Run 150 27/05/2017

A tale of 2 parkrun reports! Yes we have 2 reports today, a treat for our 150th parkrun. The common denominator is Granny, aka Finola, aka Run Director this week,  so make sure you read both. Both reports are written by ladies whose names begin with N, end with E and have L somewhere in between.. I was told Natalie was doing it ,but messaged Noelette to e mail finished product to me, had a little to and fro with her, "I'm not doing it" she said.. so I told her John said she volunteered, "nice try" she said. This went on for a spell until eventually she agreed to do it and would mail e when done. Later i got e mail from Natalie with her report done, only then did i realise my error, i mixed up the names in my head when John messaged me,(i do worry sometimes). So hence why we have 2!! As its Sunday grab a drink, sit out in the sun and enjoy both!!

REPORT NO 1 written by Natalie

We chose a great day for Bere Island Park Run 150! Probably the sunniest Park Run of the year so far reminded us that the seasons are changing and summer is bringing a new brightness and warmth. We were missing a couple of mainland regulars, lost for this week only to the Ring of Beara Cycle, but we had a few more visitors than usual, bringing our total number to 50 humans and two canine accomplices. 

Similarly, it was a great day for first timers and new achievements. First overall was Vincent Crocker, a first timer at Bere Island and second overall and first lady was Ciara Brady in 21.11 which is a new Bere Island record in her age category 20-24. Well done Ciara on your special achievement and good luck chasing down those nine park runs to get to your century! In third place was the first junior - Kevin Sullivan- who also got an impressive PB, only a week after injuring his ankle by straying too close to side of the route! A great recovery and return to form!
Other first timers were Fionnan O’Sullivan, Caitriona Hurley, Orla Brady (possibly mother to the flying Ciara!), Eileen Hurley and Gemma Mulcrone. Gemma is a friend of mine visiting from England, and I thank her, along with three others Mat, Fiona and Andrew, who came to share this Park Run with us. They thoroughly approved of the tea, served so ably by The Bakehouse, and although Gemma mistakenly added almost a kilometre to her run, it didn’t affect her enjoyment of the event and the fact
Proceedings were expertly overseen by the most glamorous first-time Run Director yet, who began the run briefing with a ceremonial “French kiss” bestowed by Proinnsias who, coincidentally, got a PB, along with Batt O’Donnell.
One other “first timer” to mention … Rover the 15 week old puppy, who is the newest addition to the family Walsh. He did get a little tired just at the end and was carried the last 50 metres by a protective, and characteristically speedy, Aoife.
Towards the back of the field some plotting was in prospect and plans were being discussed for the “Music into Silence” festival.  John Walsh is hoping to hear from musical park runners who would like to share their talents as part of another pioneering project. Speak to John if you can play music, or can talk about music.
Happy 150th Bere Island Park Run! Already looking forward to next week!

REPORT NO 2 written by Noelette

The foreboding weather reports (Yellow Warning in Operation!) that promised storms and flash flooding proved yet again that Bere Island is a world of it’s own... The sun shone, the breeze was refreshing at all the right places and the locals were salty!
As proof that vintage wine just gets better with middle-age, Run Director for today, Finola, aka Glamorous ‘Granny' stepped into that high pressure job with great aplomb and was clearly born for the role.  After an exercise in masterful crowd wrangling to get the 50 participants to the starting line (two buses appeared!) with admirable punctuality, her Welcome and Safety Speech hit all the right notes with a mixture of humour and gravitas; after greeting the home crowd and the mainland visitors, - that included some from Dublin as well as further afield from the UK- , she whipped through the key safety points and outlined the course before acknowledging the great generosity of the volunteers, as well as Colum H. for the ferry / bus special and Edel and family for the Bakehouse post-run refreshments, not a step out of place throughout.  Regular Run Director Dominic even got a mention and she raised much expectation with news that his speech next week will be in French given his sojourn abroad for the past few weeks – Mon Dieu! great anticipation now for next week!  So the show ran like clockwork (we won’t mention the solitary runner who went astray on course ….(despite Brendan calling after her) (no, we won’t mention it nor that she has ear phones in, so had to double back on the course – no, not a word!)))  Rumour has it that Granny’s dulcet tones of authority could be heard in the West end!   She even got a round of applause, post-run back in the Bakehouse, an approbation that’s hard to win with this tough crowd !
And now on with the show – plenty of first timers with eight registered and no-less than eleven mystery runners…(a new record?)  Two of those first timers Vincent Croker and Ciara Brady pipped local regular Kevin Sullivan at the post  (who nevertheless managed a PB of 21.16  in new shoes!), Vincent and Ciara had  impressive times of 20.39 and 21.11 respectively.  Prionnsias O Keefe and Batt O Donnell also totted up new PB's and new pup ‘Rover' managed a first ever park run though perhaps less of a run, more being being carried, over the finish line by Junior regular, Aoife Walsh.
Volunteers as always deserve a namecheck, so alongside Her Eminence "Run Director Who Shall be Obeyed" Finola, were her trusted team, this week composed of Eugene Glendon, Sylvia Glendon, Brendan Murphy (ahem, who managed to remember the banner at the wailing wall this time…sacré bleu!,  not a word to Dominic now…despite his checklist)  Carol Murphy, Ultan Murphy, Ted Sullivan, John Rowland, Joanne Sullivan, Sean Sullivan, Natalie Treacher,  Sheila Walsh and John Walsh.  As ever thank you all, and see you next time round….
à bientôt  !!

Run 149 20/05/2017

Run 149 saw a 100th celebration, a 5th new run Director, defence forces in attendance  and a touch of "Animal Farm". It was very hard earlier in the morning to imagine having a nice run, the rain was bucketing down, but low and behold, the parkrun weather fairies were looking down on us, they cleared the clouds, sent the rain packing and brought out the sun. And it was warm, there was heat in the sun today, but as per most weeks, we got a welcoming breeze around the army camp.

Animal farm you might be wondering? Our lovely new Run Director Noelette had her four legged friend helping her this morning, wearing a high vis vest no less. Brendan's cattle were watching events over the gate, more, including the bull were checking things out over the ditches along the way. His ducks and hens were lazing in the field and you could smell his pigs going up the last little hill. All we were missing were cats, although on thinking about it we pass them in the village too. Noelette did a great job as run director,and with her crew of volunteers our weekly run ran without a glitch. We always have a full quota, albeit some leave it to the last minute to come forward, and its great to see some new volunteers getting involved. Thank you all for your time week after week! Noelette has a fine strong(loud) voice that carried over the crowd. Our regular director Dominic had her warned not to forget the health and safety, so he was with us without being there! She welcomed visitors which included members of the defence force who are down from Collins' barracks for the weekend on a training camp. Its great to have them join us for our parkrun when they are here. She congratulated Brendan Murphy on running his 100th (unless he was to fall) and also congratulated those who took part in the Bay Run(10k and Half Marathon) last weekend. She had the whole operation running smoothly, well nearly, slight problem with the showers but with Brendan's help got them sorted. Well done Noelette, well look forward to having you in charge again. We'll have another new run Director next week, whom I have no doubt will be colorful and interesting. A piece of cake he/she thinks. Come along to see who it is!

So some more celebrations again today, which meant more cake! Congratulations to Brendan Murphy on completing his 100th run this morning(without falling). He is the 8th member of Bere Island regulars/locals to achieve this milestone, and has joined John in trying to out do the women although that could be a while yet as there are now 2 men to 6 women in the 100 club. Brendan waited until our 7th on 11th October 2014 run to start his parkrun addiction, and did so in 28.42. He maintained a steady pace through the next few months and by Feb 2015 had his time down to 25.16. From then until now he has kept his results between the those two impressive times. He is due a pb so perhaps we should encourage him in the coming weeks. He did let some of us into his little secret, not only for his success on the timing front but also in his battle against weak knees and dodgy hips. Im not sure if i should let ye all in on his secret! AHH sure why not, apparently he uses something called "winter green", but he adds a secret ingredient to it, I'm not going to tell ye that, ye can ask him if ye want but he may not share his remedies with everyone though! Brendan is also responsible for the setting up of the parkrun every morning, he puts the cones out and gets the finish tunnel ready on his way to check his animals in the shed(more animals), he has volunteered on numerous occasions and even took on the role of Run Director last weekend. A man of many talents(master of none so the saying ends). Brendan got the usual balloons post run and got extra special cake from his wife Edel. On a disappointing note, he did say how no one(apart from Annie) helped him in his bakehouse duties after the run like they did Edel when she ran her 100th. He was surrounded with washing up to do, every cup and plate must have been used today. Joanne and Eugene you're in trouble next week. He reckons there is favoritism there, even with the aprons! Anyway, well done Brendan, Congratulations on completing your 100th run injury free, welcome to the 100 club. Another massive achievement for our little parkrun.

Well done to our regular parkrunners who ventured to Bantry to take part in their annual Bay run last Sunday. Carol Hurley completed the 10k which ran from Comhola to Bantry. This was Carols first proper run following injury. Frank Hanley, John Elphick, Ann Marie Harrington and Claire Elphick ran the half marathon from Glengarriff to Bantry via Pearsons Bridge. While Frank and John are regular marathon and half marathon runners this was a first for Ann Marie and Claire. Well done to you all, No doubt Bere Island Parkrun had something to do with the decision to take part and the times ye finished in. Congrats again!

Thank you Colum and Bere Island ferries for taking care of our regulars from the mainland, and thanks to Edel and cheerful helpers for refueling our engines post run. Brendans cake was an extra treat today. The Bakehouse was full of people, noise and banter. Brendan was presented with his customary 100th card by Noelette and his cake by his wife Edel and more photos taken!

A reminder the Bere Island Midsummer run will be coming up on July 8th, all monies raised will help the running of the GAA club which we use every sat morning for our parkrun. So if you're free that afternoon why not register to do either the 5 k or be brave and do the 10k(an extra loop around)

I better not forget the most important part of today! We had 45 participants, 1 buggy, and the only dog was assistant run director this morning. First finisher was John Mc Cann home in 21.42, he was followed just under a minute later by Colin Gleeson home in 22.40, hot on his heels less than a minute later was first lady, Joanne Sullivan, home in 23.38. Well done to all. Not only was John Mccann first finisher but he was also the only runner today to record a new pb. Congratulations to you John! We had a lot of unregistered participants, that may or may not have been with us before but we had 5 registered first timers. well done and welcome to Dathi, Kieran, Sinead, Patrick, and Peter, hopefull we'll see ye all again soon. Tail runner today was Steve O Donovan.

Another week gone by quickly and another week ahead before we gather to do it all again!


Run 148 13/05/2017

It was wet and wild on the ferry this morning as a handful of hardy runners joined the Bere Island faithful on the start line. Limbering up in the drizzle were 18 human participants and one decidedly soggy dog.
Despite the desperate weather and some significant absences, we were in good spirits. Many of our fantastic, fast young people had other sporting commitments on Sherkin Island but there was still a buoyant feel to proceedings. Being temporarily without Dominic’s experience as Race Director, all the volunteers rallied round Brendan Murphy, who did a sterling job at this first attempt. We think he had the hang of it by the end!
Joining us, albeit in the nick of time, on the start line were Kieran Henry and Noreen Cronin from Cork. They aren’t registered for parkrun, so this was their very first experience and we are pleased they chose Bere Island as the venue for their first crack. Welcome to the parkrun family, hopefully you’ll give it another go.
After an attempted “false start” – the perpetrator of this infraction blamed “the dog”- we were off into the airless, muggy damp. As is so often the case, however, the clouds lifted and the light – I’ll not say sun- strained at the horizon to illuminate the beautiful views of a calm, bright sea.
In far from easy conditions some secret spring training came into evidence and Barry Duggan smashed his Bere Island PB by almost 40 seconds in 22.44. Barry came in second behind the flying Dr. Gleeson only a few seconds off his own PB in 22.14. Third across the line and first lady was Joanne Sullivan, also on top form, in 23.10.
In the welcome shelter of the Bake House we celebrated the birthday of a certain galloping granny. She wasn’t for revealing her age, but apparently isn’t too old for revealing her impressive “all over” tan. I’ll say no more!
Thanks to all the volunteers who came out in the wet to support the event – as well as those who were happy enough to stay in the dry and scan barcodes! Good luck to those involved in sporting events tomorrow including Taekwondo “grading” and the Bay Run. See you for another spin next week


Run 147 06/05/2017

Today 15 participants – 17 including our four-legged friends, gathered together for another bumpy ride with beautiful views. We were so few in number due to the great level of participation by parkrun regulars in the Darkness Into Light 5K that took place in Castletownbere at 3.45 this morning!
We believe that the only sentient soul keen to do both events was Nessa – who apparently could not be fooled into missing a parkrun day even having clipped round a 5K only a few hours earlier! Nonetheless, keen or not, many of the runners/walkers and volunteers had enough staying power to attend both events. Fair play to everyone who managed that feat! You were a vibrant addition in your yellow t-shirts, and we all knew it was a special day.
Today the first man and the first woman home were visitors. Jt Ryan of Limerick successfully navigated his way to first place in a mere 21.16, and Sian Egerton made it home not far behind him in a very respectable 24.06 – despite being hindered all the way by her canine accomplice, who was understandably distracted by the beautiful Bere Island countryside! We were also pleased to welcome Joe “The Pirate” Ellis and his wife Sylvia Ellis , doing a parkrun tour as part of their five-week holiday in Ireland. Joe chose Bere Island as the location for his 239th parkrun. Good luck, Joe, in chasing down your big 250, from all at Bere Island, Thank you for including us in your journey. Of over 500,000 park runners worldwide only 1312 (0.26%) have joined the 250 club. Quite a celebration to come!
The parkrun was an important event today. It was great to have more visitors, and introduce them to the island. But it was just as important to run or walk in solidarity with those who have experienced being bereaved by suicide. Our community has been saddened by the losses of young and older people to suicide and it is right that we stand with and comfort their families and friends and that we take some strength and learning from the pain of their loss. Well done to all who participated in either or both events.
As someone who has worked in mental health for 15 years, I can only say that I know suicide to be an expression of overwhelming personal pain. We can’t always know where that pain comes from and the best we can do is listen to, comfort and just be alongside those left behind with a myriad of painful thoughts and feelings. I promise not to draw further external parallels, but the parkrun does on a weekly basis what the Darkness into Light event does each year. It brings the community together and reminds us there are others walking alongside. I, for one, look forward to doing it all again next week!


Run 146 29/04/2017

bere6It was fast, it was furious, competitors came from far and wide … and it wasn’t the Rally of the Lakes! Yes, it was of course the historic and long-anticipated Bere Island Park Run 146! 42 hardy humans, along with a couple of canine companions, toed the line as the grey clouds gathered above.

The fastest runner, on this occasion, was John Dollard - speeding home in 21.57 and just behind him was a battle of youth vs. experience for second and third places. Daniel Dollard (JM10) had to be on top form and achieve a new PB to beat Dr. Gleeson who is in a somewhat more advanced age category! Interestingly, despite the age gap they are practically inseparable in terms of age grading - both achieving a commendable 74%. A great illustration of the Park Run spirit - the young and the not quite so young spurring each other on.

Joanne Sullivan was first woman home … moving steadily towards 200 victories, and PBs were also achieved by Oisin Murphy and Robbie Hilliard. Good work.


The race itself was drier than it might have been, with only a brief shower of rain. The clouds lifted and the beautiful, familiar vistas the route has to offer proudly displayed themselves on a day when there were, again, a number of visitors, seeing them for the first time. There were fewer of the regulars from the mainland, we had room to stretch on the bus, but we were also joined on the ferry by some friendly guests, dressed for the occasion and … as we understand it ... “on tour”. They were from Limerick Park Run having a weekend of travelling, drinking and running and we are pleased they chose to visit us here over a Bere Island, where the welcomes are as warm as the scones and the coffee! There was some discussion after the race as to whether Friday night was a drinking night - Joanne was clear that she saved any tippling she might indulge in for the Saturday night - to ensure a clear head for the Park Run … we are beginning to learn some of her secrets of success!!


First Timers to Bere Island were: Cyril Power and Ben Begley and there were also four people doing their very first Park Run: Stephen Renda, Alan O’Riordan, Mary Dollard (who we must assume is part of the running dynasty at the front of the field!) and Steve O’Donovan, who has volunteered a number of times but was out today as the Tail Runner. Welcome to Park Run - we hope this is the first of many!

The final official achievement to note was young Michael Orpen making it to the milestone of 10 Park Run finishes! Well done Michael, we hope you had a slice of cake to celebrate! The reason I said “official” achievement is because there were achievements in evidence that aren’t captured in Park Run statistics. Well done to everyone who came out on this blustery day and did themselves proud - runners, walkers and volunteers.

Last weekend I had the privilege of participating in the London Marathon and there is a great two-part documentary you may want to watch called Mind Over Marathon, presented by Nick Knowles on BBC (also on Youtube) that captures the preparation 10 exceptional individuals go through just to get to the start line. Thinking about writing the report for today, I was reminded of that documentary and how this running/walking sport of ours is a metaphor for life - whatever comes our way, we must keep moving forward. Everyone follows their own journey, in pursuit of their own goals but we move along together. Bere Island Park Run and all its participants epitomise that spirit every bit as much as the London Marathon, and I am grateful to be a part of it. Great thanks to all volunteers today who make this peerless community event possible- and we wish a speedy recovery to Claire Elphick who, despite her foot injury, made the choppy ferry crossing from the mainland to volunteer.

Natalie Treacher



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