14th April Run Report

There was nearly a touch of Spring about parkrun on Saturday morning this week. The sun broke through the clouds, gentle (ahem) breeze, firm sand and a few more than usual white legs on show. It felt like we were all rejoicing at the thought that we may possibly (you can never speak to soon in NI) be coming to the end of a very long winter.

We’ve been making a concerted effort to start parkrun on time over the last couple of weeks and, indeed, some of you may have noticed that Mervyn took to the microphone at 09.25 this week. So be warned.. if you swing in to the car park at 09.35 you’re likely to find yourself chasing the rest of the parkrun crew down the beach!

As we say every week parkrun couldn’t happen without our volunteers and this week we are indebted to Kenneth BACON, Davy BLAIR, Clive BRADBERRY, Patricia CRAIG, David DOEY, Pamela HOWE, Samantha LINTON, Sheila MCBROOM, Faye MCLERNON, Pete SCOLLS, Mervyn THOMPSON, Joan TRENGOVE, Christopher WATTERS, Christine WILMOT and Andrew WILSON. The weather seems to be becoming a bit more outdoor-volunteer-friendly and if you fancy joining the ranks of volunteers we would be very glad to have you join us. We also have a new volunteer position of ‘running marshall’ along the route - which is a bit like a running tail walker in case anyone gets in to difficulty along the course. No previous experience is necessary for any volunteer role!

This week we had a lovely group from East London join us on our sandy shores along with others from across the UK. Thank you one and all for choosing Portrush this week. We also had another notable visitor with us this week who is renown for having time travelled in real life! In February this year Annicea Madine became the first female to run two parkruns on the same day at the same time. How did she do that I hear you cry! She ran a parkrun in Australia and then caught a flight to Vancouver, Canada and did parkrun there on the same morning! Lovely to have you with us this morning Annicea.. we hope you enjoyed our parkrun just as much!

As well as having visitors come to our parkrun, of course, there are our regular parkrunners who also like to do a bit of tourism. This week Anne Jack took part in the Krakow parkrun and won her age category and Debbie Baillie ran her 50th parkrun at Donnabate. Well done ladies!

We celebrated two milestones this week. Grainne Moore and Colin Acheson both chalked up 50 runs this week and both provided us with delicious cake to enjoy afterwards. parkrunning is very much part of Grainne’s family and it’s obvious how well the wider Garvagh family of runners support one another as they all endeavour to be at parkrun to mark a milestone when one of them is celebrating the achievement. Congratulations to you both and thanks for the tasty treats!

At Portrush parkrun we are having a celebration of our own on Saturday 28th April when we record our 300th parkrun. Please do join us on that occasion if you are able .. we’d love to have 300 runners with us! There will most definitely be cake!

Finally, Mervyn put a post on our Facebook page but just to reiterate it here. As you may be aware, we had a parkrun adjudication last week and the report came through this week. There were a couple of points on it that we feel are important to pass on. Children under 11 years old running accompanied and runners with only one dog are parkrun UK rules that we are obliged to observe without exception. Our insurance may be in jeopardy if we don’t adhere to them and the core team really don’t want to be put in the awkward position of having to have ‘a quiet word’. Please, please, please can we ask you to ensure that you abide by these rules. This is said, of course, with parkrun love … thank you.

Finally thank you to all 198 of you who ran today, 21 of whom were first timers at Portrush, 6 of whom were running their first ever parkrun and 26 of whom that had PBs (the rest of us aren’t jealous at all!)

We look forward to seeing you all again same time, same place next week.

Don’t forget your barcode!
Don’t forget your cup!



7th April Run Report

It was quite a delightful spring morning for any activity, let alone our fabulous, sandy East Strand to Whiterocks and back again adventure. With two members of the core team away on their own adventures it was down to the remaining members of the core team to set up and put on the weekly show that you all come down for. This week we were under the watchful eye of Run Director, Pam, no better woman, she certainly keeps us on our toes and always on time. One slight oversight with our two trusty members away was the veritable dearth of biscuits and related sweet treats! How did we let that happen? No matter it was a last dash biscuit run from Sam and a veritable cornucopia of sweet delights she secured too, that’s a job you can do again Sam! We also welcomed a 100th cake – so thanks John, it was delicious. 

With it still being the school holidays, we were expecting a good crowd and you didn’t disappoint, so it was with a sharp start that 224 of you took to the sands at Portush parkrun and with the usual time varied finishes you all returned. A blue sky, firm sand, receding tide and a light breeze made for very welcome running conditions.

We had a whopping 45 first timers, so welcome and we hope you enjoyed your run, and we really hope to see you again. We had 32 PBs, so all credit to them, well done, it’s always lovely to see so many PBs, we are sure you are all well chuffed. We had one milestone this week – John Sweeney completed his 100th parkrun, well done John and welcome to the 100 club, we’ll hopefully see you in your black T soon. We also welcomed visitors from near and far, so many we lost count, we hope you enjoyed Portrush and that you will return again soon. First finishers were Sonia Knox for the ladies and Simon Margot for the men – well done both.

Portrush parkrun doesn’t happen without the unsung silent heroes who volunteer their own time to make it happen for all of us. This week they were Clare Carruthers, Clive Bradberry, David Doey, Davy Blair, Joan Trengove, Kenneth Bacon, Lauren Laverty, Nicola Cooke, Pamela Howe, Patricia Craig, Rosanna Jack and Samantha Linton. Thank you all.

In keeping with its’ relatively simple concept parkrun doesn’t have too many rules, but we sometimes all need an occasional reminder of the few we do have to abide by……….so please remember that under 11s always need accompanied by a responsible adult and as much as we love dogs joining in we can only allow one pooch (on a short lead) per parkrunning adult.

We hope to see you again on Saturday and this time we hope to be well prepped with biscuits and sweet treats! This week’s run report comes to you just under the wire in time for our next sandy adventure, its not like me to be so tardy, but hey ho, all’s well that ends well and after all we’re only volunteers!


31st March 2018 Run Report

Easter eggs-travaganza!

Only one big question on the tip of everyone's tongues this week... will Coleraine FC win today's big match? (It's a big big match today apparently, good luck boys!) How many people will be queuing outside the Ramore Winebar come 5pm? When will Take That be touring again? How many Easter themed references can I get into the run report? No, no, no...only one question to be answered in sunny Portrush today and that was how many lovely folk would grace the golden sands on the East Strand for our now infamous Easter Saturday Portrush parkrun?! Last year saw an eggs-cellent 352 people celebrate Easter with a 5k beach run so the anticipation was high for this year's event...some very serious core team bets were placed at 9.03am with very important mini egg prizes!! (Clive won!) Our lovely Clive was so excited about the thought of all these Easter crowds arriving that he even bought out half the Easter goodies in a supermarket that sounds a lot like 'Bescos' (other supermarkets are available but every little helps as they say!!) Thanks Clive

On arriving at the East Strand I have never been so happy to see the sight of Sir Davy constructing The Lord Mervyn Thompson bridge and the sight of a parkrun flag blowing in the wind near the watersports centre steps...forget the chilly, windy weather conditions, this meant it was a normal start point for today's run and no out and back shenanigans! Phew...

By 9.20 the water sports centre was still looking a bit quiet...you were either all eating chocolate eggs for breakfast or sneakily hiding in your cars to stay warm! However,
by 9.29 the news that there were mini eggs must have got out as the masses were swarming in and it was looking like another eggs-cellent Easter turnout. Rascals!

With a toot of the hooter our very own Easter bunny (yes Mervyn that's you!) summoned us all outside to shiver and clap...we all love a bit of clapping at Portrush parkrun and rightly so as each and every runner and volunteer who shows up on a Saturday morning is to be admired!

Today we celebrated the 50th parkrun of one of Garvagh's finest, Paul Moore, who joined Mervyn on the grassy knoll to be rightfully applauded. A great achievement and well done Paul, thanks for the yummy cake! Here's to your next 50.

We also welcomed some lovely tourists from Edinburgh, London, Ballymena, Belfast and wait for it...Tokyo and Sydney!! Imagine flying for 24 hours just to be with us at Portrush parkrun...now that's dedication!  We hope you had an Oz-some time with us in Portrush and come back soon! If you'd like us to come and visit you in Oz I'm sure we could arrange that!  A special welcome also goes to the lovely couple from Abingdon near Oxford who travelled over especially to do Portrush parkrun today! A huge well done to all our newbies today, we hope to see you all back soon for round 2!

With the promise of mini eggs still in our minds it was time to tackle the sand and with a 3,2,1 we were off...the tide was on its way out and so there were a few welcome parts of harder sand along the way. Let's not mention the 14mph on shore winds and the wind chill on the way to the flag . All part of the fun and games of our unique course! Last weekend a few of us Portrush parkrunners took in the sights of the London Landmarks for the half marathon, but today it was lovely to be back running towards our very own welcome landmarks...the Whiterocks and Royal Court hotel! It might just be me but it's always a welcome sight seeing that lovely wee half way flag come into view. With a quick turn it was back towards Portmagic, one step closer to the cake, eggs and tea. That view on the return leg gives a view of The London Eye a run for its money!

Today's event couldn't have happened without our wonderful volunteers so a big thanks to Janet BECK, Angus BECK, Davy BLAIR, Garry BONES, Clive BRADBERRY, Pearl DOOLEY, Bill GRAHAM, Pamela HOWE, Lauren LAVERTY, Samantha LINTON, Noel MCBRIDE, Louise MCKEAG, Faye MCLERNON, Piers PUNTAN, Mervyn THOMPSON, Christopher WATTERS. We really do appreciate your time and efforts. Please do consider volunteering some week, it's a lovely way to meet new people and give something back to parkrun. Feel free to chat to any of us if you fancy volunteering some week...there's a role to fit everyone!

Soooooooo...what was the final number of runners this morning at Portrush parkrun? An eggs-tremely eggs-cellent 311 of you joined us this morning and we hope you enjoyed your run with us! On behalf of all the core team thanks so much for choosing Portrush parkrun for your Easter parkrun! We might be a bit biased, but Portrush parkrun is pretty special so you made an eggs-tremely good choice!

Have a fantastic Easter and remember...

You've tested your legs,
Now it's time for the eggs!



24th March 2018 Run Report

Did you feel it? Go on you must have. Actual warmth. Yep, I even took a layer off before we started.

With Summer Time officially starting tomorrow – don’t forget you’re losing an hours sleep tonight – the weather decided to celebrate 24 hours early and gave us a glorious start to our weekend. Even the sand and breeze were caught up in the moment with both generously giving us relatively benign conditions. I haven’t looked yet but there’s got to be PBs this week (not me sadly).

I generally find myself thinking of time around this point in the year, as not only do the clocks change but I will very shortly be chalking up another year in the getting old stakes. In fact I move up a parkrun age category next week which at first got me all excited as I mistakenly thought as the youngster (hey, everything in life is relative) I might stand a chance of getting an age category win. But oh no, it’s even more competitive than the group I’m in now! I’ll just have to try some parkrun tourism to get my win (no names but you know who you are).

It also struck me that for those of us that are more…….shall I say, experienced, we could treat parkrun age categories like dog years; in which case I will be turning eleven next week. Now, does that mean I need to run with a parent or responsible adult? Mum’s turning eighty in early April so that could be a bit tricky, but not impossible.

At the other end of the spectrum, young Rory Thompson celebrated his ninth birthday today. It would appear birthday celebrations in the Thompson household do not include a Saturday morning lay in.

Also celebrating were Dave Masson from Leeds who did his 50th parkrun today as did Raymond McCann. Congratulations guys.

More congratulations and best wishes to our running bride to be Beckie Tester. Only Beckie and her Chief Bridesmaid turned out this morning the rest of the Hen Party obviously saving themselves for later. As I sit here typing on Saturday evening, I’m just imagining how Beckie is looking right now. Probably not as vital and fresh faced as when I last saw her. My bet is that if she is on the beach tomorrow morning it’s because she slept there having not been able to find her hotel in the early hours. Let’s hope not.

None of us would have enjoyed the camaraderie of parkrun this morning if it wasn’t for our volunteers who this week were: Davy Blair, Clare Carruthers, Angela Crocker, Lauren Laverty, Louise McKeag, Chris Mills, Clive Robinson, Mervyn Thompson, Jason Wilson and me. A big thank you to everybody for stepping forwards and answering the call. If you enjoy parkrun, why not get just a wee bit more involved and volunteer to help out one week. It’s all very easy and helps you to get to know more of your fellow runners. Scanning is great for learning everybody’s name.

We had 159 runners this morning and quite a few visitors from all parts: Belfast, Carrick, Dunagannon, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, London and Poole. Hopefully I got most of them. If I missed you: apologies. The shout out was going on and on until it started to feel a bit like the end of the Generation Game: “Cuddly Toy!” (I’m old, see above, ask your parents to explain).

I’ve finally interrogated the results table: WOW.

Twenty six people were running for the first time at Portrush, ten of which were first time parkrunners. Hope you all really enjoyed the morning and that we see you again soon.

We also had twenty two PBs which included the first three runners to cross the line. In fact there were eight PBs in the top thirteen. Congratulations to (deep breath): Jason Wilson, David O’Neill, William McKnight, Brendan Parke, Colin Acheson, Owen Kennedy, Nicholas Webber, Gareth McGowan, Leonard Reid, Craig Stewart, David Kearney, Catherine Parke, Rebecca Tester (our bride ran a PB!), Laura Campbell, David Stanfield, Peter Marshall, Clare Harley, Karen Gilpin, Sally Ann Whiteman, Megan Oliver, Jacqui Kelly and Diane Irvine.

Happy running


PS: was I the only one who didn’t see Jimmy Nesbitt on the beach this morning?


17th March Run Report

179 tenacious athletes turned up on Saturday morning ready to tackle the Beast from the East on the East. But windy as it certainly was on the way out, after the turnaround flag the beast became the beauty as it pushed us homeward to arrive at the flag and be greeted by our shivering high vis supporters.

This week our rosy cheeked helpers were Davy BLAIR, Clive BRADBERRY, Clare CARRUTHERS, Angela CROCKER, David DOEY, Pamela HOWE, Samantha LINTON, Faye MCLERNON, Anne RAINEY, John RAINEY, Mervyn THOMPSON, Christine WILMOT, Andrew WILSON.

A special mention too to Matthew HERON who clapped and cheered us all as he made his way up the beach. The encouragement helped put a spring in our step and a smile on our faces.

It is great to see so many people volunteering every week to ensure that we get to run, jog or walk our favourite route. And we know, and are thankful to the others who just muck in and help out – perhaps by refilling the coffee/ tea pots, tidying and clearing the watersports centre etc. Tommy, our great caretaker and friend to parkrun has been off, and seeing Brian HOWE with a deck scrubber in his hand, perhaps goes some way to make up for losing his position token 

This week as well, we also had Janet BECK join us as our BSL interpreter, many thanks to Janet who signed during the run brief. Janet and Mervyn welcomed our visitors and first timers who must have been delighted to join us this week as we had no less than 6 milestones and enough cake to sink a ship! Thank you to everyone who baked or brought us the goodies that ensured we all got to eat back our calories burnt! As one of the runners who usually takes over 30 minutes to run our course, it’s always good to know that there is going to be cake left for us too!

Many congratulations to mother and daughter Anne and Rosanna Jack, who were helped celebrate with dad Reid and Uncle Peter turning it into a proper family occasion; and William McKnight and Laura Watters who were all celebrating joining the 50 club. (Special mention to Laura’s key lime pie – very tasty). Also, congratulations to Paddy Molloy who completed his 100th run. Paddy usually runs in Belfast, so it was an honour to have him run with us on his 100th. 

We also had one of our juniors - Thomas LAPPIN, who was completing his 10th run. Well done Thomas on 50k of running what can be a very challenging course! 
And after the run celebrations continued for the 12 folks who fought the beast and bagged a PB. Well done, people exceeding their expectations and reaching times they may never thought they could achieve, just showing how hard work and dedication can bring rewards. 

And seeing as it was St Paddy’s day and George BRIEN was resplendent in green – including his shamrock socks, let’s give a mention to all the Paddy’s, Patricks and Patricias.

Well done to Paddy MOLLOY who ran his 100th in 20.34, Patrick PARKE who ran in 21.35 and Patricia CRAIG who ran in 26.31.
It was also St Gertrude’s day but we didn’t have any Gertrudes. Maybe next year George will dress as a cat in her honour.

Apparently after this cold spell the weather is supposed to be glorious, so I am expecting high temperatures, low tide and gentle breeze for next week, though come Thursday Mervyn may shatter that illusion with a forecast of doom. However, we are made of sterner stuff in Portrush and no matter the weather (thus far) we have always provided a parkrun and you have always ran it. So see you next week. Good luck to those running Larne or London landmarks halves who won’t be joining us. Remember its only 4 parkruns and a wee bit. 

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