The Course

The course is 5000m (5K) long. This has been accurately measured by us with a professional measuring wheel. The course is in Ecos Park, Ballymena. The course is run mainly on tarmac footpaths.. Some sections of the course may accumulate mud, leaves and puddles after rain. Dependent on availability, marshals will be at key sections of the course, or signs will be in place.

Please remember that the parkrun uses shared paths. For the continued success of the event, please give way to other park users. This won't hurt your time, it won't stop you from getting a PB and it will make sure everyone continues to enjoy the event.

Please, wherever possible walk, jog, cycle or use public transport when attending the event. If you do have to drive, please consider car-sharing to reduce our impact on both the environment and other park users. Please also watch out for other park users when arriving and leaving. Parking may be limited so try to arrive early.

Course Safety

The Ecos parkrun, Ballymena is a fun, free event organised by volunteers for the benefit of everyone. We wish to make the run as safe as possible, so runners, spectators and helpers are asked to take care about the following:

  • Please be considerate to the park and other park users at all times.
  • Please arrive by foot, by pedal-power or by public transport if you can - your efforts help to reduce our impact on the park and the planet.
  • Please consider volunteering to help occasionally - this event survives only because of your generosity - please visit the volunteer page for more information.
  • Take care near roads and car parks - some vehicles drive very quickly. Please congregate away from the cars and be careful in particular if you have children. If you’re driving to the run, please drive carefully even if you’re late!
  • When running, take care on uneven surfaces - whether on grass or on tarmac. Watch out for cyclists, other runners, pedestrians, children, dogs, wildlife, park animals, vehicles, park maintenance work, falling branches, bollards, posts and other obstacles around the course.
  • Please make sure you’re fit enough to run 5k (3.1 miles). Health advice about running can be found at the excellent Runners' Medical Resource website (although this external website focuses on preparation for a race and does not describe parkrun events).
  • Remember to warm up before the run.
  • If you see a runner with a serious problem, please stop to help them out and get help as soon as possible.
  • If you’re watching, keep clear of runners on the course, and look after any children and dogs you may have with you.
  • Runners wishing to run with a dog are welcome, but please keep the dog on a short lead or harness and under control throughout the event. Please also review the parkrun support page article about running with a dog at parkrun events.
  • Runners pushing buggies are also welcome, but please take extreme care of other runners around you. If possible start from the back of the field and try to keep to one side of the main body of runners.
  • While rare, Lyme Disease is present in areas where deer live, and occasionally passed to human’s through infected ticks. See NHS Choices website for more about Lyme Disease, and how to deal with ticks.
  • This is a free training event, so all run and attend at their own risk.

We hope these tips help to ensure that Ecos parkrun, Ballymena is fun and safe for everyone.

Age Grading

All parkrun events use Age Grading to help athletes compare results.

Age Grading takes your time and uses the world record time for your sex and age group to produce a score (a percentage). This score allows you to compare your personal performance against other people's performances even though they might be a different age and a different sex to you - the higher the score the better the performance. The scores can also be compared across different race distances - to allow you to, for example, compare a 5km time against a marathon.

For more information, please see the Running For Fitness website.

Course Map


View Ecos parkrun, Ballymena in a larger map

Course Description

Ecos Park is an oasis of wildlife close to the heart of Ballymena town centre. Eight kilometres of mostly flat footpath lead visitors around 220 acres of parkland that includes woodland, lake, wetlands and meadows in the floodplain of the Braid River.

The parkrun course is marked by permanent yellow topped posts for directions and each kilometre. The start is at the Visitor Centre where there is a map of the course. The first loop of the parkrun course sets off past the lake towards the Ballykeel Bridge where you cross the Braid River. The route follows the river upstream past wetlands and crosses the Millennium footbridge. You then follow the other bank downstream for a while before turning back to the Visitor Centre. The second loop takes runners through a tunnel of willow trees and alongside meadows grazed by Irish moiled cattle before looping back past the lake to finish where you started. The course may be altered when it is necessary to do so for example if the river floods.

After the run, registration takes place in the cafe where refreshments are provided by our volunteers with costs covered by your donations.

Facilities

Toilets: Toilets are available in the Visitor Centre; use the main entrance to access them.

Getting There

Location of start

The run starts at the Visitor Centre.

Getting there by public transport

Ballymena Bus and Rail Station is 2.3 km away. There are currently no town bus services early enough to get to the parkrun start.

Getting there on foot

Ecos Park can be accessed on foot from several points. The distance to Ecos Centre is: Seven Towers Leisure Centre 1.8 km, Ballykeel 0.75 km, Suffolk St 0.5km. Some parts of the park are isolated so you may want to walk with others. The Ecos Cycle Trail, a 17 mile cycle route between Ballymena and Glenarm passes through Ecos Park. The route which is posted as National Cycle Network Route 97 links with Broughshane 3.5 miles away - see the sustrans website for more information.

Getting there by road

Ecos Centre is well posted with brown tourist signs from the approaches to Ballymena. The park entrance is on Broughshane Road and parking is available at the centre. Note there is a height restriction of 2m for vehicles in the car park. Alternative parking is available at the Showgrounds (about 8 minutes walk to the Centre).

If using SATNAV, the nearest postcode is BT43 7QA.

Post Run Coffee

Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in the Visitor Centre café - please come and join us!