With the four-day weekend and the height of the holiday season upon us it was always going to be a busy one and again you didn’t disappoint as 339 of you headed to the watersports centre at the East Strand for your Saturday morning sandy 5k fix. What you might not have anticipated though was how unforgiving that sand can sometimes be, and this was certainly one of those weeks. We missed the high tide by about an hour or so, leaving largely soft and choppy sand in the wake of the receding tide. About a quarter of the way in we were somewhat rewarded with a firmer stretch for a short while, albeit on a camber (at Portush parkrun we always pay somewhere). We were however blessed with the beautiful blue skies we have come to enjoy so much of lately, plenty of fabulous sunshine and a light breeze, which helped to compensate a little for that sand, but only just, as the combination of sun and soft sand made for tough conditions this week so huge congratulations just for taking part.
Those tough conditions didn’t stop our first finishers romping home with their whopping times, with Leann Gibson first finisher for the ladies and Stuart Cameron for the men – well done both. As usual we also welcomed visitors this week, they came from far and wide including visitors from Liverpool, Oxford, London, Chicago and Ormeau parkruns, so thanks for coming, we hope you enjoyed it and we hope to see you again. A special welcome was extended to our fellow parkrunners from Castlewellan, who due to the cancellation of Castlewellan parkrun on Saturday, choose Portrush as their alternative, we really appreciate you doing so, we hoped you enjoyed it and we’d love to see you again soon.
If you were going to pick a week to volunteer then this was a good one to go for, which was just as well as it brought 17 of you to the fore in hi-viz. Portrush parkrun doesn’t happen without our weekly volunteers, so three cheers to each and every one of them for making the parkrun magic happen at Portrush this week for all of us. They were Alan Nevin, Andrew Wilmot, Chris Mills, Clare Carruthers, Clive Bradberry, Davy Blair, Faye Mclernon, Joan Trengove, Julie Stevenson, Lauren Laverty, Pamela Howe, Patricia Craig, Philip Mcilwrath, Ross Laverty, Samantha Linton, Stuart Vaux and Tracy Trainor. Thank you. With our usual Run Director sunning himself in foreign climes this week it was down to Clive to don the coveted blue and white vest – well done Clive, you kept us all on our toes and led us in the delivery of yet another event without a hitch.
We celebrated several milestones this week also, welcoming Alice Bradley, Shelagh Murray, Sandra Dunseath, Neil Finch, and Louise McGowan to the 50 club! Well done all, no doubt you will all be resplendent in red very soon. We also celebrated Karen Garvin completing her 100th parkrun this Saturday, another fabulous achievement and hence with all those milestones there was no shortage of cake, so thank you to all who contributed to that and yum.
Our volunteers are very precious as without them our event just cannot take place so if you fancy volunteering some week please let us know, either in person or via the volunteer sheet in the watersports centre, email or facebook. On that note some of our volunteers have been working extra hard in recent weeks writing down the finishing names, numbers and position times from some of the more dated barcodes as the scanners don’t like them much. So please before you come along look at your barcode and if you think it is a bit soggy, worn, tattered, faded, and in general a bit bruised and weary looking, please print yourself off a fresh barcode and let our volunteers rest their weary hands a while.
While our numbers today were not record breaking (although they were very close), they brought with them a few more whopping stats. We saw an amazing 64 first timers - that’s some going, you are all very welcome, we hope your first time is not the last time and we promise we sometimes run on firm sand. Amazingly we had 14 PBs – massive well done to each one of you - PB heroes all! Our 339 runners this week also represented some 40 different running clubs and with a range of finish times from 19.03 to 61.52 and the 337 different times in between it is clear to see that parkrun truly is diverse, intended for all and as much about just taking part as anything. As I was running myself this week I was reminded of this range and diversity and that for many of us (including me) just turning up and taking part is what it’s all about. So armed with a fresh barcode (if you need one) please turn up, take part and enjoy your Saturday mornings on the sand.
See you next week