Event Profile

Hamilton parkrun

If you fancy a “cruisey lap of a lake” then Hamilton parkrun is the parkrun for you.

This Hamilton-named event is in Hamilton, Victoria, a large town in the south-western part of the state.

It’s based at Lake Hamilton, Rippon Road, and is a clockwise lap of the lake.

Its parkrun dates back to 2014 when founding event directors Diane and Bryan Barrera first learned of the free 5km event.

At that time Diane was pregnant with daughter Amina.

Co-event director Cindy Riddle says they were inspired by the concept and completing one once Amina was born became a goal.

In May 2015 they all completed their first parkrun at Mount Gambier parkrun in South Australia.

The beginning

Four months later plans were in full swing to start the event in Hamilton with a couple of trial runs that September with around 25 people at each.

“We thought that if we could get 30 people to our launch then we would be happy,” Cindy says.

“On Saturday, October 10 our event team officially launched Hamilton parkrun.

“We set up early and waited eagerly hoping for our 30 participants.

“Smiling faces kept walking down the path, excited to begin their parkrun journey. We were absolutely blown away and completely humbled to have 123 participants at Hamilton parkrun Event #1.

“To date, this still remains our highest attendance.

“We have seen run directors come and go but Diane and Bryan have been there with us through it all.”


“It has been such a privilege to help make their parkrun dream a reality and to see Amina grow up with parkrun as part of her weekly routine.

“Not only are the Barreras the founders of Hamilton parkrun, they are lifelong friends – our parkrun family.”

Hamilton parkrun averages 61 finishers each week and Cindy says there’s a smile waiting for every parkrunner.

“No matter the weather, Hamilton parkrun always feels warm. Hamilton parkrun is extremely family friendly.

“Our event begins right next to the Lakes Edge Adventure Playground making it a great place to gather and chat while the children play.”


“So many people have shared heartwarming stories of how Hamilton parkrun has changed their life.

“Stories of overcoming anxiety and depression, making lifelong friends, feeling included, smashing health and fitness goals. We even have a local GP who refers patients to parkrun, it’s that good!

“Together we have had our fair share of lows but have also celebrated the highs.”

Cindy says she learned of parkrun in August 2015 when she saw a social media post asking for volunteers for a new health and fitness initiative in Hamilton.

She put her hand up and was introduced to Diane, who quickly signed her up as a run director.

“From our first pre-launch meeting, I knew that parkrun was something different to anything I’d been involved in before, something more.

“It felt like a little family beginning a big adventure.

“We have always had an incredible supportive event team creating a relaxed and welcoming environment for volunteers and runners alike.”

“My parkrun commitment has been adaptable to every stage of my life – running PB’s, volunteering while heavily pregnant, walking with a pram, then a double pram! And now running with a dog and my eldest daughter.

“Our parkrun family has been through many highs and lows – birthdays, weddings, babies, cancer treatment, weekly coffee catch-ups, track changes, the mystery of stolen gear, sadly funerals and now a pandemic.

“There are so many stories to be told.

“No matter what life throws at us, parkrun is always there and our team holds each other up.”

Hamilton parkrun’s post-parkrun coffee is at The Roxburgh on Thompson St. Cindy says around 20-30 people usually head there.

“I can’t go past the Smashed Avo but I think others would agree that the banana bread is the go to!

“Ask my children and they say toastie and babycino!”

While at Hamilton parkrun

Hamilton is an hour away from the seaside (Port Fairy, Warrnambool), 20 minutes from the foot of the Grampians (Dunkeld) and only 2.5 hours from the city (Geelong).

The Wannon and Nigretta falls are both less than 15 minutes out of Hamilton – a must see, especially after a big downpour.

The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape is a UNESCO world heritage site and contains one of the world’s most extensive and oldest aquaculture systems built at least 6,600 years ago by the Gunditjmara people.

We are absolutely spoilt for choices here in the Western District of Victoria.

There are so many activities that choosing what to do can be tricky!

– Cindy Riddle

What’s in a Name…

Hamilton parkrun is named for the town it is held in.

The town was surveyed in 1849 and gazetted as Hamilton in 1851.

It is believed that it was named after Hamilton near Glasgow in Scotland owing to a large number of Scottish settlers living in the district.

This was originally published in issue 4 of Runs With A Barcode magazine.

Event Profile

Timboon parkrun

For a small parkrun, Timboon has lots to offer parkrun tourists.

Event director Dean Whitehead mentions the wildlife and the community.

parkrun tourists who have got in contact with Runs With A Barcode espouse the gourmet food trail – and the ice cream in particular.

Aside from its launch event numbers are below 100, the average is 45, so Timboon promises to be an intimate event.

Timboon is in the Shire of Corangamite, in the Western District of Victoria.

It’s around 213km southwest of Melbourne. In the 2006 census it had a population of 871.


Dean took over as ED in February from Donna Ellis, who was in the role from its 2017 inception.

“With our return from COVID she was unable to continue with the role. I grew up in the Timboon with my parents owning a dairy farm.

“I’ve been a part of this community my whole life. Our small community has a strong culture of volunteering and helping others when in need.

“My parents have particularly been a big influence as they volunteered a lot of their time to organised many sporting clubs and events when I was growing up.

“I saw this as an opportunity for me to be able to do my bit so that our community can keep this great event going.”

Getting started

It was Dean’s wife Ellen who got her barcode first.

“I then got involved, using parkrun to improve my fitness so I could continue to play football.

“A lot of my involvement has been during the summer months.

“I’m a PE teacher at Timboon P-12 School and have enjoyed some good spirited rivalries with some of my students, many of them I cannot get near now.

“I volunteered a few times, however I was more focused on trying to improve my PB.”

The course

Timboon is an out and back along a rail trail.

“It has a gradual slope, winding down hill to the turn around then a slow incline all the way back to the finish.

“This makes it enough of a challenge to mentally push yourself to the finish, but the consistency makes it achievable.

“Under foot is compacted gravel with a small covering of leaves from the trees that line the course.

“The course can be a little slippery after rain, although the tree canopy often protects runners and the track from the elements.

“The sun often shines through the trees lighting up the track with streams of golden light.

“We regularly spot birds and koalas along the track with the odd kangaroo sharing the course.”


Dean’s still relatively new to parkrun, he’s yet to earn his 50milestone but isn’t far off it.

“I have been Event Director for a little over a month and enjoy the volunteering just as much, if not more than participating as a runner.

“Another reason for me taking on this role was to encourage my family to continue to live an active healthy lifestyle.

“I had the pleasure of running with my son, Parker, who is 4, for his first parkrun a few weeks ago.

“My eldest daughter Stella, 9, is loving being involved improving her times, and being so proud that she can run the distance.

“Thea, 6, enjoys the social side either walking/jogging with her mum or other young friends she has encouraged to join in.

“The local community has been so supportive of me taking on the role, volunteer roles have all been filled without chasing people to help.”

Timboon parkrun meets at the skate park and playground which allows the children who have been pushed by their parents in prams a time to play.

There is a toilet block towards the main shopping centre.

“Timboon is a very small town. The rail trail runs all the way from Timboon north to Camperdown (40km).

“A track is currently being constructed south to join Port Campbell (18km).

“My suggestion is to bring your bike, or hire one, begin from Glenfyne and ride back towards Timboon, which is around 12km).”

The cafe venue is Timboon Provedore on Main St.

“I’m just a quick coffee after parkrun, but they do have nice breakfast options. My go-to is the Moroccan spiced pie for lunch.”

While at Timboon parkrun

Timboon is on the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail.

This gives visitors to the 12 Apostles Coast and Hinterland the chance to experience amazing artisan food and beverage destinations.

As well as Timboon Ice Cream, the town is also home to Timboon Railway Head Distillery, where you can discover single malt whisky, and Berry World.

There are also boutique stores and an art gallery.

Visit the unusual and historic Timboon Trestle Railway Bridge, which is Heritage listed.

This was built in 1892 and one of the few surviving railway structures of this type in Victoria.

What’s in a Name…

It is believed that the name Timboon comes from the local Aboriginal word “timboun”, which was a word to describe pieces of rock to open mussels.

Timboon is on Girai Wurrung land.

This was originally published in Issue 2 of the Runs With a Barcode magazine.