Clonbur Wood 250519

Facilities

This rural parkrun is not accessible by public transport so for those travelling by car, parking is important. There is some parking available at the entrance to the woods, but there is plenty more available on the streets of the village. The village of Cong is nearby, which is accessible by public transport and is connected to Clonbur via off road trails. There are no changing facilities or toilets available at this parkrun.

Course

This is a very peaceful run located in the middle of Connaught in the west of Ireland. The woods are quite secluded and quiet, so much so that you can get a great sense of serenity as you run around. The course is mostly flat, but there are a few short climbs which can be very challenging when running at a high tempo induced by the flatness. The surface is mostly gravel, with some large loose chipping, so watch your step. The trees offer good shelter from the wind and the rain.

Coffee

Parkrunnners go for coffee in a local cafe, where there is a great deal available on coffee and scones.

X Factor

The nearby village of Cong offers some terrific history and fantastic sights. Cong was the seat of the last high king of Ireland, Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, is the location of the beautiful Ashford Castle and grounds, and was the main filming location for the movie The Quiet Man, and is well worth a visit.

Tøyen 180519

Facilities

This parkrun located in central Oslo is easy to get to by public transport, with a metro station and bus stations close by. Driving is an option but I didn’t see a lot of parking spaces around the park. There are no changing or toilet facilities at the park.

Course

This hilly course is made up of three laps around the park, with a short spur at the beginning and end of the loop. The path is mostly paved, except for one end of the loop which is grass and earthen. It is at this point of the loop where the steepest incline is, so during wet weather I imagine that this part of the run would be quite challenging and a lot of fun. The park itself is very nice, with a good mixture of lawns, mature trees and gardens.

Coffee

Parkrunners enjoy coffee in the cafe located in the picturesque botanical gardens across the street from the parkrun.

X Factor

It is always a thrill for me to go visit parkruns in different countries around the world and this parkrun is testament to the enduring appeal of parkrun around the world.

Knockanacree Woods 200419

Facilities

This parkrun is located in a rural setting and is not accessible by public transport. Car parking spaces are limited at the woods, so the organisers encourage parkrunnners to park in the nearby village of Cloughjordan and to use the 1km walk to the woods as a warm up. There are no toilet or changing facilities at this parkrun.

Course

Some running coaches would say that hill work is just as good as speed work. Well there is no shortage of hills at this parkrun, so this is a great place to do some training. The course is made up of two laps around the woods. The surface is an earthen and gravel mix, and every so often there are tree roots and stumps on the path, so watch your step. Watch your head as well, as there are some over hanging branches along the route. The setting for this parkrun is really nice, being a quiet, peaceful, mature woodland, and with all of the twists and turns, and ups and downs of the paths through the trees this is a very enjoyable place for a run.

Coffee

Coffee is had in a busy cafe in the village centre where a hearty breakfast is available

X Factor

This parkrun is located very close to the Cloughjordan Eco Village, which is a community that focuses on sustainability and ultimately threading more lightly on the planet. It is a very interesting project and there are tours available for anyone that is interested. Cloughjordan is also the birthplace of Irish revolutionary leader Thomas MacDonagh.

Royal Canal, Kilcock 130419

Facilities

This parkrun is well connected by public transport with the ability to get here by bus or by train. If travelling by car, there is only on-street parking available. There are no changing or toilet facilities available at this parkrun

Course

The course is a very straight forward out and back route along the bank of the canal. Being alongside a canal the route is very flat and so this would make a good place for a PB attempt. The course is mostly made up of loose, fine gravel with a short paved section. From the raised bank of the canal you can survey the countryside as you go along the route which provides an interesting vista.

Coffee

Post run coffee is had in a local cafe, not too far from the start line. This is a nice place to sit down and watch the world go by in this busy little village.

X Factor

The ever increasing network of parkruns is testament to the popularity of the organisation. This parkrun has helped to promote use of the canal bank walk and it is a great use of local amenities.

 

 

Mallow Town 020319

Facilities

Public transport is a good way to get to this parkrun as the bus stop is right next to the park. Driving is an option but many of the car parks are pay and display and some are for customers of the local shops only. There are no toilet or changing facilities at this run.

Course

This is a mostly flat run, about 50:50 paved and grass. There is one pinch ate a hill at the far end of the run, but it is not too long. Altogether then this would be a good run to attempt a PB, but only during dry weather, as the grass will tend to get muddy during wet weather. The course is relatively straight forward, with two laps of aloop around the main part of the park and an out and back spur along the river bank in between the two laps. The park is fairly open with a few playing fields, and there are some impressive bridges on  display as you run along the river bank.

Coffee

Coffee is had in a hotel on the main street, where breakfast cam be purchased.

X Factor

Mallow has an interesting history as having a strong agricultural and industrial base and is known as the ‘Crossroads of Munster’. If you have some time while visiting Mallow check out the herd of white deer at the Castle.

Limavady 230219

Facilities

The car park for this parkrun is located around 500 metres from the park at the local leisure centre. Allow enough time to get from the car park to the run if travelling by car. Of course, car need not be your only means of getting to this parkrun. The local bus station is close to the start line with buses servicing Limavady from the surrounding area stopping here. There are changing facilities, showers and toilets available at the leisure centre.

Course

This run is made up of three and a half laps around the course. The course is a path around the outside of the park which is very straightforward to follow. The course is entirely paved but is not entirely flat with a slight incline from the bottom of the park back up to the top. At the bottom of the park there is a short section where the course turns back on itself on the same path, which can get a little congested so be mindful of other runners at this section. The park itself is a long, narrow stretch of greenery enclosed in the middle of the town and is nice and quiet inside.

Coffee

Volunteers prepare coffee in a small room at the leisure centre after the run, which has some seating so this is a great opportunity to sit down and chat with your fellow parkrunners.

X Factor

Limavady was the home of Jane Ross, a woman who lived in the 1800’s and was a collector of unpublished melodies. Her most significant contribution to music was the collection and submission for publication of a tune that was to become known as the Londonderry air, which is now world famous as the music to the song: “Oh Danny Boy”.

Stranmillis College 160219

Facilities

This urban parkrun is easy to get to by public transport or alternatively by walking or cycling. There is parking available at the run, but the car parks are small and may fill up. There are toilets available close to the start line, but no changing facilities.

Course

This course is made up of one loop around the grounds of the college which must be covered three times. The course is tough, with a long gradual climb at the far end of the loop. Given that this must be done three times it is safe to say that there is plenty of climbing at this run and it is not the place to attempt a PB. The entire route is paved and for the few turns that need to be taken marshalls are on hand to show you where to go. The college grounds are quite nice, with lots of big trees and some great architecture on view also.

Coffee

Coffee is had in a small cafe in one of the college buildings. There is plenty of seating available here to sit down and have a chat with your fellow parkrunnners.

X Factor

Taking place on a university campus,  there is a very nice atmosphere at this parkrun. It is relaxed and contemplative, a good mood to be in for running.

Carrickfergus 260119

Facilities

There is a large car park next to this park, but there is also a sports centre next to the car park so demand for spaces is high. Arrive early to secure a spot. There is a train to Carrickfergus from Belfast however, which arrives into a very pretty little train station, and a bus service also. There are no changing facilities available, but there are toilets in the sports centre next to the car park.

Course

This is a three lap course which goes in and around the park. The route is entirely paved, though paths are narrow and you may need to do a little bit of running on the grass verge if it gets congested. The course is mostly flat save for a short pinch about halfway through the lap. The many twists and turns along the route can be slightly confusing the first time around, but there are marshals on duty to show you the way, and yellow markers painted on the path. The park itself has many interesting features like a small pond and a bowling green.

Coffee

There is a cafe in the sports centre where parkrunners gather after the run for a coffee.

X Factor

I could not write this post without mentioning the song Carrickfergus, which I’m sure has made many’s the Irish emigrant shed a tear or two over the years. I believe that nobody knows who wrote the song, and there is even some doubt that it refers to Carrickfergus in County Antrim, but it is nice to think that there is some connection. There is also a very impressive castle in Carrickfergus, which is worth a look.

Larne 190119

Facilities

This parkrun is on the outskirts of Larne town and despite the relatively rural location there is a bus service that passes by the park which will get you there from Larne town by 9:30 in the morning. Otherwise, there is a large car park next to the start line. There are public toilets in the car park but there are no changing facilities.

Course

This is a lollipop shaped course, with an out section to begin with, then two laps of the course loop, and then back to the start. The entire route is paved but this is a hilly one with many hairpins and chicanes so this is not the parkrun to attempt a PB. The varied route does make for a fun run, however, with lots of distractions along the way, including a miniature railway which was my favourite. The park is very nice, with a walled garden and a lot of nice trees and hedgerows, plus the park is located on the coast so there are some nice views out to sea along the run. However, the coastal location does mean wind, so wrap up well on those wintry days.

Coffee

Coffee is available in the hall that is kindly made available by the sea cadets.

X Factor

Because of the many twists and turns on this route there are many signs to erect every Saturday morning and many marshals needed to show parkrunners where to go. The large effort required to host this run is very impressive and much appreciated.

Colin Glen 120119

Facilities

There is a small car park available at this parkrun, but it fills up quickly before the run so I would recommend getting to the run via other means. Public transport is a great option, with many local buses including the Glider bus service. Toilets are available in the community centre next to the car park, but no changing facilities.

Course

There’s no sugar coating that this is a very tough course. It is very hilly with many undulations throughout the run; but that just adds to the fun. The entire route is paved, and this being a forest park is very sheltered also. There are lots of different paths in the park but in order to keep on the route just follow the yellow arrows, and importantly, remember to do two laps of the pond, not just one. You’ll see when you get there. The park is almost entirely woodland, meaning it is quite enclosed. I like this as it means seeing something new every time you turn a corner.

Coffee

Coffee is had in the community centre after the run, a good opportunity to catch your breath and have a chat after the run.

X Factor

There is a lot of signage around the park which gives a good history of the place. This park was totally transformed by a huge community effort in the 90s I believe, from a wasteground to the thriving woodland it is today. It is now a fantastic resource for people of the area with many activities available there.