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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.

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.