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!







NI parkruns: Rostrevor

I’d missed the inaugural run at Rostrevor.  Well, truth be told, I COULD have made it, but they’d sent messages saying that they’d rather not be inundated with runners on their first attempt, and could people please hold off for a few weeks.  I gave a few “hmmmm”s at their first result list which included a lot of familiar names who obviously didn’t get that memo.


And then I was in Southampton.

And then I was doing my 150th parkrun, and I really couldn’t do that one anywhere other than my home event of dear old Wallace. So the first time I could get to go there turned out to be Christmas Eve, and as is now customary, I put on the sprouts.  And rosy red cheeks. And stripey tights.  And Minnie wore her Christmas jumper. Call it my Christmas present to mys – ELF!



Kilbroney Forest Park in on a mountainside overlooking Carlingford Lough.  It is one of the most stunningly beautiful areas of Norn Irn, and one of my husband’s favourite motor-biking areas. About 40 miles form home, it was an early-ish start, but not horrendous.  The parkrun page helpfully gives a satnav-friendly postcode, and so I was confident of arriving in good time.  We parked up in the main car-park, asked some friendly runners where the loos were,and made our way down to the start line (which is right by the finish line).  There are loos in the cafe, which is also where many runners meet for a coffee afterwards.



It’s a 2-lap course, with the start and finish almost co-located.  The paths are a mix of gravel and forest trail, and can be a bit muddy and leaf-slippy, so trail shoes are recommended.  The route goes through a gate and takes a hard right to run up the Fairy Glen, beside a very pretty stream tumbling over mini waterfalls. It continues to climb through the edges of the forest, before emerging with views over the water to a downhill section incorporating the Narnia Trail,

img_1202 with its run through the wardrobe door, past the lamppost,

img_1201 4 chairs, and then some fairy doored trees.



It seemed quite a young crowd – there were 125 on my first visit, only a few dogs and I didn’t see any prams.  The twisty paths and door/ gate ingresses might make it tricky for wheelchairs and buggies. The volunteers were plentiful and cheery, and timekeeping and scanning were all done really efficiently.


Strangely Appropriate Song On Shuffle:

It’s Christmas, with all the attendant stresses and worries which that brings.  So I was welling up a bit at “Could we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars – I could really use a wish right now”.



I was trialling new Karrimor shoes.  My old Adidas PureBoost are starting to squeak, and I knew they’d be too slippy on this terrain, so I’d treated myself this week.  They did well on the surfaces, and the shoelaces stayed in place, always a bonus!


My Garmin complained of being low on battery power about 2km in, so I was guesstimating my pace.  But it’s good to be forced back to not relying over-much on technology.

It was Elf-attire, so while I was cold before we started running, I was grand once underway in elf T shirt, stripey tights with black skort, elf socks, and the obligatory “I’ve put the sprouts on!” headband.



A new parkrun is the most fertile ground for grabbing an age-cat record. Having recently moved into a new category, and deliberately sought out records at Colin Glen and Armagh, I was keen to snatch this one also.  The record was standing at 33 minutes, which i knew with Minnie’s help I should be able to manage.  BUT.  What if there was a 55 year old Warrnepoint born ex-pat who’d come home for the hols and was just going to do the parkrun while they were home?


My Garmin wasn’t being helpful, and so I didn’t have any idea how fast I was running., AND I got overtaken as usual on the final 100m. But the official results were speedily texted and emailed, and I was indeed first in my age-cat at 28 minutes.

All My Parkruns:

All my parkruns