Run Report #245 – My Favourite Overseas parkrun!

1 route

It goes without saying that everyone who visits Bere Island parkrun enjoys it. But there's two very different ways to experience it, either as a day trip or an over-nighter. The question is, which is the best way to do it?

This was my sixth time running my favourite "away" parkrun (I have to put in the word "away" in case any of my friends in Tralee stumble across this report!), so I think I can now speak with some authority on ths subject. But still I have to say, you have to visit at least twice to get the full experience, as each of the two alternatives has its attractions!

Stay overnight and you miss the craic on the short ferry trip and the white-knuckle ride in the bus with Colin at the wheel, he drives like he runs, and the slam-bam-thank-you-mam visit to the Bakehouse before the return. It's all over in about three hours - but let's face it, that's much more value than you get from any "ordinary" parkrun!


2 ferryBut take the longer option and then you have the pleasure of a leisurely cruise in Brendan's boat which delivers you to the east end of the island, and you get to stay with Edel and Brendan in what must be one of the nicest, most relaxed B&B experiences you can have! And if you're lucky, you get a few hours in the pub with Dominic and Proinnsias that passes very quickly!


3 neil pubMy trip this time was in the company of Neil Marshall, Ireland Administrator for parkrun, who spent a long weekend visiting seven different parkruns in West Cork and Kerry. Of course, he could only do one offical parkrun, and he asked lots of people which one he should do at 9:30 on the Saturday (well, 9:45 in Bere Island, but we don't mind that!) It wasn't just me that told him this was the one to do!

So even though he's the parkrun expert, he learned a lot in those four hours - about Bere Island parkrun, Bere Island, and the world in general! Including the effect Guinness has on parkrun times - but more of that later!


5 carrolls

And you are likely to be sharing the house with like-minded parkrunners - this time it was the Carroll's, just Steve running this time as Dave was injured, but they had a couple of supporters cheering too. Dave is on the core team of the next Irish parkrun to start up in Cloughjordan (Knockanacree Woods) later this month, so he was interested to see how it all works - a bit of industrial espionage, I'd say. He was snapping away with a camera all morning - you'll be able to see his photos on Facebook!

The great thing about Edel's B&B is that you can save your breakfast until after the parkrun - if Neil had eaten that breakfast after those few pints his time would have been a lot slower.


13 socks

By the way, my time is much slower than Neil's not because of the Guinness, but because I realised too late that not only was I wearing cycling socks instead of running socks, but I had them on the wrong feet - maybe I should have been running clockwise!


7 jocelyn

It was a pretty rotten morning all over the country, but there were still nearly 40 runners and walkers on the start line for Jocelyn Dufétel's Debut as Run Director. And a few minutes after the rest of the country (not Jocelyn's fault, he wasn't driving the bus!), we were off.



The route is stunning, but it's not easy, so you have plenty of time to enjoy it. I didn't have the pleasure of John Walsh's company, last time he paced me to a Bere Island PB by distracting my with tales of the island. Instead I had the equal pleasure of running with my friend and fellow tourist Deirdre NiDrisceoil and did my best to remember some of what John had told me!

You always know when Proinnsias is on the island because there is a water station (in a very fancy decanter now) outside his house at the 3.5 km mark, just when you need it, something I've never seen at another parkrun and a real treat - and just another of the many things that make this event stand out from the rest.


8 benFirst across the line this week was Ben Murphy - he's only done 11 parkruns but has finished first three times. Not far behind was visitor Steve Carroll followed by Neil.

9 2nd 4rd



10 joanne

First lady home was... you guessed it... the legendary Joanne Sullivan! Pretty soon Joanne will have her 150th First Finish on Bere Island, and not too long after will do her 250th parkrun - hopefully then she will do a bit of parkrun tourism and visit us in Tralee! There was a tussle for second and third ladies with Breeda O'Sullivan coming in ahead of Mags O'Neill.

11 breeda mahs

The Full Results are here.



12 karen P

There was another inspirational lady at the other end of the field. We had the treat of meeting Karen Penny, who is a couple of months into a very long walk - 19,000 miles around the coastline of the UK and Ireland in support of Alzheimer's Research UK (a charity much beloved on parkrun) - she's already more than a quarter of the way to her target of £100,000! She'll clock up a few parkruns on the way, and I've reminded her than Inch Beach and Tralee are both on her route so hopefully I will meet her again soon!

(And here's another little story that is typical of Bere Island. Karen's husband made contact through parkrun Ireland to see if anyone could help her with a lift to the ferry, I couldn't help as I was staying overnight but John Walsh had two offers of a lift within minutes. Thanks Geraldine!)

14 bakehouseAfter the run, everyone goes to the Bakehouse - the entire Murphy Family are working in unison to feed the masses in the short hiatus before the return coach transfer (sounds very posh, doesn't it!). There's always a lovely atmosphere, and we had plenty of time as our later ferry gave us a chance to eat a very Full Irish... and scones... and lemon drizzle cake... and coffee cake (now you can understand my finishing time of just under 40 minutes!)

15 tropicalIt's always a great pleasure to do my favourite overseas parkrun, and I'll be back again later in the year. Meanwhile, we always love to welcome tourists in Tralee, it's a very different experience but hopefully as enjoyable! And I know we have one Islander at least visiting next week!

Tony Higgins
Tralee parkrun



Run 242 09/02/2019

The traditional post run bonding happened much earlier today as a horizontal hailstorm lashed all the 29 participants just before the start of event 242. Thom Kleiss the race director was amazed at his rapid promotion with little training after only two previous volunteering jobs. Thankfully Thom cut his intended thirty minute opening speech down to 30 seconds and off we went. A few keen runners jumped the starting gun but it was hardly noticed. The strong westerly made it easier getting to the East End Loop turn and sunshine came out and as ever spectacular views over Lonehort Harbour. On the return loop the wind pushed hard, the clouds were moving faster than I was and getting any PB’s was not going to be easy but Theresa Sherwood managed it as did Suzanne O’Sullivan. Oh and I did too but it was my first timed run so that was automatic ! International visitors from Germany and England and Eyeries. (Johnny kept his promise of course !) Older walkers and young kids too. Great way to spend a saturday morning. First in was Kevin Sullivan with a time of 20.29 followed by first timer and guest Ralf Rosenberger with 21.42. Tailwalkers time was 51.54. The volunteer roster was full and excellently attended by the following supportive people Finalo CROWLEY, Jean GLENDON, Pauline HANLEY, Anne-Marie HARRINGTON, Michael HARRINGTON,Thom KLEISS, Edel MURPHY, Brendan MURPHY, Carol MURPHY, Breeda O’SULLIVAN, Steve O’DONOVAN and Joanne O’SULLIVAN. Many thanks for your help on this cold and blustery day. The apres ski atmosphere in the Bake House was warm and cosy and all were well fed by Edel and Brendan’s family’s good care and attention. I am only sorry it will be June before I am back here for my next Bere Island Park Run that’s if I can get a visa after March 29th! Hopefully no Berexit for me...



Run 240 26/01/2019

System failures, thingamejigs, 5 in a row and communal showers! There was a lot going on in the clubhouse this morning. I have warned before when I’m down as report writer what is said pre or post run in public in the kitchen can be used against you in Bere Island parkrun run report.

It was a very wet wet wet morning, nobody was singing in the rain, unless they were stone mad, mind u I often do, but that’s beside the point. In the words of Vladimir Nabokov “Don’t be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards”. Bear that in mind the next time we have a bad morning. Another cold wet windy morning, fresh and wintery, blows all the cobwebs away! And yet 22 gathered to run or walk the 5k loop. With Edel in charge, keeping her mighty crew of volunteers on their toes, they all did yet another sterling job. Whatever you might say about us to be running or walking around in the rain, these poor souls have to stand in position in the rain and wind until the tail walker crosses the finish line, which this week was Thom Kleiss, in a respectable time of 50 mins, also securing the only  pb of the day, well done Thom. This week’s other volunteers included Noelette, Finola, Colin, Eugene, Sylvia, Dominic, Mike, Ann Marie, Thom, Carol, Olan, Edel, Brendan, Mags, Joanne, Michael and Sheila. Well done and thank you all. Were always looking for volunteers, from the post of run director to run report writer and every post in between so please get in touch, offer your help once in a while, so we can keep Bere Island parkrun running smoothly.

First finisher was Michael O’Sullivan who trotted home in 25.13, followed, hot on his heels with only 4 seconds between them, was first lady Joanne Sullivan, home in 25.17. And so when Michael finished he went on barcode duty which is where the System failure came in, nothing serious or nothing that can’t be fixed(in case you get put off from trying that particular role) but he scanned his own in the wrong order, and all he was worried about was Joanne being given his first position. I might have made a few bob if I had a bidding war between them. But all is well that ends well, the order is above board and correct. Well done to both finishers today.

As most of you are aware we have books with our barcodes in to keep them there safe, but Carol usually brings her own with her. This morning she had left it in her bag. She told Michael she didn’t have her thingamajig with her, I think there’s still a blank look on his face! So not only did she forget to bring it with her, she actually forgot what it’s called. Moral of the story DONT FORGET YOUR BARCODE…

Johnny has surprised most of us by coming in for the last 5 weeks. He promised last week he would be in this week to do what Kerry couldn’t by completing 5 in a row. Such was everyone’s shock and delight to see him conquer his dream, not only did he get a cheer fit for any all-Ireland final at the start line but he was also given a slice of cake as a way to celebrate his success in the Bakehouse under the watchful eye of former Cork player and selector Ciaran O’Sullivan. Well done Johnny, here’s to the next 5!

So the Communal showers, I’m not entirely sure how to word this, but here goes. We’ve been having a few issues with hot water for the showers, Finola blames Brendan, Brendan blames Finola, everyone blames everyone else, today it was taken a step further, when someone had the audacity to blame our oil man, simply because he was there and had to have a cold shower, they’re simply taking the HEAT off themselves ;);). Any way I’m not sure if it’s the way there isn’t enough hot water or none at all but there was a bit of a discussion as to how to fix it. This discussion was between 2 ladies, I might add, who I won’t name to save their embarrassment, so it might surprise you all to know there were suggesting communal or unisex showers, to save the hot water, perhaps what they meant was everyone under the same shower, which would be all well and good but we decided the biggest problem would be filling the role of security or chaperones. Filling that role wouldn’t be a problem perhaps; the problem would be too many volunteers for the role. So Noelette and Joanne while it may help with the water problem, we might just put your idea on file in a filing cabinet for the time being!

I’m sure our visitors today think we’re a crazy bunch of people, but we hope you enjoyed the craic, and will come back to us again and bring friends. David and Sharon Schindler joined us from Portrush parkrun in Antrim, while Chris Rafferty joined us from Cabinteely parkrun in Dublin, who I’ve just noticed was only 1 second behind our Joanne. I wonder was there a bit of chivalry there on his part???

Thanks again to all our volunteers, roster still has empty spaces for next week, so why not put your name forward for one of the many roles. Thanks to Brendan and his crew in the Bakehouse, he kept the show going until Edel finished her role as Run Director, and thanks to Bere Island ferries for the transport both on sea and on land.

So parkrun 240 completed, Join us next week for our next instalement.



Run 239 19/01/2019

Saturday morning’s parkrun had 28 hardy participants who came out to run or walk our beautiful course, and what a morning it turned out to be! It was cold, crisp and sunny, a wonderful morning to be out and about.  Kevin Sullivan was first home in 20.45, and first lady home was his Mom Joanne in 24.34.  Congratulations to Breandán Murphy with his fourth PB in a row with a time of 26.52, and also to Geraldine O’Sullivan who is only running a few months and had a PB of 30.42, her comment when she walked to the café for our après parkrun sustenance was “where else would you want to be on a morning like this”.

As for myself, I had an achievement also in that I ran the whole course for the first time, it’s the small things like this that give you such a positive feeling when you finish. It goes to show that no matter what your time, there is always something good to take away from every parkrun, the first positive thing is to get out of bed on a Saturday morning to head for the ferry and everything after that is a bonus. So for any of you who think you won’t be fast enough or fit enough, just come along and you will see that none of that matters, it’s all inclusive!  Don’t forget your O.T. walks in Beara this week, and please take the time to volunteer at your local parkrun as it can’t operate without you.  That’s it for this week, keep up the good work and see you all Saturday where we’ll do it all again.



Run 238 12/01/2019

Today’s parkrun centered around one lady in particular, she has a lot of names under her belt since she did her first run back in August 2014, Granny, Supergran, Glamorous Granny and my all-time favourite the Epileptic Octopus, but also the “lady” who likened us to a herd of cattle. I’ll come back to her in a bit..

We have been blessed with the weather since Christmas really, no wind, no rain, so no puddles or water logged potholes, no muck, no complaints. What a great way to start Bere Island parkrun 2019, dry and calm. 35 gathered to take on the 5k loop. We welcomed first timer Sean Buckley, hopefully his first was so enjoyable, he is now convinced to take the weekly trip across the harbour, from his home in Castletownbere. Well done Sean and welcome aboard. First finisher was Kevin Sullivan, rounding the corner and finishing in 20.17, followed by Pat Sheehan home in 21.07, and Ben Murphy home in 21.56  Well done guys, great running. First lady home was Clare Murphy, finishing in 24.49, with Joanne 20 seconds behind in 25.02(young Ultan pipped her to the post by 1 second,25.01. I need to know how you managed that?). Third lady finisher was Breeda O Sullivan, home in 25.35. Well done ladies. We had 2 pb’s today, Breandan flew home in 27.33 knocking another  1 min 3 sec off last week which was 30sec off his previous, so that 1.5 minutes off in 2 weeks, which is a phenomenal  amount of tie in running. Well done Breandan, we hope you feeling proud, Wednesday night’s running is paying off. Our second pb of the day went to Fionn Hanley, who must have gotten some inspiration from wearing his Dad’s Dublin City Marathon t shirt, by knocking 3 seconds off his previous best time of 39.28 to finish in 39.35. Well done Fionn, onwards and upwards.

Dominic who was in charge (for a certain young lady’s milestone), ran another great show, without running! Himself and his crew of Barry, Colin, Sean, Olan, Brendan, Carol, Suzanne, Sinead, Finola, Edel, Sheila, Aoife, John, Joanne, Niamh , Ann Marie and those who always stay around to help out, secured another great performance for Bere Island  parkrun volunteers. If you would like to become part of this elite group please contact us to choose your role, there’s loads to choose from. The more volunteers we have the merrier we are!! Thank you for this week guys, well done to you all. Thanks to Edel and crew in the Bakehouse, for re hydrating, and refueling us, and to Bere Island Ferries for the transport..

WARNING, this paragraph might be offensive to some, but he knows me too well!!

And in his own words, everything said at parkrun is only in jest, and when I’m writing the report you should all know whatever you say might be used against you in a Bere Island parkrun run report. And so to the milestone and the Lady of the moment with so many names, have you guessed correctly, its none other than Finola Crowley, who amazingly at her age ( wink wink;) )completed her 200th (yes you read right 200th) parkrun, and more astonishingly she completed it in under 30 mins which was her aim before starting, I think she needs to be drug tested next week, she has to be on something, or is she just high on life, on the excitement of Saturday morning runs in whatever weather with whoever might be there to have a cheery hello or ad auld moan with. Whatever the answer she’s an amazing woman, always smiling and laughing, making jokes, which you might just be the butt of but you have to laugh anyway, always cool calm and collected and never with a hair out of place. Good old Granny to all her Bere Island parkrun family. She missed the first 3 parkruns but got stuck in on the forth and hasn’t stopped since, she as one away under her belt, Killarney parkrun, but because it didn’t have the same je ne sais quoi as ours, she hasn’t been in a hurry to leave us again for pastures green, as the saying goes “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side”. Here first run on 20/09/2014 was in 36.31. She got it down to 28.37 for her 100th on 21/11/2017, and has just kept a steady pace since. All she wanted this morning was to get it done under 30, she was rather disheartened in the village as Run Director/marshall/friend Dominic told her to forget it, she was off the mark but Carol Hurley was right behind her and told her she still had 2 minutes, so she gave it her all and proved Dominic wrong by finishing in 29.28. There was a tense moment in the Bakehouse waiting on the results, but yippee, they were right”. Well done Finola, every one of us is extremely proud and delighted with you and for you. Here’s to the next 200. When I wrote for your 100th (lucky you having me write both) I said I wanted to run like you when I grow up, I think that boat has sailed, I’m too tired and old to try to catch up!!. So following on with tradition, although with a slight change, and, perhaps a bit of favoritism showing, Finola received her beautiful montage of photographs from Dominic in the Bakehouse after her 200th was completed.  Poor Joanne had to stand under the cold naked sky to get hers, and I was upgraded to the clubhouse kitchen, both not yet having completed our 200th technically. Good job we didn’t get injured, it might have been revoked. So Granny got special treatment, or maybe it was a prank, because we got our prerun she may have thought he forgot to do up her one, so the element of surprise was there post run. Either way it is a beautiful recognition of the efforts that have gone to complete so many as well as volunteering. I may joke about it but I will reiterate it is a beautiful gift to receive, no matter where or when. When Dominic was giving his speech before presenting it to her, he did comment on family. Not only was she surrounded by her real family, daughter Joanne, granddaughters Leahanne and Niamh and grandsons Kevin and Sean, but he said she was also surrounded by her parkrun family, which we are, meeting every sat, for not just the run but for the coffee, chat and company. That’s just too soppy!!!   And in another tradition, but more favouritism, because she had asked for pink gin instead of Prosecco for which the answer was “you can, you know what” she did however get the choice of 3 glasses from which to drink her bubbly, all different sizes, with strawberries, ice, straws and umbrellas, we didn’t get that Joanne did ye, and she didn’t offer a drink to anyone, but  she drank half ours.. So all in all it was another great morning, another great celebration, and another great story for Bere island parkrun. Let me finish by reminding you Dominic when you gave that speech you did say even with all the things that are said and all the slagging that goes on we all know everything is meant in jest and no offence ever intended, we have fun and banter. So Dominic just in case you’ve taken offence I will just say if it had been given to me in the pouring rain, freezing cold with thunder and lightning or any other way possible it wouldn’t change the fact how fantastic it is and an honour to receive, you just prefer Finola ;););). So to everyone else if you want this stunning montage of photographs depicting your 200 runs, get running!

Until we meet again


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