Tarrant on Tour – Parts 1-12

So one of the Chiltern Church Runners is going on Tour, big time, and you can follow his adventures here – so here is part 1;

Photo of me running at Bishan parkrun, Singapore. Lesley and I took a taxi to make sure we got there. Nice core team and Volunteers. Slow time as has had to stop as so hot. It was a bit hazy due to Indonesia burning to make way for palm trees. Haze due to the wind direction it also closed the two in KL, so some tourist who had gone there came down and ran East Coast, as the haze was less down here.

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We also went to a Singapore Wetherspoons – ‘Soons’ (for those who don’t know Wetherspoons are big in the parkun tourist community).

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And on to week 2;

Saturday morning we drove off to Yokine Reserve, for this weeks parkrun. We had been here in the week to make sure we knew where to go. We parked up in the car park 07.30hrs and started looking out for any sign of hi-vis heroes, but had not seen any by 07.45, low level concern started. I went off to what we thought would be the post coffee, to check we were in the right place. No ! wrong car park / wrong side of the park. So off we went , back onto the road along to the next car park and as we pulled up we saw the familiar hi-vis heroes busily preparing for Yokine parkrun, phew, we knew we were in the right place.  We spoke with Paul the RD, he and the others were very helpful. Briefing done and away we went, out and back one side of the park and the out and back in the opposite direction, finally finishing in a far better time than last week, as it was a far more familiar temperature.

It appears we got the map upside down, but then we are down under. Watching the remainder coming in and speaking to Paul and other volunteers. It ended up that no one goes for a post run chat, so Lesley and I went off to The Botanical Gardens, in Perth and had our breakfast and a nice day wondering around the park. Photo of me with Yokine parkrun feather.

Week 3

This weeks parkrun was on one of ‘the islands to sea’, Kangaroo Island. On Friday we picked up a camper van in Adelaide and then drove down to Cape Jervis to get the ferry across to Kangaroo Island. On arrival we went straight to Kingscote to work out where the parkrun was. We found where it is, but we could not fit the camper into any of the car bays, for parking. We drove around and found a couple of possibilities, one by the hospital and another near where they parked the school buses. We then went off and found a campsite for the night.

Saturday morning up and out early and drove back to Kingscote, where we are now coming from a different direction.  We saw a one way sign and took it. This took us right down to where the parkrun started. We met Tess the RD for the day and asked if we could park here, she said yes. No more parking issues. We asked Tess about the blank volunteer rota, she said they generally don’t bother, as her kids would fill them if no one else. Briefing done and off we went. This course had rises and falls in it, so more difficult than last week at Yokine. It is an out and back with a slight detour at 2.25 kms. The falls that I did not notice on the way out, became quite steep on the way back. Finished in 17th place ( there were only 24 in total, don’t tell anyone though). Speaking with the group, it appears they are still on winter time, people go home, so once again no post run tea and chat. So Lesley and I had breakfast in the van and then drove to the other side of the island and visited Hanson bay wild life sanctuary and we saw koalas and wallabies close to. We also saw an echidna on the side of the road.

Another photo with Kangaroo Islands folks.

There are currently nine islands (& sea), Bere Island, Nobles Isle of Man, Medina I.o.W, Jersey CI, Guernsey  CI, Kirkwall, Bressay, Hamilton Island Australia and Kangaroo Island Australia. Now there is a tenth starting later this month ‘Cape Pembroke Lighthouse’ in the Falkland Island. There are others on Islands, but these are Islands with only one parkrun on them and surrounded by sea. Singapore has currently three parkruns and more to come, so is not included.

Week 4

This week we arrived in Holbart, Tasmania. We picked up our second camper, we drove off to Queens Domain, to check out where to go for Saturday. Once again the camper is some what too big for car bays, but there is some place we could park. So off we went to find some where to camp. Up early again to set off for this week’s parkrun. On arrival we saw Michelle (the RD for the day) and other hi vis heroes busy setting up. We introduced ourselves to them, Michelle told us that the local sponsors had supplied them with loads of running vests for the day to mark parkruns 15th anniversary and I could have one. So I put my new vest on for today’s run. Briefing complete (in rhyme) off we went. I thought it would be up hill, only to find I was going down, the course is around a hill. Reaching the other end back a bit then out again to almost the start, but we turned around and set off back to the start. As per last week the down parts became upwards. Having chatted with some other runners the finish came into sight. Finished in a better time than last week, more than happy. Scanned in, I went back to watch the remainder of the runners in. Once again no post chat at a cafe, there is nothing around the park to go to. So Lesley and I had our breakfast in the van and then set off to go to Port Arthur and the next stage of our adventures. 

Michelle and myself, trying to get a bit of the parkrun feather in.

Week 5.

This week we are in Victoria and on Friday we visited Ballarat, where we went to the Gold Museum and Sovereign Hill an open air museum based around and on an original gold mining area. We then checked for where the nearest parkruns were, although there was one in Ballarat itself, I chose to go for You Yangs, the third nearest. So off we set to find it. It is set in the You Yangs Regional Park. When we found it the route started on tarmac, but soon changed to a dirt track with lumps and bumps in it. We got to where to park up, but then there was another 300 metres to walk to where the parkrun starts and finishes. So now happy that we had found it, we set off to find camping for overnight. This we eventually found after some difficulty and settled down for the night. 

Up early to set off for You Yangs, a 25 minute drive down the road, then bouncing down the track to the car park. There were quite a few vehicles, but not all just for parkrun, the others were there for mountain biking. Off to parkrun saw a guy looking lost, this was Chris visiting from NSW. I said it was about 300m further on. We got there and I then spoke to Robyn (the RD) and other Volunteers. As I stepped away another guy introduced himself ‘Steve’. He and Robyn were the joint ED’s. Robyn did the briefing and explained there were new marker posts to follow so off we all went. I chatted to some others whilst going around, a one lap route and the finish was soon crossed. Cheering the remainder in, got a selfie frame picture taken and once again, although they do have a designated cafe, no one goes to it as they all come from different directions and Lara, where the cafe is a few kilometres away. So Lesley and I set off to meet my cousin (I had never met before) the other side of Melbourne.

Week 6.

This week we fell behind in our travels. We arrived in Eden on Thursday too late to go whale watching, so booked up for Friday. On Friday we got to the boat about 07.40, for 08.00. We did see whales and dolphins. Once finished we set off for Queanbeyan, near Canberra. This week we had booked a camping site. Got there and then went to check out parking for the van and collected some shopping. 
 
In the morning we got up and as only 5 minutes down the road, it was comparatively a late start for us. I walked to the start and met / introduced myself to Erin (the RD for the day), Lesley followed shortly after. Erin did the briefing and in it she said there were 2 Hills to get up and down each lap (2 X out and back). I had read this and thought that they would not be too bad as the route is by the river, I was wrong though. So off we went, I talked with some of the other runners and was also welcomed by others as Erin had mentioned me in the briefing, as having run about 320 different parkrun events. It was not a fast time, not unexpected due to the hills. This week there was a cafe to go to, so a nice egg and bacon roll, plus a coffee was enjoyed. We then left and went to Canberra and drove around the parliament buildings plus visited the Australian war memorial and museum.
 
A photo of Erin and myself, with their selfie frame.
 
 

Week 7:

This week we are in New Zealand. We arrived in Auckland on Wednesday evening and was welcomed with road closures close to our hotel. The Sky City building had been on fire since the night before, so we did not go anywhere that evening.

 In the morning we visited the Auckland Museum and then in the afternoon we picked up our next camper van. Having done so we set off in the direction of Gisbourne, the furthest east parkrun in the world. After some time of being battered by side winds we stopped and found a campsite for the night.

 Friday morning we then decided that Gisbourne , being another 350 Km away we would have to settle on one around Auckland. We did visit another Museum, once again around gold mining, before heading back. We found somewhere to camp, having decided on going to Barry Curtis park.

 This was still another 40km away, so up at 06.15hrs to be away for 06.45hrs to get there for just after 07.30 as it starts at 08.00. On arrival, there were the volunteers busy setting up. I did not really make myself known until just before the start. This week I was beaten on being the furthest distance away, as there was David from the Wirral. Briefing completed and off we went, this week a 2 lap course around the park. I chatted with some other runners and finished the last half lap talking with Cathy a local lady.

 Having finished I spoke with some of the other runners and Volunteers and was delighted to find they did go for a post run social cuppa. So Lesley and I met those folks that did go to the cafe. Here I told them about some of the unofficial parkrun clubs that people could join. This some were very interested in. So much so Karen who was going to write this weeks run report, took notes about the Cowell club 100 different events and others like the pirate club 7 parkrun beginning with ‘c’ and one beginning with an ‘r’, seven C’s and an ‘r’. They do not have a selfie frame, so only a picture of Cathy and myself coming over the line.

Week 8: 

We worked our way south on the North island of NZ. On Friday we were about 50km from Wellington and  checked out the park for Kapiti Coast parkrun and ended up parking to a nice neat Moggy Traveller.

We ended up speaking with Mike ( the owner) and his wife for about an hour, it was one of the last made 1971. The camper this week would be easily parked for a change. Off we went to meet a friend who lives on the the campsite where we stayed over the weekend. 

Saturday morning was a comparatively late rising, as Otaihanga Domain, where the parkrun was, was only about a parkrun distance away. I went over and met Andy the RD, who knew where Croydon was, he had lived in South London before coming over to NZ. There were two other visitors, they came from Dundin, south NZ. Andy did the briefing, there were some first timers and he mentioned the 3 of us visitors, then 3, 2, 1, off we went. It was an out and back route on the south side of the river, it also passes under state highway 1. As per normal I spoke with other runners and finished with Sarah running her first parkrun.

I spoke with some more people after the run and I have decided to let people know about the running challenges apt, after last week and the folks there at Barry Curtis saying they were going to use it to try and encourage people to volunteer and work towards collecting stars on the various volunteer roles.


As there was no selfie frame, I took a picture of me by the parks name.

Week 9:

This week we were in the South Island of NZ, we have worked our way down the west side. Mountains, lakes and glaziers, not to mention the thunder and lightning. On Friday afternoon we arrived in Queenstown and took up residence on lakeview campsite. This is up quite a steep hillside, so Lesley elected to stay in the camper, whilst I went down to the beach front, where the parkrun starts. Bearing in mind this is remembrance weekend, the park where Queenstown parkrun starts and finishes by, entrance is the towns war memorial. Having found the start, I then went off to find wether there was to be a parade there or not. This in mind I visited the police station and was told that the local RSA (Returned and Service Association) would be meeting that evening and where the meeting would take place.  So that evening I visited the RSA meeting and learned they did not parade at the Queenstown memorial, but at Arrowtown some 20 kms away and then on the 11th Monday and not Sunday. I was invited to attend if I wanted to. 

Saturday morning a real late start as the start was only about a half a km away and downhill. Turned up at 07.30 and no one there. Shortly after one other turned up, Ash from Melbourne and then a lady from France. Then a car pulled up and Jeff ( the RD for the day) turned and others appeared and off they went to set up. There were more tourist than locals, which Jeff said was not unusual on a cold wet day. Briefing done, off we went, the park is a wooded area with a loop up and then down, followed by two further larger laps. Then back to where we started, during the last part of the second lap I ran with Sarah from Rutland, her and her husband where in NZ for two weeks. They both now only needed a ‘Z’ to complete their parkrun alphabet, so we talked about possible Z’s in Poland. I got a photo taken with Jeff. We then went around the corner to Yonkers cafe, for a cuppa and chat. 

Later on Lesley and I walked around town. Sunday we went on a old steamer TSS Earnslaw and had BBQ before returning. On Monday we took the bus to Arrowtown and joined the RSA at their service of remembrance and also a lunch. Then we walked around the town, it has been preserved and has a museum showing the history of the town and surrounding area.

Photo with Jeff.

Week 10:


This week we travelled north up the centre of the South Island of NZ, towards Christchurch.
On Friday we travelled on the trans alpine train, from Darfield to Arthur’s pass. The train should of gone on to the west coast at Greymouth, we stayed at Arthur’s pass and those that required to carry on had to go by coach as there had been an avalanche across the tracks. We spent a few hours here and did a short walk, had a meal and saw Kea’s, the only alpine parrot in the world. In the afternoon we took the return train.


Saturday morning up early, as we had 45 Kms to travel to Foster parkrun. Once there I introduced myself to Greg, today’s RD. There were some first timer and Greg gave out some certificate to some juniors for completing 10 runs and a 50 to Jo, there first home 50. This was their 57 event today.


Briefing complete, off we went around to park, a smaller loop and then back around the way we had come, but in reverse. Run complete spoke with Greg and other, until the tail walker came in with Ada just 4, on her first parkrun.


Got a photo with Greg by a sign showing the park layout. The park and surrounding houses and everything else are all new, the land was a farm up until 3 years ago. The whole area was set up to rehouse people after the earthquake in Christchurch.


A nice post run cuppa and chat in the cafe and then time to move on, Lesley and I drove further north to Kaikoura, where on Sunday we went whale and dolphin watching. Photo of Greg and I at Fosters.

Week 11

We are back in Australia this week, Brisbane. Thursday night we stayed in Palm Beach, so that we could visit David Fleay Wildlife Park on Friday. One of the things we wanted to see was a ‘Duck Billed Platypus’ and at the wildlife park they have a nature by night house. This is an enclosed building which has made Night, day and day, night for the creatures in it. When we and others were allowed in, we had to stay as quiet as possible, so as not to disturb any of the creatures. And we actually saw the platypus swimming around and looking for food, in its tank.

Palm beach is on the Golden Coast south of Brisbane, but I wanted to run at Zillmere, which is north of Brisbane. So this in mind we chose a campsite which looked close to Zillmere. When we got there having driven through the middle of Brisbane. We discovered that Zillmere was only a few km’s away, bingo.

Saturday morning came and we set off for the parkrun, we arrived fairly late, about 06.40. The briefing was said to be done at 06.45. The first people I spoke to, were from a club called Achilles. The club is for people with are visually impaired and their guides. I then met Tim, the RD for the day. The briefing completed, the course is around some football pitches, the out and around some other field which run by some creeks and by a railway line and finally back around the football pitches the other way round. I was cooked come the end, even though I had stopped at a water fountain a few times. Spoke with Tim and got a picture with Tim in their selfie frame. 

Afterward we went to the local cafe for a smoothie and a chat. 

Lesley and drove around some local places and on Sunday got the train into Brisbane. We were walking to get their city cat, a sort of water bus (catmerang). When we came across a parade being set up, this was for the Australian navy, as it is seen as although hostility for WW1 ended on the 11th Nov, the Navy see it as the 21st, i.e. When the German Navy shuttled their impounded ship at Scupa Flow. So we stopped and observed the parade. We then went to get the city cat, out and back to Hamilton, where the cruise ship come in. After pottering some more we got the train back.

Week 12

This week we flew north to Cairns, we arrived in the evening and collected our hire car. We ask a policeman at the airport, which way did we need to go to get to Port Douglas. He said to go out of the airport and a couple traffic lights turn right and follow the road, which is quite windy and to drive slowly. We said, we just want to get and as it was dark already, slow would do.

On Thursday and Friday we drove around exploring the area. Whilst back in Cairns we found the car park at the parkrun, so that I would know where to go on Saturday. 

Saturday morning came and Lesley chose not to come and as we were in an apartment and she slept in. I drove down the ‘Captain Cook Highway’ for about 60k down to Cairns then parked the car.  I then went over and introduced myself to John the RD. Telling him that this would be my 330th different parkrun and he said that it was their 333th event. When he did the briefing he announced me as running my 330th different parkrun. Briefing done off we went, the course is made of two lap

Made up of two laps, one of 3k and the second of 2k along the promenade. I spoke to some other running and was also greeted with ‘hello 330 man’. I stopped a few times at the water fountains, as I was getting very hot. Having finished I spoke with John and some other runners. After the tail walker came in and things tidied away, we move up the road to Muddy cafe. Here John did the proceeding and I spoke with him and other, nice parkrun.

I left and drove back to Port Douglas where Lesley and I had brunch at one of the local cafe.

Photo of John and I