Bunbury is a picturesque coastal town in Western Australia, located 187km from the state’s capital, Perth. With a Mediterranean climate – an average temperature of about 26 degrees – it is the perfect base to tour the state’s renowned Margaret River wine region.
The city is surrounded by water on three sides – an ocean, an estuary and a north-facing bay. Home to 35,000 residents and servicing more than 75,000 regional neighbours, Bunbury offers city convenience with a country feel.
There are a number of iconic buildings and locations in Bunbury, including the colloquially known ‘milk carton’ and the chequered lighthouse.
Bunbury parkrun is two and a bit laps around the Big Swamp Reserve, a conservation wetland, which is home to more than 70 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish and is one kilometre south of the Bunbury city centre. The bitumen surface is suitable for runners, walkers, strollers and dogs.
Big Swamp is a breeding ground for the Black Swan and home to the long-necked turtle.
“Mount Bunbury” is a deceptive-looking, gentle incline that has destroyed the spirit of many newcomers and, on occasion, forced many experienced participants to walk. About 500m from the start line, Mount Bunbury needs to be conquered three times during the 5km.
While the course is predominantly clockwise laps, the last 300m requires participants to return down the incline they just climbed. This provides an opportunity for high-fives with those coming in the opposite direction and a downhill finish.
Average numbers at Bunbury have grown from 42 in 2013 to 78 in 2019. Volunteer numbers have grown along with participation numbers.
Co-Event Director Glen Penfold first attended Bunbury parkrun to support his wife and daughters, who had heard about parkrun through friends.
“While they now choose to instead do something called ‘bedsleep’ on Saturday mornings, I have continued,” Glen said.
“My wife says my choices of locations for romantic getaway weekends are determined by the distance to the nearest parkrun, which is somewhat true.”
Making the most of the great climate, one parkrunner at Bunbury has completed 125 parkruns and volunteered 63 times, all while barefoot. Another lady has an 80km return trip to parkrun each week, often to volunteer rather than run or walk.
Being a small town, many Bunbury parkrunners are also members of the local running, triathlon, cross-country and/or orienteering clubs, which has been mutually beneficial for the clubs and parkrun.
Bunbury parkrun also assisted the nearby Collie River Trail parkrun to get off the ground. The Bunbury team provided volunteering opportunities at our event in the lead-up to their launch and travelled to participate in their trial events and launch.
After the run, Bunbury parkrunners meander across the road to the Wildside Cafe for a coffee and catch up with the EDs often having results done before breakfast is finished.
In mid-July, the Scarborough family hooked up their new caravan for an Australian adventure, with a rough plan to complete a half lap of Australia starting from Canberra. Prepared to accept that COVID-19 could interrupt these plans at any point, they didn’t expect to have the good fortune to enjoy parkrun’s return in the Northern Territory…
On Saturday we welcomed back Cape Pembroke Lighthouse parkrun, in the Falkland Islands, and all three events in Australia’s Northern Territory, representing another positive moment in the gradual return of parkrun events around the world. It was great to see the unofficial parkrun podcast, With Me Now, live-streaming from Nightcliff and Palmerston parkruns. If…