This week's parkrun #241 was the second "takeover" by the staff and retired staff of University Hospital Kerry - the Angels of Mercy! And such was the willingness of the Caring Professions to help out, we could easily have filled the volunteer roster twice! This was the second (hopefully annual) Hospital Takeover, with some familiar faces and some new - refresh your memory here.
We knew it was going to be fun when Matron Catherine arrived in uniform, followed shortly by parkrun-patient Tim. You'll all be glad to hear Tim is making excellent recovery. We can only feel sorry anyone who was following Tim around the three laps, gown flapping in the breeze!
We had lots of people doing their first ever parkrun, and tourists from far and wide met Anne Kelly for the First-Timers' Briefing. Our visitors included Christina from Westport, William and Joanna with 130 parkruns between them, Siobhain from Clare, and John and Brendan from Listowel. Jacek from Killarney made his first trip up the N22 from his base in Killarney (no Killarney House parkrun, of course) - just two weeks before his century.
Our VIP Visitor of the Week was Jake, also from Listowel, who accompanied his dad Tim who is Event Director of Listowel parkrun, and back in the day was one of us!
David Walsh finally got to do his 50th parkrun - he's been on 49 for a few weeks but has been busy clocking up lots more than 5k on Saturday mornings! Niall Carr also hit the 50 mark this week.
Ann O'Mahony ran her 100th today, with the same big smile on her face as she had for the last 99. Also hitting her century this morning was Mary Kilkenny-Barrett, who was another of the Angels of Mercy who wanted to volunteer this week!
Catherine O'Halloran missed a few weeks parkrunning due to injury, but volunteered every week - but when she heard about the hospital takeover she just HAD to be involved! So to allow her to run her 150th today, she took on the job of token-sorting which is one of the roles that earn you both a volunteering and a running credit. There's no T-shirt for 150, of course, and Catherine has long ago earned the volunteer T-shirt, so I'm afraid it's another 100 runs before her next free item of parkrun apparel! Not only did we lose no tokens this week, our team of token-sorters actually found an extra one!
The morning was dry for the most part for the 260 runners. Shortly after 9:30, they were off. After only five and a half minutes we saw our first runner, and it looked like a very fast time.
It was first-time parkrunner Thibaut Hocquette from Brittany, who was sorry he hadn't discovered parkrun before this, as he's due to return to France next week at the end of his two month stay. Thibaut's time of 17:29 saw him a couple of minutes clear of Garrett and Padraig!
Even more amazing was the performance of our First-Lady-With-A-Barcode, Majella Diskin, whose time of 22:37 earns her a place in the top 5 age-grade scores for Ireland this week! Great running too by Siobhan Kearney with her fastest time this year and visitor Liz Lynch.
We had 15 runners earning new Personal Best times today, a special mention to Máiréad O'Mahony who had her 10th PB (with a little help from her guide Sharon, Queen of Pacers) - Máiréad is now thirteen minutes faster than her first parkrun in January - it helps that she hasn't missed a single week since she started!
Next week's parkrun might have a slightly similar feel, with Sharon Condon in charge. That usually means Brownies... no wonder the roster has been full for weeks... but we're always looking for new volunteers to share the load. Have a look at the roster for the next few weeks and see when you'd like to join over 650 parkrunners who have volunteered at our parkrun! You can tell the Communications Person (with "The Book") any week or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, barcode number and the dates you'd like to help out.