NI parkruns: Ecos

My husband had left a motorbike in to have some work done in Broughshane, near Ballymena.  He was planning to collect it on a Saturday morning, so I jumped at the chance to tag along and do the Ecos parkrun on the way.  Well what do you know – when he called the motorbike repair guy to check that the bike was ready, he said “Don’t come before 11, as I always do the local parkrun!”  Only in Norn Irn, eh?

Ecos dragonfly

Ecos dragonfly

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Access: The Ecos centre is visible from the M2, and is well sign-posted from Junction 11.  There’s lots of parking, the centre has toilets, plenty of seats and tables outside to enjoy the post run water/ coffee/ Penguins.  And spectators and travelling paparazzi (ie my husband and his son) have plenty to do playing among the huge metal spider, caterpillar and ladybird sculptures.

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Pre-run brief

Route: The course is a sort of looping figure of 8.  It passes some lovely nature reserve, a cool avenue of trees, some bridges, and at one point runs parallel to the motorway.  The paths are quite narrow, which didn’t seem to pose a problem to a guy running with a double buggy AND a dog! The route is well signed along its route, though my heart sank when I passed the 2 km post, and I thought “Is that all I’ve run?”  I’m sure Ballymena kilometres mst be longer than standard ones. They tell me the paths are susceptible to flooding in the winter, but this July morning was bright and sunny.

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a leafy pathway

Gear: MapMyRun let me down yet again.  I pressed “start”, didn’t hear its bored intonation of “Begin workout”, so I pressed it again, only to get the message “Workout paused”.  And by then we were off and I didn’t manage to get it going again.  I really must invest in a proper Garmin.

Discussing strategy with Longjohn

Discussing strategy with Longjohn

Crowd: Well, in addition to Longjohn the Harley repair guy, everyone I met was very chatty and welcoming, it really felt like I was part of the wider parkrun family.

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running in the sun

Strangely Appropriate Song: As I set off I had McFly’s version of “Don’t stop me know, cos I’m having such a good time…” which summed up my feelings, having just recently got back running after an ankle injury.  And as I neared the finish, I changed the lyrics of “Hey Ho, le nouveau son de Manau” to “In Ecos Ballymena”.

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collecting finish token

Time:  I’d been hoping for a sub-30, but without Mini to pull me round, or MapMyRun’s voice feedback, it was a less impressive 31.28.  But hey, there’s more to running than going fast.  I’m just delighted to be running at all.

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post-run euphoria

List of all the parkruns I’ve completed.

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