5th January Run Report

With hogmany a distant memory, on a cold, crispy but dry Winter's morning 251 people ran, jogged, skipped and walked the course to keep everyone right on track for a healthy and happy January. Today the smiles started early as Clare CARRUTHERS briefed us all at the summit of Mervyn's Mount – a first for Clare as Mervyn was away getting a PB elsewhere. It was also a first for 31 of you to our parkrun shores. Welcome to all of you and well done to Clare who took the mic and welcomed our visitors who hailed from Belfast, Enniskillen, London, Cookstown, Armagh and Derry – or if we missed you let us know now!
Clare also thanked all our volunteers who this week were Stuart VAUX • Mervyn THOMPSON • Clare CARRUTHERS • Davy BLAIR • David DOEY • Samantha LINTON • Nicholas WEBBER • Faye MCLERNON • Andrew WILMOT • Reid JACK • Anne JACK • Clive BRADBERRY • Angela CROCKER • Lauren LAVERTY • Alan TAGGART • Shirley MCPHILLIMY.
Sam's suggestion about new year's resolutions must have worked as we had lots of you lovely folks contacting us to offer your services. It makes our job much easier and stress free when we know a few days in advance that we definitely have enough volunteers for our event to go ahead. So thank you very much.
There were celebrations a plenty with Andy MACKEY and Ian ELLIOT who have both now completed 50 runs on our beautiful beach and Graham COLVIN who has reached treble figures all on our sand. An excellent achievement and commitment. Get those t-shirts ordered!
With flat, hard sand conditions were good meaning personal bests for 33 of you. Isn't that a good start to the new year!
Our first finishers were Ryan SMITH and Karen MCLAUGHLIN. Good to see you back with that determination on your face Karen, though we will miss your shouts of encouragement which could be heard throughout Portrush while you volunteered.
It is great to see so many join us – if you have thought about coming along too but feel a bit worried about it, please send us a message or have a chat to anyone you know who already parkruns. It is very inclusive for all ages and all abilities. Have a look at the results page – under age grading you will see the different ages we have each week and the range of times of finishers. It can be intimidating to think of so many people charging up the beach but we are a friendly bunch and you can run/ walk and stay for a chat or complete your 5k and scarper as soon as you get scanned. Or, you could of course, complete your 5k, dip in the sea, chat, eat cake and then scarper.
My little folk summed it up perfectly when they said they wanted to help write the run report....

“Today I did my first parkrun and I never stopped. It was really fun.” Lennie. Age 7. Finishing time 38.49 in position 229.

“I throughly enjoyed parkrun today with the hard sand and the just right weather. I am happy today because I got a PB and next parkrun I will have done my tenth parkrun and get a t-shirt.” Alec. Age 10. Finishing time 27.49 in position 129.

“I did my first 'marathon'. I ran to the flag. I carried a pole. We all finished with a '9' in our position. Then I had jelly babies.” Cora. Age 5. Finishing time 58.54 in position 249.

The only thing left to mention is Peter DONNELLY'S new gloves which did look quite warm and cosy if a little cumbersome.

Hope to see you all out in force again next week.


NYD Run Report

Portrush parkrun #336

Tuesday 1st January 2019

So as a special treat we threw in a bonus parkrun to welcome in the new year...then we all forgot we had to do a run report for it! Anyway, with greetings of "Happy New Year" echoing around the Watersports Centre, it was also an opportunity to smugly proclaim "I haven't seen you since last year" and "I haven't done a parkrun since last year." Mmmm I'll leave the comedy skills and keep my day job! You all looked very fresh faced and energetic on Tuesday morning so well done and just about everyone made it out of their beds in time!

It's always a risk organising a parkrun which doesn't happen on the traditional Saturday as no one may turn up! But turn up you did, in your droves! In fact this week an amazing 342 people ran, jogged and walked our sandy course, of whom 54 were first timers and 47 recorded new personal bests. Those personal bests were helped by almost perfect conditions, with sand a lot firmer and kinder than it was a few days before. Well done everyone and we hope our newbies continue to share our beach with us many times in 2019.

Our New Year's Day parkrun was made possible by 19 lovely volunteers:

Stuart VAUX • Mervyn THOMPSON • Fiona WALLS • Patricia CRAIG • Bob MURPHY • Laurence CAMPBELL • Emma Elizabeth SIMMONS • Clare CARRUTHERS • Davy BLAIR • Pamela HOWE • Jim BLEE • Steve JANES • Samantha LINTON • Elaine MONTGOMERY • Wesley MOORE • Martin SMITH • Reid JACK • Rhona LAVERTY • Lauren LAVERTY

As always we appreciate their time and skills. If you've never volunteered make it a resolution to give it a go in 2019. It's easy peasy...you even get a swanky t-shirt when you've volunteered enough times . Can't say fairer than that!

Once again we had a lot of Portrush visitors, I think I even heard Australia being mentioned...that and Costa del Ballymoney! Not much difference between both places has to be said! You were all very welcome and please do come up that Ballybogey line and visit us again soon!

Special well done to those extra energetic folk who managed a parkrun double on New Year's Day...some of you even raced the beach, then raced from Portrush to do a second parkrun elsewhere. Good job Merv kept the run brief brief or you'd have needed a helicopter!

So his headbanded self is away this weekend and leaving us kids in charge...so who knows what will happen! Sure turn up anyway, 9.30am Saturday morning and I can guarantee you 2 things...sand and enough left over Christmas chocolates to shake a stick at!

See you on Saturday and Happy New Year!




29th December Run Report

Portrush parkrun #335
Saturday 29th December 2018

That's a wrap for 2018!

4 days post turkey haze and an amazing 284 runners set their selection boxes and mince pies aside and took to the East Strand for our last parkrun of 2018! Unfortunately there were no sightings of Santa this morning, he must be back at the North Pole charging his Garmin and laminating his parkrun barcode...apparently he left it on the sleigh last week!

This morning we were honoured to have Janet Beck, a BSL interpreter, signing the run brief. At Portrush parkrun we are keen to do what we can to break down any barriers people may have regarding participation at parkrun. parkrun is for everyone and we also owe special thanks to our Portrush regular Emma Simmons for also stepping up to Mervyn's mount and teaching us all how to sign the word 'parkrun.' Thank you ladies!

Moving on to festive visitors and there was an impressive array of visitors with us this week...more variety than in a tub of those famous Christmas sweets which shall remain nameless! No North Pole visitors today but we happily cheered and clapped for Wigan, London, England, Waterworks and even Switzerland! The lovely Scott came all the way from sunny Wigan without his barcode, but still enjoyed his 5k adventure in Portrush. He's promised to return in the summer with his barcode. Thanks for coming to visit us in Portmagic.

Special congratulations were also given to our Portrush regular Peter Wilson who ran today having just been awarded a prestigious BEM award from HM the Queen in her New Year Honours List. We are delighted for you Peter! Maybe HM could award you your medal some Saturday morning at parkrun...Mervyn wouldn't mind sharing his famous mount with you both I'm sure!

It was then on to the lovely little matter of celebrating a very Goode milestone (see what I did there?!)....the lovely Ursula Goode joined the 100 club today and completed yet another 'polished' performance, 'drilling' her way up the beach and 'filling' her time racing hubby Ben up the beach. You'd never guess she was a dentist would you? Congratulations Ursula and thanks for the delicious brownies made by the little Goode elves. Can't beat a dentist who encourages you to eat chocolate brownies

So as Mervyn descended from his mount, it was time to get down to the actual business of the day...our 5k up and down the beach. Our captain fantastic Mr T had forecasted 17 mph WNW winds and a high tide at 1pm...well let's just say he was sort of right! After about 6 steps our festive merriment started to drain as our feet struggled to find any firm sand. Tackling high winds and soft sand while also feeling like an actual giant Brussel sprout made for an interesting experience! Really well done to all our finishers today, especially the 7 folk who recorded personal best times, you've earnt the rest of your selection boxes that's for sure!
As always we couldn't have ran our event today (literally) without our festive volunteers who were:

Mervyn THOMPSON • Peter DONNELLY • Karen MCLAUGHLIN • Fiona WALLS • Clare CARRUTHERS • John HAMILTON • Davy BLAIR • Pamela HOWE • Samantha LINTON • Wesley MOORE • Bill GRAHAM • Faye MCLERNON • Andrew WILMOT • Clive BRADBERRY • Joan TRENGOVE • Rhona LAVERTY • Lauren LAVERTY • Christine WILMOT • Aidan MOONEY • Tom CRAIG • Janet BECK • Angus BECK.

We appreciate your time and enthusiasm each and every week...Karen's especially enthusiastic rallying calls at the finish line definitely raised smiles when limbs were tiring!

So that's our 2018 running adventures over and as we reach a new year here are a few possible New Year's Resolutions Portrush style...

1. Bring your barcode...tattoo it, laminate it, just bring it!
2. Return the cups...they are not a souvenir. Take a bit of sand instead, we won't miss that!
3. Return your finish token...the post-run biscuits and cake are your gift from us, not the cute (but very expensive) little finish tokens!
4. Give volunteering a bash...all you need to know is your left and right and it's good craic too! Chat to any of us in the core team for more info.
5. Use your 10% off offer at 55 Degrees North or the Arcadia some Saturday, you've earnt it!

Finally, here's a thought for 2019...

"Jump in the puddles,
Life's too short to always have clean shoes!"

On behalf of all the core team a very Happy New Year and here's to many more happy, healthy and sandy miles in 2019! We will see you on TUESDAY for a sneaky wee bonus parkrun...same time, same place!



22nd December Run Report

Portrush parkrun #334
Ho Ho Ho

303 festively dressed runners of all shapes and sizes converging in a sea of red and white on the East Strand beach shortly before 9.30am can only mean one thing! Yes, Saturday was our annual Portrush parkrun Santa run. And so, it was with a hearty Ho Ho Ho that 303 of you rocked up Whiterocks bound in elf suits, Santa hats, Christmas jumpers, sparkly tights, fairy lit skirts, antlers and even a singing turkey (yes Fiona we saw you) and all sorts of festive fun gear to walk, run or jog our sandy 5k this morning. We even had the big man in red himself complete with bell to marshal and cheer on every single one of us today. Well done Mr Claus and three days before Christmas too when you must be up to your eyes, that’s dedication for you folks. Like last year where 278 broke the 2016 Santa run record this has again completely blown the socks off (Santa socks obviously) previous Christmas attendance numbers!

A high tide at 6am made for firm sand and a pleasant outward run with a head wind on the return leg, no matter the conditions though as the festive spirit brought such good cheer and cheery runner smiles and laughter, we even Ho Ho Ho’d our way through that deeper than usual estuary. It was just as well as it brought us all back to the Waterpsorts Centre in good time to start demolishing that veritable feast of all manner of treats, shortbread, mince pies, cake, buns, sweets galore and lashings of coffee and tea. We also had two fabulous milestone cakes from Nigel Armstrong and Catherine Byres so thanks for them and to everyone who contributed to our post run refreshments, they were so gratefully received and as always truly delivered on our now well-established reputation for Portrush parkrun hospitality.

Among our numbers this morning we welcomed a whopping 39 first timers, 14 of which were brand new parkrunners, so welcome all, we hope to see you again. We also welcomed several visiting parkrunners from Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Guildford, Southampton and Canada, so a big cheer to all of you and thanks for joining us, we hope to see you again soon too.

We celebrated three milestones this week, with David Hamill on his 50th and Nigel Armstrong and Catherine Byers doing their 100th parkruns. David’s homerun is Carrickfergus, but he is not an unfamiliar face at Portrush either, with four Portrush parkruns under his belt and several other tourism parkruns also, so welcome to the 50 club David. Nigel and Catherine are regulars here at Portrush, with Nigel having completed 86 at Portrush, and also clocking up a few impressive tourist runs, including Okanagan and Whistler parkruns, Canada. Catherine also enjoys a bit of parkrun tourism, with 81 here at Portrush and the remainder on numerous tourism jaunts, including Firenze parkrun, Italy. So welcome to the 100 club both and we hope to see your new black Ts very soon.

As always parkrun doesn’t happen without the trusty band of weekly volunteers and this week was no exception. Our helpful elves this morning were Alan Taggart, Andrew Wilmot, Anne, Jack, Christine Wilmot, Clare Carruthers, Clive Bradberry, Davy Blair, Fiona Walls, Lauren Laverty, Mervyn Thompson, Pamela Howe, Patricia Craig, Rhona Laverty, Sally McClean, Samantha Linton, Stuart Vaux and Wesley Moore. So thank you every single one of you, as once again you made the magic happen for all of us, it was just as if our glittering sand was reindeer dust itself, spread a little early to bring us all our sandy 5k festive cheer and that’s the magic of parkrun! If anyone reading this would like to volunteer please contact any member of the core team in person or via email or social media. There is also a volunteer roster sheet in the Watersports Centre which you can fill in for upcoming weeks.

Now for the last few stats. We saw 33 performances being rewarded with PBs – well done all, you have certainly earned an extra mince pie! Our first festive finishers were John Lenehan for the men and Karen Alexander for the ladies – a special festive cheer to both. Our runners this week also represented some 27 different running clubs and saw a huge range of finish times from 17.05 to 54.59 and like the diversity in those choices of festive dress (have we mentioned that turkey), were the 301 different times in between, again demonstrating the magic of parkrun!

Don’t forget that next week you get the opportunity to run at Portrush twice in four days, as we put on an extra parkrun on New Year’s Day.
So until next week parkrunners, here’s hoping you have all had a wonderful Christmas and we’ll see you soon on the sparkly sand.



15th December Run Report

With numbers dipping under 100 for the first time in quite a while, you would think there was something putting you off getting out from under a warm, cosy duvet and leaving the comfort of your central heating.
But 82 of you did leave the confines of your home to get blown, buffeted and battered along the soft, spongey sands of the East Strand.
It really was a tough run and the out and back start beyond the estuary that Mervyn announced during the indoor brief was met with heckling and groaning worthy of a pantomime! But it was no joke - the production most apt for today was The Tempest!
We had wind, sideways rain which stung like needles and a high tide. Misery heaped on misery but thankfully still, no matter the weather – we always come out smiling. Winning at the weekend already! (Though I think those smiles were frozen on our faces).
Surprisingly (!) we had no PB’s today, though we did have 6 brave souls who decided the best time to be exposed to Portrush parkrun would be during a weather warning for wind and rain. In fact, one of those hardy first timers weren’t just new to our course, but new to parkrun! We also had visitors from other parkruns in Northern Ireland, England and Wales. Welcome to you all.
While the wind blew, the party atmosphere both before and after the run was in full swing as we celebrated milestones pre-run and stuffed our faces with cake post-run. (Well we certainly deserved it).
Donna COSTELLO, Eithne DALY and Mark OSMER were all celebrating their 100th run. Donna and Eithne are both Portrush regulars, though they have clocked up some tourism between them at Harrow, Limavady, Canons Park, Victoria & Gladstone and at Monaghan, Armagh, Ormeau & Limavady respectively. Mark also runs at Ecos and is a member of Ballymena Runners so we are delighted that he joined us at Portrush for such a momentous run. Congratulations to you all.
A big congratulations too to an unofficial milestoner. Mervyn THOMPSON continues to outrun us all as he clocked up 300 runs today! That is 1500 kilometers of parkrun! Definitely worthy of a cheer.
So, you may have noticed that the weather has been mentioned a few times – and I’m sure a few of you were full of good intentions to run today until you looked out the window. But the folks who had already committed themselves to volunteering didn’t have that option. We always appreciate our volunteers but never more so when the weather is atrocious.
Our shivering stalwarts this week were Stuart VAUX • Mervyn THOMPSON • Karen MCLAUGHLIN • Christopher DRUMMOND • Ali MCALLISTER • Emer THOMPSON • Davy BLAIR • Clive BRADBERRY • Wesley MOORE • Lauren LAVERTY who all had outdoor jobs. In fact, Wesley and Davy had to set the course up twice due to the alternative course and were absolutely drenched before the run even started.
Helping out with the important but slightly warmer tasks were Pamela HOWE • Molly BLEE • Samantha LINTON • Faye MCLERNON • Andrew WILMOT • Aisling HYNES • • Fiona WALLS
Just a quick thank you too for adhering to the barcode rule. We only had 4 unknowns today – though it was nearly 5 until some speedy runner realised how far up the field they were and rushed home after the run to grab their forgotten barcode, so they could have their best finishing position recorded. One of the other benefits of fewer numbers than usual as well as more cake!!
Over the winter months during the more inclement weather we tend to see fewer other beach users but with very high tides there can be less beach to share. We often have dogs and horses on our course and this morning we did have a couple of beautiful horses also getting their 5k Saturday morning run along the sand. I had a chat to the riders as they were quite close to us at one stage. They thought we would be able to hear the horses thundering hooves but over the waves, wind, headwear and music most runners couldn’t. We both agreed to be more mindful of each other to enable us to keep safely enjoying a shared space, so please do be aware of what could be behind you as well as in front. The core team are also happy to chat to any other beach users when required.
Next week is our Santa Run so please feel free to come festooned with baubles, lights and tinsel. Or a Santa hat would do.
I will be replacing the sand for snow next Saturday so can I just take the opportunity now to wish all you lovely parkrunners a very Merry Christmas!

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