Another great parkrun under the direction of Jimmy Laide. 254 runners and 17 volunteers! Perfect conditions for our 161st parkrun. As it was Valentine’s Day during the week, we asked for suggestions for an appropriate soundtrack and some of the selections were spot on:
“You Win Again” – The Bee Gees
Yes, we know you can’t “win” a parkrun, there are no winners (well, there were 254 today, actually) and certainly no losers, but it’s still nice to celebrate the athletes at the front who spur us on to greater efforts. This week’s First Male Finisher was Donal O’Kelly, his third time running with us. On his first occasion he finished third, last week he was second to Derek, and this week he was first past the line in a time of 18:46, his third consecutive PB. It’s worth noting that that time included three of our (in)famous “dog-leg” hairpin turns and during Donal’s 5K he overtook approximately 180 other runners! Well done Donal! Our First Lady today (we are getting used to this!) was Sineád Healy, with yet another PB! Sinéad is now up to fourth in our First Finishers table, although she has some way to go to match Sharon Cahill!
“Why Don’t You Try Me?” – Ry Cooder
There’s one thing about all the photos I have of the great Pat Sheehy – he’s never alone! Usually it’s just a woman on each arm, but today he excelled himself!
“I’ll Find My Way Home” - Jon & Vangelis
John Walshe always has good suggestions for musical accompaniment, but after well over 200 parkruns between them, there’s not much chance of John & Zach Walshe getting lost in the Town Park! Even though the tempo of this great song wasn’t quite right for fast running, it was enjoyed by everyone.
“Love Is In The Air” – John Paul Young
Majella Ahern’s request was this classic from 1978. Today, Majella was our Tail-Walker with Hilda Jones, keeping everyone safe and encouraging those who were finding the going tough.
“Let’s Stay Together” – Al Green
We love tourists at Tralee parkrun. We had lots of parkrun celebrities this week, including Ger (“Harry”) Harrington, Event Director of Glengarriff parkrun, who crossed the border in the early hours to join us. He’s running a longer distance tomorrow, so it was Maria who did the running while Harry did the minding this morning. Glengarriff is one of the parkruns that’s within striking distance of Tralee for a day trip, and it’s well worth a visit, a spectacular setting in the beautiful Forest Park just outside town. I’m told this song was played at their wedding!
“She Drives Me Crazy” – Fine Young Cannibals
Also travelling from West Cork this morning was Mary Hourihane, her first trip away from her home parkrun, Castlehaven. The fact that Mary completed her parkrun today two minutes faster than any of her 64 at home fills me with dread – we are planning a trip there next weekend! It has a reputation for being a tough course (click here for some interesting facts!), but people also rave about its beauty. We’ll report back next week.
“I’m So Excited” – The Pointer Sisters
We had other tourists too, Mark McCormick and Sharon Daly from Oranmore parkrun. I had the pleasure of meeting Mark and Sharon last year in Oranmore and one thing that struck me was their passion for parkrun. As well as being a core team member (with Sharon) for Oranmore’s event, Mark is also Event Director for Oranmore’s great junior parkrun! By coincidence, our junior ED Caroline Lynch was in Oranmore today, but she’ll be back tomorrow and both Mark and Sharon will be on the volunteer roster.
“Heart on My Sleeve” – Gallagher & Lyle
One thing’s for sure with Johnny Conway, what you see is what you get! He was whispering sweet nothings in the Run Director’s ear as he passed the finish line but we’re not sure what he said! John is getting ready for his next stint as Run Director in a couple of weeks.
“Burning Love” – Elvis Presley
We all love Stella, a recent parkrunner of the month and even more recently featured on parkrun’s blog with her account of our trip to Bushy Park. Stella was a deserved winner of a free trip to Bushy, and that was the catalyst for 100 more of us to join herself and Sean on a romantic weekend in London!
“How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?” – Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks
Our playlist wouldn’t be complete without a bit of good old-fashioned Country, and this was Bertie’s selection this week! Has it something to do with the fact that Bairbre was away again this week, Cabinteely parkrun this time, on her steady climb up Ireland's Most Events table - she's just overtaken the legendary Matt Shields!
Much as we enjoyed the music, there was a lot more going on today. No less than three runners did their 50th parkrun – Stephen Byrne, Gráinne Hayes and Luke O’Callaghan.
Two other runners received their certificates for that milestone, we missed out Shane McCabe last week and Michelle Hartnett a few weeks before that (sorry!).
And unbeknownst to us, Marc Brick completed his 10th 5k parkrun - as he hadn't been around for a couple of months, we hadn't been expecting him this morning. Well done Marc!
We had our juggler, Malachy Kelly, whose exploits have been entertaining international audiences as well as our own in recent weeks!
And of course we had newcomers, hopefully they enjoyed the morning and will be back next week and every week. Among them the ones who attracted most attention were Adam (in the buggy and Leo (on the lead)!
All the facts and figures from today's parkrun are here and there are photos by Séamus Cadogan and John Ryle on our Facebook page.
And as always, we like to mention the great group of volunteers that make our parkrun so great every week – of course, it’s a different team every week and you can join that team! We are fortunate that our roster is nearly full next week (would someone like to try their hand with the camera?) but there are lots of chances to volunteer in March. You can check the roster here and give your name to the Communications Person any Saturday morning.
Of course, when the run was finished, there was more... A trip to The Brandon for delicious scones - it was so busy this morning that extra help had to be drafted in, even Orla couldn't keep up! There was Lemon Drizzle cake to mark Stephen's 50th, and while Jimmy & Bertie sorted out the results, the dynamic duo of Darragh Lynch and John Robinson sorted the large stack of tokens in double quick time - thanks to John's secret method! (Oops, have I given it away?). There's a couple of tokens missing, check your pockets and return them if you have them.
Finally, a request. We don't want to be victims of our own success. As it gets busier, the course can get a bit congested. Could we ask runners to keep left and overtake on the right, especially on the “dog-leg” and where the path is narrow. And for the faster runners, remember that it is a run, not a race, and we want to ensure that runners and walkers all enjoy the morning equally, whatever their speed.
The fun continues next week. Same time, same place. Frances Quinn will be the boss. We’ll have pacers next week, get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to pace (or if there’s a time you’d like to see paced).