Give parkrunners an Inch and they will come from miles around to run it. That was certainly the case last weekend when we had quite a few experienced parkrun tourists show up for the 26th Inch Beach parkrun.
Among them, proudly wearing his 250 green t-shirt was Dave OLDFIELD most often seen at Clair parkrun north of Brighton. That said Dave has made the trip to Irish shores a number of times having also ran Vicarstown parkrun on the Grand Canal and has also made the trip out to Bere Island.
Nigel with some junior parkrun tourists (all the way from Tralee!)
Also over from the UK was parkrun tourist fanatic Nigel CRONIN from Peterborough who is closing in on joining the 250 club. Nigel has a formidable reputation in the parkrun tourist community, having ran his home parkrun 50 times, 3 times each in Albert and Stewart parkruns in Middlesbrough, twice in Tring parkrun and twice in our close neighbour Tralee, every other venue he has been to has only been run once, that's a remarkable 186 parkrun venues in 241 parkruns.
Dave, Gary & Niamh
We also had several visitors down from West Dublin with Carol WALSH down from Waterstown and Niamh O'DALY and myself visiting from Griffeen parkrun for our first trips to a parkrun on the beach. Also accompanying me was my father and Lough Key parkrunner David O'DALY who along with 45 others are flying off to parkrun in Kraków in Poland at the end of the month. Congrats to Dave on running his fastest ever 5k.
From the above I think it is definitely safe to say that six months after it started Inch Beach parkrun has established itself strongly on the map as not only one of Irelands best venues to travel to but also one parkrunners the world over will travel to. That's something to be very proud of given the already appealing neighbours of the Rose Garden in Tralee and Muckross House in Killarney only down the road. I'm sure Farranfore will do well for years to come with the Kingdom offering so many picturesque parkruns in such close proximity to each other.
Scenery only counts for so much though and one cannot forget to mention the welcome from the locals and the volunteers. I had spoken briefly to local parkrun Ambassador Tony HIGGINS before I had travelled down and he had mentioned that Inch was struggling to find a Run Director for the day as Inch's usual team were all away last weekend. Fear not though, in the true spirit of parkrun, Tony rallied around with the other volunteers who had already put their names down to ensure a week wasn't missed and all of us are grateful for the event they put on. To be honest I think he was just looking for an excuse to park his camper van on the beach for a night.
Thankfully by the time the parkrunners started to arrive on Saturday morning the heavy rain from the night before had started to lift and move off towards Tralee. I think some of the Tralee parkrunners saw this coming given the number of them in attendance this week. By the time this parkrunner crossed the finish line, I could feel the heat of the sun on my back.
It was also great to see some new faces to parkrun this week with 3 people taking on their very first parkruns on Saturday. A big welcome to Georgina KENNEDY, Mark SHANAHAN and Antoinette DORGON and we hope to see you back soon.
Of course a trip to Inch Beach wouldn't be complete without a trip to Sammy's after for a warm drink and a breakfast bap. Nothing adds to a scenic parkrun more than having a gathering place after to meet up and enjoy some banter with your fellow parkrunners as the results are processed and names are given to volunteer next week.
Some of this week's volunteer team
Let us not forget that we all need to take our turn so if it's been a while or you have never volunteered before, give it a thought the next time you are at parkrun, it is one of the most rewarding things you can do all week.
I would expect that many of the local Inch parkrunners may venture up to celebrate Tralee parkruns 200th event this Saturday coming especially with parkrun hero Pat SHEEHY also celebrating his 250th time volunteering at parkrun between the 5k and Junior events. Many congrats Pat, you truly are a hero in the vibrant parkrun community that seems to live strong no matter where you go in Kerry.
Finally a special thank you to the Inch Beach parkrun core team for allowing a bunch of tourists overrun your splendid event on a refreshing November morning.
Until next time,