I was excited to travel to Limerick for a hen party this weekend. The opportunity to catch up with some friends, but also the chance to run at a new parkrun, my 25th different venue.
I set off from home in the dark, popped The Boat House University of Limerick in the sat Nov, and made the 90minute journey. I arrived early, 9am to find ample free parking and toilets available in the sports hall.
I was greeted by a friendly bunch of volunteers setting up the course, including Event Director and parkrun Ambassador Shona NÍ FHLOINN. The course was explained as one small lap, followed by three bigger laps. There was also mention of a hill. Not a welcome word on a four lap course!!
The day was warmer than expected, and I regretted my base layer under my shirt. More experienced runners of Limerick made use of the tarp left by the start area and discarded hoodies and jackets after lap one.
It may not have been as cold, but the parkrun weather fairies could only hold back the rain for so long. The two cheery marshalls provided a breath of fresh air on an otherwise dreary morning.
The layout of the course meant we passed each marshal a number of times, something I always think is lovely, as you get to make little jokes each time you see them.
There was so much going on, even for 9.30am on a Saturday morning. The rowing club were preparing for a competition and The All Ireland Scholarship Awards Ceremony was being held on campus. Had I know Joe Schmidt was in attendance I might have tried to blag my way in. The Limerick Hurling Academy were in full swing, training at the pavilion where we had coffee and toast afterwards. It really is a beautiful facility to be available to runners.
I noticed different features as we looped along the river and through the trees. Old cottages still lived in, were a charming contrast to the imposing modern architecture of the bridge across the river Shannon. The students' accommodation was also an interesting blend of concrete and wood finished structures.
There were two narrow sections where kissing gates once stood that were the only tricky bits to navigate. It's for this reason I don't think Limerick is a buggy friendly course. Least not for the double or large wheeled running buggies I'm used to using.
The course is otherwise very easy to run on, a combination of concrete and easy trail, with some twists and turns and up and down bridges. I only really noticed the aforementioned hill on lap 4 as the legs began to tire.
I was astonished to be over taken on lap 2 by the font runner. He was flying, and there was a whisper of a new course record as he crossed the line, but he didn't scan his barcode so there was no official time recorded. And unfortunately that's the rule, no barcode, no result, no exception!
The rest of the front runners over took on lap 3, and it's a great sight to see people run so beautifully.
And now for my favourite part, being the stats geek that I am.
119 people congregated at Limerick parkrun for event #198
The runners were mostly male with a M:F split of almost 3:2
10 people were new to the course, of which 6 were new to parkrun including Conor CROWLEY (25:38) who I spoke to at the start (welcome to your new obsession!!)
An amazing 20 people recorded PBs, including Joanne WHITFIELD (32:47), Sharon LUCEY (26:32), Gerard MC MAHON (31:21) and Mike GRIFFIN (20:50)
The first recorded men home were
Martin PHILLIPS (19:04), followed by two JM runners, Thomas MCCARTHY (19:13) and Filip PIOTROWSKI (20:13)
The ladies were lead by ED Shona NÍ FHLOINN (20:17), followed by Caroline KELLY (21:12) for her first run at Limerick. The top 3 ladies was rounded off by Antoinette COLEMAN (21:56)
I always love seeing how many children take part in parkrun, and this week was no different. The 14 Juniors were great!
There were no milestones, or age category records this week.
The oldest runner on the course was VM75-79 David TOCHER (32:30) and the most experienced runner was Liam KIELY (24:33) with 154 runs to his name.
Unfortunately 13 people registered as unknown, #DFYB
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone I met on Saturday morning. You are a credit to your community and the parkrun family. I'm already looking forward to my next visit.
A very special mention has to go to my parkrunner of the week Adrian PIOTROWSKI (25:18) who bravely retrieved handfuls of tokens from a yucky, mucky drain after a little post run accident saw them spill, not only on the ground but down a shore.
Thanks to the hi-vis heroes who's efforts made the event possible.
Alison FLYNN • Ellen O' CONNOR • Ger BUCKLEY • Irene LANE • Kevin VAN SCHELT • Mark FELLNER • Orla MULDOON • Thomas COLLINS