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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.

Coole 141219

Facilities

This parkrun has a medium sized car park which I imagine would fill up quickly in the summer time, so if you are driving there I would get there early. Public transport is not really an option to get to this parkrun, but cycling is always an option. There are good toilet facilities, but no changing rooms.

Course

This is a very nice course made up of two laps on a loop around the forest, with a very short out and back section to the start/finish line. The route is entirely paved. There is a fair bit of climbing on this course, with a long gradual climb from the far end of the loop back up to the top of the loop. The run goes through a peaceful forest for the very most of the lap and is a great place to let your mind wander.

Coffee

There is a nice coffee shop next to the start/finish line which is a lovely spot for parkrunners to gather after the run

X Factor

There is a great history to Coole park, being the Gregory ancestral home, and the abode of Lady Augusta Gregory. Lady Gregory had an immense role to play in the Irish Literary Revival hosting such giants as the Yeats brothers, JM Synge, Sean O’Casey and George Bernard Shaw. A long stay is recommended in this fantastic place.

Waterford Nature 301119

Facilities

There is a large car park available at this parkrun on the outskirts of Waterford city. Local buses will also bring you from the city centre to the location of the run. Toilets are available near the start line. There are no changing facilities but if it was really necessary, one could change in the spacious toilets.

Course

This run is made up of a lollipop type course, with an out and back section at the start followed by two laps around a loop course. The run is deceptively hilly, with a few short sharp climbs that must each be covered twice. The route is almost entirely paved, with one short section on grass. The run goes through a nature reserve which is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Coffee

Coffee is had in a cafe within the park attached to a leisure centre. It is a good place to go to be inspired by others taking part in exercise of various forms.

X Factor

This parkrun takes place on the grounds of a sport centre which has great facilities for sport participation. It is great to see such facilities throughout the country to help people get active.

Kashiwanoha 191019

Facilities

This parkrun is located far into the north eastern suburbs of Tokyo. Luckily, it is fairly easy to get to using the pervasive public transport in Tokyo. There also seemed to be car parks at the park if anybody needed to drive there. There are toilets available all over the park, but none very close to the start line.

Course

This is a three lap course, on an entirely paved and flat surface. Perfect for a PB attempt. Marshals or signposts will show you where to go. The park itself has lots of nice features like ponds and tree groves and a road garden.

Coffee

Parkrunnners gather at the nearby train station for post run coffee

X Factor

It is fantastic to visit another country and have the opportunity to do parkrun. The fact that it has spread to Tokyo demonstrates its enduring popularity. Running around the park with all its greenery on a wet morning as it was, felt very familiar, which was crazy in a way since this was the far side of the globe. The world is so big yet so small.

Salento 140919

Facilities

This parkrun is located in a nature reserve in the southern Italian countryside near the city of Lecce. There is no public transport to this run so it would be necessary to drive if you plan to visit. There is a car park right next to the start line. A toilet is also available nearby.

Course

This is a flat course made up of two clockwise laps around the park, part of the lap bring made up of an out and back section. Although it is flat this may not be the place for a PB, as it is very hot here. But if you like running in the heat then go for it. Watch your step as you go around though as the path is a little uneven in places, it being a trail path. The surrounding area is nice with lots of unusual plants and lots of olive trees.

Coffee

There is no cafe here so the volunteers bring coffee and cake for after the run. It is very enjoyable to sit and chat with the other parkrunnners.

X Factor

I’m sure there are plenty of parkruns that take place in warm locations, but running in such heat was definitely a novelty for me and I very much enjoyed it. It can get up to the high thirties here in the summer. Other than that I was very impressed and grateful for the welcome offered to me by the parkrun community here in Salento.

Deerpark Forest 070919

Facilities

This parkrun is located on the outskirts of Virginia town. If getting to the town by public transport therefore, allow some time to get from the bus stop to the parkrun location. If travelling by car, a car park is available, but it is small and fills up quickly. Toilets are available if the rugby clubhouse next to the car park is open.

Course

The course is a woodland trail and is quiet and peaceful. The surface is made up of large chipping and bigger stones here and there so watch out for the good of your ankles. There are one or two muddy spots also. There are a few hills in the course, nothing too serious but definitely noticeable. As you run around you will get views of the golf course and the lake next to the woods which are very nice.

Coffee

After the run parkrunnners enjoy coffee and a chat at the rugby clubhouse next to the car park.

X Factor

I am always impressed when I see local voluntary organisations share their facilities. The work of the rugby club and parkrun together is a fantastic contribution to the local area.

Nairin Beach 240819

Facilities

Car is the most feasible option for getting to this parkrun, it being located on the west coast of Donegal, there are no public transport options. There is a good sized car park though. There are public toilets available but no changing facilities.

Course

The course is a two Km out and back followed by a 500 metre out and back along the same route. The surface as you might have guessed is all sand; depending on the tide this means that there will be areas of the beach where the sand is more compacted and areas where it is soft. Aim for the compacted sand, as soft sand is very hard to run on. The scenery along the route is fantastic, though very difficult to capture on camera unfortunately. I guess you’ll just have to go there to see it for yourself.

Coffee

Coffee is had in a small beach hut at the back of the car park. Sit back, relax, enjoy the views and the sea air.

X Factor

This is one of only a handful of beach parkruns in Ireland. There is something about running along a beach that brings you back to your youth that is special. This is a very enjoyable run.

Killarney House 170819

Facilities

Located in the centre of Killarney, this parkrun is very easy to get to and I would encourage locals to walk cycle or run to this event. For those coming from further afield, there is a large car park available in the town centre, but it is paid parking. There are buses and trains to Killarney but few get into Killarney before run time so would necessitate an overnight stay. There are toilets available at the car park, but no changing facilities.

Course

This is a fast, flat course so perfect for a PB attempt. If going for a PB there are some things to keep in mind. Firstly, this is a lapped run, so you may encounter slower runners as you go around. Secondly, there are a few corners on the course which have trees and shrubs growing at the apex of the corner. If you are running hard and keeping tight to the inside of the corner take care not to hit your head off a branch. The entire course is paved, and for those that are having a more leisurely run there are fantastic sights to be seen around the course, be it the manicured lawns and dense flower beds in the park or the MacGillycuddy Reeks in the distance.

Coffee

There is a deal on a coffee and a scone in a nearby hotel where parkrunnners can go and relax after their morning run.

X Factor

Ever since Queen Victoria holidayed in Killarney in 1861 it has been a hub for tourism. This is not surprising given the incredible natural beauty of the place and the warm welcome of the locals.

Holy Cross College 100819

Facilities

This parkrun is located on the grounds of a large school in a residential area away from the centre of Strabane town.  There is a lot of parking available and the location is not too far from the town by pass, so driving is probably the best option for getting to this run. There is a bus service to Strabane from Derry and from Belfast, but I’m not sure that these would get in on time. There are no changing facilities or toilets at the run.

Course

The course is made up of four laps around the grounds of the school. The route is signposted and the volunteers put out cones to mark the route, so it is relatively straightforward. The route is mostly paved except for the running track section which has a light gravel surface. There is a bit of climbing in this course, and considering that the lap must be coveted four times this adds up to a lot of climbing for the whole run. There are nice views towards the surrounding hills as you go around the lap, and the grounds are very well maintained.

Coffee

The volunteers put out water and coffee at the finish line which is very welcome after the run

X Factor

The school around which this run goes is very impressive, with all sorts of facilities, not least the old-school running track which I quite liked.

Sixmilewater 270719

Facilities

This parkrun is located in the middle of the small town of Ballyclare in County Antrim. It is not accessible by public transport leaving car, bike or on foot as the remaining options for getting to this parkrun. There didn’t seem to be an abundance of parking available at this parkrun, so I would recommend cycling to this event, or for those that live close to the town centre, walking. There are no toilet or changing facilities at this parkrun.

Course

The course is entirely paved and is very flat. There are a few twists and turns on the four loop course, but nothing that would slow you down significantly, so this may be a good spot for a PB attempt. However, as it is a four loop course, you will likely encounter traffic as you run around, which may hinder your progress. The course is made up of one big loop, followed by three smaller loops. Be sure to pay attention to which lap you are on as it can get confusing when there are a lot of people on different laps. The park itself is very nice, with open lawns, mature trees, and a picturesque little river running through it.

Coffee

The official location for post run coffee is the nearby leisure centre, but unfortunately it was closed when I visited.

X Factor

Once again I was impressed by the quality and volume of runners attending this event. Given the numbers and density of events in Northern Ireland it shows the enduring appeal and popularity of parkrun.