A great reflection of what is now our regular Saturday morning run as told by Don Griffin, Patron.
Mt Gravatt hill is situated in the ancient Toohey Forrest which covers 650 hectares (1606 acres). For 20,000 years the Jagara Aboriginal Tribe called the forest the place of the echidna (Kaggar-mabul). They occupied the area south of the Brisbane River with the Yerongpan Clan living along Oxley Creek. In 1824 it is estimated approximately 5000 individuals lived in the area. Two kilometres of winding road through heavily wooded bushland leads to a kiosk built on the summit of Mt Gravatt hill in 2003 overlooking Brisbane City, Mt Coot-tha, the Glass House Mountains and Moreton Bay.
Runners and walkers are the temporary custodians of this historical place so what we say and do matters as the trees are listening. Grasstrees produce glue and adorn Toohey Forrest in their thousands; one is estimated to be 370 years old with estimated growth rate of 8 mm a year. Some grasstrees you run past have existed before Captain Cook arrived so are a natural capsule of time. Members come and go while Toohey Forest continues to provide a wonderful unique atmosphere in the middle of suburbia that revives life.
The historical foundation of the club is the 6.00 am Saturday morning run/walk. Rain, hail or shine a group of committed runners assemble in the QE2 car park to greet and support each other with a passion for running/walking and respect for a healthy life. Runners and walkers make use of the numerous trails and cast their minds back to the history of this unique area. It is easy to soak up the peace and tranquility of the trail runs and let your mind relax from other stresses in your life. River City Runners continues to grow by referrals as the experience is authentic and so accessible to anyone who lives on the southside of Brisbane.
Runners like the freedom to run where they want and when they want, free from the pressures of life. Toohey Forrest provides 1600 acres of freedom. No expectations on time or distance. Sometimes you may choose to run on your own and sometimes with a group for a chat. At the commencement of a run a negative attitude is often transformed to a positive attitude by the endorphin hit from achieving the summit which is the goal of our traditional Saturday morning run.
Sometimes life does not turn out how we expect when we have competing interests and the need to share time between partners, children, work, extended family etc. Life is complex. The tradition is that when runners started the decent 30 years ago from the Lookout they would sing “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a wonderful day, I have a wonderful feeling, everything is going my way”. Then followed the song be a high jump in the air and click of the heels. Watching this, new runners would wonder “Am I in the right group?”. Remember one large tree produces enough oxygen annually to provide for a family of four. More oxygen to the brain revives the soul and nurtures a positive disposition of kindness and calmness to enhance your lifestyle, companionship and delay aging. Many lives have been transformed for the better by our Toohey Forrest Lookout run and a simple joyful song.
Reaching the Mount Gravatt Outlook gives a positive cathartic experience drawn from the sweet eucalypt smell and stunning views over the Brisbane River. Your zest for life is recharged when you run through Toohey Forest and breath deep the fresh oxygen created for generations of runners by the flora. Let us hope RCR members continue to enjoy the space for generations to come and share the joy.