parkrun tourism: Sixmilewater

Shoulda been event #64, and parkrun #262, but read on….

Reason for visit – attempting to regain regionnaire status.

No parkrun last week as I’d been dancing in Scotland, and so missed the inaugural of Norn Irn’s latest, held in Sixmilewater Park, Ballyclare.  So I set off to complete my set.

Access:

Its about a 30 minute trip from Belfast, mostly motorway, with an Applegreen stop available en route.  Minnie was delighted to be back in her running harness, having missed out the past few weeks.

I’d used the sat nav co-ordinates given for parking, which took me to the War Memorial park, with nowhere obvious to park. I drove back around where I knew the run starts, and followed a “P” sign to try to find a car park, but to no avail.  In the end I parked at the Park’n’ride spaces at the bus station, and used the time-honoured method of “look for other parkrunners and follow them”.

Others parked at the Leisure Centre, where there are loos.  But no cafe.  It’s about 10 miles from the International Airport, which might tempt a few toruists, but with no public transport options you’d be relying on hire car, taxi or lift.

Crowd:

A number of parkrun toruists had the same idea as me, and there was a goodly collection of us for a photo.  Also, well done to Davy on reaching his 50th different event!

 

Numbers are still quite high (306 this week, 490 at the inaugural), but I’d expect those to drop off in the coming weeks.  It’s a dog friendly course, there were buggies, and a good few walkers.

Course:

The event site says 3 laps, I thought it was 4.  Lollipop shaped, so out a stem from the start and then 4 (?) loops before returning to the start.  Start and finish are in the same place, so you can leave coats and stuff there, though it’s all outdoors.  It’s pretty flat and all on tarmac path.  Though it’s quite bunchy at the start, and the multiple laps does mean you’ll be overtaken quite a lot by the speedy front runners.

I’d done my first 10k of the year the previous night, and was just getting into the first lap and thinking, Wow, I’ve missed running!  when I missed my footing and went over my left foot.  My sunglasses went flying (but survived), and lots of runners stopped to make sure I was OK.  I had a grazed palm and elbow, but was finding it hard to put weight on my left foot.  After a brief sit down to catch my breath, my plan was to take it easy and walk the rest of the course.

As I ploughed on with Lap 2, it became obvious that I was going to have to abandon any plans to complete.  Rosie Ryan, who I’d met at Strabane, was voluntering, and she walked  back with me, telling me aboout her marathon experiences (at my request, as a distraction technique).  She also found the first aid kit and bandaged my ankle.

The voyage home:

I don’t know how I managed to drive home, using as few gears as possible.  I wrapped and iced and elevated my foot, but as the afternoon wore on it got more swollen and and more painful.  My first instinct was to reassure myself it would be fine, but then I reluctantly admitted that if it WAS broken, then ice and rest were not going to be enough.

So at 4pm I allowed R to drive me to A&E, where I settled in for an interesting few hours.  Saturday afternoon is obviously peak Sports Injury time, and the X-Ray machine was doing a roraing trade.  Some arrivals were accompanied by police officers, I suspect as Saturday evening wore on the picture would get messier and noisier.  As it was, I was discharged just before 8, with a fracture of my 5th metatarsel.  I have a big chunky boot to wear, and a pair of crutches to hobble on.  And it’s over to the fratcure clinic for rehab.

Future plans:

I’d hoped to do Buncrana next week, but that is clearly a re-schedule. I have flights and accommodation booked for Jersey and Copenhagen in September, so my best aim is to be able to walk gently round those.  Hey, at least they were able to save my leg!

And Sixmilewater will have to be graced with my presence at some future date.

All My parkruns:

NI (and other) parkruns: summary list

 

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