It was only 12 months ago, end of December 2017, when I was just dreaming of setting up a parkrun on Inch Beach. Fast forward to the present, and we have done 35 Inch Beach parkruns and it is truly now an established member of the parkrun family.
The winter months were my only concern for Inch Beach given the usual stormy wet weather that the season brings. However, bar a few misty days and damp cold weather, the Saturdays on Inch Beach have been very pleasant with some mild temperatures and blue skies. Thankfully, we have some good local support and hardy souls. One of them, one of our youngest, Fionn Spillane has only missed one Inch parkrun out of the 34 so far with his mother Suzanne always in tow. It's great how parkrun seems to gather and group families and we now have a very helpful family of Moriartys from Annascaul that either participate or are part of the core volunteers.
As the Dingle Peninsula is almost an all year round tourist destination, there are still plenty of parkrun tourists flocking to Inch Beach. Festivals like the Dingle Food Festival and Other Voices keeps numbers up. We had a visit from Olympian David Gillick who enjoyed his run on Inch Beach and paced young Fionn Spillane to a PB.
We had our first themed event with our Halloween parkrun at the end of October.
November still had mild weather and with regular RD’s Barry and Elizabeth tied up, we were lucky to have stand-in support from experienced Tralee volunteer Tom Crean and parkrun ambassador Tony Higgins. One great thing about the parkrun community is that its one big happy family no matter where you reside or which parkrun you are signed up to.
The dark December days brought our lowest attendance record but the show still went on. We had our first 25 times volunteer with RD Elizabeth Brookes who has literally only missed a handful of Saturdays since the beginning. The festive season brought a busy line up for Inch with a “Santa Hat” run on the 22nd, a post Christmas blow out on the 29th, finishing off in style with the special edition parkrun on Jan 1stwith the New Years Day Double.
This was a special day out as it gave people the chance to complete two parkruns on the same day. Both Inch and Listowel parkrun put on their events at 9am, with Tralee parkrun hosting their event at 11am.
A slightly earlier than usual start had RD’s Barry and Elizabeth on the beach setting up. The unusual dry mild spell gave a perfect setting for the parkrun and soon the numbers started to arrive. With a big contingent arriving from Tralee, we saw one of the biggest crowds since the summer of 103 on Inch beach for the 34thparkrun. A great morning that saw some adding a swim to their double run with a plunge into the Atlantic after their run! There was also a new course record set by Robert Frewen of 17.57 to mark the occasion.
Soon after 10am, everything was packed up and many then made their way into Tralee for the next parkrun. A packed park, with Tralee recording their biggest attendance of 350, made for a fun filled and enjoyable day out for everyone. It was a nice way for the different parkruns to be together just for once on the same day.
So 2019 has begun in style. Inch Beach parkrun is here to come. Whether you are a local or a tourist, it’s not one to be missed!