Pro triathlete Josh Amberger races and competes all over the world but always returns to his hometown of Brisbane.
It’s Australia’s third most populated city, after Sydney and Melbourne, and is said to be one of the fastest-growing areas in the country and the world. With an average 280 (some sources say 250) days of sunshine each year and a reputation for being welcoming and diverse (stats indicate over 30% of inhabitants are foreigners), perhaps this isn’t too surprising.
There’s lots of green space, there’s a thriving outdoor dining and restaurant scene and the standard of life is by all accounts pretty good. What’s not to like?
Josh takes us through some his favorite spots for a run and tells us a little more about the city’s running culture. Scroll down for more.
Hey Josh, first off, why do you run?
There’s multiple answers to this question. I guess I run because it’s part of my profession. To be the best athlete I can be, I have to approach running as pure performance, something that I need to master.
Where is your favorite place to run?
I love to run the rugged and hilly trails around outer Brisbane. Specifically the Samford Conservsation and Bunyaville Conservation Parks. Brisbane also has some fantastic urban spots, like the bike paths along the Brisbane River and loops around the uni at St Lucia.
What is it about Brisbane that makes it great for running?
We have fantastic variety. Brisbane is a big city, but I think it’s a well-planned in terms of open areas and recreational space. We have a very vast network of trails, mostly hilly and mountainous.
Trail running is becoming more and more popular here, and it’s cool to see it taking off. But where I think Brisbane is really fantastic is the fact that we have a massive network of shared paths around the city that you can safely run all year round.
You can do incredibly scenic and fun runs all over the place. You can find your own space or go with the crowds. We also have a heaps of events – from trail and road to track. Normally, there’s almost always something going on.
Are there any places/routes you would recommend to run while in Brisbane?
Probably the Bicentennial Bikeway as it's a classic Brisbane run. Or head to Mount Coot-tha for a really neat urban trail experience. If you don’t mind traveling, then you might want to check out South Boundary Road for long rugged trails, or Gap Creek for awesome single tracks.
If you’re doing a more relaxed run, do you plan a route that’s more scenic?
Not really. I try to limit commutes to maximize recovery time during the day. So local options are always my preference. I also like to run easy days on grass, so I choose some of the larger parks in my area, specifically Teralba Park, which is made up of football fields and large open space with enormous trees, so it is quite pretty though.
Do you ever plan to end somewhere specific?
Not really because when I'm training I need to be focused on performance. So it's mostly in the off-season that I can take a more relaxed approach to training. But I’ve definitely put away a few breakfast burgers in my time after a long Sunday run.
What’s your perfect run? Is it the time, distance, or just a feeling?
For me, it’s probably more of a feeling. If my body feels good and not scuppered with fatigue, then generally it’s going to be a good run regardless. Maybe the perfect run would be to share good feelings at a solid pace, with a group of friends on some sweet trail. It would probably be somewhere from 90 minutes to two hours long.
Runner’s high? Yes or no?
Sure. But honestly I think when you’re pushing your body to the limit, it’s okay if you don’t enjoy every run. You know you still love running when you get up the next day to do it all over again.
Sometimes when training for extreme events like Ironman, runner’s high probably represents more a relief that the session is over, rather than euphoria from the run itself.
How would you describe the running culture in Brisbane?
It’s funny to answer this question, because as a pro I don’t ever need to run at 5am, so I wouldn’t know! I’m more a 7-8am roll out athlete, because I’m not having to rush out for work or anything afterwards.
Running is incredibly social here in Brisbane, and I think there’s training squads for any kind of running you want to do. Lately I’ve seen an incredible amount of women’s trail running groups, which I think is really cool.