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.

Event Profile

Redland Bay parkrun

If you’re looking for a parkrun with views out to islands then put Redland Bay parkrun on your list.

Redland Bay parkrun is in south east Queensland with a view of the Moreton Bay islands. It’s a 40 minute drive from Brisbane airport.

This parkrun launched on June 10, 2017 with 394 finishers and 15 volunteers but typically averages 99 finishers. 

“We have stunning views along our beautiful bayside course, with a mix of grass, concrete and short boardwalks,” says event director Cheryl Lawie.

“We tend to get a lot of walkers because it’s a perfect spot to take in the amazing outlook over the southern Moreton Bay islands.  

“We have glorious weather, a very friendly and relaxed vibe and we love to welcome visitors.”

How it started

Cheryl was a regular parkrunner at nearby Cleveland parkrun and had volunteered “numerous times, but never as run director”.

“This path along the bayside was crying out for a parkrun! 

“Organising the launch of Redland Bay parkrun was a little daunting, and I literally wore L plates at our launch, but I had amazing support around me and no idea how much positive energy would come from it, or the way a beautiful community would form around it. 

“Like many parkruns, we are grateful for the foresight and support of other passionate parkrun people.    

“Many of us started our parkrun journey at the nearby Cleveland parkrun, with the fantastic event team there who inspire so many others.   

“I was attending a launch at another parkrun in Logan, when the event ambassador approached me to have a chat about a beautiful course he’d seen at Redland Bay, looking to join the parkrun family.   

“A couple more chats and visits to the park, and we were off on the journey of starting a new parkrun.   

“It has truly changed my life. 

“People tell you this beforehand, but I just assumed they were exaggerating.

“What a wonderful privilege to deliver this event for the community each week. 


Cheryl says Redland Bay is a relaxed and friendly parkrun with people who just love starting the weekend in “such a gorgeous spot” with a bunch of like-minded beautiful people.  

“We love the smiles, the jump shots, the families, the furry friends, and a little cooling shower under the hose afterwards!”

There are toilets, taps and shelter in the park, and a “great” playground for the kids. Cheryl says the swings overlooking the bay are extremely popular.

And if you get hot on the run? 

“We have some regulars who are partial to a dip in the bay after crossing the finish line.” 

Cheryl says many first timers comment about how friendly their parkrun is.  She says their volunteers like to encourage interaction and a supportive atmosphere.

“There are also the views, of course!”

“There are a couple of local spots for great coffee or breakfast, including down by the ferry terminal, where dolphins have been spotted on numerous occasions. 

“Some of our parkrunners also go into Victoria Point (5 minutes away) for breakfast.”

She says after running Redland Bay parkrun parkrunners should choose whatever they feel like.

While at Redland Bay

A trip to North Stradbroke Island is certainly recommended, or a wander up many of the trails at Mt Cotton to take in the views from a higher vantage point. 

The Moreton Bay cycleway winds its way along the bay and is a great option for grabbing some gorgeous photos.

There is plenty of history in the area and a popular winery, Sirromet, which also hosts its own parkrun.

What’s in a name?

Named after the suburb Redland Bay, which was settled in the 1860s-70s. 

You don’t have to look far to appreciate the rich red volcanic soil that supported farms and market gardens with a mix of crops including sugar cane, cotton, rice, pineapples and citrus.  

Redland Bay also hosts a modern ferry terminal, with regular services to multiple bay islands.

Event Profile

Mount Isa parkrun

If there’s a world record for the parkrun that got approved in the shortest time Mount Isa might be it.

This Queensland event is one of 20 that came about through the Embracing 2018 Commonwealth Games initiative.

It was so quick off the mark that within 100 hours of learning of funding event director Sarah Choyce (A823227) had everything in place.

The event launched on March 31, 2018 with 102 finishers and 11 volunteers. It averages 52 finishers.

“Our Saturday mornings are a great start to the weekend,” says Sarah.

“In the cooler months (approximately April to September) we often have quite a few visiting parkrunners from all over the country.

“In the warmer months it’s just our core group of runners, walkers and volunteers.

“Mount Isa is a pretty transient town so while our crowd changes a little, we are a welcoming bunch and many great friendships have blossomed at our parkrun.”

“I’m told we have one of the quickest times from application (including from the landowner) to approval in under 100 hours.

“The rush was to meet a funding deadline to ensure Mount Isa parkrun could be one of the 20 new parkruns to be supported by the Embracing 2018 – Commonwealth games initiative.”


“I started parkrunning in 2013 in Toowoomba, encouraged by a friend who was already part of the parkrun family in Townsville.

“I had small children and to get out of the house by myself, be active and have a coffee afterwards sounded like heaven!

“From there my parkrun love began, and when we moved to Mount Isa at the end of 2017 and there wasn’t a parkrun, I joked I’d start one, and well, the planets aligned and I did.

“I’ve met some great people I never would have if it wasn’t for parkrun and I’m so grateful to be part of the parkrun family.”

The Mount Isa course goes along the Leichhardt River.

Sarah says there is only ever water views for a couple of weeks of the year – most of the time it’s just the riverbed.

It’s a two lap course, all on the footpath which is mostly flat.

“It’s pretty kind.

“Our parkrun is fairly remote, apart from Cloncurry (about 1.5 hours away) so visitors are usually pretty happy to find us on their travels.

“For locals, like any parkrun, people are often surprised how easy it is to be involved.”

There’s no dedicated café, find out on the day which one of the locals they are visiting.

“Any coffee always tastes better after a run!”

While at Mount Isa parkrun

With a rich mining history dig deep with a mining tour.

There are plenty on offer, including a visit to the Mary Kathleen Mine, an old uranium open cast mine. When it closed in 1981 the whole town was dismantled.

Visit Lake Moondarra and the hatchery that keeps the lake stocked with fish.

There’s also an underground hospital and Mount Isa is home to the southern hemisphere’s biggest rodeo.

An hour’s drive east is Fountain Springs, where water bubbles through the quartzite fault line.

What’s in a Name…

It’s most likely named after the Mount Ida gold mines in Western Australia after prospector John Campbell Miles was taken with friends’ stories of the mines.

In 1923 he was on an expedition when he found mineral deposits, he and four farmers staked out the first claims in the area.

Mount Isa is on Kalkadoon country.

Event Profile

Nambour parkrun

This story originally featured in issue 1 of the Runs With A Barcode magazine.

In a game of word association Nambour parkrun would most likely be followed by Fluffy – the resident emu.

But there’s a lot more to the Sunshine Coast parkrun than the friendly native bird.

Nambour parkrun started in November 21, 2015 and is often a parkrun listed by tourists when naming their bucket list parkruns.

It was also the main event for this year’s PALM (parkrun Adventurers’ Listener Meet-up).

The parkrun Adventurers meet Fluffy

“Nambour parkrun is a unique experience in the Aussie bush and there is nothing better than bush therapy to lift your spirits,” says event director Melissa Taylor.

“Running, walking through the bush with no traffic noise or smell, just the smell of the bush, the sights and sounds of wildlife, it heals the soul.

“It is a tough course and a fast way to develop fitness and get healthy all the while with support and encouragement from your fellow parkunners.”


Nambour parkrun evolved after conversations with Darrin Voss, a local gym owner, who had a vision to bring parkrun to the town.

That was in March 2015.

“Nambour was a small town that was struggling since the main industry of sugar cane was shut down.

“We visited many parks to find a suitable location, but they were all the same, concrete, crowded and traffic.

“There would be no point of difference with any other parkrun and no reason to bring people to the town.

“We were heading back from a park one day when I looked up at the hills I ran in.

“I mentioned I knew of a 5km course but there was no way they would agree to a parkrun there because it was 100% bush trails, no water and no toilets.”

The perfect course

Melissa took Darrin for a look and immediately it became apparent this was what they were looking for.

Nambour has two start-lines to choose from.

“It is held on forestry trails so you will get dirty, possibly muddy and we have plenty of hills, in fact 165m of elevation on the normal course, add an extra 20m for Plan B.

“Our normal course is a 5km circuit utilising the Rocky Creek Trail. The first hill to greet you is the warm-up walk to the start line. The final hill is the cool down run to the finish.

“In between Nambour offers a variety of other hills.

“Your hills will be broken up by dirt, mud, rainforests and a creek crossing at the half way point (Rocky Creek). But, if it rains, there will be no crossing of creeks as the water rises quickly.

“With Plan B everyone turns around at Rocky Creek and excitingly this means you get to run back up the biggest hill on the course affectionately known as The Twins.

“We get some pretty extreme reactions from people ranging from ‘brutal but beautiful’, to the ‘we thought the Kawana Beach course was tough, but this is worse and we’re not coming back’.”

Meet Fluffy

Of course most people who have heard of Nambour parkrun will likely have heard about Fluffy, “an inappropriate” emu.

If planning a visit to see Fluffy, the local celebrity, Melissa says visit in the cooler months.

“Fluffy has no concept of personal space, let alone social distancing.

“He is a huge distraction when he shows up at the run briefing. Our RDs have huge trouble keeping everyone’s attention when Fluffy is strutting about among the crowd demanding his own attention.

“Fluffy loves to show off by doing his warm up zoomies as we all walk up to the start line, he can’t contain his excitement about the run.

“He loves running with the parkrunners, but only in short spurts, then he needs a breather before pacing the next lot.

“Fluffy also has a fetish for ears. In fact getting an ear nibble from Fluffy is part of the Nambour experience.”

While at Nambour

We have heaps of mountains to climb in the area with Mt Ninderry and Mt Eerwah being the closest.

For more bush therapy head up the road to the beautiful Blackall ranges. There’s so much to explore up there. Many beautiful trails and waterfalls, with safe swimming holes.

If running with Fluffy isn’t enough wildlife experience then down the road at the Big Pineapple we have Wildlife HQ.

Then a 45-minute drive away is Australia Zoo in Beerwah.

The Sunshine Coast is the most beautiful place to visit in Queensland. You can be staying in the hinterland up in the bush and 15 minutes drive away you can be down at the beach.

– Melissa Taylor

What’s In A Name

Nambour was the name of the first cattle station in the district. It came from the aboriginal word Nambaa meaning red flowering tea tree.

Nambour parkrun is located in Parklands Conservation park which has four towns including Nambour bordering it.

In memoriam: Darrin Voss died in September 2020 after a short illness. He was instrumental in getting the funding to start Nambour parkrun, Mel says. She says his memory will live on through Nambour parkrun and the contributions he made to the town.

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Event Profile

Ocean View parkrun

Ocean View is a small parkrun but it’s said that the best things come in small packages.

This Sunshine Coast parkrun averages around 32 finishers a week and event director Kelly Gurski describes the event as “boutique”.

It’s one of a handful of parkruns globally that runs through a winery.

“Tourists come from far and wide to test their fitness and fortitude on our beautiful yet brutal course,” she says.

Getting started

“I have lived in the next suburb of Dayboro for 16 years. I founded Petrie parkrun but wanted something in my local community.

“I literally nagged our local councillor at every opportunity for a parcel of land suitable for a parkrun.

“Eventually he suggested I meet Kate and Thomas from the Ocean View Estates winery.

“I regaled Thomas and Kate with parkrun facts and figures and was met with nice smiles but no real recognition and questions of ‘so which date are you looking at to run this’.

“Trying to explain a weekly running event was hard. Eventually the engine ticked over and we held our first parkrun in April 2018.

“There was much too-ing and fro-ing with parkrun over the name and the course.”

The experience

“Because Ocean View Estates has disease-resistant vines it means you can get a real winery experience, winding in and out of the vines. You can even bring your pooch.

“Three years on Kate and Thomas still mow our course regularly and make sure their cafe is open for coffee and brekkie at 8am.

“They know and love parkrun and still think people are crazy for wanting to run up ‘The Hill of Despair’.”


Turn up on tutu day (any Saturday that falls on the 22nd) and Kelly will have her tutu box ready for parkrunners to dress up.

“I have always loved a good dress up, so I parkrun touristed to other parkrun launches and birthdays to celebrate and dress up.

“Probably my favourite was an 80’s dress up run at Logan River parkrun. A whole gang of Brisbane parkrunners descended on this parkrun in our best Olivia Newton John aerobics gear! What a sight!

“I feel like running in a tutu or dress up frees you and I love seeing others embrace that too.”

Kelly as Wonder Woman

Kelly started her parkrunning at Sandgate parkrun where she didn’t know a soul.

“I’d heard some positive things about it. My first run I wore my fashion sunnies and analogue watch.”


She stayed with Sandgate for a while and then gave North Lakes a go. She said she didn’t volunteer often owing to ‘zero confidence’.

“I used to work at Petrie police station and would often run along the now Petrie parkrun course.

“I would often chat with another North Lakes parkrunner about starting a parkrun and she was an experienced run director so we joined up.

“In those days you had to raise the $5000 start-up fee yourself so I knocked on every door in Petrie until I secured the funding.

“I also had the blessing of the local councillor who was a bit sporty himself.

“In the early days I rarely got to run, but as our vollie reserves increased, so did my runs.”

Eventually Kelly decided to start an event closer to home, and the rest is history.

“After they’ve run our event parkrunners say it’s a beautiful yet brutal course but they come back. We offer country hospitality with great coffee and magnificent gardens.”

Voluntourists are very welcome at this event.

While at Ocean View parkrun

Ocean View is the gateway to the mountain range of Mount Mee.

This overlooks the Glasshouse Mountains and is part of the D’Aguilar Range.

The Mount Mee Forest Reserve contains huge expanses of rainforest and eucalypt forest and includes many picturesque bushwalks and four-wheel drive tracks.

The Dayboro Rodeo and Dayboro Show usually occur between May and July, as well as Dayboro Day, which celebrates the town’s unique rural heritage.

The Dayboro Bakery is known for its pineapple pies.

What’s in a Name…

Ocean View parkrun is named for the Queensland suburb it is in, Ocean View.

No details can be found of its naming but presumably it was named for the view of the ocean.