welcome to the newsletter
This month we have a lead article from the new event director from Johnstown parkrun written on the eve of their inaugural event plus we look at parkruns new coffee table photo album. This is a celebration of 10 years of parkrun produced by a volunteer parkrun team from your submissions
Matt (get in touch)
In a little over 24 hours from now, myself and a crew of eager volunteers will set about seeing the birth of the latest member of the parkrun family. If this time last year my closest friends and family would have told me that I would be running an event as Event Director, I would have told them I would be hard set to run the 5km let alone the event. While not entirely unfit, I would have never thought about going out running a few times a week and see 5km as a relatively short distance. Also, this time last year, I never knew what parkrun was or what it was about. Having done my first parkrun in Westport in July, luckily we found out about them from a website listing all running events in Co. Mayo, the whole idea behind it got stuck in my head and wouldn't go away. After telling some people we know in athletics clubs about them to see if they were interested in setting one up, and then doing our third parkrun as a family in Kilkenny in late October, my wife suggested that if nobody had acted on our hints, why not contact parkrun and try get one going ourselves. Little did I know that one simple click of a computer mouse would lead to what will happen in Johnstown Castle in the morning, let alone that I would be the one to lead the team, which I feel greatly honoured to do.
I also didn't know that one click would put me in contact with parkrun and then a like minded person in the shape of Ken Jones which let me know that it would be easier in numbers. The obstacles we as a team have come through, and brushed aside to get to where we are now, would have been so much harder as individuals. In the relatively short space of just over four months, a pipe dream has become reality.
parkrun has by its very nature and what it started as a little over 12 years ago, become to me what is probably the best example of what Baron deCoubertain set about creating the truely amateur spirit of sport when he came up with the Olympic Games model in the latter end of the 19th century. It seem nearly 120 years later that in parkrun the spirit of the taking part that matters, not the winning, is probably one of the few places that this is still the main ethos behind its charter. To me, every single person that turns up in the morning will be a winner, from the first finisher to the very last one home. If as a team we can carry on in the vein of the three words that the Olympics hold so dear to their charter, Vitus, Altius, Fortius, faster, higher, stronger, then I think we can go along the right track to keep the parkrun flame burning bright in Co, Wexford. Faster in the way we can gel as a team and spread the word. Higher in the number of volunteers we can bring on board and fasten down the long term future of our event. Stronger the team will become in helping other teams set up an event and possibly being the ones to instruct other teams as we will be instructed in the hours before our event gets under way.
I feel greatly honoured that the parkrun organisation has put its trust in me on behalf of our team to see the start of Ireland's newest venue and I will do my absolute best to ensure we do not disappoint in how we go about running the event.
The Grant Thornton Corporate 5k Team Challenge is back by popular demand in the Dublin Docklands on Tuesday 1st of September for the fourth year in a row. It is also expanding to two new locations the National Sports Campus in Fingal on Wednesday 13th of May and The Mall, Cork City on Tuesday 30th of June. The Corporate Challenge is organised by the national governing body Athletics Ireland
parkrun Photo Album
Last week we added the new parkrun Photo Album to the parkrun store. This book features interviews, inspirational stories and anecdotes as well as page after page of stunning photography.
Many images sourced directly from the parkrun community, with parkrunners from all over the world submitting their favourite photos.
Proceeds from the sale of the book (as with all items in our online shop) go directly towards the operation and expansion of parkrun. Initiatives like this are vital in helping us to deliver on our promise: a parkrun in every community that wants one.
Donations and personal barcode wrist bands
you select the event you wish to support
Personal barcodes key tags and wristbands
Percentage off all sales to Ireland goes to support growing parkrun in Ireland
March will be parkruns biggest month ever with four new events starting. We welcomed Johnstown parkrun two weeks ago and Lees Road parkrun Ennis Saturday past. Final week in March we will have two new events at Cabinteely and Shanganagh parks Dun Laoghaire
If you would like to see a parkrun in your area we would love to hear from you so why not get in touch
parkrun Ireland statistics
Number of locations: 26
Total registrations Ireland 52,528
Total unique runners 32,064
Total Distance ran to date: 814,860 km
Total Run Time: 8Yrs, 219Days, 5Hrs, 20Mins, 3Secs.
Last week the Global participation including Junior parkrun was 100,004 so if you brought the family to parkrun last week thanks you did make a difference.
feedback from the field
Hi parkrun Ireland
On Saturday morning, I was up bright and early. As usual! hoping to get out for our regular club cycling spin. Due to the strongs winds, I decided on safety first and that it would be wiser to keep both feet on the ground.
So what to do? A walk was the only option and after passing by the Tralee parkrun last week at the end of my cycle, I decided this was the ideal chance to try it out. By 8.50 I had registered online, the email confirmation came instantly. I had my barcode pass printed and cut out. I was out the house for 9 am.
By 9.20 I was at the start point. There was about 7 or 8 yellow bibbed helpers there who were looking after things. The participants where thin on the ground, but literally at 9.30 on the dot came a flood of people. As the safety briefing was being given there was about 120 people from the age of 12 to 70 ready for action.
The parkrun consists of a 5 km route around the local park. In the Tralee case it's 3 times around the outer edge of the park.
There was no chance I was going to run it, but decided to give it a good go with a fast walk. I am normally more than happy with a time of 10 minutes per kilometre which would equal a time of 50 minutes. So was a time of 45 minutes worth a shot at? I was going to give a go anyway.
The majority set off running, with about 10 of us going at a more sedate pace. The park was well sheltered, so the wind was no problem. A big bonus so far with the parkruns is that it hasn't rained, so that didn't bother us either.
The idea of the parkrun is to get people out and doing something positive at the start of the weekend. It can be taken as something competitive against the other runners, just between you and the clock or just the joy of doing the 5 km. There is certainly no-one judging anyone and the helpers were brilliant with their encouragement.
As for myself, I was delighted with my time of 44 minutes. I had achieved my target, spent a great morning doing something healthy and positive and it didn't cost a cent. Great value!
Hi parkrun Ireland
My first time at the Poppintree parkrun and I'm going to call it "The Friendly parkrun" great atmosphere with loads of hellos and waves at the start, great course for anyone looking for a PB or doing a first 5k and loads of parking.
Hi parkrun Ireland
Thanks Griffeen for a very enjoyable run with you all this morning. Great run, friendly people, perfect weather and a lovely brekkie afterwards. Lovely to meet you and hopefully see you again soon
Martin Dunne (Little Stoke Bristol)
Hi parkrun Ireland
Congratulations to all involved in a wonderful Johnstown parkrun today. Great
organisation and a beautiful and fast course. Look forward to coming
back sometime soon. Good luck in the future.
Has parkrun made a difference in your running if so we would like to share your story? Drop us a short e-mail about your parkrun experience and we will publish a selection each month. No more than 150 words please.
parkrunner of the month
Name: Eleanor Sammon
Home parkrun: St Anne’s
Occupation: Mother of three little boys primarily!
Number of runs: 30
Favourite volunteer role: Barcode scanning, you can chat to the runners afterwards and see how they got on. Some people are delighted to tell you that it's their first parkrun or maybe their first time running with a son/daughter.
What do you do at parkruns: When I'm volunteering I come down early, see what role I'm doing and put on my snazzy high vis vest which most weeks I wander away still wearing and have to be gently reminded to give it back (but I never touched Token 98, honest!!). I always like to go for the coffee afterwards, to warm up again, help sort out the tokens and have a chat. You find out nuggets of info on upcoming races and events and I once also got interesting advice running. Some (rare!) mornings I might have the oomph to jostle with the the run.
How has parkrun changed your running: Because I'm not in a club and run on my own during the week it's nice to come down to the park and just be part of a group. I felt very shy at first but the volunteering was a great way to get to know a few names and faces.
What do you like about parkrun: The fact that it's totally rooted in the community, it's local, run by volunteers and free! There's simplicity to it too - just show up at the same time every week with your barcode and run. You see all shapes and sizes and ages - anything goes and you're only ever competing against yourself.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: (Groans) Easily the fancy dress parkrun at Halloween last year. 221 parkrunners all dressed up for the occasion, 215 of them were dressed as athletes-going-for-a-run and the other six showed up in actual fancy dress. Muggins was kitted out as a zombie complete with blood spattered clothes, facepaint and a fake knife through my head which kept sliding around as I stumbled around the 5k course. Morto. Mind you, I think the girl in the Barney suit deserved the freedom of the park or some equivalent honour. I also think the Legend of Token 98 is great fun (98Gate!).