Give them an Inch and they’ll take a mile... well 3.1 miles. Although everything is Ireland is actually in kilometres, which always gives me a mild sense of panic when I see the speed limit of 100 on your roads!
You’ve probably heard that joke a million times, so I apologise. It’s a bit like people ask which parkrun I am RD at, Westmill. Where? Yes, Ware.
I am currently sat in Kerry Airport swearing at the telly, while watching South Africa versus England, and reflecting on another fabulous bit of parkrun tourism.
Yes, I really did fly out just for Inch parkrun. Although my latest bit of Gaelic tourism (Father Collins, Malahide and Bere Island before today) did not start so well. While sat on the train to Stansted I got a message from my friend who was travelling out from Luton. Only, actually... he wasn’t. He’d forgotten his passport. Then there was a fault on the train line...
However, I got the plane and found my hire car (which just about worked), and after a drive through some glorious countryside found Inch.
If parkrun has taught me anything, it’s that you’ll never be lonely, or regret the early start. The grey clouds quickly cleared and as the tide went out, it was a relief to see the beach would actually be wide enough to hold the parkrun!
Having spotted the gathering Lycra and parkrun signage, I wandered from The Strand down to the beach and was immediately made very welcome.
Barry had marked the line in the sand and dispatched the lone marshal. Having reassured me that barefoot was fine, and the jellyfish were nothing more than squidgy, I ditched the runners and was ready.
With a jolly briefing and a quick countdown, the merry band of 35 parkrunners were blown down the beach. It was fantastic listening to the waves as I had my first experience of barefoot running.
I set off after two speedy chaps and was surprised to find myself in top three. The return journey was made a lot easier by the smiling faces and high-5s of fellow parkrunners, despite the gusty headwind.
All too soon parkrun number 126 (46th different event) was complete. After the obligatory paddle in the Atlantic, I had a cuppa and a scone with the core team; the perfect parkrun experience.
I did go on to Dingle, over Conor Pass and then to Tralee before heading home, but I am sure I will be back. Inch Beach parkrun will no doubt prove very appealing to UK tourists and alphabeteers.
You’ll be able to spot them from the cow cowl and cowbob hat. It has no official link to parkrun, but is simply a way for fellow UK tourists (20+ different events) to spot each other.
So thanks for a fantastic parkrun experience; my highest ever finish and first lady to boot (full results here). Westmill is not far from Stansted Airport... so if you fancy an undulating two lapper with the promise of an excellent bacon sandwich after, just let me know!