I was inspired by a member of parkrun tourists UK, who had enjoyed an ice cream after each parkrun, often a cornetto.  And who posted photos, often with the hashtag #parkruncornetto.  Even though his mates teased him about this being a “thing”!

And so he decided to run a series of parkruns that would spell out “parkruncornetto”.  And when he had accomplaished this, his mates presented him with a T shirt suitably emblazoned with “#parkruncornetto – it’s a thing!”

Heading into summer 2017, I knew I was visiting Scotland, and the United States.  So I looked at the parkruns I might be able to visit during those trips, as well as some near events that had missing letters of my alphabet.  This gave me Edinburgh,  Crissy Field (in San Fran) and Navan.  With a bit of creative thinking I could see that I could spell, using other locally available letters, DANCER.  I’ve been a dancer all my life, with a core of ballet, but also incorporating tap, salsa, and line dancing, and most recently have thrown my devotion to Sottish Country Dancing, where I’m hoping to become a qualified teacher.

Sooooooo…offf we went. In order to have the word read correctly on event history, they have to be run in reverse order.  So first up was local run Rostrevor!  I’d run it before at Christmas time, but didn’t manage to beat my previous time.  But I did meet a guy who asked “Were you on a double decker bus 30 years ago?” who turned out to be  BBC film maker who interviewed me and Ronan….

Loved Edinburgh, took the slow coach bus down from St Andrews along the Fife coast, just magical.  My E for Emily girl, who I found in the new runners briefing, went on to be second lady!

I found the waiting, the gap bewteen letters, to be enoormously frustrating.  I did a bit of volunteering at my home run, Wallace, but getting out of the routine of Saturday means parkrun was discombobulating.

Off to the States for our super dooper trip that we’d been planning for years, including running Crissy Field parkrun in San Fran.  Which I learned, 2 days before, had been cancelled!  aaargh, but hey ho, and I could re-schedule…..

Back in NI, I’d toyed with running my NENYD at Castleblayney, but a Saturday dancing lunchtime committment and a callout from Carrickferus for a VI guide changed my plans, and I was delighted to accompany Pete putting into practice my Guide Dogs training.

Navan was as planned, and had a realy great time running with them.

I knew I’d be in London to see my son working on Evitia – had originally planned Dulwich but that had to be changed to the only A in London – Ally Pally!

And oh my goodness, the last bit of the jigsaw – D and my nearest one is Dundalk!

Dundalk…Done Dancer!







Happy 2nd Birthday Carrick parkrun, or “How to be a Dick”


Ah, another dressing-up opportunity! Carrickfergus parkrun’s 2nd birthday was encouraging runners to come dressed in the theme of “pairs”, and for my trusty canine companion and I there was a pretty obvious choice – Dick Dastardly and Muttley!


I started as always with eBay.  DD items acquired included a driving licence, and a pair of pin badges.

Now here there was a dichotomy – sometimes Dick was wearing a red flying helmet, in other pictures his hat was red and purple stripes.  I did a bit of trawling through the vintage emporia of Belfast, and in Octopus’s Garden found a purple peaked hat.  I visited my favourite little haberdashery shop, the Sew and Knit place at the back of M&S for some red ribbon to make the stripes.

20160206_114405While I was there I managed to lose the just acquired driving licence, which I’d picked up from the collect-at-Argos service that very morning!  But the staff were delightful, and having given them my mobile number they called me later that day to say they’d found it down the sliding doors of their display cabinet. Big thankings to them!

Being a motorcyclist has many advantages (as well as cool points), one of which is owning my own goggles.


The gloves and red scarf were, as they say, “model’s own”, and the red bandana for Minnie was a cotton scarf I’d bought on a diving trip to Sharm-el-Sheikh, turned inside out.


Blue trench coat was found in Primark’s sale (and to be honest I’ve worn it so many times already it owes me nowt!)


I’ve learned from running in various fancy dress outfits with Min that simple is best, and the bandana, with just the Muttley pin badge, was perfect. The mustache was done with eyeliner.

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The morning of the run was a bit dreich, and I was congratulating myself on chosing an outift that consisted of hat gloves and coat.  It was a wee bit warm for actual running, mind!


There was a great turnout of pairs: Alice and the White Rabbit, SuperMario brothers, Mr and Mrs Potato Head, and how did these 2 blobs manage to overtake me?

There were 3 or 4 doggies present.  Waggy Races champ Gary is a Carrick regular, and he and Buddy led from the off.


And how adorable is this guy!


Massive appreciation to Neill Harpur who took some fantastic action shots, AND managed to do the run with his own gorjus doggy.


Getting in character was brilliant fun – I shouted “Muttley! Do Something!” every time we passed a marshall, shook my fist at all the photographers, and spat “Curses, foiled again”  when someone overtook me. Minnie, who is quite a vocal dog, easily managed the “Sassin fashin rashin Rick Rastardley!”


On my last visit here, I’d run it in exactly 26 minutes in position 26, a feat you couldn’t do if you tried.  I did manage to better that time, and also jumped up 2 places in the Age Category records.


But best of all…we won the fancy dress prize!!!!  I am totally loving my cozy pair of pink spotty thermal socks. The after run goodies were delicious – I don’t know who made the sushi, but what a great post run treat, thank you!


I did proffer my driving licence at the scanning station, but it wouldn’t scan.  Drat! Drat! And double-drat!

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Poor Cracker felt a bit left out, but did you know that “Carrickfergus parkrun” is an anagram of Is Cracker Fur Rug Prank??


NI parkruns: Carrickfergus

I wish I waaaaaas in Carrickfergus


I nearly WASN’T in Carrickfergus this morning, as when I was making my morning cuppa there were flakes of snow falling! I sipped my tea, anxiously watching the Facebook statuses of the local parkruns, and more than one was cancelled.  However, I decided to don the old running gear and head off anyway – my husband said he’d phone me if a cancellation was posted.  But the sun shone, and even though there was still some ice around, and a definite nip in the air, it was all systems go.



The run starts and finishes beside the Amphithteatre leisure centre ( entering Carrick, take a left at the roundabout before the castle, go under the railway bridge and turn right).  There’s ample car parking, and lockers and loos in the centre itself.  The only thing I missed was a bucket or basket to put my keys and jacket in, so I had to schlep back to the car to deposit my coat, and tuck my car keys into my gloves.




It’s a 3 lap course with a bit extra at the start and finish.  The paths I found narrow, and felt a bit hemmed in on lap 1.  There’s some lovely scenery past the duck pond, and the loop of Shaftsbury Park, but there are some sharp turns and narrow tunnels under the railway-line too.  There’s only two short sharp hills, and metal parkrun signs, cones, and cheery marshals ensure that you stay on the right route.



I was delighted to meet up again with Claire and Caroline, who are running all 19 Norn Irn parkruns in 2015.carrick ladies .

They’d originally been planning to do Ecos, which was cancelled, so it was a  serendipitous meeting indeed. I was able to tell them that there’s a “hall of fame” for anyone who’s done more than 20 different events, so as they are doing one of the Dublin runs next month, they should see their names on that board by the end of the year. Minnie wasn’t the only pooch running, and we smiled kindred greetings to the other dog-runners.


Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle:

Given the weather conditions, it had to be Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song” – come from the land of ice and snow….



I was trying not to look too much at my Garmin, to get more of a “feel” for pace.  I did glance at it going into lap 3 and couldn’t understand the figures it was showing – maybe I’d hit the wrong button.  Another problem – nice though it is to have – is that my trousers felt too loose, and were gradually working their way southwards!



I couldn’t get my usual fast start, and found it difficult to overtake during lap 1, but I’d soon caught up with the pink ladies.  I overtook them on lap 2, and then they zoomed past me on Lap 3.  The OCD part of me is rather satisfied that I recorded a time of bang on 26 minutes, in position 26.  Normally a 4th lady position would have pleased me, but if Clare and Caroline hadn’t been there, or if I’d managed a better finish, I might have bagged that Lady 2 spot! Oh well, I consoled myself by ordering the results by age grading, where I was 6th overall.  That’s better 😉


List of all the parkruns I’ve completed.