parkrun Bushy Tails: With added Bushy!

Well now.  Every parkrunner knows the story of how it all began, all those years ago with 13 runners in Bushy Park, London.

Bushy Park London

Not many people know that there are other Bushy Parks.  Including one in Dublin.  Which only recently began a parkrun there!

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So along with quarter/half/full-cowelling, alphabeteering, regionairing, and spelling out words like “parkruncornetto”, parkrun tourists now have new challenge: Double Bushy.  Appropriately in Doublin.


Last year I’d attended the Dublin Scottish Dance Club’s 50th anniversary celebrations, and used the weekend to visit Marlay Park.

Marlay Dublin

This year, I wanted to try a different parkrun, and was thrilled to discover that Bushy Dublin was a short drive away from where I was staying.



The park is in Rathfarnham, and in fact the recommended car parking is at Rathfarnham Shopping Centre, which is what I plugged into my sat-nav.  It got me there, roadworks notwithsatanding, and I parked as requested in the middle, rather than encoraching on the space where the car washing folks are plying their trade.

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After crossing the road, and a wee bridge into the park, I turned right, and was a bit misled by a bootcamp group that were setting up by a shelter.


But I had an inkling they were not parkun, and continued my usual “wander until you see recognisable signs” meander.  I must have looked particularly puzzled, as a cyclist stopped me and asked if I was looking for the parkrun start.  Yes! I answered enthusiastically, and he replied that so was he.  We set off in search together, allowing me to utter the phrase “Follow that bike!”


If I’d turned left instead of right at the bridge, I’d have been there in 100m.  But hey, made it in time!



There were a lot of people arriving by bike, and my new friend offered to let me use his to hold my bag of post run essentials (coat, car keys, water).  A fellow 100 shirt wearer came and chatted to me, he was doing his 170th run and was quite emotional about the journey it has taken him on.  Ther were a good smattering of younger runners too.  I’d had a bit of banter with them on Facebook beforehand, and they were really friendly and chatty afterwards, and even gave me a name check in the run report!

Lots of parkruns have Duke of Edinburgh award folk doing their bit as volunteers – here it was some great chaps from Terenure Mens Sheds – thanks lads!



There isn’t anything in the park itself.  Parking as mentioned is in the nearby shopping centre, which is also where the loos are ( I couldn’t find many of these) and also post run coffee in Partners (where customers can use the loos.  Well, Partner’s (sic) customers can use them, it’s 2 yoyos for others).



There’s about a km along the side of the Dodder river, which can be quite slippy and has a few water channels to watch out for.  Then it’s into the park itself with 2 laps around the pond, and a little extra leg.  There’s a small bit of this extra leg which has runners going in both directions, and the turnaround point is well indicated with cones. Back out onto the riverside walk, and you know you’re 1 km from the finish line. There’s no real inclines to worry about, and the paths are wide enough to accommodate the current 100ish crowd.  The park allows dogs to be off-lead until 10-00 am, so that’s a factor to be aware of.



My Garmin is starting to really play up, may need to start looking at replacements.  My 100 shirt was a talking point. No other cow cowls sighted. Although the paths are all tarmc, they were slippy, and trail shoes would be a good option. As the morning had dawned mizzly I hadn’t bothered with sunglasses.  So of course the sun came out!  But the mostly tree-lined course made sure this was not a problem.


Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle:

It’s Eurovision Day – I know, what am I doing away dancing and so missing the show! But I’ve been watching the semi-finals, suitably attired, and me and my running chums really enjoyed “Running On Air”.



This is a pretty fast course, so run times are good.  Mine not so good, still suffering from some foot niggles, so I had to be content with a sub-32 result.  First in my age-cat, though!

And the rest:


I was staying in a lovely wee Air Bnb place on Ballinteer Ave.  I enjoyed a super supper on the Friday night at the gastro-pub across the way – fish platter supreme with proper baby Guinness!


I’d tried and failed to make these during my Euroviz party, to enjoy during Ireland’s performance.  But they wouldn’t stay separated.  Which may be a political prophecy.

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After my parkrun I explored Dundrum Town Centre, which is not the same as the town centre of Dundrum. I had the most lovely pasta dish

IMG_1613in Dunne e Crescenzi overlooking the dancing fountains.

This place ( ie shopping centre) fancies itself somewhat, and is proud of having a branch of Harvey Nicks.  Shame they can’t spell confectionary, though.


I took a trip to Airfield, a sort of open farm / formal gardens place, and was most impressed by the stunning colours of the flowers.

The evening was taken up with the Dublin dance – 20 well chosen dances, and a fabulous supper, a truly wonderful evening.  I arrived back at my lodgings just before midnight to enjoy…..


Consensus has it that the suitable celebration for running a Double Bushy is to have a double Bush – a large measure of Bushmills whiskey, from the oldest distillery in the world, and near where I grew up on the North Coast.

IMG_1619  I couldn’t find any Bush, so being in Dublin I settled for local tipple, Jamesons.


All My parkruns

Half-Marathon: 1 Starting Out

Well, having come to running late in life, I managed last year to complete and enjoy a couple of 10ks, as well as a relay leg of the Belfast marathon (about 6 miles). So I set myself a greater challenge this year – a full marathon is beyond me yet, I’m sure, but I think I could have a go at a half-marathon at 13.1 miles. I found that entries for the Lisburn half-marathon opened in January, and so I have duly paid my fee and downloaded the training plan!

Another of my resolutions is to average a mile a day, which really translates to a pretty feasible couple of good 3 mile runs per week. And with a half-mar in June that average should be as good as in the bag. I’ve just completed my 3rd run of this year. I actually ran on New Year’s Day, which was a great start to the year! And last week I found a new route which I absolutely love – it’s nice and quiet, mostly footpath when its on a main road, not too many steep hills, is part of the half-mar route that I’ll be doing later, and is only 400m from my front door (out the back of Dobbies car park, for any locals.) I ran it again today with one minor change – I’d cut through a muddy field on the way home last time, which was a mistake, so I wanted to do it properly again to set a base time against which I can measure my improvement.

I’m using MapMyRun to record my routes, speeds, pace etc, and I find it excellent. The only thing is I cant work out how to automatically tweet or facebook after the run, but I shall investigate the settings.
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I invested in the January sales in a proper running top. The temperature is barely above freezing out there, and I wanted something that would keep me warm. This grey and pink number from MPG is great – the long sleeves have little thumb hooks to keep hands warm, it’s really light, body-contouring, and most useful of all it has a little zippy pocket on the back for keys, phone, some change etc.

It’s a real motivator to see my pace getting better each time, even if only by a small amount. I’d love one day to run 10k in under an hour, which would be a pace of 6.00 min/km. I’m a bit off that so far, but heading in the right direction. My last 3 runs were:

1.1.13 7.19 min/km

5.1.13 7.15 min/km

9.1.13 7.12 min/km

I have my iPod shuffle on to keep me motivated – today’s surprisingly upbeat track was The Feeling “Fill my little world”.

And my big dog Max is a brilliant running mate – not much in the way of witty conversation, but unbeatable at pulling me up hills!