Event #101 – 18th November 2017

We had another great morning here at Castletown for event 101! This week 206 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 28 were first timers and a massive 60 of those 206 recorded new Personal Bests.

This week we had a few visitors from Malahide, Shanganagh and here are the Madden's from Naas! We hope you all enjoyed your visits!

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This week we had a very special milestone for one of our volunteers. Michelle completed her 50th parkrun as tail walker this week!

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We had pacers this week, thank you to Sharon, Gearoid and Claire for pacing and helping some of our 206 participants achieve new pbs!

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This week Valdas Tilunas was our first finisher, in a time of 18.47, Liam King was our second finisher in 18.49 and Joe McCracken was third home in 18.57.

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Carragh Hayes was our first female finisher in 20.43, an unknown runner was our second female home and Jacqueline Kearns was third in 23.57. Well done!

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We were very lucky to have two excellent photographers out on the course this week, if you haven’t had a chance to look at the photos yet, follow this link: https://www.flickr.com/groups/castletown-parkrun/

Finally, I would like to say a huge “Thank You” to this weeks volunteers, without whom there would be no parkrun. If you haven’t volunteered before, send us an email or a message on Facebook to sign up, all the roles are easy, full training is provided and it is great to see parkrun from a different perspective.
Thank you to Sharon ASHMORE • Alicia ASHMORE • Laura MCMANUS • Philip SLATTERY • Eavan CONNOLLY • Sheila HYNES • Declan HYNES • Claire MILLAR • Michelle GOODBURN • Daragh DOYLE • Karol WIRKUS • Sara NOLAN • Gearoid GLEESON • Laura MURRAY • Conor DEVANEY • Melanie TUFFEN • Philomena DUKE • Nicola O'LONE • Aoife NI RAGHALLAIGH • David HEPPLE

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See you all next week!
Eavan Connolly
Run Director Event 101

 

Event #100 – Nov 11th 2017

A week and an hour in the life of a Run Director.

This was my second time to volunteer as Run Director, and with the excitement of Halloween and Castletown's second birthday over the past couple of weeks it seemed like it would be a 'normal' parkrun event.
So what does a 'normal' week in the life of Run Director look like as you approach a Saturday?

Well, thanks to the helping hands of the rest of the team, it is pretty much the same as my regular week with just a few extra tasks thrown in. So what does happen behind the scenes you may ask? Well, here's a quick "peek behind the scenes"!

Saturday - Nov 04th:

I happened to be doing the results after the event. If you were happy with your result, then it's all down to the skill of the person on the laptop who uploads the text files to the website after the event every week !!

If you didn't like your time, then the weather and conditions are at fault! But the good thing is that we get to do it again next week.
Getting the results out, ideally before Sunday evening, is something we try to do early after the event each week, though there will be times when our volunteers are busy, but this week it was done in the Courtyard Cafe immediately after the event.

Sunday - Nov 05th

With Saturday done, there was a chance to review the day with the upload of a few sets of photos to Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/groups/castletown-parkrun/)
The volunteer roster for the event looks almost full so no need to send out any communication about it.

Monday - Nov 06th

All quiet on the parkrun front.

Tuesday - Nov 07th

I skim the parkrun manual for the event just to familiarise myself with what needs to be done during the week.
I've had the parkrun loudhailer in the kitchen for the week and decided to test it out, just to see how it works.
I've no idea what the neighbours four doors down thought when they heard the words "Step away from the fridge and come out with your hands up" over a loudhailer!

The weather forecast is checked and it may be cold this coming Saturday!

Wednesday - Nov 08th

There were a few queries that came in about bad scans, or results that were not recorded, so a little detective work was needed to see if there was a problem. That just meant looking at the text files from the stopwatches and the scanners to see if there was anything was amiss. The team behind the e-mails managed to field and resolve other questions that landed in earlier in the week.

There is a manual for the event that has everything that needs to be done so understanding where the signs go, which marshal will go where, and familiarising myself with the details is the key thing to do for preparation.

There was a post up on the event Facebook page about doing a little parkrun tourism in Copenhagen in case there was anyone planning to be there for the match.

Thursday - Nov 09th

Each of the lanyards that we give the marshals have the phone number of the Event Director on it, and each week we change out the phone number of the person who is the Run Director. This week it is my number that gets held in with the paperclip. If anything happens on the day, that's the number they'll call this week.

Now it gets serious...time to charge the barcode scanners (by hooking them up to a USB port for a few hours) and to clear and reset the stopwatches so that there are no results left when we start the next event.

Laura, who's the absolute business as our volunteer co-ordinator confirms the roster, so all the volunteers get an e-mail with details of when to be there (9:00 am sharp) and what to bring - i.e. appropriate clothing for the weather being the most important advice!

Read and review the volunteer list to see that we have someone on each role, review the briefing that needs to be done to ensure that I'm au-fait with the key messages and that's today's preparation done.

Two more sleeps to #parkrunday!

Friday - Nov 10th

The Run Report for last week makes its way out for last week. This means that everything for event #99 is done, and it is just a question of the last minute preparation.

A final confirmation on the roster so I print it out as the last step for the day.
We had three clipboards: One for the Run Director, One for the person who is on Finish Token Support (bad scans and volunteers for subsequent events) and for the person doing the New Runners & Tourists briefing. A few blank sheets are added to them and we're almost ready.

The final step is packing up things that I have to bring - the parkrun laptop, the lanyards and "the black box". I'll miss having the loudhailer around, it was fun!

Saturday - Nov 11th - #parkrunday 100

Time to get this show on the road.....there's 70 of us acting as Run Directors across the country this morning and parkrun awaits.

We had Aileen and Frances arrive at the start well before I got there and we were all dressed for the rain that may have happened, but thankfully things were clear since nearly 8 am, so hopefully things will hold.

Conor on pre-event setup takes the lanyard that marks which signs go where, and heads out to check the course and mark it out as well. He's my eyes on the state of things and his feedback gets into the pre-run briefing.

More volunteers with our two TY students drafted in on tokens and barcode scanning - though we'll train them in once the event has started.

I have the safety briefing with the Marshals - ask them to take the few "Keep Off the Grass" signs and send them out to cheer and encourage all of the participants. They are the eyes and ears over the 2.5km course to keep you all safe.

Philip takes the First timers and Tourists Briefing and we have visitors from both Bere Island and Lough Key - so I'll have to mention that in the pre-run briefing.

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Timing is the order of the day, so a little after 9:25 I get to use the loudhailer again, and the "siren" function to get everyone's attention.
I tried to project my voice during the pre-run briefing itself.

The few things to note were:
a) It's wet out there with puddles so take care
b) A lot of first timers & tourists today - though not all raised their hands!
c) Tourists get a mention! [Hello Lough Key and Bere Island]
d) Under 11's need to be near their adult guardian, and only one dog (on a short leash) is allowed
e) Assist the marshals if they ask!

And at 9:29:39 everyone was away!
To the few folks who were a little delayed arriving....whatever about missing the start time guys....you missed the briefing!!  :-)

A little training with the rest of the volunteers.... including Niamh our Timekeeper who was on crutches having to be confined to a chair for the event! Thankfully there are roles you can do no matter what your level of mobility!

Normal run reports finish with a photo of the entire team on the day. Today finished a little differently, but I'll relay that story in a moment.
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Some of our volunteers from Event #100

Feedback from the field

After the event we had a lovely note from one of our parkrun tourists, from Lough Key parkrun.....

"I visited Castletown park run yesterday for the first time, glad to take an opportunity to try out another parkrun and encourage my sister who lives locally to give it a go. It is such a pretty parkrun.
Coming from Lough Key I am hard to impress but the Castletown route is nice and flat, it’s pretty clean even with a few puddles, and the autumn trees, the Liffey which was flowing fast beside part of the route, and the beautiful house all make a lovely experience.
The parkrun was very friendly, volunteers helpful and it has a lovely welcoming atmosphere.
Thanks very much for a love great morning run. I’d definitely recommend a visit!"
Helen McHenry
https://www.facebook.com/loughkeyparkrun/

Helen also shared a tale or a little trick that they use to sort out the tokens in Lough Key and we found a photograph that describes it. After you get your position token scanned, you pin it onto a wooden board. This minimises the number of lost or missing tokens. Waterstown do something very similar!
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An incident

At around a quarter to 10 we had a parkrunner fall during the event. They were assisted by other parkrunners near where they fell.
It happened near a marshal at position 4 (which is the right turn near the lake, where you turn onto the tarmac ). Lots of you have marshalled there yourselves in the past. Participants who were going past the start/finish line also relayed the message about the incident.
The event First Aid kit was brought out, they were treated for a cut, brought by car to the Primary Care centre and seen by a doctor, who advised on how best to treat the injury. We've been assured since that they've followed up appropriately, are fine and they have expressed their thanks to everyone who assisted on the day.
Indeed, we hope to see them on Saturday again!

I'd like to say thanks to everyone who stopped to assist, the Marshals (Frances in particular), the core team (John & Philip) and those that assisted today (Paul in particular).

Indeed we'd like to thank all of you who assist and marshal at each event.

This is the 1 in 100 occurrence which is why parkrun events do a safety briefing with the marshals before each event, each week.
It is also why we ask for everyone's patience and attention at the pre-run briefing, and ask that people pay heed to, and assist if asked, the marshals during the event.
If you've not updated your emergency contact details, then this would be a good reminder to do so. Check out the "Edit your details" link in the result e-mail that you get every week.

With that said, we look forward to seeing you all again next Saturday for event #101.

I'll be a marshal this weekend, so hopefully I'll be there until the end and make the final photo. Thankfully everyone is okay, and we can enjoy parkrun again on Saturday.

All in all, an interesting week as Run Director and a busy end to the event. I'm very grateful to the whole team on the day, that swung into action, and I'll just have to pick a date to be Run Director again soon!

Sheila Hynes
Event #100 Run Director
Castletown parkrun

 

This week 229 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 36 were first timers and 28 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 14 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 20 volunteers:

Peter ADAMS • Sharon ASHMORE • Laura MCMANUS • Gerry EGAN • Philip SLATTERY • Eavan CONNOLLY • Sheila HYNES • Niamh DREW • Karol WIRKUS • Laura MURRAY • Conor DEVANEY • Frances KEARNEY • Katelyn KIERNAN • Roisin KIERNAN • Sean HENEGHAN • Joann BOWES • Darragh BOWES • Brian KIERNAN • Aileen KELLY • David HEPPLE

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Castletown parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Louise REILLY who recorded a time of 19:19 on 28th May 2016 (event number 28).
The male record is held by Martin HOARE who recorded a time of 16:36 on 24th June 2017 (event number 81).
The Age Grade course record is held by Gary CONDON who recorded 84.06% (16:44) on 20th August 2016 (event number 40).

Castletown parkrun started on 24th October 2015. Since then 3,334 participants have completed 17,214 parkruns covering a total distance of 86,070 km, including 3,784 new Personal Bests.

 

 

Event #99 Nov 04th 2017

99 bottles of beer on the wall,
99 bottles of beer.
99 ........

The number 99 features a little in the results this week, but not because of the nursery rhyme. It is because it is the number of parkrun that have been held at Castletown parkrun since it was inaugurated in late 2015.

We’ll return to the birthday celebrations and a review of the year shortly - but we’ll look at the event itself first.

We had a sharp increase in numbers on the day - with the appearance of an awful lot of very proud folks sporting a very stylish 2017 Dublin City Marathon t-shirt. We managed to capture a few of you with our selfie-frame!

Of the 244 people who attended, we saw 48 first timers to parkrun, and we sincerely hope that many of you will make it back to the event for a second time…..the second time is always the most difficult, but if you make it out for a second and then a third time…well, we think you’ll be hooked on parkrun.
There were also 41 PB’s on the day - so close to 1 in 6 of you had a personal best, so particular congratulations for your achievement, We hope that you’ll revel in your success and be back for more soon again!

Just a quick note to thank all of the volunteers this week, and we had a number of people take ad-hoc photos and share them on Flickr - which we wanted to express our thanks again for helping to run such a smooth event.

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parkrun 04/11

We also had a large group from ACefit bring a dash of purple and violet to the event with a large group attending, some of whom were making their parkrun debuts. We think that the last time they had a graduate group for couch to 5k were  was in March - at least according to our Run Report of the time. They have told us they will be back in the New Year with the next couch to 5k group. DSC08197.jpg

We also had another Castletown regular (Paul McDonnell) manage to make the 100-milestone club, and on the 99th event as well….though it is explained by Griffeen parkrun making up 51 of Paul’s total, with a few visits to other parkruns in Castlebar and Mullingar along the way to the 100.

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In an unofficial milestone which only caught our attention afterwards, we noticed that Sharon Ashmore reached the total of 150 parkruns - so close to three years worth of parkruns, and yet only 39 of those have been at Castletown itself! DSC08191.jpg

First three men home:20171104_095330

Oran, John and Michael were the first three males home, and have been regulars in some similar photographs at the event recently, and with PB's for the first two home the conditions in early November clearly suit good parkrunning.

20171104_103217Volunteers for this week - without whom the event could not happen, and as you can see it is a mix of hat and glove weather at the moment!

So, along with everything else that was happening we also had the 2nd annual Castletown parkrun awards.
We'd like to think that everyone at parkrun deserves an award but occasionally a little recognition as a look back on the year is a nice thing to do.
Whereas for the first annual awards there were a number of categories and a ‘points table’ system, this year we moved to more democratic system and had awards under a number of headings, voted for by you!

List of award winners:
Castletown parkrun most improved runner: This award is as it sounds for the parkrunner who has improved most in the last 12 months. The winner was Alicia Ashmore

Castletown parkrun spirit award: This award is for the person who embodies the parkrun ethos the most. That person who runs, volunteers and cheers on all the runners from first finisher to the tail walker. The winner was Declan Hynes

Most inspiring Castletown parkrunner of the year: This is for someone who has inspired others during the year. Could have been them getting more people involved, in parkrun or how they overcame injury or illness. The winner was Marian Fagan

Castletown parkrunner of the year is broken into a junior and senior category. For simpleness junior is under 18. This is for someone who has had a great year running weather it always getting in top 20 finishers or constantly running a sub 30 compare to running an odd one last year.

The senior winner was absent on the day so hopefully we will award it this weekend

The Junior winner was Alicia Ashmore

Castletown parkrun volunteer of the year is also broken into junior and senior category. This is for who you think was the best volunteer. Who was a kind RD, a pacer who helped you get a PB, that reassuring marshal that helped get you around the course.

The senior winner was Declan Hynes

The Junior winner was a tie between Alica Ashmore and Zac Gunning

The final award that is not open to public voting is the ED special recognition award. This will be given to some one the ED feels contributied something to parkrun in the last 12 months that may not have been seen by parkrunners.

Special Award: The Courtyard Cafe: 20171104_130742

We can't thank the folks in the Courtyard Cafe enough - they put up with a large number of parkrunners every week, chatting and yapping and laughing and catching up.
If we didn't have a little spot in the "Housekeeper's Room" to call our own on a Saturday morning then the event would not be the same.
So for all of the hearty breakfasts on a frosty February, to the Summer Fruit pots on a bright July morning that we look forward to.....it is the welcome that parkrunners get from all of the gang there; even as we bring a little chaos to their Saturday mornings, they are truly deserving of this recognition and making our event the place that it is.

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Junior Volunteer of the Year: Zach (on the right!)

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Most inspiring Castletown parkrunner of the year: Marian Fagan

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Senior Volunteer of the year: Declan Hynes (on the left!)

20171104_105339The cake - only because there are not enough photos of cake in the first 99 run reports!

Looking forward to year number 3

Philip Slattery
a very thankful ED
Run Director
Castletown Parkrun Event #99

 

The event was made possible by 23 volunteers:

Peter ADAMS • Sharon ASHMORE • Alicia ASHMORE • Laura MCMANUS • Philip SLATTERY • Sheila HYNES • Declan HYNES • Claire MILLAR • Niamh DREW • Marian FAGAN • Karol WIRKUS • John DIXON • Sabrina BARRETT • Ella MILLAR • Mia MILLAR • Lesley THOMSON • Melanie TUFFEN • Orla WALSH • Arlene HIGGINS • Sean HENEGHAN • Theresa CORBETT • Carol LEEMAN • David HEPPLE

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Castletown parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Louise REILLY who recorded a time of 19:19 on 28th May 2016 (event number 28).
The male record is held by Martin HOARE who recorded a time of 16:36 on 24th June 2017 (event number 81).
The Age Grade course record is held by Gary CONDON who recorded 84.06% (16:44) on 20th August 2016 (event number 40).

Castletown parkrun started on 24th October 2015. Since then 3,298 participants have completed 16,985 parkruns covering a total distance of 84,925 km, including 3,756 new Personal Bests.

 

 

Event #98, Saturday 28th October 2017 – Halloween Special

Event #98, Saturday 28th October 2017

 

There were mixed emotions galore at this weeks parkrun. We were returning after a week away due to storm Brian and this was the day before DCM, but also Halloween fancy dress.

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Fun and nerves were very evident all around the park, but still 200 of walked, ran, jogged the beautiful 5k route in Castletown.   To the delight of other park users in Castletown, they were treated to views of children laughing and enjoying the event, while accompanied by their guardians, all in full Halloween. IMG_7377

Kudos to the host of volunteers who didn't disappoint with a variety of fabulous outfits.

DSC_3723The volunteering children were rewarded for their efforts with chocolate apples. Untitled Café goers weren't left disappointed either, with the usual fabulous food served up and a fabulous Halloween cake was enjoyed by all.  Many thanks to Sheila for that.  It was just yum!
Sure, it wouldn't be parkrun without a cake. Untitled It was just the best type of carb-loading for all our pre-marathon goers and non-marathon goers alike.
As the marathon is now done, I'd like to congratulate the many marathon goers who ran the distance.  I was only a spectator and that was terribly enjoyable, but very tiring.
You are all amazing.  Whether you're a seasoned runner of achieving the distance for the first time, I'm in awe!!!
I hope you're feeling good afterwards and wearing your bling with pride. Untitled A big shout out to all who lined the route yesterday too, to cheer on the runners.  The atmosphere was truly amazing.  To those of you who volunteered at the bag drop, thank you!  I hear you all had an amazing day too.

Don't forget that next Saturday is our second birthday and newly installed Event Director Philip, will be presenting awards.  If you've not completed the survey, then quick... get your votes in now.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DS9HL53

Thank you to all of you who made event #98 as much fun as it was.

Roll on birthday No 2!!!

Your Run Director for #event98

Sharon Ashmore. DSC_3413

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October Parkrunner of the Month – Declan Hynes

Hi "The team at Castletown parkrun",

Can I just say how I do appreciate all that you guys do every week, and I regret that I don't have the words to capture what a cool thing that has been created in parkrun.

Anyway - when I first saw the list of questions for this interview, it brought the thoughts of an interrogation to mind.

interrogation

Then I got comfortable with the idea, and started talking........perhaps a little too much, under the pressure!

You'll tell me if I come across as a little bit mad......you know.....like Father Ted, or Dougal...........or even Father Jack........[nervous laughter]

 

I wouldn't want that to happen in this interview, at all, at all, at all.

 

No....it should be serious and have no humour in it whatsoever.

 

Okay?

 

Let's go!

 

Name:

My answer to this question has always wanted to be......and you'll have to use your imagination here.

 

Imagine the year 180 A.D.

A man stands in the middle of the Coliseum in Rome.

The man looks remarkably like Russell Crowe!

He removes his helmet,

turns towards the Emperor,

and says - in best "hero of the movie" voice..........and this is the good bit!!

 

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius,

Commander of the Armies of the North,

General of the Felix Legions,

Loyal servant to the true emperor,

Marcus Aurelius.

Father to a murdered son,

husband to a murdered wife.

And I will have my vengeance,

in this life or the next.”

 

I’ve always wanted that to be the answer to a question about what my names is!

 

== Editor's Note - we think he's referring to the movie Gladiator - and this scene in particular. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i0u4jFmE78 ) ==

 

However, it is an old movie (2000) so these days, I introduce myself as:

Jon Snow, First of His Name,

Defender of the Wall

Slayer of White Walkers and the Army of the Dead

Protector of the Realm

The King in the North.

Then I mutter something about one of the seasons, usually Winter, approaching soon.

 

You might have guessed that with such long answers I have trouble filling in forms, like passport applications, and usually stick with the short form: Declan Hynes.

 

Club: Celbridge AC – Fit4Life

 

Age: Age is a number. I have been on this earth as it has rotated around the sun on a number of occasions. We’ll leave that discussion where it is, but my hair colour would indicate that I’m not 21 anymore, and that it is simply too late to start with the Grecian 2000. Have I deflected the question enough yet?

 

Home parkrun: Castletown, but my first "home parkrun" was Griffeen. I think that the transfer happened under the Bosman ruling because no money changed hands.
Occupation: Engineer, though I have seen some creative descriptions, such as:

Editor of text files. Some days they are Word files, some days they are Excel. Other days they have different file extensions. Some days there's no files at all as you are editing items on a web-page.

Creator of plans: Some days the boxes and dates go in the right place and the connections make sense....other days you have to move the lines and the boxes and the dates around until you hope they make sense.

Mover of clouds: Some days they are Amazonian and occasionally they are Azure. They are, I imagine, grey, though never fluffy.

Searcher of knowledge: Most days it is google. Some days Bing. It is never Yahoo!
I enjoy it!

 

Number of runs:
104 officially, but I've forgotten my barcode a few times, and I've also ran parkruns and gotten to the finish at a time on a wet Saturday when the volunteers had put everything into the back of their cars and were heading home. I didn't want to bother them with scanning my barcode, so it will never count. However it means I’m really grateful to the folks who do Tail Walker now , so that this can't happen anyone again!

 

Favourite volunteer role:

Shouting at people in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday is my favourite role.

 

I know that this may come as a shock, but people actually like being shouted at, in a field, on a Saturday morning.

It took me a little while to get used to at parkrun....the being shouted at. But I appreciated it when people roared and screamed their heads off at me....... so now I try to do it.

 

Some people call it being a marshal. I think of it as shouting at people in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday.

Can I ask you "Where else are you thanked for shouting at people who are going past you"? If you did it anywhere else in the town, the county, the country, or indeed the world, at any other time, people would be unlikely to express their gratitude, and indeed their displeasure may be more apparent than not.

I recall acting as a volunteer marshal in Griffeen on one particular occasion - at the 2nd bridge if people know the course. At around 30 or 35 minutes into it, the numbers of people thinned out a little, so I only started to get a little more enthusiastic. When I got back to the base camp at the end of the event, one of the other volunteers (Gary) mentioned to me that a parkrunner had said to him, that it was only for the Marshal at that Bridge, otherwise they would not have gotten around.

I don't know who the parkrunner was, and I may never know, but I made someone's parkrun a little brighter that day.....so my favourite volunteer role is still shouting at people, in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday morning.

I've done the Run Director a few times....and I'm still working at getting better at breaking the ice with people and making them comfortable with the different roles, and making me comfortable with the co-ordination. However, it is the bit in the middle of the Run Director’s day, the "briefing" that I consider the best part.

 

It allows me to continue shouting at people, in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday morning.

 

How has parkrun changed your running:

Well, I was doing no running, or fitful at best, before parkrun, and now I have a collection of t-shirts from events over the past 4 years. So parkrun has not changed my running, but made me start running, and along with the folks on a Wednesday at Fit4Life in Celbridge A.C., kept me running.

I'd love there to be a more technical answer about gait patterns, or a more inspirational answer than that, but there isn’t.

 

I also find I run happier when people in Hi-Viz shout encouragement at me, loudly, in a field, on a Saturday.

 

That might just be me though, and not a common thing with people.

 

First parkrun:

My long-suffering spouse (and I think that she is looking to change her name to that by deed poll) noticed that a cousin of hers was regularly out in St. Anne's on a Saturday morning doing a run in a park. We'd be curious about it and agree that it is a "good thing" and that we would "do it soon". And it stayed like that until I was unceremoniously informed one Friday evening that it was going to happen the following morning. Thus I was behind the wheel of a car the next day heading towards Griffeen in late November 2013.

It was a scary and intimidating place...we saw all of these people abandon their cars around the place as we tried to figure out how to get to the start and I clutched my barcode nervously wondering what to do as all of these "proper runners" did warm-ups. I'd not done a proper warm-up, aside from before a 5-a-side, in decades! People all had the right gear as well.....it was simply terrifying.

 

The briefing by the team was brilliant - and away we went. I bravely thought beforehand that I'd be able to run most of it - but ended up doing a run-walk for most of the way around - but was exhilarated by it. There was lots of colour, people were really great and encouraging - shouting at you, loudly, in a field on a Saturday morning. I fell in love with the idea of it immediately. I knew that I wanted to come back.

 

The thing is, that we've not yet made it to St. Anne's - and we know that it is supposed to be a flat, fast course.....but soon Jamie, soon!

 

What do you like about parkrun:

I'm not sure that I can narrow it down to one thing, but if I had to.....it is the joy that is created on a Saturday morning. We are all told, and we all know that we should eat healthy and exercise more, but finding an outlet for it and a way to make it fun is a great thing and one of the best things about parkrun. I'd have to say as well that the creation of a community and the friendships around it are also things that I find magical.

What the guys in Griffeen did, in bringing along teas, coffees and the containers of boiling water....just so that people could hang around afterward and have a chat was simply amazing. It was such a simple idea - to have people hang around and chat, but it made such a huge difference. And I never appreciated how much went into it beforehand – but it was a *lot* of effort to make the teas and coffees available but it transformed the parkrun experience and made it special.

The parkrun and the chat afterwards, meant that the 5km was the same for me as it was for the guys who were doing a sub-20, or doing other astounding feats of running - be it 10km, half marathons, marathons and events of 24 hour endurance and even runs in the Arctic Circle. They joy and simplicity that they communicated and the advice that they gave freely to everyone else, made it special. It was a great introduction to exercise, running, parkrun and a world beyond having a lie-in on a Saturday morning.

So the question was..... “What do I like about parkrun?”

 

 

"The joy......"

 

 

"The happiness........"

 

 

"The people......"

 

 

"Yeah.........."

 

 

"I'm sure........."

 

 

"Final answer.........."

 

 

"The people."

 

 

"......."

 

 

"And the shouting at people, in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday morning."

 

Most memorable or funniest parkrun:

I'm sure that there are a few that will come to mind as I write this, but there are two that really stick out for me as being personally memorable, one that left an impression on me, and one that I think may have left an impression on someone else.

 

On my second ever parkrun around Griffeen, I had decided that I was going to try and run the entire of the first lap non-stop.....even if there was a risk of not being able to draw breath afterwards, I had determined that I was going to do it. So, after gasping for what little oxygen that I could manage to get into my lungs I promptly started walking shortly after what is normally the first corner on the second lap. About twenty second later, a voice goes "Come here....run with me". That was Tom Flood and he ran with me around the second lap and I did it without stopping the rest of the way. I like to think that it was the next week that I did the full 5km non-stop, and I don't recall if it was or not, but it was Tom's encouragement that day, to help out someone who was clearly new to this running thing that stuck with me. Over the next few weeks his encouragement and interest in how my running was going, kept me going - and I see that he did his 106th parkrun last week, of which 101 are in Griffeen! I’ll always be grateful to Tom, always, for that nudge to help me around on that second lap.

I also think that I’ll never be able to express my thanks to Paul Richardson and the team at Griffeen for creating the event to allow moments like this to happen.

 

 

The other most memorable moment for me was in Saint-Paulin parkrun in Quebec. They'd cancelled the three previous parkruns with the weather, as it was minus 25 degrees, which they thought was a little too cold for the timekeepers. We don't appreciate how good we have it in Castletown!

Anyway, we had messaged the Facebook page to let them know we were going to be there. Now, their page is completely in French so I was a little uncertain about my conjugation of the irregular verbs, but we managed to communicate “en Anglais”.

We got there a half hour early and met Annie, and her husband, and her father-in-law and had just a great auld chat about parkrun - how it came to be, and the particular impact that it has had on their community.....it really is a special, special thing that they have done there.

 

We found out that they had prepared what would have been their first ever bi-lingual briefing for us. We also found out that we were the first ever parkrun tourists to visit Saint-Paulin.......but what made it even more special for us was to see Annie's blog shortly afterwards, making me realise the impact of a #parkrunfamily.

"I was so happy to meet them, to know that we already have something in common without even knowing them" http://blog.parkrun.com/ca/2017/03/23/its-all-about-family/

That adventure for the few days was extraordinary – Canada in the deepest of winter – it was magic!

 

 

Is that the last question in this?

 

Did I mention that I find it memorable when I get to shout at people, in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday morning?

 

No?

 

Well, you should include that when you write up this interview.

 

But perhaps be suble about it.

 

I wouldn't want it to come across as strange or anything.

 

I get a kick out of it though....

 

The shouting.

 

 

In a field.

 

On a Saturday.

 

 

Yeah, but be subtle......

 

 

Though, if you do mention it, there are other things to mention as well.

 

 

The power of having a good marshal and the encouragement that it brings to everyone on the two laps - you should mention that.

The difference it can make to participants their mood and their overall experience and enjoyment of parkrun as the community participation event that it is - you should mention that.
The fact that everyone can participate every week, that it is free, timed and 5km. You should mention that.
The positive benefits, the community and the friendships that it creates. You should mention that.
That we need volunteers every week to keep creating the magic. You should mention that.

That I get a kick out of this nomination, and a chance to express my thanks to so many people in the time that I've participated in parkrun. I should mention that.

 

So while I started listing names, it is too long a list, and I wouldn't want to miss out on anyone, so to the small sample of stories and people above, I'll just add mention of Sharon for taking the leap to create Castletown out of Griffeen.

 

It is simply wonderful to have a parkrun on our doorstep.
In a field.
On a Saturday.

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