14th July Run Report

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



7th July Run Report

With the sun just breaking through as we stood on Mervyn’s Mount, it was a glorious day yet again for the 334 runners who joined us for parkrun #310 at Portrush. This is just shy of our record breaking attendance of 352 – I wonder if we will surpass that number this summer? Bring your friends, your neighbours, your grannies – let’s see if we can!
With such high numbers there were bound to be a few soon-to-be friends from far flung places and you don’t get very much further than our antipodean runners who joined others from around Ireland and the UK to run the golden sands. In fact, we had 83 of you running on our beach for the first time which includes 13 who were doing their very first parkrun. A huge welcome to you all and thank you for choosing us as your Saturday morning parkrun fix. I wonder if any of you chose a holiday/ stay in Portrush or surrounding area specifically because you wanted to do our parkrun? Why not comment and let us know!
In amongst our many visitors a special mention to Mike Hirst from Keswick who ran in the VM 80-84 age group, showing us that age really is just a number.
With our huge attendance we needed huge help and that came in the shape of our wonderful volunteers. This week rocking the high-vis we had Davy BLAIR, David DOEY, Maureen DONNELLY, Liz DOWEY, Rhona LAVERTY, Lauren LAVERTY, Samantha LINTON, Sally MCCLEAN, Faye MCLERNON, Elaine MONTGOMERY, Mervyn THOMPSON, Joan TRENGOVE, Christine WILMOT, Jason WILSON
With increased numbers we really do need several scanners, a back up timer, a few people to do tokens as well as our running marshals and tail walker so please, do consider volunteering. Our Saturday morning runs are very precious, but they wouldn’t happen without some people forgoing them occasionally.
With sun overhead, firm sand underfoot and the sea and sand dunes glistening to either side of you, it inspired 56 of you to put a spurt on and get a new PB! Well done to you all including our two first finishers Ian Clelland and Deborah Gilliland who also earned themselves one!
Definitely cause for celebration – as is hitting a milestone and this week we had 6!
Locals Colin Connelly, of our Garvagh Springwell Running Club and Rhona Laverty – our very own core team member and also a Springwell runner, were joined by 3 visitors – Maria Morrison, Jane Book and Thomas Woodcock, in completing 50 parkruns.
Our 6th milestone maker was Harry Mitchell, who very impressively was running his 100th at his 25th venue even though he runs in the JM11 -14 category! That is some great tourism Harry!
If you are a visitor and are celebrating a milestone let one of the volunteer team know and we will give you a shout out!
And of course, thank you to all those who provided something to replenish those calories lost on the way up and down the beach!
With all this talk of celebrations, I think we should also mention one of our very own parkrunners Sonia Knox, who on Sunday took the gold medal in the W45-49 World Duathlon Champions in Copenhagen! In her 125 parkruns, Sonia has been 1st finisher on many occasions and has also given much of her time in volunteering – especially during her time on the core team for the juniors. Well done Sonia, we are all very proud of you.
There is a big weekend of tennis and football coming up, don’t watch it feeling guilty – get yourself down to Portrush on Saturday morning at 9.30am to start your weekend off with a free, timed 5k run or walk with friends. The headband will be missing from the mount but for one week the mount will be renamed as Clive’s Clump when core team member Clive Bradbury will take the mike for the run brief.
With Mervyn away, the core team would really like it to run as smoothly as possible so if you have been considering volunteering – this could be a good week to do so! (And the volunteer list is looking a little bit sparse at the minute!)
With 34 of you appearing as Unknown in the results now might also be a good time to remind you to #DFYB. If you haven’t registered yet, it is very easy to do so - just follow this link https://www.parkrun.org.uk/register/



30 June Run Report

Sun, sun and more sun!

With the smell of factor 30 in the air, and an uncanny likeness to a morning on a Costa del Sol beach, it was down to business for our 309th parkrun! All that was missing was the usual dash for sun loungers at 8am which tends to happen on said beaches!

Today we welcomed 249 happy parkrunners...almost as happy as teachers starting their long summer hols, but we'll not labour too much on that! Shame on you if you were that one person who stayed in bed and missed us reaching 250! (I like even numbers lol).

As Mervyn, Davy, Clive and I stood looking towards the Whiterocks at 9am we did wonder if we would be affected by wails of "it's toooooo warm to run" but you're all very committed souls and rocked up, laces tied and fancy beeping watches charged, all in perfect time for Mervyn's run brief...and brief it was not as we had plenty of lovely visitors to welcome from other sunny climes! Australia getting a particularly loud whoop! It was literally a warm welcome as yes we were all sweating by this point! Lots of clapping also went to the 50 or so bus trippers from Sperrin Harriers who paid us a visit today and then ran on to Portstewart for a well deserved 99! Lovely to have you all.

It was great to see 54 first timers joining us this morning and what a morning for your inaugural jaunt up the golden sands...we normally have cake so do come back again soon! Well done also goes to the 9 runners who smashed their PBs, including our speediest finisher Mr Neill Weir!

The predicted high tide didn't prove as tricky as first thought and we all enjoyed a lovely run on relatively firm sand. The splashes of tide were actually quite refreshing on the old toes! Having ran this lovely beach 103 times (don't tell the headbanded one but I've done a few other non-sand parkruns) I have to say today was the warmest and most beautiful morning for a run and I don't think I was alone in getting the trainers off and going straight for a splash in the sea after...just the feet though!

Back at the Watersports centre our new cups were nearly in as big a demand as tickets for a Take That concert and a lot of water was consumed by our thirsty runners...don't tell the hose pipe ban people but our tap was never off as we refilled and refilled!  We have lost a lot of cups since they were introduced so please please don't take them, leave them outside or bin them!! They are much needed.

Finally, sincere thanks must go to our man of the year and all round legend Mervyn for his early starts setting up the course and keeping us all right. Today he was supported by his merry band of volunteers...

Davy BLAIR, Clive BRADBERRY, David DOEY, Bill GRAHAM, Anne JACK, Lauren LAVERTY, Samantha LINTON, Frances B SMYTH, Christopher WATTERS, Jason WILSON.

Thanks so much for your time and efforts everyone.

So that's another parkrun successfully completed and it's time to rest those legs, enjoy the sunshine, get the barbecues out and frequently say "it's powerful
warm!" over the next 7 days!

Until next week...



23 June Run Report

It would appear that my cynical lament for summer last week was somewhat premature. Mr Bluesky himself has returned in all his glorious majesty. The ensuing warm weather was all too much for our very own water feature which couldn’t be bothered to run all the way down to the receding tide. This resulted in the “Mervyn Thompson” bridge having the week off and our very own Isambard Kingdom Blair missing his normal, early morning workout.

Conditions underfoot were excellent and whilst there was a welcome cooling, westerly breeze for the return leg, it didn’t stop 39 of you from setting a new PB.


We also had 30 runners visiting Portrush parkrun for the first time, 7 of whom were doing their very first parkrun. You were all very welcome and we hope you enjoyed the experience and return again soon.


Rolling their sleeves up and taking on volunteer’s duties this week were Davy Blair, Clare Carruthers, Peter Donnelly, John Hamilton, Ali McAllister, Noel McBride, Bob Murphy, Mervyn Thompson, Joan Trengove, Laura Watters, Andrew Wilmot, Jason Wilson and me. Without our volunteers none of us would be able to enjoy our parkrun, so please consider stepping forward one Saturday morning and joining the merry crew. It’s not difficult and generally there’s always backup so don’t stress about potentially getting things wrong.


We also like to celebrate at parkrun – any excuse for cake – and were pleased to congratulate Pauline Duke on her graduation to the 100 club. Pauline started her parkrun career back in 2015 and whilst a Portrush girl at heart, she has also completed runs at Limavady, Ecos and Antrim.


The warm weather looks set for a while longer so remember to keep hydrated when you’re out running. I look forward to seeing you all again next Saturday.


Happy running




16th June Run Report

210s company, Tri(s) a crowd

The exam season drawing to a close, students returning from University with large bags of washing, grey sky, rising winds, heavy showers – yes summer is here at last.

After a prolonged spell with a strange yellow globe hanging in the sky and before anybody could think to whisper “hosepipe ban”, we have been saved from the expense of a summer smothering ourselves in factor 50 by atmospheric conditions returning to business as usual.

Still this didn’t deter 210 of us from making it to the start line this morning where we found ourselves sharing the beach with the 2018 Causeway Coast Triathlon. These brave souls would be swimming 1.5km, cycling 37km and running 10km, with the last 2.5km of their run back up the beach from the White Rocks in the soft sand and head wind. We felt their pain – but probably not nearly as acutely as they did. The staging of the triathlon meant we couldn’t use our usual start line location so we had a short out and back section to start us off, never a favourite, but at only 100m it wasn’t too bad.

Looking through the results table we appeared to have 8 people joining parkrun for the first time. Welcome to you all and hopefully the conditions today won’t put you off from returning. Normally we would have the benefit of the use of the Watersport Centre to offer everybody a cup of tea or coffee when they’ve finished, but the triathletes need was greater than ours this week. We were also joined by 28 visitors and here I let myself down. Whilst enthusiastically applauding all the shout outs I forgot I’d volunteered to write the run report and to make a mental note of where everybody came from. As it is, I can only recall Birmingham, Ashton Court and Ormeau. There were obviously many more, so please, if you are reading this, introduce yourselves in the comments.

No PBs today which tells you something about the conditions. Mind you, the waves washing across the start line were a bit if a clue as to how it was going to be.

We also had some milestones today with Rebecca Clarke running her 50th parkrun. Rebecca, like a number of people, was wrong footed by our uncharacteristically prompt start. Congratulations on achieving 50 parkruns Rebecca and thanks for the cake, it was a most welcome surprise at the end of a tough run.

Abigail McBroom, one of our younger members, completed her 10th run today which is the first milestone for junior parkrunners. Well done Abigail and mum, Sheila who also completed her 50th, a true family affair.

None of us would have been running today if it wasn’t for our volunteers so another round of applause please for Davy Blair, Clare Carruthers, Dave Doey, Takashi Ishll, Lauren Laverty, Rhona Laverty, Samantha Linton, Karen McQuilkin, Frances Monteith, Alan Napier, Mervyn Thompson, Joan Trengove, Clare Vaux, Andrew Wilmot, Jason Wilson and me. If you enjoy your Saturday morning parkrun and, let’s face it, who couldn’t enjoy starting their weekend with a visit to a beautiful beach and a catch up with friends, then please give a little back and step forward one week and join the volunteers.

I think I’d like to say a specific thank you to the volunteers who took on scanning duty today. Not always easy outside to get the barcodes readers to work which can make things a little stressful. This means a higher number of people than usual queuing up a second time to write their details down – thank you all for your patience.

Speaking of volunteers, has anybody seen our Tail Runner? Last seen by those waiting at the finish line, stopwatches in hand, to be veering off the beach and along the promenade. If found please redirect to next week’s start line.

Happy running


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