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Borrisokane Town 271121

Facilities

This parkrun is central to the town of Borriskane and would be easy to get to for local residents. For those coming from farther afield, the 72 bus will get you into Borriskane on time for parkrun coming from Birr. If driving there is a small car park in the park and lots of on street parking outside the park within a five minute walk of the start. There are no changing facilities or toilets at this event.

Course

This run is made up of three laps altogether, consisting of a small inner loop and then two outer loops. The course is twisty and has a few ups and downs so this is probably not the event to attempt a PB. There is also an out and back section of the course where there is a contra flow of runners so look out for others coming in the opposite direction. The surface is mostly light gravel with short areas of coarser gravel and paving. There are many things to keep you entertained as you go around the course, including carvings of famous quotes and a duck pond.

Coffee

Coffee is had in a local shop, slightly less than a ten minute walk from the finish line.

X Factor

I mentioned above that this event is not a great place to attempt a PB, but this is a great event to just go out and enjoy a run. The twisty route will keep you on your toes as you go around and the quote carvings located all over the park will get you thinking. My favourite was from JRR Tolkien: “Not all those who wander are lost”.

Edwin Carolan Community 201121

Facilities

This parkrun is located in the village of Mullagh in county Cavan. Mullagh is serviced by the 108 bus route which runs from Kells to Bailieboro, though from Bailieboro the bus arrives just at 09:30, making it tight for the parkrun start. There is a large car park at the site and the run is within walking distance for local residents. There are toilets near the start line, but no changing facilities.

Course

This run consists of four laps around the course. A lapped run can often impact one’s mentality during a run, either positively or negatively, because it is very easy to tell what distance has been covered and what is left. It depends on mood and how you feel physically but I would recommend a progression run for a lapped course, i.e. start off slow and increase tempo as you go. This helps to create a positive mindset and ‘attack’ the run. The course is very flat and mostly consists of light gravel. It has a figure of eight shape and so has many right angle turns, so if you are running fast take a wide berth to keep up momentum. The run is located on the grounds of a sports facility where there are plans for a running track and football pitches. There is a nice stream next to the path at the far end of the course.

Coffee

Coffee is had on site at the clubhouse next to the course I believe. I didn’t have the opportunity to join on this occasion unfortunately.

X Factor

I finished in first place at this run, which was nice of course, but I am not a fast runner. The fact that I finished in first place just goes to show that parkrun is for everyone, not just the elite runners, and this run is a real community effort which is great to see.

Hasenheide 131121

Facilities

This parkrun is located in south central Berlin and is easy to get to as it is well serviced by public transport in the city. For anyone that would need to drive to this parkrun, parking is limited and probably not advised. There are no changing facilities or toilets nearby.

Course

The route for this parkrun is a little difficult to describe. There are two separate inner loops within a greater outer loop. At any rate, the route is well signposted and easy to follow. There are several undulations throughout the course, which make for fun running but this probably would not be the run to attempt a PB. The route is paved throughout, with broad footpaths. The park itself is very nice, with large mature groves, large fields and is isolated from traffic.

Coffee

I didn’t on this occasion have a chance to visit the post-run coffee, but parkrunners gather in a nearby cafe after the run. Join them for all the running chats.

X Factor

Berlin is an incredible city with such character and fascinating history. This alone would be enough to make this a special parkrun, but there is another reason why this parkrun will stick out in my mind. While running around the park my bank card fell out of my pocket; obviously a distressing situation. As I crossed the finish line, however, I heard a volunteer calling out my name. A parkrunner had seen my card, picked it up and returned it to the organisers. I was overjoyed and hugely impressed by the kindness and generosity of the card finder. Thank you to my unknown helper.

Sport Ireland Campus 301021

Facilities

This parkrun is located in the Sport Ireland campus in the west of Dublin and is accessible by bus from the city centre. Because of the sheer size of the campus there is a long walk from the bus stop to the start of the run of about 1km, so if travelling by bus allow time for this walk. There is a small car park close to the start line, which may fill up quickly, but there are other larger car parks in the campus, within 500m roughly. The area is residential so walking would be possible for residents, again though, time should be allowed for the walk into the campus. There are toilets at the Horse Arena close to the start line, but no changing facilities.

Course

When I visited this event there was a temporary course in place until after the upcoming cross country championships have taken place. This temporary route is made up of three laps of the course. There are no sharp climbs on the course, but there is a fair elevation difference between the top and the bottom of the course, so it couldn’t be called a flat run. The well signposted route is roughly 60% grass and 40% paved. The grassy parts were quite muddy when I was there in October, so winter running here would be exciting I would say. The surroundings are very nice, being an open field with some nice mature trees dotted around it.

Coffee

Coffee is had in the National Aquatic Centre, which you will pass when exiting the campus. It is a hive of activity.

X Factor

The scale of the Sport Ireland campus is impressive, with excellent facilities for a whole range of sports. The elite athletes of each discipline train in these facilities and inspiration can be taken from their Herculean efforts.

The Grand Canal Way 161021

Facilities

Tullamore, being on the main Dublin to Galway train line, is well serviced by public transport. Runners can take the train from Galway or from Dublin to get to Tullamore in time for parkrun. Buses also serve the town locally. There is a large car park close to the start line also, with a five minute walk to the start line. The parkrun is also centrally located for residents of the town. There are no changing or toilet facilities at the location.

Course

This parkrun is made up of a simple out and back course along the banks of the Grand Canal. It is therefore mostly flat and fast, and a good place to attempt a PB. The route is almost entirely paved and the path is wide, allowing plenty of space for runners. Beware, however, that the path is shared with vehicular traffic. The route is fairly sheltered and running alongside the still waters of the canal is a calming experience.

Coffee

Coffee is had by the parkrun group in a cafe/interiors shop in Tullamore town with all sorts of interesting products for sale.

X Factor

Canals were built in a time before good roads and the internal combustion engine. Canals were once the modern highways of the country and it is interesting to imagine the traffic that once passed along these routes.

Knockbracken Reservoir 250921

Facilities

This parkrun is co-located with a busy water park at a reservoir in Carryduff on the outskirts of Belfast. There is a large car park at the site with ample room for parking. The run can also be accessed by local buses and is within walking distance of residential areas of Carryduff. There are toilets available at the water park close to the start line, but no changing facilities.

Course

This is fast course. It is mostly flat, is fully paved and well sheltered, so a great place for a PB attempt. There are two 90 degree turns but taking a wide berth should allow you to keep momentum. The run is made up of three laps of the course with a short spur at the end of the third lap. The course goes around the reservoir, which is at a height to the south of Belfast meaning there are some great views to the north as you run around.

Coffee

Coffee is had at the cafe next to the water park, which has nice views over the activities in the park.

X Factor

The water park at the reservoir is very impressive with a lot of facilities for all types of water sports. I always think it is great to see people getting out and being active and the water park and the parkrun work well together in this location.

Mallow Castle 180921

Facilities

This parkrun is located close to the centre of Mallow town and is easily accessible for local residents. Mallow is well connected by public transport, being on the Cork to Dublin rail line and many local bus routes. The train and bus stations are within walking distance of the parkrun. There is no specific parking for the parkrun location but parking is available in Mallow town. There are no changing facilities, but a public toilet is available in the town.

Course

This run is made up of a lollipop course, with an out and back section at the start and end of the run and a two lap loop in the middle. The loop is flat but the out and back is on a sight incline which makes for tough running as you give it everything to the finish line. The route is almost entirely paved with a short gravel surface at the start and end. The route has some sharp turns and narrow bridges, so if going for a good time it would be important to stay towards the front of the crowd at the start to avoid congestion. The park itself is very nice, well maintained and quiet going along the banks of the river Blackwater.

Coffee

Post run coffee is had at a cafe on the main street where breakfast is available.

X Factor

The park is located on the grounds of Mallow castle, which has a rich history dating back to the 13th century. The park is also well known for its white deer who are descended from a gift that Elizabeth 1st gave to a former resident of the castle.

Porch Field 110921

Facilities

This parkrun is centrally located in the town of Trim and would be easy to get to on foot for local residents. For those travelling from further afield, getting there by car would be the least preferred option as parking is limited. The town is well serviced by public transport however, with services from Drogheda, Navan and Dublin. Cycling is always an option. Public toilets are available in the town but are not close to the parkrun and there are no changing facilities.

Course

This run consists of two laps of a big loop around the perimeter of the park. The run is not entirely flat, with a few small inclines along the way. There are also two dips on the route which are fun when you carry the momentum gained. The surface is mostly paved with a short grass section. The path is narrow however, and narrows quite quickly from a wide start. Therefore, if looking to post a good time it is best to locate oneself at the front of the start line. Also, the surface is unstable off the path, so if avoiding other runners watch out for those ankles. There is one sharp turn on the route as you come on to the riverside path, so be sure to take a wide berth. Points of interest along the route are the River Boyne and the ruins of Newtown Abbey

Coffee

Post run coffee is had in the town of Trim, which is about a ten minute walk from the finish line.

X Factor

Ireland’s largest Norman castle is located in Trim, which even today is an impressive structure. The castle and other ruins in the surrounding area provide an intriguing glimpse of medieval life.

Hillsborough Forest 040921

Facilities

This parkrun is located in a popular park next to the village of Hillsborough. The park has a car park but can be busy. Parking is also available in the village, and there is a public toilet in this car park. Buses run from the nearby town of Lisburn which has further onward connections. If cycling from Lisburn the most direct route is down the busy A1, which is probably best avoided unless you are a confident cyclist.

Course

This run consists of two laps of a figure of eight course. The route is easy to follow and is well signposted. The surface is entirely light gravel and the paths are wide. This is definitely not a flat course, but other than one pinch of a hill, the climbing didn’t feel too bad while going around. The surrounds are quite pleasant, the run being entirely within a mature forest offering shade in the summer and shelter in the winter.

Coffee

The designated coffee stop is in the village of Hillsborough. It is a nice place but a good distance from the run location.

X Factor

This was my first parkrun after the Covid break and having not done a parkrun in more than a year and a half this parkrun will always have a special place in my mind. Other than that this is a very picturesque place, the village of Hillsborough being an architectural gem. There is also an interesting history for the origin of the settlement and the fort within the park.

Com Smith 040120

Facilities

This parkrun is located not far from the centre of Cavan town, and as a result walking or cycling would probably be the best option for local residents to get to this run. Parking is limited near the start line, though there is parking in a nearby supermarket. Cavan town is on an express bus route from Dublin to Donegal with buses running at all hours of the day, which means that anyone near this route can easily get to the parkrun on time for the start. There are no public toilets but private toilets are available at the supermarket, and there are no changing facilities.

Course

This run consists of a three lap course, with one shorter loop to begin with followed by two laps around a longer loop. On this longer loop there is a very gradual hill, which doesn’t seem like much when you run on it, but is genuinely energy sapping, and must be covered twice. The route is mostly paved, but with lots of twists and turns and the aforementioned hill is probably not a place to attempt a PB. The paths are very narrow in places also, resulting in congestion at times. There are many points of interest around the park, with a lot of sculptures and artwork.

Coffee

Coffee is had at the nearby supermarket, where there is a large seating area for parkrunners to sit and discuss the run.

X Factor

One of the things I most enjoy about parkrun is finding out local points of interest. This parkrun is unusual in that it is named after a person, Con Smith. Con died tragically in the Staines air disaster. The land on which the park is situated was owned by Con’s father and was donated by him for public use in memory of his son. A beautiful tribute.