It’s probably not the best idea to allow me compose this weeks run report. The last time I wrote the word ‘Atlantic’ I included the letter ‘h’ in the spelling. Morto I was.
As a true blue Dub and out of respect to my hosts I will try to refrain from references to Gaelic football in this note. Even if today’s parkrun participation included FIVE (5) first timers to Erris. Standing still the start All IN A ROW.
Why visit Erris? Well, for starters us Dubs love to get away from the big smoke. Erris is advertised as the most westerly parkrun in Europe and it certainly felt every bit that way as I made the long drive in darkness to get there.
I’ve been fascinated with this region since in the school play I had to recite "There's not his like from Binghamstown To Boyle and Ballycroy, At playing hell on decent girls, At beating man and boy." when performing JM Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World. Alas, my acting career went no further.
So you see I just had to get to see this mythical land. And boy am I glad I did.
Let’s get the weather bit out of the way. I was warned about the potential westerly gales. But you see, I knew all about these having worked in the claims department of an insurance company. Westerners premiums are always loaded due to the potential for storm damage claims. It’s nothing personal. Honestly. Anyway, the locals told me afterwards that the wind wasn’t bad today. The meteorological office described it as ‘fresh’ so I’ll go with that. There were certainly no cobwebs about.
The course is a clockwise loop of Cross Lake. I couldn’t wait to get going it looked so inviting. Certainly so as we shivered at the start line it seemed like the thing to do. The route is along narrow country roads with grass growing in the middle. We love to see that. A sure sign we are on our holidays. City slickers.
Padraig the Run Director gave a personal welcome to each and every parkrunner before we began. A nice touch. After a chirpy briefing he diligently counted his flock before setting us on our way. Yes, there were sheep and cattle on the course but outside of the parkrunners no living humans or vehicles were encountered. There is one significant hill but us Jackeens are used to mighty HILL(16)s. The multiple parkrun signs and markers along the route briefly distracted you from the blissful wild wilderness we were travelling. It was nice too that a convoy of parked tractors formed a guard of honour guiding us along the final kilometer to the finish.
The event team kindly provided water, tea and coffee. Thank you. This presented a great opportunity to meet fellow parkrunners. As ever in the conversation we solved all the world’s problems. I was speaking with a lovely lady as we watched the final walkers come through. She remarked that her daughter had returned from the mayhem of a days shopping in Dublin and observed how lovely it was to return home to the peace of the countryside and the sound of the cows. I see what she means.
Kudos to the 35 people who ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 5 were first timers and 4 recorded new Personal Bests.
We should always thank the volunteers and most particularly at this time of year when they have to hang about in the rough weather. So thank you to this weeks volunteer team: Martina MONAGHAN • Padraig BROGAN • Edel WALSH • Marie BROGAN • Kevin WALSH • Katie WALSH • Laura WALSH • Caroline BANE • Niall COPPINGER
The male record is held by Gary THORNTON who recorded a time of 15:57 on 5th August 2017 (event number 78). The female record is held by Maura GINTY who recorded a time of 20:03 on 3rd August 2019 (event number 183). The Age Grade course record is held by Joan BOYD who recorded 87.90% (23:25) on 1st January 2018 (event number 100).
Erris parkrun started on 20th February 2016. Since then 1,351 lucky participants have completed 8,851 parkruns covering a total distance of 44,255 km, including 1,553 new Personal Bests. That means Erris parkrunners have more than circumnavigated the earth all within this tiny peace of heaven. A total of 199 individuals have volunteered 1,545 times.
Special thanks to Padraig Brogan and his team for this unique event. Padraig has a lot on his plate as he’s inflicted with supporting two of the most cursed teams in sporting history. Hopefully, one of them will rectify that this year and we’ll all go MARCHING ON TOGETHER to the promised land. See, told you I wouldn’t mention GAA.
“To hell or to Connaught”. Well, I tasted a bit of heaven today. Thank you to Erris parkrun and all today’s participants for the warm welcome and the best of parkrun days.