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Back to Queensland



The Basics

Townsville is a Tropical city with a population of about 160,000. It has a broad economic base with strong inputs from tertiary education, academic research, metal refining, fly in fly out mining support, major defence installations, government departments and tourist activity. Present are most of the facilities that one expects in a major city, and nearly everything is close at hand, 20/25 minutes max gets you almost anywhere.

With a predominately young population, there is a wide range of social venues. Similarly, many sports are played here at a high level, with several local teams participating in the national scene.

Climate could be described as "demanding" during the summer months, particularly for endurance athletes. The factors that hurt are not so much excessive daytime temps (generally not more than 33c), but the combination of high overnight minimums(frequently 26-28c) and high humidity. They are good training conditions for anyone looking towards a marathon in the warmer parts of Asia. Winter however, is very enjoyable, and we become the envy of Southern dwellers at that time of the year. For anyone who hasn't been here for 10 years, come back up, and enjoy the new Townsville. If you haven't been here before, plan a visit to defrost your frost-bitten bodies.

In Townsville's summer, do as the locals do and enjoy running at dawn or dusk.

Key Races

August - Townsville Running Festival

Running Clubs & Groups

The Townsville Road Runners are the biggest in town. The Club started in 1972 as the Townsville Marathon Club, but these days has a broader membership base and they are very active in promoting all running. Runs, either competitive or social, are organised through the year and normal attendance is between 80 and 120. Check the website for details.

Places to run

  • The Strand Scenic waterfront of Townsville. Recently redeveloped, very popular with the locals who like to walk, rollerblade, cycle etc. along the path. The redeveloped section of the Strand is about 2.5km long. Public toilets conveniently available at four locations. Numerous water fountains along the way. The run can be extended by adding Castle hill (see below, via Gregory St) or Pallarenda.
  • Castle Hill Castle hill is 286m high. There is a sealed vehicle road and there are two main walking tracks that lead to the top. The Goat Track leads up the Eastern ridge from Hillside Crescent and it mainly follows the route of the old King of the Castle foot race (the current K of C is up and down the sealed road).The second option is the Cutheringa Track, which commences near the carpark/turn around about 0.7k west up the Castle Hill road from the Gregory St intersection.
  • The Cutheringa Track crosses the northern face of the hill and joins the Goat Track below the summit. At the summit carpark there are toilets and two water bubblers, one of which dispences CHILLED water. The tracks and road are very popular with runners and walkers, both in the AM and the PM. There are usually people on the Hill well before daylight, and it is a wonderful place to watch the sun rise. Sections of both tracks can be a bit rough under foot,but no problems for reasonably fit people. In the early AM, car parking near the start of the Cutheringa Track is sometimes difficult. If you are not real early, you may need to park back near Gregory St. and walk about 0.7k up the first section of the Castle Hill road. To find the entrance to the Cutheringa Track at the bottom of the hill, look for a carpark on the right hand side of the road at the beginning of the road that goes up the hill, about 0.7k west from Gregory St., 20m after the carpark, and on the left is the start of the Cutheringa Track track. To find the entrance of both Tracks from the top of the hill; starting from the lookout carpark, follow the road down the hill (~east) for about 30m, don't go around the first (hairpin) bend of the road, instead go straight ahead through the armco railing. If you have gone past the restaurant you have gone too far.
  • Cape Pallarenda Road Seaside road to Pallarenda. Concrete shared cycle path goes from Soroptimist park to just past Three mile creek, then about 1.5k of road to Cape Pallarenda, distance return ~ 14k. For those who don't like thumping on concrete, there is the option of running on grass and dirt between the cycle path and the road. For a 21k return run, start at the East end of the Strand, in Anzac Park behind the Bowls Club, then along the waterfront to the Rockpool, into Howitt,Cook,Esplanade,Marshall and Primrose Sts to Heatleys Parade which becomes Pallarenda Rd., continue west out to Pallarenda. Turn around just before the traffic roundabout near the old heritage listed Quarantine Station . This is part of the Townsville Marathon course, and is marked with blue lines on the road edges from Howitt St to Three Mile Creek. There is beach from Soroptimist Park to Cape Pallarenda so you can run back along the beach for a bit of variety. Toilets on the Strand and opposite the Caravan Park, at Three Mile Creek and at Pallarenda.
  • Ross River There is a bitumen shared cycle path that runs along most of the length of the suburban parts of the Ross River. You can follow the river easily along the paths from Railway Avenue (downstream) to Kelso (upstream) which is at least 12km one way. There are very few parts that require diverting to running on the road. Some parts of the track follow on both sides of the river. There are bridges at (from down to upstream) Railway Avenue (+cars), Aplins Weir (pedestrian/cycle), Ross River Road(+cars), Gleesons Weir (warning!! no bridge but walk on top of weir, cross at your own risk, cannot cross during flooding), and Black Weir (near Weir Primary School). There are quite a few parks along the way with water fountains and toilets.
  • Town Common website A nature reserve near Pallarenda, runs alongside the airport runway. Bird watching area. To get there, follow Cape Pallarenda Road and turn left just before the Golf Course. No water or toilet stops. Note the park open/closes 6.30am/6.30pm and gates are locked. There is an unmanned infomation board at the entrance of the park with maps. Lots of walking tracks and dirt roads ranging from very flat tracks/roads (wetlands) and hilly, rough walking tracks (Many Peaks Range). Limited availability during the wet season.

Running Tracks

There is a 400m synthetic track at the Townsville Sports Reserve. Access is limited. There are also a number of 400m grass tracks throughout the area, including a public use track in Queens Park near the Sports Reserve. Weekends often see this track occupied by vigaro or touch football teams.

Places to buy Running gear incl. shoes

Medical & Doctors

  • Physio Great physios, friendly service one physio is a marathon runner and exercise physiologist as well as a physio. Check out the website
  • Therapeutic Massage Can strongly recommend Rhonda Chessher at Caring Hands (07-47237013).
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