An Brú's Niall Shanahan competing at the recent Bob Burke 4 Mile event where he claimed a top 10 finish in a time of 19:50
I HAD no idea that going for a 5K run one autumnal Saturday morning in a Manchester park almost five years ago would have such an impact on my life.
I knew nothing about the concept of parkrun. It has been, and continues to be, a revelation.
Although the name contains the word “run”, parkrun is so much more than that. People of all ages and abilities take part – running, walking, jogging, and volunteering. It’s not a race, but rather a free, weekly, timed, social 5K on a Saturday morning.
The social aspect is a key element of parkrun. Its inclusive policy means the atmosphere, no matter which event around the globe you attend, is welcoming and amiable.
Parkrun was set up because the founder, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, injured and unable to run, missed meeting his clubmates. He came up with the idea of a free 5K time trial in the local park with part of the plan being to go to a local café afterwards for a chat. That was in October 2004.
Nearly 16 years later, Paul’s concept is currently replicated at over 1,800 events worldwide across 22 countries every Saturday morning.
Participants simply register, print their barcode, and bring it along each week. Results arrive via email a couple of hours after the event, along with a breakdown of the participant’s parkrun history.
Limerick hosts 4 parkrun events each weekend: Limerick parkrun (on the UL campus), Mungret parkrun, and Newcastle West parkrun (in the demense) take place on Saturday at 9:30am while Shelbourne junior parkrun, a 2K event for 4-14 year olds, takes place on Sunday 9:30am.
Every event has a core team of volunteers who take charge each week, assisted by parkrunners taking turns to volunteer for roles such as timekeeping, marshalling etc. every few weeks.
Since times are recorded and progress can be tracked, some people like to push themselves to run fast while others like to take it easy. Some people bring dogs, and some push buggies.
Occasionally, people who may have felt uncomfortable taking part in formal exercise come along with a friend or relative.
It is heartening to see these people become enthusiastic members of the parkrun community.
Additionally, some parkrunners who discover a passion for running may find themselves joining a local athletics club.
People get to know one another as the weeks go on, and – from personal experience - can develop skills from volunteering as there is a wide variety of roles involving public speaking, writing, vision-impaired guiding, photography etc. Going for a cup of tea or coffee once everybody has completed the 5K is a thoroughly enjoyable part of parkrun.
It’s an opportunity to both make and meet friends, and exchange stories.
Unfortunately, all parkrun events are currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic (except in New Zealand).
However, we look forward to welcoming you to a parkrun in Limerick once we resume. For more information about parkrun, visit https://www.parkrun.ie
*With thanks to Shona O’Flynn for this piece
Dublin Graded League Tallaght
A FEW Limerick athletes travelled to the capital for this track based event and performed well. All competed at 800m.
An Brú’s Mark Carmody competed at A2 grade and was 8th in 2:00.22. A time of 2:07.40 was enough for Dooneen’s Shane O’Sullivan to come 7th at B1 while Keith Daly of Limerick AC was 12th in 2:16.42 at C1.
IMRA Munster’s Ballyhoura Peak Challenge
RESPECTIVE winners were Ian Bailey (3:20) and Nicola Soraghan (4:16) in the marathon,
Barry McEvoy (1:39) and Íde Kelleher (2:08) in the Half while Barry Hartnett (45:23) and Kealey Tideswell (55:10) were first in the 10k.
THE UL Track Challenge is being held this Friday night the 14th August. Starting at 7pm it features 200, 400, 800 and 3000m. For more information contact Joe Chawke on (087)7533526 or Henry Kiely on (085)1742122.