Event Profile

Toowoomba parkrun

Known as Queensland’s Garden City, Toowoomba parkrun is a colourful event all year round.

But if you want to make the most of a visit tie it in with the annual Carnival of Flowers, held in September.

Toowoomba parkrun’s birthday coincides with this carnival so that makes it a doubly good time to visit – cake and colour!

The parkrun launched in Queen’s Park on September 28 2013 with 219 parkrunners and seven volunteers.

It’s grown over the years and averages 278 finishers a week. It has a record attendance of 575 (January 20, 2018).

Founding event director Margaret Maloney says visitors can expect to see “happy, smiling faces and a beautiful, peaceful course”.

How it started

She founded the parkrun having learned of the free, weekly, timed event from friend Tressa Lindenberg.

Margaret says Tressa had run a few times at Main Beach parkrun and loved it.

“She thought Toowoomba would love it too so we went to see the mayor. How correct she was!”

Margaret’s first parkrun experience herself was at New Farm in December 2011.

She’s run at 10 parkruns across three states, but can mostly be found volunteering.

Like many event directors her volunteering outstrips her runs (in her case 26 runs to 291 volunteer days at time of writing).

“parkrun is wonderful for all the community and I am so proud at Toowoomba to have been the instigator and to have five or more start following our huge numbers every week.”

Toowoomba’s nearest events are South Toowoomba, Highfields and Oakey.

“I started with Tressa and she was my co-ed for some years and now is cycling (sadly) most Saturdays.

“I have done some other parkruns but not many – I went with Tressa to Main Beach, Gatton and Ipswich prior to us starting for some ideas.

“We’ve made it a wonderful community event. It is now great but the vollies make it and the atmosphere you create at your parkrun.

“I love the different parkruns. I’ve been ED for eight years now and did think of retiring around covid time but have a great team that makes it hard to step down from.”

Margaret says since the restart after the Covid pause they now visit several cafes, including their original post-parkrun venue of Parkhouse.

“We are known for our pretty parkrun all year around but especially at September as we are the Garden City and tourists love to come and see the gardens everywhere – and especially Queens Park.”

While in Toowoomba

Visit Picnic Point for panoramic views of the Great Dividing Range. This prime picnic spot overlooks Main Range and the Lockyer Valley.

The Carnival of Flowers runs in September and as well as Queen’s Park includes Laurel Bank Park. The carnival includes music and gourmet food so more than just a flower festival.

Toowoomba is also home to nationally acclaimed street art and impressive historic buildings.

Visit the Cobb+Co Museum to go back in time and see the National Carriage Collection.

The Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery is a private collection with more than 400 Australian artworks on display.

And wander around Queens Park some more, there’s 26 hectares to explore.

What’s in a name

Toowoomba parkrun is named for the city it is in.

There are several theories as to how it got it’s name, all relating to indigenous words.

Swamp: tawampa

Reeds in swamp: Womba Womba

Toowoom, the name of a native melon, which grew plentiful in the township.

Locals called the parkrun Queen’s Park. It was gazetted in 1869.

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