Event Profile

The Ponds parkrun

In the middle of suburban Sydney lies The Ponds parkrun.

It started off on May 30, 2015 with 235 runners at its launch.

Now six years old the event has an average 364 finishers. Its highest attendance was leap day last year with a whopping 708.

Looking through event photos you can see that this event has a diverse group of parkrunners.

Co-event director Charina Giron says the parkrun is unique in that it is centrally located in The Ponds suburb.


Householders can look out from their bedroom or living room window and see a throng of runners on the 3m wide footpath each week.

“Locals can walk to the start line quite easily,” Charina says.

“This is why our event attracts families with very young children, mums and dads with prams, every man and his dog, grandma and grandpa.

“There’s a shopping centre with several cafes just a stone’s throw away. Despite all the modern amenities, the 5km route meanders through a park with nice tall trees in a bushland setting.”

The event was founded by Rio Lambino and her husband Jun, who used to run 10km around The Ponds.

They saw a newspaper article about parkrun so went to Parramatta parkrun, that was January 2014.

Charina and Rio

The vision

Rio was amazed to see how it operated with fantastic volunteers plus it was free.

She told Jun, “if we can bring parkrun to The Ponds, we don’t need to travel for 30 mins to Parramatta”.

And that’s how The Ponds parkrun came to be, from Rio’s vision and desire to bring it close to home, literally.

Charina also started her parkrunning at Parramatta in 2014.

She and her husband Ariel moved to Sydney from the Philippines in 2000.

She said that volunteering, ie giving service for free, was an alien concept for her prior to the move but parkrun has opened up a whole new world.

The background

She was keen to share Rio’s story of how The Ponds came to be, this was originally published in a run report.

“We contacted parkrun in January 2014, then submitted a council application the following month,” said Rio in a story about The Ponds parkrun’s beginnings.

“We had two trials in March and April 2015, then a launch in May 2015.

“First we had to convince Blacktown Council about the safety of a weekly event.

“Running events are traditionally held once a year and a weekly parkrun was a new concept.

“The second challenge was finding a sponsor. SuperCharge Batteries came to the rescue.

“They understood the concept and positive impact of parkrun to the community and agreed to sponsor the event.

“The third challenge was when we launched it. My husband Jun and I were not members of any running clubs.

“We were really fortunate to meet Lachlan Oakes at Parramatta who became the third member of our event team.

“It was a challenge for the three of us and my two teenage kids to operate for the first three months.

“Fortunately, the community kept growing and now we have a steady stream of volunteers. Our core team of run directors and supporters are very passionate and dedicated.”


Like Charina, Rio’s family also migrated to Australia from The Philippines.

“I am happy to say that our circle of friends have grown exponentially since parkrun. My family is happy to support The Ponds’ for as long as you folks keep coming!”

Charina says that visitors always mention how well organised The Ponds is, as well as being “friendly, warm and welcoming”.

“They are surprised how much fun they have, 5km need not be painful at all.”

There are several cafes at The Ponds Shopping Centre, Charina’s pick is the cinnamon scroll from Silverleaf Artisan Bakery.

While at The Ponds parkrun

If parkrun wasn’t enough you can explore nearby Rouse Hill Regional Park.

It’s home to biking and walking trails and a children’s adventure playground.

There’s a 1km trail that takes you through the grounds of the historic Rouse Hill Estate.

The house was built between 1813 and 1818 and is open for guided tours.

Also in the area is the Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural and Education Centre.

This offers an authentic Australian indigenous cultural experience. Celebrate the rich history of Aboriginal Darug culture.

The Parklea Markets are about 3km from parkrun and are the largest indoor markets in the Southern Hemisphere.

Set aside at least an hour, this is a treasure trove of food, fashion and flair with everything from toys to fresh flowers, computer goods to cosmetics. There’s also fruit and vegetables, seafood, deli, a butcher and a bakery.

What’s in a Name…

The Ponds was a name designed to reflect the geography of the areas and was derived from the nearby creek, Second Ponds Creek.

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

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