Run 210 14/07/18

As I sit here to write this, the parkrun of this morning seems like a long time ago. In the meantime I’ve run another two parkrun circuits to complete the Midsummer Run. England lost to Belgium … again (No need to jump in the pool again, Jacinta!), Kerber beat Williams to become Wimbledon Champion, Djokovic beat Nadal … and the luck of the Irish deserted Dan Martin who was involved in a crash on Bastille Day in the Tour de France. A day is a long time in sport.

It was a great turn out for both events on Bere Island, with 106 people toeing the line to hear the important information about keeping small children within arms reach, following the arrows and avoiding the pot holes, which were fewer, but still worth noting. It was also noted that only one dog (on a lead) is allowed, per person, (which led to some sotto-voce comments re: teams of huskies definitely being unfair!). Thank you to the volunteers, including visiting Tail Walker, Marie of “Forget the Gym” and to fair play to all those doing the Midsummer Run later.

At any rate, we were soon underway. Now I want to briefly come back to this notion of “unfair” - don’t worry Noelette, Nessa is in the clear! On the results, it does imply that two JM10 athletes achieved mind blowing PBs. However - the game is up lads - let’s just say a little bird told us you took the short cuts and got a head start! We’ll put the Ireland Athletics call up on hold for now! Still, even without these cheeky tear aways, we had eight great PBs on this cloudy and cooler day. Kevin Gleeson was on flying form and scored his own PB finishing first in 21:14, Joanne Sullivan was first female finisher in 24.37. No milestones this week, but a certain young man is very close to his 50th, clocking up no.49 this week with every single one at Bere Island. A very deserved celebration in prospect.

It was delightful to greet a great gang of first timers 14 officially recorded, and surely many of the “Unknown” athletes. Do register on the parkrun website and come out again to join the fun. It was also great to welcome so many wonderful walkers! parkrun have been campaigning to communicate that they are proud that average completion times are going down - meaning walkers are more and more commonplace on parkrun circuits. The message is clear: Strolling is super! Be proud of your perambulation! Because, despite its name, parkrun is about the fresh air, the view, the scones and the chat. As the parkrun founder has often said, “It was never about the run”, by which he means, he thought he was organising a run, but he was really organising a meet up, and a way to stay in touch. It all seems to be very in-keeping with the philosophy of our visitors the “Running Chicks” from Forget the Gym, who like to travel and always train together, outside, whatever the weather. You can find out more about them here. for visiting ladies, we hope to see you again.

Thanks also, as always, must go to our volunteers, with and without hi viz, veterans and visitors, the very busy Bakehouse and Bere Island Ferries. Without your weekly support we simply wouldn’t have a parkrun - let alone one attracting 100s of people in high season.

Finally, on this day of sporting achievement,  I should note one of our very own regular “running chicks” Claire Elphick who completed the 100k Wild Atlantic Mizen Cycle and talented Park Run regulars Oisin and Billy Murphy took podium positions in the 5k an 10k Midsummer Runs respectively. I don’t know how we’ll top all this next week - but I’m sure we’ll try!





Run 209 07/07/2018

So in nearly our 4 years running we've all heard things/comments about Bere Isalnd parkrun, but the comment I heard this morning takes the biscuit. A certain "young" lady, who while moving her granddaughters along the start line to the left hand side, likened us to a herd of cattle going to our stalls. For those who might need an explanation, way back in the days before these big fancy slatted units came into being, the cattle used to be put into the cowshed by night and left out during the day. Each cow had their own stall which they would trot into every evening without fail, and never into the wrong stall.  She,(granny) has her spot on the start line and no one else dare stand in it. But if you were to look over all the start line photos, she's not the only one. Most regulars seem to be like the cattle of days gone by and go to the same spot/stall week after week. Think about that next week, are you an old fashioned cow or a new age parkrunner, do you need to start at the same spot, do you need to run on the same side of the road? If the answer is yes you might consider needing some help;) Lets see who cane shake it up next week.

So down to business, on what was a little shock to the system, 66 gathered at the GAA Clubhouse, in dull, grey, cooler conditions. Do I need my sunglasses or not, do I need my hat or not, do I need my coat or not? These were a sample of the mutterings that could be heard. The sun of the last few week remained hidden behind the cloud throughout the run, there was a sprinkling of rain while we were making our way to the start line, but funnily enough no one was complaining about it like usual. It may have been a little reprieve from what we've become accustomed to, for all the good it did, bar keeping us cooler than the last few weeks during our weekly 5K.

First finisher today was visitor Bob Lawlor, who has come to run with us for the past 3 years while on holiday in the area. He finished in a very impressive time of 19.26, also scoring himself a new pb at Bere Island parkrun. On to first lady finisher, well my fingers will just type automatically as it was, for the 129th time, our very own Joanne, who romped home in 24.35. Out of 209 runs here she has ran 189 so only missed 20 in just under 4 years. Some going for some woman! Only 6 scored new pb's, Congratulations and well done to Bob, Kevin, Clodagh, Alison, Nessa and Ted. I will note though, that Aishling Crowley, a sister to Clodagh ran over the finish line in the exact same time as her last pb, 29.38, how many people would put money on that happening?. Next time you'll get it Aishling! We had no registered first timers taking part today. But we had 2 ladies down with us from Sports Ireland who kindly volunteered their services. They were joined by Claire Hurley of the Cork Sports Partnership, here for a meeting with different activity groups on the Island to get a grasp of how our approach to exercise has changed since to Sports hub. Nedless to say the got a fine grasp this morning with the turn out, and the fact its walkers as well as runners. Unfortunatly Claire was unable to stay but Gillian, rather nervously took on the role as timekeeper, I say nervous because our times were in her hands, but she breezed through it. Varada took on the responsibility of the barcode scanning, and had a handle on it lickety split(in no time). Thanks to Sports Ireland, and Cork Sports Partnership for the funding we have received for numerous fitness events, we are definitely a much fitter, more involved community as is very prevalent at Bere Island parkrun.

We had more celebrations today, Ultan Murphy, one of our super juniors ran his 50th parkrun with Mom and Dad struggling to keep up. He had to keep his brakes on so they could keep up with him. Ultan is a little diamond, Running his little legs off, and when he's not running he's volunteering. He has done nearly every role there is. He did his first run with Sonia O'Sullivan in Dec 2014 in 30.05 and has gradually got it down to 23.40. He was very happy and relaxed crossing the finish line where he finally got his hands on his well earned balloons. Unlike the rest of us(who got cake we just couldn't eat) Ultan was shown favouritism by having his choice of cake, and why shouldn't' he, with Mom Edel and Dad Brendan running the Bakehouse. Well done Ultan, here's to the next 50.

Well done to all who took part in the Wild Atlantic Way run last week in sweltering heat. We can only hope it will be cooler here for Bere Island GAA's annual Mid Summer Run, which is run around the same loop, and if youre feeling brave enough you can run around it twice for the 10k. Bere Island GAA have been very good to our parkrun, letting us use the facilities, heating in the winter, hot showers after the run, dry room to gather in on a wet day. So their run, which is a fundraiser for the club, is an ideal way for us to give back a little something back and say thanks for all their help, which I shall note includes having the loop marked out for their first run before parkrun started, and so when the idea of parkrun her came about half the work was done as the 5k loop was already marked. So why not walk the parkrun and run the Mid Summer Run or vice versa, or indeed if your feeling brave run both. Whatever you decide, try to support our clubs efforts, Details can be found on their facebook page. We'll look forward to seeing u there. BTW Each participant who registers will receive a lovely Active Islands t shirt.

A heartfelt thanks as always to our superb volunteers again this week, Run Director Dominic and his crew, Eugene, Gillian, Sylvia, Varada, Joanne, Ann Marie, carol, Sean, Olan, Brendan, Finola, Sheila and Tail Walker Ian with his girls. parkrun wouldn't happen with out the volunteers, all the runners in the world could be here but if we don't get the volunteers we just don't get to run. We've been very lucky for the last 4 years getting our roster full each week, but if you were to take a look through you would see a lot of the same names week after week. Gillian and Varada sailed through their roles this morning and so can you, get involved once in a while, don't let it to the same people every week, PLEASE. A little nudge, once you have volunteered 25 times you can claim your free t shirt. So why not give it a go.

Thank you to Bere Island Ferries for the ferry and the bus to ensure our mainlanders and visitors arrive to us safely. And to the staff in the Bakehouse for our refreshing and delicious post run treats.

Ill be watching next week to see who read this, I'll know ;) ;)



Run 208 30/06/2018

What a wonderful day for a Park Run! We are all fully appreciating this run of glorious weather and are in no way complaining at all about possibly the most splendid heatwave since – those with long memories have assured me – the legendary summer of ’83!

In this spirit, I will not complain about the lack of air and the sweltering heat, but rather praise the warmth of the welcome and the atmosphere of anticipation as Islanders get ready for the midsummer run in just a fortnight’s time.

I’ll keep it short and sweet – no honestly, because today I was fortunate enough to run twice on Beara – first at the Park Run, and shortly after at the CDA’s newly imagined Wild Atlantic Way 5 miler. So my mind is fairly sun-scrambled.

So – youth led the way and the Sullivan dynasty sprung into action with Kevin Sullivan finishing first in 20:55 and mum Joanne finishing as first female this week in 25:27.

This week we were 52 in number and we had 4 first timers and one scorching PB! Well done Patrick O’Sullivan! Welcome to Roger Green, Sean Horan, Paul Harrington and Jim Roche.

Roger, another native of East London/Essex (word has got out!) sped round in the heat and incredibly snatched the VM70-74 course record. As it goes, a couple of these were missed in all the excitement of last week and I feel it is my duty to enlighten you. Last week Laura Davison took the VW40-44 record to 20:38 – phew! And Sally Jeyes took the VW65-69 record to 28:40. Impressive.

Back, just briefly, to the glorious weather. As we chatted after then run there was talk of how we tend to remember those summer days from our childhood and look back with rose tinted (sun) glasses, forgetting the rain in the fog of time. Let’s take our lead from the young at the young at heart and appreciate what we have while it’s here ...

I’ll take my own advice and  appreciate the volunteers including our novice scanners Angela and Davy – closely supervised by Joanne- and other visitors and veterans who took on roles this week, also for the baking Bakehouse – scones alfresco today- and Bere Island Ferries.

As the highly unofficial voice of the CDA just for this tiny piece of the Internet, I know they were very grateful for the loan of the Bere Island GAA clock – accompanied by impeccable training from Run Director Dominic. A great example of the warm island/mainland relations! We look forward to a similar display in a fortnight’s time when the Midsummer Run has it’s moment, possibly literally, in the sun.


Bere Island parkrun #207 – “No Galloping”

If you've never been to Bere Island parkrun, then you're missing something very special. This was my fifth trip, so I knew what to expect. Or so I thought! It gets better every time.

I contacted Event Director John Walsh and asked him if I could write the Run Report again. "No problem, but keep it short and sweet, you tend to be a bit long-winded with your reports and we are very busy people down here on the Island."*

          * Of course, John Walsh didn't really say this!

So I'll keep it short and sweet and you can all get back to whatever you were doing.

This was the 207th Bere Island parkrun, and there were 83 runners, joggers, walkers and one wheeler! A team of 16 volunteers helped out.

Half of the field were experiencing Bere Island parkrun for the first time, including five who were doing their first ever parkrun. To the newcomers to parkrun I can tell you, it doesn't get much better than this!

There were visitors from near and far. They included not one but two groups from different parkruns in Leicester, and a big group from Tralee - our main reason for visiting this weekend was that my sister-in-law Máiréad was home from Canada and her number one priority was a trip to Bere Island!

There were four PB's today - including Jacinta Dennison who was doing her 100th parkrun.

The first finishers this week, unusually, were both visitors - Barry Storey from Marlay in a time of 19 minutes dead, and Laura Davison, one of the West End Girls a minute and a half later.

And everyone seemed to have a good time.

The End.

OK John, you can stop reading now.



I'm afraid I can't just leave it at that, because Bere Island is so much more than a 5K run, like many parkruns! It's an adventure, one which begins long before we see Dominic Hallahan at the start line, and doesn't finish until we are back "across the water", as Dominic would say. It's all about the people you meet along the way.

We met the unflappable Colum, captain of the ferry, who had arranged a fleet of coaches to transport us to and from the parkrun. We were in Colin Gleeson's bus, so entertainment was guaranteed all the way! In the blazing sunshine, it wasn't surprising that one of the buses overheated, but not to worry, John Walsh was on hand to pick up some of the stranded runners so everyone got to Rerrin safely!

And that's one of the unique things about Bere Island parkrun. It's the only parkrun in Ireland that doesn't start at 9:30, it starts... well... when everyone's ready!

While we waited for the last of the runners, we chatted to the two groups from Leicester. The West End Girls were brought over by local girl (well, Bantry!) Dee Harrington, the Ashby-de-la-Zouche group (the Ivanhoe Runners - Kevin, Andrew, Sally & Judith) felt that with 1000 parkruns between the four of them, well, it was time to sample the Holy Grail!

You might think that with a delay at the start, Dominic might rush through the safety briefing, but no, that wouldn't be Dominic! He started with a caution about running on an unfamiliar route: "I don't want any galloping today lads!" He warned against running on the grass in the middle of the road. He told us about the building site and about John Walsh's silage. And he took time out to wish a Happy Birthday to Tralee runner Sinéad Healy! As always, he thanked the team of native and visiting volunteers. And he congratulated Jacinta on reaching her 100 runs, becoming the latest Bere Island runner to earn the 100 T-shirt.

He welcome all the visitors, even those of us from Kerry (on Munster Final Day).

There was a special welcome for Jerry Forde, a legend in Irish running circles, who was undertaking his first ever parkrun in his wheelchair. Jerry has done well over 400 marathons, and you would think a 5K would be easy, but there's a few tough inclines on the lovely course that tested even his strength!

And then, just a few (?) minutes late, we were off. I was lucky to have as my companion the forementioned John Walsh. It's a great way to pass half an hour, and to take your mind off those hills, to have a knowledgeable local who can tell you about every house, every field, the rifle range, the fort and the barracks. I made the mistake of telling John I'd like to better my last time, and he didn't even break a sweat as we ran. He did most of the talking, thankfully. In fact, he even answered a few calls and I think maybe even sent a couple of e-mails en route! What a pacemaker.

The first time I did Bere Island, one of the many things that made me fall in love with the place was the sight of the table with drinking water set up at the 3 km mark, but it wasn't until today I discovered, thanks to John, that it was our friend Proinnsias (also a PB today!) O'Keeffe who provides that very thoughtful service! Thanks Proinnsias! Typical of the kindness of a Bere Islander.

The last 500m includes a climb up from the pier, and at the start of the hill John told me we were on target for my PB, so we did a sprint finish (yeah, right!) and took a minute off my time (still by a comfortable margin the slowest of the day's four PBs, but a PB is a PB, and thanks John!) I mentioned Jacinta already, it's a special feeling to get a personal best on your 100th run. Proinnsias took an amazing three minutes off his previous fastest time, and Claire O'Brien, visiting from Cork, shaved a minute off her time to record under 22 minutes (but then, she has youth on her side!)

There's always a welcome when you enter a parkrun Finish Funnel, but it's extra special down here, and there is water waiting when you finish. Even better, I met our old friends Edel and Brendan Murphy, and Edel took my order for breakfast and said she'd have it ready when I recovered!

Because Bere Island parkrun isn't finished at the Finish Funnel. Not by a long way. First, there's the Bakehouse. You have to go, because the bus won't leave until everyone is finished! And there's scones, Full Irish and Lemon Drizzle Cake for this of us who are using parkrun as part of a calorie-controlled diet.

Dominic presented Jacinta with a card and framed certificate to mark her achievement, and Edel produced a delicious cake - and even takeaway containers for those of us in a hurry.

And in some ways the best is yet to come. If you're lucky enough to be one of the passengers in Colin's 14-seater bus, there is one final treat - the journey back to the ferry! If you didn't know each other when you left Castletownbere, you'll be lifelong friends after the fifteen minute commute! Some days Colin asks the passenger on the left hand side to hold the door closed. This week it was to hold the door open to let in some air!

Lots of people ask me, "What's Bere Island parkrun like?" Well, you have to experience it for yourselves. What's more, you probably have to do it at least twice.

If you do it as a day trip, as we did this time, you get the bonus excitement of the bus journey, but equally lovely is to get Brendan's ferry to the other end of the Island, stay overnight with Edel or one of the other lodgings, and spend the night with the Walshs, Moriartys, Hallahans and Murphys in the pub - just don't expect a PB if you do it that way!

And I haven't even mentioned some of the other friends we've made along the way, like Claire, Joanne, Michaela, Anne Marie, Sheila and many more. I'm just going to have to come back!

All the detailed results are here and you can see lots of photos on Facebook (taken by Sinéad Crean, John Ryle and Tony).

On behalf of all the Tralee gang, as well as the visitors from farther afield, thanks to Dominic and his team for the great welcome and the great parkrun.

Tony Higgins
Tralee parkrun


Run 206 16/06/2018

This weeks Run Report was written by one of our visitors Alison Curry, who has joined us before from London with her partner Ian Sloyan(family from here) and their daughters Rosa and Marley.

30 participants, supported by 13 volunteers, braved this morning’s blustery weather, and after a soggy start we were rewarded with spectacular views where the sun burst through

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Of today's walkers and runners, 5 were first timers, including the winner Richard Gibson who also celebrated his 50th parkrun. First lady finisher today was Joanna. We were delighted to welcome among the visitors Joy and Donald Bell who were marking their 51st wedding anniversary. On finishing, Donald joked that Bere Island is the only course that starts and finishes in the same place, yet seems to be uphill all the way. Joining them were Brothers Richard and Stephen Gibson from Antrim, Joanna Patterson Belfast with Thomas Chambers Bristol. We hope you all had an enjoyable Bere Island parkrun experience.

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I'm an occasional parkrunner, only hitting the 10 mark last week (3 here in Bere Island and 7 at home in London). Looking at my stats I was reminded that Bere Island was actually my first parkrun in 2016. It’s a warm and friendly event and after witnessing the prizegiving last week in the Bake House I’d love to swing it to reach a significant milestone here. Many thanks to today’s volunteers: Noelette Buckley, Dominic Hallahan, Barry Hanley, Ann Marie Harrington, Carol Murphy, Oisin Murphy, Edel Murphy, Brendan Murphy, Catherine Sullivan, Joanne Sullivan, Sheila Walsh, and John Walsh. Thanks also to Bere Island Ferries and the wonderful Bakehouse. How Edel manages to appear cool and unflustered after racing around at top speed is beyond me.

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We have just been informed that legendary wheelchair athlete Jerry Forde will be joining us next week to do our parkrun. He has 450 marathons done to date, an amazing achievement. He has kindly accepted Proinnsias' request to come visit us and so will do so between the Wexford and Kildare marathons next weekend. Please come join us in welcoming him to Bere Island.

See you next week!

Thank you Alison

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