tasty too. Starting next to the Thukela River bridge, the route follows the road into the Ruggered Glen Nature Reserve and towards the Monte-Aux-Sauces Orion Hotel, the location where “Zulu” was filmed (with David Niven), and then onto the turnaround point before returning the same way. Then it’s off to Lizzy’s Store Cafe for a surprisingly civilised post-parkrun refreshment!
The spookily named Goole parkrun is a must-do for every Hallow’een tourist In fact, 2,700 different people have completed the two-and-a-half lap course a total of 17,000 times.
The route starts on the tarmac path near the car park and heads for a clockwise loop around the football pitch area, before turning right onto a tarmac path and then left, which will which take you back to the start area to begin two full laps. It is very flat on a mixture of tarmac, gravel and grass paths.
The highlights of the course include the restored tearooms, with real log burner, and the landmark bandstand which were original features of the park when built in 1923. At the end of the second lap, it’s time to escape to the West Park Café.
Gorey Town Park & Showgrounds in County Wexford is perfect for all kinds of physical activity. It has a large playground, outdoor gym equipment, a skatepark, two football fields, a walking track, and a parkrun!
The route consists of a lap that takes in an outer loop of the playing fields and the original park on the tarmac paths. The remaining laps run clockwise, starting on the opposite side of the playing pitches to the clubhouse and finishing in original park area, adjacent to the skate park. The meeting point prior to the run is at the clubhouse.
For anybody too frightened to sleep after seeing Gorey parkrun, fear not, you won’t be alone! After the event it’s off to Insomnia Coffee in the Dunnes Stores Shopping Centre.
The final stop on our trick-or-treat is the longest standing event on our Hallow’een parkrun Tour, having kicked off way back in 2012.
The ominously named Graves parkrun was the brainchild of Dr Ollie Hart, a local GP who wanted to be able to prescribe parkrun to his patients and encourage his colleagues and practice staff to be more physically active. The practice staff worked together to launch the event, and the Event Director is a receptionist at the practice. 7,500 different people have completed the course a total of 55,000 times, with an average attendance of 230.
The two-lap course begins with a short flat section that leads to a long shallow downhill behind the cafe. A sharp rise gives way to a sweeping descent through the tree line, before emerging at the lakeside and taking on another short hill. The course then loops all the way around the cricket pitch before heading uphill once again between the cow fields, in the direction of the historic Norton Hall. Following a sharp descent, the route splits, on lap one, a circuit of the east lake is undertaken; whereas on lap two, runners take the shorter option between the lakes. The course come back together for a final ascent of the hill towards the cafe, before hitting the finish straight.
The final act of this spooky tour is the pleasantly named Rose Garden Cafe!
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