I was very excited to join Father Collins for their #206 running on Saturday morning. Not least because I had Wonky Bear with me on his Irish Travels. I swear I'm not just a mad woman with a bear but I'll come back to that. But also because I'd read a lot about Father Collins park, and the awards it has won for being Ireland's first wholy sustainable park. That was enough to make me want to run there, but the added draw of the skate park and two additional children's playgrounds sold it to the family.
When I arrived I couldn't find the start, camouflaged in the middle of the park behind the tall Bamboo, but a very friendly runner recognised my plush toy companion and asked if I was there for parkrun and pointed me on my way.
My running buddy was none other than Wonky Bear. An unofficial parkrun mascot, fashioned from old Event Director Hi-Vis and synonymous with parkrun tourism. A few people recognised him, a few more had questions about my sanity. If you get a chance, check him out on Facebook and follow his journey.
I received such a warm welcome I felt at home. That's the wonderful thing about parkrun, especially smaller events (87 people this week), there is a genuine interest in eachother and a want to be inclusive and friendly.
Quite a lot of people arrived early and where so happy chatting away and laughing that the run brief almost came as a surprise. Oh yes, we were there to run after all. After a few formalities and a description of the course (a big loop and little loop of the park, twice) we were off.
The course is entirely flat and on concrete, with some twists and turns. The paths are lined with Bamboo that not only shade and protect from wind but provide protection from noise pollution from the nearby roads. For such an urban space, there was a surprising sense of stillness and tranquility. There was swans and ducks, as well as birds and dragon flies. The rows of hedges also meant that around each turn was a surprise. There were sports pitches, duck ponds, a skate park, two playgrounds and excercise equipment all under the gaze of 5 windturbines. The sound of which can be a bit jarring as you run right under them and see the shadow of their blades cross the path.
It was a perfect morning for running, as shown by the 11 people who achieved PBs. There were men and women of all ages and abilities, an almost 50:50 split. 45 men and 42 women, something I love to see, as there is a common misconception that this is a man's game. There were dogs and babies in buggies, as well as some speedy junior runners.
Amongst the 13 first timers, were tourists from the UK, including Anne JOHNS (32:49) who brought her sister Nora FOX (37:15) along to, what is sure to be, her first of many parkruns.
Ultra Irish parkrun tourist Bairbre HICKEY (29:56) who has ran at every parkrun in Ireland accompanied her husband Bertie HICKEY (30:05) on his final 3 event count down to reach the same accomplishment.
I dragged my husband out of bed to run, he was none to impressed, as he along with 10 others forgot their barcode!! And thems the rules, #DFYB as no barcode no result!!
The top three finishers came in within 8 seconds of eachother! I don't know if they were chasing or pacing eachother, but an impressive run eitherway.
First home was Mel RODDY with a PB time (19:27), breathing down his neck was Sean LOOBY (19:29) and hot on his heals was Daniel KEEGAN (19:35), a serious time for a JM runner.
The other 3 Juniors who scanned also did well, Niall BRUNICARDI ran his own PB (26:30), Christina COULTER REILLY (28:10) and first timer Sam HENDRICK (43:51)
The first lady home was Carmel WARD (22:03), followed by Aileen HOOPER (23:07) and Carla MORAN (23:43) rounded off the top 3 ladies.
There were no course records set, or milestones this week, however Michael P CLANCY (30:04) ran his 99th parkrun, perhaps there'll be cake next week as he celebrates 100
The most experienced participant was Lukasz HARENCZYK (24:23) with 190 runs to his name.
Thank you for a wonderful run,
A huge thank you to the wonderful volunteers, without whom the event just couldn't happen.
Adrian SKEHILL • Alan FOLEY • Anton SWEENEY • Derek CLARKE • Finn SKEHILL • Guus LEEUW • James MORAN • Maurice O'CONNELL • Nadia LOCHOWSKA • P WORTHINGTON • Raul PORTALES • Sharon CANAVAN • Sonja COULTER • Witek LOCHOWSKI