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Published October 29th 2014
Exercise time at this former horse racing track
Top exercise activities in Victoria Park
Victoria Park, which for the better part of the last century was the city based home of horse racing, stables and associated by-products, is now entering a new chapter in its life as Adelaide's home to exercise. Victoria Park, known also as Pakapakanthi or Adelaide Parklands (16) has been redeveloped in its entirety and now forms a strategic part of Adelaide's parklands.
The grandstand remains the iconic centrepiece of Victoria Park standing proud in the NorthEastern corner. With plans afoot to build a café and a gym in and around the grandstand, this will further cement the venue as the exercise centre of Adelaide. To assist this effort, here is a list of the top things to do in Victoria Park.
The sweat circuit commences on the western side of Victoria Park. The circuit includes eight exercise points, which when completed with gusto will ensure a sweat occurs. In the early mornings, the sweat course is visited by some of the 'boot camps' with the Personal Trainer putting their troops through a high intensity cardio workout.
With exercises such as bar dips, sit ups, pull ups and step ups, there is enough variety for everyone. The number of repetitions and the intensity is your choice, and it won't take too much effort to work up a sweat.
Around the southern end of the former racecourse are 5 stations of exercise equipment. At each station, there are 4 to 5 pieces of equipment which have been cleverly constructed from weather resistant steel and plastic, and designed to withstand weather and other undesirable elements.
Equipment includes sit up benches, lateral presses, bicep pulls, stepping machines and other equipment to strengthen the core. A complete lap of the 1.5km racecourse coupled with different exercises at each exercise stations can create the ideal interval based workout.
The historic Victoria Park grandstand remains in place and overlooks the whole Victoria Park from the northeast corner. The grandstand, largely unused at the moment apart from during sporting events, is currently the home to a number of Personal Trainers and their students.
At sunrise on most mornings some small groups gather around the grandstand for their pre-work exercise boost. Whether they are doing burpees on the grassed area, or running up and down the stairs of the grandstand, a clever workout is sure to be achieved.
Victoria Park is of course home to the annual car race in March. That race requires the laying and maintenance of some smooth bitumen for a period of 4 to 5 days of motor racing. So rather than leave the bitumen unused for the remainder of the year, Cycling SA has formed an outdoor (and off main roads) criterium track.
Races are regularly scheduled from July to January with details on the Cycling SA website. However, on other days, there are often gaggles of cyclists who use the criterium track as either their pre or post work exercise track, or else in training for the criterium races.
Each November the Adelaide International Three Day Event takes over part of Victoria Park with a series of events combing horses and obstacles. With a variety of barriers, these create a great test for horses and jockeys.
Some of the jumping obstacles remain all year round, while others are placed in the weeks leading up to the Three Day Event. The sight of people trying to jump or scramble over some of these obstacles was interesting until it was pointed out that these obstacles resemble many that are in some of the well publicised obstacle events such as True Grit and Tough Mudder. Note that some of the obstacles have a "keep off" sign on them, primarily for safety reasons.
Walk & Run
And finally, what would a large exercise park be without room for runners and walkers. The multi-part surfaces of grass, gravel and bitumen provide runners with opportunities to train on their desired surface and to seek their personal bests in their training.
Walking is probably the most popular activity in Victoria Park, with the large open green areas being ideal for dogs to chase balls. The proximity of Victoria Park to the eastern suburbs and the City means many city based workers also walk to work through the Park without fear of traffic.