Portrush parkrun revisited


sand sea and sky

I was dithering over which parkrun to go to this weekend: I was visiting my parents in Portstewart, so Portrush would be closest.  But the tide was due to be really high, and running on soft sand, rocks, or splashing through the surf doesn’t lend itself to speed.  I want to have my black 100 shirt before I go back to Derry, and felt a bit wary about joining the small number of quite fast runners at Limavady.  I was also tempted to scoot back to Belfast to join parkrunJim as he became the first person in Ireland to run 250.  But I’d eventually decided to go to Ecos on the way home.  And then I slept in till 8.45!  Portrush was the only choice.


Is there ANY sand to run on?

Aside from the high tide, conditions were pretty good!  There wasn’t much of a breeze, and though it was chilly, there was a  good turnout of over 100, including a Run Mummy Run event. Work is ongoing at the promenade, so the start has been moved to further along the beach, and an extra loop at the start was added to avoid going as far as the rocks.


The start

It’s definitely the course to try running barefoot, and quite a few people had naked tootsies splashing through the surf, and leaving lovely footprints in the soft sand.



I used the tactic of just running in a straight line, not trying to skirt the waves, but it was still a very slow pace.  I waved goodbye to any thoughts of a PB, and just enjoyed the gorgeous surroundings.

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Waving goodbye to a PB

The finish line had been drawn in the sand, and I did my trademark skip-change over it.


Drawing a line in the sand

I assured the mumsnet parkrunners that there would be TraybakesTheSizeOfYourHead afterwards: I managed to get a photo of the compulsory fifteens before they were all scoffed!



The Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle was Matt Cardle “Run for your life….you’ll get there in time”.


I see the sea

5 down, 7 to go

Gosh, I’m nearly half way through this training programme! Running 4 times a week has just become a way of life for me now. This week, I have been mostly Running in Beautiful Places.

Tuesday: Run, (through the) Forest, Run!

I had Tuesday off, so I had the luxury of taking the time to drive to nearby Hillsborough Forest, and running with Max there.  It was a cracking day, the only other people about were fellow runners and dog walkers, and I thoroughly enjoyed my run around the lake. I rather underestimated how long it would be though, and I did a mere 3 km in 19 minutes.  I discovered recently that bluebells are rare outside of the western shores of Europe, so I was feeling very privileged to be able to run in such colourful splendour.

Thursday: In the gym

My usual Thursday run on the treadmill in the gym – I felt I was getting in the zone, and was able to run at my target 10 kph for longer periods of time.

portrush parkrun 007

Saturday: Portrush Park Run

Having recorded a PB of 30:12 at last week’s parkrun, I’d remarked to my husband how it was a shame I’d miss this week’s as I was at a Scottish dancing weekend school on the north coast.  He suggested I check and see if there was one nearby, and lo and behold, there’s one on Portrush strand!  I believe it’s the only one run on a beach.  My nephew, who lives nearby, was doing a leg of the Belfast Marathon on Monday, so I invited him to join me, and we were made to feel very welcome by the volunteers organising the run.  There was even someone dressed up in Star Wars gear, as it was May the Fourth.  The lack of hills was a relief, and the view was stunning – golden sand stretching to the white rocks, the Skerries out to sea, the waves lapping the shore, a group of horses thundering past – I could almost hear the strains of Chariots of Fire as the 107 runners pounded over the hard sand.  On the down side, to get to hard sand, you have to cross some soft sand, which eats into the time terribly, and the sea breeze on the return leg was strong.  No PB, but a reasonable 31:21, and my nephew recorded a brilliant 25 mins.

portrush parkrun 008

Monday: Long Run

I’d usually do my distance run on a Sunday, but having been dancing at a ceili on Friday night, done the Parkrun on Saturday morning, followed by a dance class, and then a Scottish dance evening , punctuated by an afternoon of serious shappin’, I thought it best to have Sunday as a rest day, and do my long run on the Bank Holiday Monday.  I have 4 loops that go from my house, each about 3-4 miles long, and I planned to link 2 of them to give me a 7 mile run.  In fact, it was a bit short of that, at 6.72 miles, but I incorporated some of the actual route, and managed to achieve the impossible – tire Max out!

Why do I run?

There are many reasons that I’m getting more into running.  I love the extra calories it gives me (for wine….), I enjoy the runners’ high that follows as the serotonin is released, I really like the lean muscles I’m building, but I’m also fund-raising for Clic Sargent.  My fundraising page is here: