NI parkruns: Antrim

2015-03-07 09.13.20 2015-03-07 09.17.04 Now St Andrews, I have bad news for you.  You may style yourself the world’s prettiest parkrun, but I think Antrim gives you a good run for your money!




The course starts at Lough Shore Park, which is beside the Antrim Forum, and right on the shores of Lough Neagh.  Access from Belfast via the M2 is pretty straightforward – I came over the mountains from Lisburn, covering the 20 miles in about 30 minutes.  There’s loads of car parking, and clean loos.

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When looked at on MapMyRun or Garmin, the route looks like a lollipop.  It starts and finishes beside the car park, crosses the Deerpark Bridge, and does 2 clockwise loops of the very beautiful Antrim Castle grounds.  I had to concentrate very hard on the route and not be distracted by the gorgeous surroundings – I’ll have to come back some non-parkrun day for a more leisurely stroll around.


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There is one small section between a pair of  staggered yellow gates, which was slightly more uneven underfoot, and had about the only incline on the whole course.  These gates m2015-03-07 10.12.47ight be an issue for partially sighted runners or wheelchair users.2015-03-07 10.14.012015-03-07 10.13.45



There’s usually about 100 runners – we were the only dog, and I only saw one pram.  There’s quite a few slower runners, and many people stay behind to cheer them on.  The volunteers were really helpful and friendly – I got chatting to the volunteer co-ordinator afterwards, who says I have to come back later in the year when the trees are looking even more spectacular! I didn’t see any tea and buns afterwards, but I wasn’t really looking for them.

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I was too warm!  There was a stiff breeze, which made it feel colder than the actual temperature.  While I’d wisely left my gloves at home, my long-sleeved base layer under my Jog Lisburn tee was too many layers.  I was also able to remove my headband, and use it as a brake on my phone armband holder, which had started to slide down towards my elbow.

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Strangely Appropriate Song:

DOA by the Foo Fighters, as I really pushed myself on the last 500m.

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There was a 24 minute pacer, and as my all time best is 24:42, I thought, he’s my mark.  I kept his green cap in sight for the first 3km, but he got away from me on the second loop of the lollipop, and I finished in 26:07.

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List of all the parkruns I’ve completed.