Event Profile

Mt Clarence parkrun

Mt Clarence parkrun is an event that lives up to its expectations. Not only do participants run around the undulating base of Mt Clarence, but there’s a double dose, with Mt Adelaide’s base thrown in too.

Mt Clarence parkrun is situated in Albany, Western Australia.

It launched on August 23, 2014, with 70 finishers and six volunteers.

It has an average of 62 finishers and average finish time of 32:16.

About the course

The course runs around a headland in Albany. Co-Event Director Penny Simpson describes it as “very challenging”, with around 100m of elevation and “virtually no flat bits”.

“But participants are rewarded with stunning views, including whales at the right time of year.

“Our attendance fluctuates seasonally but is often around 100, which we think is a perfect size, and the volunteers and regulars are super friendly.

“We also have lots of walkers and a great relaxed atmosphere.”

How it started

Penny says that Mt Clarence was started by Bill Irving, who is now the Event ambassador.

“He ‘Strava stalked’ me and other Albany runners to drum up interest for the inaugural event.

“We are a long way from any other parkruns and I’m sure most of us had never heard of parkrun in 2014.

“A bunch of us turned up for the first event and were hooked. We have never looked back.”

Penny describes the parkrun as undulating.

“It is a hilly run on paved paths apart from the finish (and currently start – we’ve been on an alternative course for quite some time due to works in the area), which is on the beach.

“We have views over harbours and islands, including Princess Royal Harbour, where Albany’s port is located, and run past a statue of explorer Nicolas Baudin and underneath the National Anzac Centre.

“We overlook King George Sound, from where the first Australian ships sailed to World War I.”

How Penny found parkrun

Mt Clarence was Penny’s introduction to parkrun and since 2014 she has run almost 150 parkruns.

“It took me a while to become a really regular participant because I already had a Saturday morning routine that I was a bit unwilling to give up, but now Saturday is just parkrunday!

“I started volunteering very early and discovered that I love it. I took over as ED of Mt Clarence in 2018 and Suzy Wray, also a Mt Clarence parkrunner from the very first event, joined me as co-ED the next year.

“I live a long way from any other parkruns, but when I have the opportunity I always enjoy trying others.

“I’ve run or walked at 29 locations, including Bushy, which is a definite highlight, and volunteered more than 100 times.

“I also introduced my mum to parkrun. She is a regular at Carine Glades parkrun where she completed her 100th parkrun at the age of 78 and is now close to her 50th volunteer day.

Feel good

“I am just amazed that so much goes on in so many locations in Australia and around the world every Saturday morning, making such a difference to so many people – and it’s all run by volunteers!

“It makes me feel good about the world.”

Visitors to Mt Clarence are either thrilled by the views or shattered by the hills, or both, Penny says.

“Almost everyone loves it and says it’s one of the most beautiful parkruns they’ve done.”

After parkrun they head to Three Anchors, which overlooks the parkrun start and finish and the beach.

“I recommend two things from the menu – the avocado on toast and the tofu gnocchi – and I’m not even vegetarian!”

While at Mt Clarence

“There are so many places to visit! Albany is really lovely. We have gorgeous beaches and beautiful bush, and two mountain ranges, the Porongurups and the Stirlings, close by.

“We’re at the end of the Bibbulmun Track, a stunning long-distance hiking track, and the Munda Biddi, a long distance trail for mountain bikes.

“There are many great day walks, including Bald Head overlooking the ocean and Luke Pen along the beautiful Kalgan River.

“There are very good museums including the modern National Anzac Museum and Albany’s Historic Whaling Station. The views from Mt Clarence, Mt Adelaide and Mt Melville are fantastic.” – Penny Simpson

What’s in a Name

This well-known memorial-bearing mountain in Albany was named after the British Duke of Clarence, who later became King William IV. It has recently been officially joint named with its original Noongar name Corndarup, meaning ‘place of red berries’.

The English name may have been bestowed by George Vancouver in 1791, or by Matthew Flinders in 1801.

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