NI parkruns: Limavady

On a visit to my parents in Portstewart, I decided to take in Norn Irn’s newest addition to the parkrun stable in Limavady. The weather forecast had been a bit unpromising, but the day dawned blue-skied and sunny, and as I drove through the Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, forests to the left of me, mountains to the right, and the sparkling waters of Lough Foyle with the hills of Inishowen ahead of me, I felt privileged to be able to run in some stunning locations.

The runners and marshalls meet at Roe Valley Leisure Centre, where barcodes and coats can be left. And as I’m writing this I’ve just realised that I left my yellow jacket there! The run itself starts about 500m away in Backburn Path. After the run you have to walk back to the leisure centre for scanning – bit of a faff but it’s always good to have somewhere sheltered for the scanning, and the walk makes a good cool down. There’s plenty of parking, and clean toilets in the centre, and it is well signposted as you enter the town.

I was there for the 7th event, so there were only about 50 runners. The marshals were very helpful and chatty, and the run director was able to welcome those of us on tour from other parts.

The course is 3 and a half laps around Backburn path. This is an elongated bowl shaped green park in the middle of the town, with lots of lovely trees and bushes. The paths are wide enough for runners to pass each other in opposite directions, which they need to do at some points, and the surface was flat and tarmac all the way. There are a couple of inclines, but they’re not too steep or too long.

Having been waiting all day for the result to text through, I found a message on the Facebook page that the scanners hadn’t worked properly, and all the results would have to be input manually! Oh dear, a run director’s worst nightmare! And I left my yellow jacket behind…..

Strangely Appropriate Song On Shuffle:

As this was my 20th different event, and I’ve been travelling around the country, the opening lines of Flying Elvis struck a chord:
“From East to West, and coast to coast, you move with the groove babe, you’re the most”


Particularly for smaller newer parkruns, I’ll check the record in my age category. This one stood at 28.37, which I thought I could aim for. Sadly, that time elapsed on my Garmin as I was 200m short of the finish line, but a 29.09 time puts me second in that table.
List of all the parkruns I’ve completed.11206056_1603534649913247_2152407721094904051_n

NI parkruns: Enniskillen

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Look out, more dancing has occurred! I was in the lovely town of Enniskillen, in the heart of Fermanagh’s lakeland county, for a weekend of Scottish Country Dancing. And I couldn’t pass by the opportunity of doing the Enniskillen parkrun, even if it DID mean missing the first of the Saturday morning classes (cue much tutting in the breakfast room…)
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The run is held in the grounds of Castle Coole, a National Trust property consisting of a very impressive white stone villa, set in acres of rolling countryside including a lake. Castle Coole is on the Belfast side of town, and there’s plenty of parking by the stables, which also house the very clean and gratifyingly warm loos. For I was cold. Very cold. Despite it being May by the calendar, there was a chilly breeze and a steady mizzle, which was not pleasant. However, the woodland grounds were awash with primroses, bluebells, and some plants I haven’t seen in a long while.
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I was early, as usual, and was approached by a young female runner who wanted to check that this was where the parkrun was happening! Most people arrived about 9.20. There were a couple of lovely doggies running, and I got chatting to a gorgeous biscuit coloured ball of fur named Harry (he ‘s even registered as Harry the dog!) It turned out the the father of Harry’s owner was the former principal of the school where our dance weekend was taking place – what a co-incidence! There were a few people either visiting the area (it IS one of Norn Irn’s most popular tourist destinations, with good reason), or had family here and were “home” for the weekend.
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Starting by the stables, the course runs in front of the big white house (how can I run with distracting views like this!),
2015-05-02 08.58.07 through a wooded section, onto the main avenue, down to a turning point, back up the avenue, round the lake, and home to the finish line at the stables. There’s a bit of an incline at the start to get to the house, and the return section of the avenue was one long slow climb, but other than that there are no hill problems. The surface was all either gravel or tarmac, and I don’t think they’d prove an issue for visually impaired or buggy-pushers.
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In the stableyard is an old Belmore Omnibus – and we were staying in the Belmore Court Motel (highly recommended if you’re ever visiting this part of the world – a warm welcome, great value accommodation and well situated)
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I was a bit foxed after the run, as the exit isn’t through the same gate as the entrance, and there were no signs to indicate which was the way back into town.


I was debating whether or not to ditch my yellow rain jacket, but since my run time wasn’t going to be anything special I decided to stay warm-ish and dry and keep it on. The Garmin took a while to locate satellites, and I couldn’t believe my husband tried to ring me at 25 past 9 on a Saturday! There was only one scanner on duty, which caused a bit of a bottle neck.
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Strangely Appropriate Song On Shuffle:

John and Ruby Wilkinson were our special guests at the dancing weekend, so the appropriate song was “Ruby Ruby Ruby” by Kaiser Chiefs.

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Well, I’m always happy with a sub-30 time, and 29:08 was faster than my last non-canine-assisted run, so I’ll have to be content with that. It did tick 3 of my current targets – counting towards 20 different events, visiting all the Norn Irn venues, and taking me one step closer to my 100 T shirt.
List of all the parkruns I’ve completed.