Event Profile: Ginninderra parkrun

He’s known now for being the new parkrun chief executive, but Russ Jefferys is best known in Canberra for bringing parkrun to the city.

Ginninderra parkrun was the first parkrun in the Australian Capital Territory, launching on April 28, 2012 with 91 finishers and nine volunteers.

It now averages 180.

This was Australia’s sixth event. There are now seven in the ACT.

Co-event director Sally Sutherland says Ginninderra is the place to be on a Saturday because it’s a “friendly parkrun”.

“It’s a picturesque run beside the beautiful Lake Ginninderra, with 200-300 of your friendliest parkrunners.

“All abilities welcome: we’ve had everything from Olympians to dog walkers, Achilles runners, to prams, to wheelchairs to very pregnant people (me included).”

How it started

It all started when Russ and Jess Jefferys moved to Australia from the UK for Jess’ work.

“They didn’t know anyone in Canberra.

“Russ had participated in one parkrun in the UK and suggested it might be a great place to meet people.

“Only one catch; there were no parkruns in Canberra and five across the country. So they started one, Ginninderra.

“Not long into their tenure, they threw a barbecue and invited a lot of the people they’d met volunteering.

“Through the power of beer, they managed to turn us volunteers into Run Directors!

“Unfortunately, a year or so later, Jess’ work relocated to Brisbane and they went with the work, later to return to the UK.”

Sally says she learned of parkrun through friends at its start.

“We were all supposed to go to the inaugural run.

“In the end, we went out the night before and didn’t make it.

“But the second week we were all there and got talked into being the run director team at the Jefferys’ barbecue.

Event directorship

“When the Jefferys left in 2013, my husband and I became the Event Directors. My husband retired from event directing in 2019 and Lara-Kym Lever joined me as Co-Event Director.

“Most of the original run team has moved on over the years, but we’ve welcomed other great team members since.”

Sally says they love welcoming visitors to the parkrun they call Gindy.

“We get a lot of positive feedback. They love the course and that they are very welcome around the reserved parkrun tables at the café after the event.”

After parkrun Sally says they head to Birragai cafe. There’s also a nearby coffee van if you’re in a hurry.

“I’d recommend the vegetarian omelette.”

While in Canberra…

There’s a 7km walking path around Lake Ginninderra if you want to explore the entire lake.

Sally recommends a visit to the National Arboretum, which offers great views over Canberra, “an excellent gift shop” and a playground for the younger parkrunners.

The arboretum was created after bushfires in 2001 and 2003. It opened in 2013. and has more than 44,000 rare and endangered trees. plus bonsai and running and cycling trails.

Also nearby in the National Dinosaur Museum, which is Australia’s largest permanent display of prehistoric specimens.

If travelling with the young at heart the Big Splash Waterpark is close to parkrun. It’s Canberra’s only waterpark.

What’s in a name

The name Ginninderra is derived from the Aboriginal word for the creek which flows through the district of Ginin-ginin-derry which is said to mean sparkling or throwing out little rays of light.

Ginninderra parkrun is on the shores of Lake Ginninderra, an artificial lake located on the Ginninderra Creek.

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