NI parkruns: Omagh


I took the opportunity on a glorious October day to attend the inaugural parkrun at Omagh.


It’s about 60 miles away from me, just over an hour on pretty good roads, and on a morning full of sunshine the views of the hills and trees in their autumn colours it made for a very pleasant journey. Even Minnie wasn’t her usual Squeaky McSqueakface, and settled down in the boot to snooze happily.



The postcode was helpfully given on the website, and my sat nav took me to the Omagh Leisure Complex with relative ease.  There’s plenty of free car parking, and the leisure centre itself has toilets and a cafe.



There’s a bit of debate about attending inaugurals – it can be daunting for the volunteers on their first day on the job, and give a misleading idea of what to expect on a normal parkrun day.  There were around 270 runners on this occasion, and many of them were first timers, or were walking.  This meant that the runners were well spaced out along the course, so there wasn’t too much hemming in. And I did meet a lesser-spotted 250 shirt wearer!



I’d run into diffs recently with low batteries, so I’d made sure my headphones and watch were both fully charged.  And I had new running sunglasses from Lidl.

14589639_10210650357278783_3103095712384949833_oI love my Ron Hill arm pocket for my phone – I’d lost the last one I bought, but they were reduced to £4 this week in Pure Running, so I bought a replacement.  I fully expect the original to turn up tomorrow….

Cracker my lucky mascot was with me – though the organisers could do with a bucket or box to put keys/ jackets in. And in full-on tourist mode, I was wearing my cow cowl (for those who’ve run 20 or more different events), my apricot tribesports vest, Minnie in matching apricot bow, and my own hand made I’ve-sewn-all-these-buttons-on-myself T shirt, with a new button to be added#I’verunallthenornirnparkrunssoIhave.



There’s a lap of the running track on soft fine gravel to start, and then along tarmac paths around some very pretty duck ponds and a weir, looping back along the same route. Repeat, and finish with a final lap of the track.

There’s one short sharp hill, and a couple of pinch points where runners are going in both directions, but it’s a pretty fast course.  My Garmin said it was 5.17 km, though!


I haven’t been running at my best recently, but Minnie was in great form, and we had plenty of space to allow her to tow me along.

14524569_10210650376359260_8759420672099797123_o Indeed, we hit the 2km mark at 9.55, which is my target sub 25 minute pace. But I reminded myself that it doesn’t pay to knock yourself out on the first visit to any parkrun – make it feasible for yourself to go back later and get a PB!

img_0678So we eased off a bit, and I even stopped to take a few photos around the route. I was pretty happy with my 27.27 time, and on the last time that I’m running in this age category it was pleasing to be first in that group.  17th lady, 77th overall.

Strangely Appropriate Tune on Shuffle:

Watching everyone gather at the start line for the first briefing, I was listening to the UK Eurovision song “You’re not alone, we’re in this together” by Joe and Jake.

img_0662  I think it’s one of the best UK entries in a long while, and it was sadly under-marked by the voting juries.

By the time I was completing the final lap of the track, and struggling to keep going, we had moved to “One Last Breath” from Greece’s Maria-Elena in 2015.


List of all the parkruns I’ve completed.