Bere Island #266 – A Visitor’s View

Bere Island parkrun...what can I say?! Here goes nothing!

Self-styled "parkrun Fixer" Tony Higgins has been telling me about Bere Island parkrun for a little over a year now. 13 months later, I finally got my act together and planned this weekend's trip, having convinced my dad, Seamus, along with the Piotrowski family, Adam, Adrian, Filip, and Marta to come along too. Another bunch of Limerick regulars had to rush to Croke Park on urgent business (with an unfortunate outcome as it happens) and dutifully passed on their apologies.

I had the pleasure of meeting ED John Walsh in early July, who, with his wife Sheila and daughter Aoife, very kindly "ferried" us around yesterday, giving us a rapid history of the island in the process.

I recalled Tony mentioning in a previous Run Report that Bere Island parkrun is the only one in the country that does not start at 9:30am, but rather when everyone is ready - what a wonderful example of community spirit. In fact, it was the first of many!

A total of 18 volunteers made event 266 possible, starting with Volunteer Coordinator Carol Murphy and Michael Killen, who was responsible for Pre-event Setup. Tony Higgins was first to address the crowd for the First Timers' Briefing on a beautiful morning, followed by Run Director Peter Killen. Among those welcomed in Peter's pre-parkrun briefing were Chris and Jamie visiting from Queenstown in New Zealand, and a group of Running Chicks ( from Dublin.

67618211_1931268156973666_2505471478519037952_o All ears for Tony's First-Timers' Briefing (above) and RD Peter's pre-parkrun briefing (below)67354217_1931926413574507_4359253163895685120_n

With Timekeepers Dominic Hallahan and Katie Verdon standing at the ready, the 157-strong crowd headed off for a loop of the eastern end of the island on RD Peter's command (with his warning to avoid skidding due to some rogue cattle having been on part of the course earlier in the morning fresh in our minds).

67364636_1931291833637965_1276349583269560320_o Ready to start

My home parkrun in Limerick is a 4-lap course, so it was a nice change to run the single-lap Bere Island course, where a smattering of locals and animals were spectating at various points along the route.

67185365_1931389090294906_6637132697607077888_o parkrunners out on the course

I later found out from Sheila that a section of the route includes the (in my opinion) aptly-named "Hell Hill" - I think I'm glad I didn't know that beforehand! I was relieved that I wasn't the only one whose breathing was a bit laboured as we began the first climb. However once the hill levelled off, the panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Viking Lonehort Harbour were, as promised, breathtaking.

20190727_111038 (1) The views were so spectacular I ran the first mile-and-a-half again to take some photos!

The climb up to the old Irish army training camp seemed almost never-ending, until arriving at Proinnsias' water station, and then beginning the welcome descent back to Rerrin Village.

67402058_709069312856750_2406553163306893312_n Proinnsias' very thoughtful water stop for whoever might need it

I panicked momentarily when we got back to Rerrin, thinking the route involved climbing the hill past Murphy's and Dessie's Bar, but Marshal Michael Harrington was on hand to direct us right, and then left back to the GAA pitch.

67403823_1931302273636921_3872169998122221568_o Michael cheering on and directing parkrunners

The finish was a welcome sight, where Dominic and Katie stood cheering us all home down the final straight. Leading the way was Kevin Gleeson, who ran a course PB on his 30th Bere Island parkrun and his 49th parkrun in total. Daniel was the fastest junior boy, running a PB on his 5th parkrun on the island and 9th in total. Sadhbh, visiting from Tralee for the first time, was the fastest junior girl. This week's highest age-graded percentage was achieved by Finola Crowley, with a score of 77.27%.

67191099_1931400440293771_4613056147354550272_o Coming in to the finish

Halfway down the funnel was Peter with words of encouragement while Patrick Stephen O'Sullivan, who was on Finish Tokens, was next to greet everybody.

67265548_1931464020287413_4044870963806863360_o En route through the funnel to collect a finish token

Tail Walker Ann Marie Harrington made sure everybody was safely home, smiling all the way. 67404665_1931424490291366_7848181559453548544_o
Ann Marie and Catherine Sullivan bringing up the rear

Recovery was aided by water at the GAA Club, along with not one, but two flavours of tasty muffins (chocolate and raspberry, and orange and blueberry) kindly brought by Marta, visiting from Limerick.

67442714_1931464160287399_7622864568628281344_o Recovering at the GAA pitch 67617117_1931361116964370_4746036383607422976_o The delectable muffins Marta made didn't last long! 

Once breathing normally again, it was over to Aoife Walsh, Clare Kenward (who hails from Clair parkrun and was volunteering on the 125th separate occasion!), and Filip Piotrowski, for Barcode Scanning.

67901079_1931417826958699_7659694591796314112_o A general view of the finish: queuing for scanning, rehydrating, stretching, and of course chatting!

Joanne Sullivan, on Token Sorting, and Sheila Walsh, on Finish Token Support, then set about reorganising the finish tokens for next week's parkrun.

67408670_1931452206955261_1851146512487153664_o Joanne making sure no tokens got lost 67637576_1931479130285902_1718290890415407104_o A pause in Token Sorting while Joanne tracked down missing tokens

Finola Crowley then took charge of Post-event Close Down, ably assisted by John and Peter, as everybody either headed to Murphy's Bakehouse or back to the ferry.

67286694_1931462180287597_1886127032543215616_o Putting the equipment away until next week

Finally, Results Processor Proinnsias O'Keeffe was responsible for downloading, uploading, and submitting the times along with confirming the volunteers to parkrun HQ. 67309769_1931390180294797_4440203410410569728_o Proinnsias approaching the finish ready to look after the results

Beverly Killen was Photographer yesterday, and captured plenty of shots of most of the above - these can be viewed on the Bere Island parkrun Facebook page.

Beverly in action while Peter delivered the briefing

Of course, volunteers are essential for parkrun to go ahead, so do please get in touch if you are interested in volunteering at some point. You can see the schedule for the coming weeks on the future roster page on the website. I promise volunteering is just as enjoyable as running/walking/jogging!

Of the 157 participants yesterday morning, 10 different clubs were represented. The visitors included Chris and Jamie Seymour, co-EDs of Queenstown parkrun in New Zealand, Debbie Henvey, ED of Tolka Valley parkrun, Anna, Clare, and Graham Kenward from Sussex, Alison and Steve Wise from Bangor, a group of Running Chicks ( from Dublin, Adam, Adrian, Filip, Marta, Seamus, and I from Limerick, a group from Causeway with a Tralee connection, and Maria O'Regan from Castlehaven. There were 45 people visiting Bere Island parkrun for the first time, including 12 people who took part in their first parkrun, and 15 parkrunners achieved new Personal Bests. Times are available here - well done to everybody who took part in event 266!

Congratulations to junior parkrunners Lucy and Seán, both of whom joined the 10-club yesterday - here's to your next milestones, Lucy and Seán!

BAKEHOUSEAfter parkrun, it was time to relax in/outside the Bakehouse discussing all and sundry over coffee, confectionery, or for some the "full Irish" to replenish the calories burned. 67879055_1931373883629760_6774627550078435328_o Gathering at Murphy's Bakehouse post-parkrun

Although I didn't sample any food, I've been reliably informed that every last morsel was delicious. I'll just have to come back with a larger appetite! There wasn't much time then before the ferry was departing for the mainland, laden with happy, smiling parkrunners exchanging stories and yarns.

67367626_1931376953629453_8631417666772402176_o Time to board the ferry back to the mainland - far too soon!

If you're still reading, thanks for Bere-ing with me (see what I did there?) through this admittedly mammoth Run Report! Thanks so much for having us - it was a treat to experience the Bere Island hospitality. I think I can safely say on behalf of all the Limerick gang that we thoroughly enjoyed our spot of parkrun tourism on the island. I'm already looking forward to visiting again!


Everybody is of course welcome in Limerick anytime, we'd be delighted to see you!


Shona Ní Fhloinn
Limerick parkrun


Bere Island parkrun #265

20 July 2019
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What is it about this parkrun that keeps bringing us back! Yesterday in the wind and rain, you would have said no it's too wet and too windy but as usual the parkrun weather window opened and we had a morning where the island, Bantry Bay and Castletownberehaven showed themselves off at their very best. We welcomed visitors from Guernsey in the Channel Islands (our first visitors from there I think), from Antrim, Poppintree and Marlay in Dublin, Tralee (no T cosy needed today) Ballincollig and Glengariff among other places.
After a briefing from our first time RD Maeve Killeen, we marked the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing with an attempted moon from the Doc! A south westerly wind blowing force 3 to 4 was at our backs at the start and helped us up towards the first of the hills, Markey's hill.
"a few ppl ahead of us said "cow on the rd" Joanne looked and said that's not a cow it's a bull I was expecting the crowd to turn around but luckily he jumped back into the field he came out of. Myself and Joanne running towards him probably scared him alright!" I should add that Suzanne was wearing red!
It seems that while we have names for the uphills, we have none for the wonderful downhills so the first downhill section we meet is Scairt down to the beach hill. Up again on Long Johnnies hill before the Lonhort Viking downhill. Another rise brings us to the furthest point from the start with the gentle rise of battery hill. We get to recharge on the cuttings downhill before tackling the now infamous Humphries Hill up to the barracks and the highest point on our parkrun.
Next downhill could be called the Barrack downhill or the Master Gunners Descent. On the way this morning, the ferry slip was a hive of activity and enjoyment with children doing their test after the swim week on the island and so to what one athlete thought was the last uphill section, the Rerrin to go up hill!
As we rounded by Dessies last weekend, my compatriot said "I've got you now" as he sped down the final large descent Dessies downhill only to be caught on the piggery uphill and being heard to cry "duck, duck duck" as I overtook him again.
We had 89 finishers today, just one less than last week.
Well done to our regular parkrunners who took on Killarney 10k and half marathon today! Your work on our downhills paid off!
Thanks as always to our volunteers this week who included one of our visitors on his second parkrun away from home in a week!
We are totally dependent on volunteers to keep our parkrun going.
Why not give the locals a weekend off and volunteer if you're visiting!
Thanks to Bere Island Ferries and Colm for the ferry and bus service and to the Bakehouse for the wonderful refreshments after our run.

This week 89 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 22 were first timers and 9 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 6 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 13 volunteers:

Michael KILLEN • John WALSH • Proinnsias O'KEEFFE • Sheila WALSH • Carol MURPHY • Joanne SULLIVAN • Finola CROWLEY • Eugene GLENDON • Sylvia GLENDON • Maeve KILLEN • Michael HARRINGTON • Kevin GLEESON • Maureen POWER
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Bere Island parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Alex POSTHUMUS who recorded a time of 16:04 on 11th October 2014 (event number 7).
The female record is held by Hannah OLDROYD who recorded a time of 18:36 on 6th December 2014 (event number 15).
The Age Grade course record is held by Noel BERKELEY who recorded 86.59% (17:02) on 6th December 2014 (event number 15).
Bere Island parkrun started on 30th August 2014. Since then 1,767 participants have completed 12,301 parkruns covering a total distance of 61,505 km, including 1,429 new Personal Bests. A total of 215 individuals have volunteered 3,350 times.


Bere Island parkrun #259 – Run Report

1 sea

There is no better way to start the weekend than with a parkrun, and no better parkrun to do than Bere Island parkrun! After spending a week cycling and walking the beautiful Beara Peninsula, I had been looking forward to running my seventh Bere Island parkrun when I was invited by John Walsh to be Run Director - even better - all the pleasure of a parkrun with none of the pain!


2 ferry

The fun starts at 9 am when you meet your fellow ferry-goers, some local and some tourists. This week there was a large contingent from Newcastle West, of which more later, but they travelled earlier to the other end of the island to maximise their time!

The shuttle from the pier to Rerrin is never without incident, and this week it was a push-start of the minibus that was the warm-up for the run. Luckily, I had bummed a lift from Suzanne, thinking it would give me a few minutes extra to get myself organised. Not so, of course. With Colin driving, a five minute head start turned into a photo finish as we arrived at the GAA club simultaneously. Ah well.


3 volunteers

The job of Run Director usually involves setting up the course, training all the volunteers, doing the briefing, constantly checking the timers and scanners and then processing the results when the run is completed. Not so when you're a Guest RD on Bere Island! It's a well-oiled machine with everything set up by Brendan in the early hours, volunteers who knew more about scanning and timing than I do, and John waiting to do the results later in the afternoon after a hard day's work!


4 dominic

Most other times I've visited, the legendary Dominic Hallihan has been the Run Director, so I had big shoes to fill. With Dominic, it's more like a sermon than a briefing!

We lined up earlier than usual, the Newcastle West gang were rushing home to a wedding - but of course not until (nearly) everyone was ready!


5 mary and alan

There were visitors from the UK - most weeks in the summer Bere Island welcomes tourists - including Mary and Alan from Banstead Woods and Alison and David from Ashton Court - with well over a thousand parkruns between the four of them. So praise for Bere Island parkrun from these well-travelled parkrunners is praise indeed - and they loved it!


6 ncw

And there was a busload from Newcastle West, led by their Event Director Denis Fitzgerald - it was great to see so many friendly faces that are familiar from our visits to Newcastle West and their trips to Tralee!



8 mary ita mary

A special mention for my friends Mary and Mary Ita. Mary Ita recently conquered Croagh Patrick - an amazing achievement - and has now added to that one of the great parkrun pilgrimages! (That's Edel cycling down to make my breakfast, by the way).


7 breiefing

A few words about the course and the essential safety information, and they were off! Because it's a single lap, there's a few minutes to relax and chat before the runners come back.


9 kevin

Not too many minutes - despite the hilly course, Kevin was back in just over twenty! His 21st time finishing first in fact, but he's still a LONG way short of Joanne's 150 which she achieved last week!


10 david

Hot on Kevins's heels was visitor David Engledew, and David's wife Alison wasn't far behind, her time of under 24 minutes earning her an Age-Category record for Bere island!

11 finola

Alison wasn't the only record breaker, local girl Finola Crowley also earned a new Age Category record this week!

Five personal bests on the Results Page, most notable Jacinta's sub-29 minute time on her 132nd outing!


ned clare
No "milestones" this week, but hopefully Ned and Clare will both be hitting the century next week.

The 'well-oiled machine" was back in action as soon as Tail-Walker Maureen crossed the line, before I even realised it everything was stowed away and chauffeur John Walsh was waiting to drive me to the Bakehouse for Edel's special breakfast! This Run Director business is a doddle, you should try it sometime

The only pity about the trip to Bere Island parkrun is that it's over all too quickly. Half an hour at the most to chat before the minibus (a.k.a. Roller Coaster) takes you back to the ferry, but at least I have another visit to look forward to in the next few months.

12 photogs

There are lots of photos taken by these two talented junior photographers on the Facebook page.

Thanks to all for the hospitality as always - we would love to repay it when you visit us in Tralee.

Until next time...

Tony Higgins

Tralee parkrun


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



Run 236 01/01/19

The New Year’s Day parkrun took place at 11.00am in near perfect conditions.  The temperature was 11 degrees, sky overcast and no wind.  This has to be one of the most beautiful parkrun destinations, one of only eight island parkruns in the world.  The view from the course looking out over the sea can only be described as breath taking.   The Course is a single loop with a climb at the very beginning leading towards the fortifications at the east of the island and then turning directly westwards towards Rerrin village and finishing at the GAA club house.

Seventy-four people completed the course.  A brilliant start to the 2019 parkrun Year.  Keep up the good work.

The first three registered positions were taken by Kevin Gleeson, Garry Hilliard and Colin Gleeson.  The first lady home and also a first timer for park run Bere Island was Sorcha Humphreys.  The 2nd and 3rd ladies’ home were Clare Murphy and Breeda O’Sullivan.  Congratulations to those who recorded Personal bests today.  These included Barry Lynch, Eddie Sullivan, Margaret Frawley, Moya De Buitleir,Catriona De Buitleir and Lina Galvis.  There were five other first-timers, Mary Smyth, Caoimhe O’Shea, Liam Lynch and Mona Lynch and finally myself.

After the run, we all adjourned to the Café for a very welcome tea, coffee and scones.  There was a great buzz and sense of achievement by all involved and a deep sense of camaraderie.  Newcomers are immediately made to feelwelcome.   Well done to all.  We will be back!



Run 235 29/12/18

Run report thanks to Noelette. Photos thanks to Joanne Dominic and John

parkrun No. 235 and the last parkrun of 2018 is a good time to stop and reflect. But before I wallow in nostalgia, let me declare this final parkrun to be a great milestone for one runner in particular – Kevin Sullivan, who notched up an impressive 100 parkruns today, proving that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as he is the third generation of runners from one family to have reached that particular accolade! And so proud Mammy Joanne, along with extra-proud Granny Finola, were on hand with Kevin’s other siblings and wider family to cheer him on, and offer congratulations for his time of 20.52 in an enviable display of raw talent and determination. Only pipped to the post of first position by Kevin Gleeson at 19.50 he left his mother, who also happened to be first lady home, a little behind him at 25.24... some of us can but dream…!!

For the other 43 participants either running, jogging, walking or crawling (in my case), it was a great way to shake off the post-Christmas stupor and though every step reminded me of my own personal overindulgence of sherry trifle and plum pudding, it didn’t take long to get back into the swing of things and a good lung full of fresh island air with the added enthusiasm of Nessa (dog) was enough to propel me up some of those more challenging hills. Clearly some of the group weren’t allowing the Christmas season to throw them off course as there was a phenomenal five PB’s demonstrating that the extra mince pie can sometimes add extra fuel to the tank. And because it’s these achievements that make the difference each week, let’s hear it for Patrick Hurley at 23.39 ; Breandán Murphy at 29.01, Cormac O Sullivan at 29.05, Donal Francis de Buitlear at 29.36, and Mary McDyer at 49.19 – plenty of first timers showed up with great enthusiasm and good cheer, and the proceedings were done and dusted in less and hour overall with tail walker Peter clocking in at 56.44 No slouches for the closing parkrun of 2018 on Bere Island! (Mind you, whoever erected the Parkrun signage this week must have been imbibing from a festive hip flask when it was spotted to be upside down!)

Otherwise all aspects of the morning were fine examples of military precision with Run Director Dominic, having picked up a thing of two from the Gillet Jaunes in Paris, cracking the whip with a welcome and safety briefing before we took to the hills, babies, buggies and dogs in toe. Those new Fitbits, Apple Watches and Pacemakers bleeping and vibrating all the way! As always the parkrun wouldn’t be possible without the merry band of selfless volunteers they are in no particular order (cue drum roll please Ed..) thanks to Finola CROWLEY, Colin GLEESON, Kevin GLEESON, Eugene GLENDON, Sylvia GLENDON, Dominic HALLAHAN, Barry HANLEY, Michael HARRINGTON, Peter KILLEN, Carol MURPHY, Brendan MURPHY, Proinnsias O'KEEFFE, Joanne SULLIVAN, Natalie TREACHER, Sheila WALSH, and John WALSH, and of course along with Edel and the Murphy Family who provide the essential post-run refreshments, and finally Colm Harrington who provides the ferry and bus transfers, for our stalwart mainland friends who contribute so much to the run its atmosphere (not to mention the fantabulous parkrun annual dinner….which I won’t be mentioning atall, atall. There I haven’t mentioned it. Atall, atall.)

The end of the year is always a good opportunity to think about the happy (and occasionally little sad moments) of the passing year before we launch into our New Year Resolutions with gay abandon! There are a few stand out moments for me personally that will remind me of 2018. I’m not great at statistics, or maths for that matter (sorry Sr. Rosario!) so don’t expect a list of numbers and times and personal achievements though I know we had many, many moments of great triumphs but just showing up sometimes is enough. The start of the year heralded the introduction of the Beara AC by a group of our regular parkrunners and throughout the year it’s gone from strength to strength with many personal goals being set and surpassed – the fraternity of parkrunners have also gone on to participate in the “Couch to 5k” Programme, the Cork City Marathon, the Eyeries 5-Mile, the Allihies 5-Mile, the Whiddy Island 5k and many more such community events. There was an outreach to the home of parkrun, Bushy Park in Teddington, south west of London, last January, with a contingent from Bere Island and Tralee travelling over. This trip also provided (as if it were necessary) the hard proof that breakfasts as provided by Edel and Co. in the Bakehouse each Saturday are the biggest and best in the world. In February we had the sad passing of doggie regular Jennings, reminding us how important our canine companions are to us (yes Ed, they are!). Who remembers ‘The Beast from the East’ which forced an unprecedented cancellation of the Saturday run? Anyway we all got exercise by making snowmen instead… St Patrick’s Day run was a novel affair not least as we were joined by Daniel and Majella with RTE Crew in tow, who were visiting celebrities to Bere Island, a day to remember! And home grown Jennifer Barry showed not one hint of her character from The Young Offenders when she took to the trail… Spring calves arrived in glorious sunshine and parkrun No. 200 was Country and Western Themed in May with lots of ‘yeehaws’ and gunfire to be heard (ok Ed, maybe not the gunfire!) – The Bere Midsummer parkrun was a triumph with lots of the regulars either running or volunteering at TWO events on the same day. Also in the Summer, we had a somewhat damper Inter-Islands Football Tournament which went off with great aplomb despite torrential rain. Junior Wonky Bear showed up with a list of contractual demands that put Tom Cruise to shame, but in the end turned out to be an ordinary decent guy. Our gorgeous Summer months were spent sweating and panting as we battled soaring temperatures and the 4th Birthday Bash for the Bere Island parkrun in August and a great opportunity to kick up our heels and celebrate. We must also mention the nuptials of mainland regulars Natalie and Steve in September, did I mention The Christmas Party(?), which is fast becoming the social event of the year! There are many more worthy events which I have not room for, and the above are only a brief reminder of the wonderful and varied adventure that Bere Island and the parkrun is, but finally, and whilst there have been many, many amazing contributions throughout 2018 in the form of our much anticipated Run Report every week, I have to say my own personal favourite was the recent Report “filed” in early December by Ann-Marie which embodied those many and varied adventures; the challenge, the fun, and the very personal experience that all make the Bere Island parkrun what it is.

So to all our visitors from far and wide, to our friends, family and whole community, to everyone who simply showed up – thank you for a year of great memories and mutual support and ‘craic’ and here’s wishing you all a very Happy and Healthy and Fun New Year.

Onwards to 2019…..
….and to kick it all off: see you on New Years Day!

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