Event Profile

Goolwa parkrun

There can’t be many parkruns where its first-timers showed up because their skydive was called off, but Goolwa is definitely one of them.

Event director Paul Thurkle says that activity can be added to a visitor’s list of things to do after getting their barcode scanned.

There are two G parkruns in South Australia with similar sounding names, the other is the state’s oldest country town, Gawler (and twice the size of Goolwa).

Goolwa has recently celebrated its third birthday, having launched on April 28, 2018.

At its launch there were 158 runners, though it’s a much smaller event with an average 54 finishers each week.

“We have a great community spirit here,” Paul says.

“People always comment on the friendly nature of our event, as well as our smooth, and mostly flat, bitumen course along the river front.

“It’s fast for those who wish to try for a PB.”

Goolwa’s course is permanently marked with ample signage should you wish to freedom run.

It takes place in Richard Ballard Park, Liverpool Road.

Post-parkrun coffee is at Riverview Deli just over the road.

Paul says visitors enjoy visiting the cafe.

He recommends the fresh-baked muffins, “always delicious and in different flavour combos”.

Paul and his wife Elizabeth started their parkrunning at Victor Harbor parkrun, which is around 18km away.

Elizabeth had heard about parkrun somewhere and started following the facebook page.

“She had the crazy idea to give it a go one New Year’s Day and we didn’t look back.

“It was just that New Year’s was a good time to start something.

“We were attending that for around a year when we were approached by the then event ambassador for the area.

“He had been given my name by the guys at Victor as a potential candidate to start a parkrun in Goolwa.

“The funding was already secured, Medibank had already highlighted Goolwa as a good option, they just needed someone to bring it all together with the council and be the event director.

“I agreed, foolishly thinking we could stay in bed a bit longer as we wouldn’t have to drive the 25 minutes over there.

“Little did I realise we’d spend the next year getting up earlier to set up our own event before our new run directors could take over.”

Goolwa is an historic river port on the Murray River, near the Murray Mouth in South Australia.

It’s joined by a bridge to Hindmarsh Island and is about 100km south of Adelaide.

While at Goolwa parkrun

We recently had visitors who had come to skydive at the local airport, but it was too windy so they came to parkrun instead, then a day of sightseeing.

We’d recommend checking out the Murray River mouth.

There are a few different cruises to choose from. Also go for a ride on the Cockle Train.

This was Australia’s first railway and is now a popular tourist attraction). Goolwa also has a motor museum.

There are some great places to eat and get coffee and some beautiful drives as well, including Tourist Drive Route 50, a 73km journey through rural and coastal scenery. – Paul Thurkle

What’s in a Name…

Goolwa is the name of the town it is based in.

Goolwa is a Ngarrindjeri word meaning ‘elbow’, signifying the bend in the Murray River before it goes out to sea at the mouth not far away.

This was originally published in Issue 3 of the Runs With A Barcode magazine.

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