Erica Leota

If it hadn’t been for her new partner Erica Leota (A566221) would most likely be a passionista parkrunner at Sandgate in Brisbane.

Instead she’s passionate about touring, completing challenges and supporting her parkrunner friends do the same – on New Year’s Day she was at Zillmere celebrating a friend’s 250th and birthday run. 

She’s run at 85 locations on her quest to complete all in Queensland.

“I honestly can’t remember how I found out about parkrun. 

“I didn’t have any friends that ran. 

“It took me forever to go to my first event after signing up too. 

“I was too scared to go on my own but I ended up making a deal with myself. 

“If I bought a barcode to go on my keys then it was official and I had to go.”

That first run

“When it arrived I had no choice but to pull up my big girl pants and attend.”

That was May 24, 2014. Erica has since run another 250 times in Queensland and beyond.

Her first experience of parkrun tourism was on a family holiday to Cairns.

“I snuck out in the billion percent humidity to give it a try. 

“But I got the start line wrong and it was a 1.2km bolt to get to the right start line before parkrun began. 

“I arrived just as they said on your marks, get set, go. 

“The humidity was crazy, I was already sweating like a pig. 

“Then when I had finished my paper barcode wouldn’t scan because it was destroyed in sweat!”

At Zillmere


“It wasn’t until I met my partner that I actually started touring and finding out about these challenges. 

“I didn’t have 20 tourists under my belt, and he showed me all these new levels I could unlock in the parkrun world. 

“I just went to Sandgate parkruns most weeks as it was where I knew everyone. Now I only go to Sandgate once, maybe twice a year.”

Erica’s steadily working on the running challenges. She’s completed Pirates and Staying Alive and is half way through the Australian Compass Club (Kingscliff and Geeveston tick).

With Queensland parkruns spread around there’s plenty of travel just to gain statesmanship.

“Not including flying, my earliest wake up and drive to parkrun would have to be New Year’s Day parkrun at Wondai which was about 3 1/2 hours away. 

“I organised with my friends to do Wondai on New Year’s Day and then Miles the next day as we were getting two parkruns in two days.

“At 2am everyone arrived at my place. The only trouble was, I hadn’t woken up to my alarm.

“Luckily I had all my stuff prepped the night before. 

“I literally woke up to everyone outside wondering where I was. I had five minutes to grab my things and go!! 

“After Wondai we drove to Miles and did their parkrun the next day making it an 800 km round trip for two parkruns.”


To most parkrunners that could be the longest trip purely for parkrun. Erica can beat that.

“Geeveston in Tasmania is my furthest parkrun travelled. 

“We flew from Brisbane to Tassie so I could run the Gone Nuts 75km race.

“Then in the last couple of days of our 10 day holiday we drove to the bottom of Tasmania to attend Geeveston parkrun. 

“The funny thing is that out of the 30 parkrunners we bumped into someone else touring who I knew from Chermside parkrun which is just down the road from my home in Brisbane.

“The highlights for me have been  the small country town parkruns where the run director and volleys invite you to breakfast afterwards so you can chat about all things parkrun and running.”

At Bunyaville

Top 3

Erica’s top 3 are Cleveland, Victory Heights and Emerald.

“Cleveland has lots of different things for the eyes to see, great views, some hills and boardwalks. I don’t know why but I love a good boardwalk.

“Victory Heights is single trail goodness! I love the trails so this one was a real treat.

“Emerald is an oasis in a desert. From palm tree to a few hill loops. It has a fun bouncy bridge to cross, numbered directions to help you along the way and the locals are really friendly. Plus you can go fossicking not too far away so it’s a great parkrun adventure holiday to have.”

As for parkruns on the bucket list?

“The Beaches in Newcastle. I’ve attempted this one twice and both times my flights have been cancelled so third time lucky would be great.

“I’m also yet to tick off a parkrun in a different country so I’m keen for all the international holidays to recommence in the future.”

You can follow Erica on Instagram at run_with_erica

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