It’s been a long time since the last Parkrun events were run, and we have all missed the regular schedule of waking up on a Saturday morning, pulling on our running gear, jumping in the car and driving to our local Parkrun to meet up with our friends, to run the 5K
Finally Parkrun in Northern Ireland has started up its events and this weekend we headed off for a bit of Parkrun Tourism to Portrush.
The Portrush Parkrun takes place at East Strand Beach and much to our surprise the course is actually an out and back up the beach on the sand. All those fancy running shoes with carbon plate technology are nullified, with a number of runners running barefoot.
Admittedly we did arrive a bit late to the event, so it was straight into the Race Directors briefing. Which was difficult to hear over the crashing waves, barking dogs and the excited chatter of friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time. Then after a few rounds of applause for runners who had reached a milestone (it must have been agonising having to wait for the next Parkrun if you were on the eve of a Parkrun milestone), we lined up on the start line and before we knew it we were off.
I am so out of practise of doing Parkrun, I arrived late, so no warmup, and I hadn’t set up my watch prior to the start, so the first 50 meters of the run, I was frantically pressing buttons on my watch to get it to record the event.
The 250 runners quickly headed for the shoreline, where the sand was a little harder but you had to avoid the incoming waves or it would be wet feet for the rest of the run.
The out stretch of the run was into the wind, with a fellow runner commenting that it was lucky the run hadn’t been yesterday as there was full on gale blowing down the beach. That aside, the views of the beach, shoreline and the Skerries Islands were enough to distract me from my rapidly tiring legs. The sand was quickly taking its toll as I’m a self confessed road runner, I love a good bit of smooth tarmac.
We got to the turn and with the wind behind us, we headed for home and soon the finish was visible in the distance and gave us all extra motivation to run a bit faster, we could practically taste the coffee. Before we knew it we were crossing the finishing line, thanking the volunteers, fist bumping our fellow runners and discussing how good it was to be back and that we’d be back next week.
The stats for Parkruns across our wee country are below, great to see so many new Parkrunners