Event Profile

Coombs parkrun

Coombs parkrun Event Director Tim Grainger describes Canberra as a hidden treasure – and not just for its seven parkrun events.

There’s plenty on offer for visitors of all persuasions, but start your weekend with a parkrun.

Coombs parkrun is one of the ACT’s smaller events, with an average of 109 finishers since it launched on March 17 2018.

At the launch event there were 260 finishers and 20 volunteers.

“Like any other parkrun, Coombs is all about community,” Tim says.

“It’s one of Canberra’s smaller events, so participants don’t feel lost in the crowd, and will generally always find a familiar face. There’s a real sense of inclusion, acceptance and belonging for everyone.

“As a relatively young event in a new suburb of Canberra, Coombs has been built on accessibility, inclusiveness and encouragement for all participants – regardless of whether they’re young or old, fast or slow, running or walking, or the number of parkruns they’ve done.

“Above all, it’s about having fun and providing an opportunity to end the week – and start the weekend – with positive vibes and smiles all around.”

About Coombs

Tim says Coombs came about following significant growth of parkrun across Canberra and demand for an additional event in Canberra’s south-western suburbs.

“Add a small working party, local stakeholder engagement and a very generous (albeit anonymous) financial backer, and Coombs was up running, jogging and walking.

“Beyond a great sense of community, Coombs is a really enjoyable course.

“It’s an out-and-back that follows the Murrumbidgee River, with just enough undulations to make it challenging but not overwhelming for those new to parkrun or in the early stages of their fitness journey.

“There’s a mix of paved and unpaved paths, and plenty of space for walkers, doggos and parents with prams.”

He says first timers say they feel like they’ve been part of the Coombs family for much longer.

Tim’s background

Tim started parkrunning in 2014 and at the time of writing (during ACT’s parkrun pause) he sits on 200 events and 54 volunteers.

He’s run in Canada, USA and New Zealand and at 15 Australian events, including six of the seven in ACT (only missing Wagi Bridge).

“I found parkrun – and got into it – through a colleague who casually mentioned it during a staff function.

“Ironically, she wasn’t a runner, and that was early 2014, so it shows you how much of a thing parkrun was even back then.

“I did my first event and really enjoyed it.

“While I was a fairly regular runner, and had been working on getting faster/longer/etc, I’ve never really liked the competitive nature of organised events.

“That’s especially so for running races, where getting people to talk about anything, except running, was near impossible.

“Of course, getting people to talk about anything except parkrun remains near impossible.

“parkrun provided a good means to work on speed and time, without the attitude I often found at other competitive events.”


“After a few weeks, and getting to know other regulars, it quickly became a terrific means of distraction from the grind of Monday to Friday.

“I’ve made some close friends through parkrun, seen several professional and romantic relationships blossom, and been lucky enough to enjoy that in locations across Australia and around the world.

“I think the number of parkrun events in Canberra is about right.

“We’ve struck a balance where each event now has its own unique feel, and a critical mass to support it – both in the regular number of participants, and most importantly, volunteers.”

Tim says post-parkrun coffee is held at a number of places and there are many options for visitors.

“In the spirit of parkrun being impartial and apolitical, we’ll refrain from any recommendations beyond saying they’re all very good!”

While at Coombs parkrun

Canberra is a hidden treasure for visitors to Australia. Canberra is often overlooked in the shadow of the bigger cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

But it offers some of the country’s best cultural institutions (including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia and host of others).

There’s also great and varied dining, and no end of running, riding and cycling options for those who like being outdoors.

There’s a reason we’re called the Bush Capital!

-Tim Grainger

What’s in a Name…

Coombs parkrun is named for the Canberra suburb in which it is located.

The suburb honours HC “Nugget” Coombs, a prominent public servant, economist, and the first Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

This profile originally featured in Issue 7 of the Runs With A Barcode magazine.

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