“Are you going to take part?” the man asked me rhetorically as I parked my motorbike near the Parkrun start and finish. He was happily surprised when I responded, “Yes! I’m just going to get changed”. Off with boots, trousers, jacket, gloves and helmet and on with my Vivo Barefoot shoes, running watch and cap. When all my motorbike gear was packed away and secured on my bike, I was ready to start. Ride and Run, yeah!
Parkrun tourism is a great way to interact with the local running communities while running in some new and interesting places. All our Saturdays were planned so that I could run a new Parkrun.
First out was Tullow Parkrun near the Wicklow Mountains. Their Parkrun is a two lap course in Rathwood Rath nature park near a garden centre where you could eat full Irish breakfast to the price of two for one afterwards. The run itself was an enjoyable, flat course in the forest and around a pond, overall on a rather soft, pleasant surface and the breakfast got full points.
The following Saturday we were on the south coast camping at Eagle’s Point. We had just waited out a horrible storm and the weather for Saturday’s Parkrun at Glengarriff Nature Reserve was excellent. The course was a figure of 8 on a mixed surface, some excellent soft trail but also some rather harsh tarmac. It was a rather challenging course with one super long hill but I made a point of running all the way, albeit very slowly at points. This Parkrun had no feasible breakfast place so we continued over the mountain and the Caha Pass and on to Kenmare for a full Irish, but not before I’d had a splash in the river to freshen up. So, full points for the location, the route was very scenic and the river refreshing. This was my overall favourite among the three Parkruns I participated in.
The third and last Parkrun in Ireland, Clonmel, was the most sociable one. They might be disappointed to see that their Swedish Parkrun tourist from Spain actually is registered with Sudbury Court Running Club in London. Well, it is the running club in my heart and it is difficult to let go. The course was a temporary one, normally they run on the perimeter of the horseracing track, but the substitute was a delightful 2.5k along the River Suir and back again.