NI parkruns: Larne (Carnfunnock)

This was a bit of an adventure.

It didn’t start well – after being lovely and sunny all week, the day dawned with rain showers.

11659292_437022583165918_7657630461188008079_nOn the plus side, this meant I could take Minnie with me, as it has been too hot for running-with-dogs.

I’d looked at the course description, and a yellow dot seemed to indicate the middle of the Country Park, so that’s where I went first. I found some loos, and could see various “run route” arrows about the place, but no actual runners. A boxer dog appeared and said hello to Minnie – its owner appeared, and as he was wearing a sporty top I asked him if he knew where the start of the parkrun was. He did, actually, and it was a mile back down the road, in a car park I’d passed 10 minutes ago! I’d even seen the parkrun banner on the fence. Doh! By now it was 9.18, and I was worried about making the start line on time. I pulled into the car-park and to my dismay there were no spaces left, apart from disabled ones which I refuse to use. I wound down my window and asked a passing runner if there was any other parking nearby, and she suggested either using the centre of the car-park, or the grass verge. I opted for the latter, as did a white car who pulled in beside me.

It was a busy morning, as a local couch to 5k group were making their graduation run. Typical crowds are in the 60s, but today there were 92! My friends and fellow letsdoallthenornirnparkruns peeps, Claire and Caroline, had been here last week, and had given high praise to the volunteers, who were very helpful and cheery.

The car park is at sea level. This can only mean one thing – lots of hills! I lost count of how many laps and twists we did, but there are plenty of arrows and marshalls about, and I was never in doubt about what way to go. The start is along a narrow path, and it’s easy to get hemmed in here, so if you want a fast start, make sure you’re near the front. The views of the sea through the trees are lovely (or would be on a less misty day!) and teh route also incorporates some challenging sharp turns, as well as passing the back of the toilet block. Twice. The finish stretch is back along the long straight narrow long path (did I mention it was long?), and there’s some good cheering and support at the final section. Scanning takes place inside the Sea Cadets Hall.

Post run:
Wow, I’ve never seen as good a table of post-run goodies! Sandwiches, cake, buns, shortbread, biscuits…I suspect this was for the C25k grads, who had rather lovely T shirts and medals to be proud of. But it was very much appreciated – thank you!

Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle:
I’m a big fan of X-factor winner Matt Cardle, and he appeared on this morning’s playlist, singing “Run for your life…you’ll get there in time” which was the assurance I needed after going to the wrong start point.

It was hilly, it was rainy, I wasn’t going flat out, so I was pretty content with a 27:27.

And then what happened?:
After enjoying my tea and sandwich, while clapping a “well done”ing the later runners, I went back to my car. Which was blocked in by a burger van. I could see the driver was still in it, so I sorted Minnie out with some water, towelled her down and put her in teh boot before approaching him to ask if he could pull forward so that I could get out.
“You’re not supposed to park there.” he said. yes I know, I explained my circumstances, and that I didn’t want to take up a disabled space.
“I usually park there, but I was a bit late this morning..” Ermmm, you’re losing my goodwill here now – I’m not supposed to park in a not-legal spot, because YOU usually do?
“I’ve lost about 15 sales to bikers lookin’ for burgers!” Well, I’m sorry about that, but again YOU were late, I didn’t have my crystal ball with me to know that I was in your spot, I’m only a visitor here, and unlikely to return if that’s the attitude, frankly!

I do realise that Scrubs Grub is nothing to do with parkrun, but it did put me in bad form, so much so that I didn’t go back and get more pictures of the route, I just wanted to get home. This was a 70 mile round trip for me, after all.

List of all the parkruns I’ve completed.