13th October Run Report

When writing the previous week’s run report, I had suggested ‘The Tide is High’ may have been a suitable soundtrack for Saturday’s run. However, the tide was surprisingly OK - what indeed would have been a good soundtrack would have been ‘Why Does it Always Rain on Me’, ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head’ or any other song about getting absolutely drenched! We all looked like we had had a dip in the sea!

I think a few of you also listened to or looked out on the rain and decided your soundtrack was ‘Spent the Day in Bed’, as our numbers were reduced to 132 on this soggy day. But soggy or not, spirits are never dampened at parkrun, even for those who have to spend longer in the elements than the rest of us - yes, our volunteers- bright in appearance and disposition. This week, smiling through the deluge were Davy BLAIR, Clive BRADBERRY, Clare CARRUTHERS, David DOEY, Samantha LINTON, Faye MCLERNON, Elaine MONTGOMERY, Alan TAGGART, Mervyn THOMPSON, Emer THOMPSON, Stuart VAUX, Andrew WILMOT, Christine WILMOT.

We count on our volunteers each week to allow our parkrun to go ahead. Really, the only jobs that are obviously essential and mean you can’t run are the timers and the tokens. Everything else you can still run - we have running marshals, setting up and closing down, scanning (though if you want to run and scan it helps if you are a faster finisher), writing the run report. If you fancy any of these jobs please let us know. And for the non-running roles, if each person volunteered for these a couple of times a year, we would be well covered.

Once again, we were running for cake. And delicious it was too - thank you to David Spence’s granny for the one I had. David and also Meabh Close were joining the 50 club and came laden with post run deliciousness to enjoy with a well earned hot cuppa after the run. We learnt the new term ‘sandbagging’ in relation to David and his amazing 18 PB’s that he has achieved, which basically means instead of going all out for it, if he thinks he’s going to get a PB by more than a few seconds he holds back so that he can keep bagging them in future runs. No matter the tactics - I’m impressed that his time has gone from 29:18 to 21:34. In fact truth be told, I’d be happy with his starting off time!
Meabh has also managed an impressive 9 personal bests, the latest one standing at 21:54! Great running from you both.
Just a quick congratulations too, to our first female finisher this week, Sonia Knox, who won Causeway Coast and Glens Sports Woman of the Year Award, following her gold medal at the World Duathlon championships.
Also well done to our male first finisher, Jamie McKee, who also got himself a PB of 17:15. Conditions weren’t the best, with only 6 PB’s overall. I wonder if Jamie will be pushing to join the sub 17 group?

We had 19 first timers to our course this week - a warm welcome to all of our visitors. This also included 8 people who had previously decided that this was the week to start parkrun and a bit of rain wasn’t going to put them off. Callum BRADLEY, Aaron DIXON, Hannah MORREN, Vicki DIXON, George ROBBINS, Nadine NICOL, Darren LYNN, Malcom JOHNS - we look forward to seeing you again. Come and say hello!

At this stage, dare we say it, conditions are looking favourable for this coming Saturday, though the volunteer roster could do with a few more names on it.
Give us a shout if you are available or see you on the beach.



6th October Run Report

Portrush parkrun #323

On International parkrun day, our event director was off building relationships with our closest parkrun neighbour, so it was up to Sam LINTON and her merry band of volunteers to ensure that all went according to plan. And it couldn’t have been better.
The sun shone, the sand was good, the smiles were bright and while there was a stiff headwind on the return home, it meant the cobwebs were well and truly blown away!
With parkrun banner firmly in place, 200 eager runners crowded around Sam’s Sierra as she delivered the run brief to a host of locals and visitors – our furthest being from New Zealand!! Wow – hope you all enjoyed Portrush as much as we do. Of our visitors, 22 of you were first timers to our course with 5 doing their first parkrun ever.
A slight technical hitch of microphone dying mid brief, didn’t put anyone off and we cheered and clapped as Alan TAGGART was congratulated on reaching the 50 club. And fair play to Alan, not only did he help us out by bringing cake, he also scanned other runners after he had finished his. (run not cake that is). To top off Alan's morning, he also earnedhimself a PB.
Our other official milestones of the morning were Patricia CRAIG and Phoebe, who following a bout of injury for Patricia, were delighted to get to 100!! Truth be told, Phoebe agreed to not count a few of her runs, as she continued running when Patricia was injured, so she is well over the 100! Such is the parkrun family, that Phoebe was able to continue parkrun with others while Patricia volunteered. Oh, and thank you to them both for yet more fantastic cake!
We also had a rather special unofficial milestone for our International parkrun event. Laura Ritchie and 4 of her friends, jumped on a plane in Glasgow at silly o’clock for a weekend morning, and headed to Belfast International, - where they jumped in a hire car, negotiated the road works and diversions and made it to Portrush with minutes to spare!! Laura then ran her 300th parkrun!! The happy quintet then spent the day around the North Coast before flying back that evening!!
Helping run director Sam were Davy BLAIR, Sean BLAKE, Clive BRADBERRY, Ellie BUCHANAN, Clare CARRUTHERS, Donna COSTELLO, Angela CROCKER, Peter DONNELLY, Alisa HEMPHILL, Reid JACK, Anne JACK, Lauren LAVERTY, Samantha LINTON, Faye MCLERNON, Neil RAMSBOTTOM, Alan TAGGART, Stuart VAUX, Jason WILSON.
Thank you to everyone who helped out. We did have a wee panic that we wouldn’t have enough to go ahead, but after a flurry of messages on Thursday evening and Friday we were all sorted. Volunteering is special too – you get to know runners you may not otherwise have spoken to before and as Neil pointed out on Saturday morning – you see a very different view as the runners take off up the beach and start to spread out along the edge of the tide. This different perspective was beautifully captured by a couple of different photographers. We are very grateful for our finish lines photo every week, but it was interesting to see photos from around the course and also from Bushmills Road looking down along the beach.
Our volunteers will often also grab a coffee post parkrun, so it can be very sociable.
We had a small number of personal bests this week for it being a favourable tide – 20 of you managing that, testament to just how strong that wind was on the way home. Let’s give you all a shout for that hard work!
Jonathan CUMMINGS, Thomas CURRIE, Nicola CUMMINGS, Melissa GAMBLE, Paul GILPIN, Simon KING, Karen ENGLISH, Nigel PELL-ILDERTON, Jonathan MCKEE, Rory HOWE, Mike ROBINSON, Thomas LAPPIN, Jamie MCKEE, Robert HILL, Shirley HILL, Emma BAMFORD, Patrick DORNAN, Alan TAGGART, Alice BRADLEY, Craig ENNIS

This coming week may not be a week for a PB with that Blondie song coming to mind, but could be a perfect week to volunteer. Give us a shout if you fancy it.
And if you are brave enough to tackle the beach then just don’t forget your barcode!



29th September Run Report

Portrush parkrun #322
Saturday 29th September 2018
Surprise, surprise!

We were met with a cooler than usual morning as we made our way to the golden East Strand this morning for our 322nd parkrun...a morning which was to be warmed up with some Saturday surprises!

These surprises came courtesy of a bus load of Saintfield Striders who can clearly throw surprises almost as brilliantly as they can run!! Their fellow strider Gillian Jordan had travelled down to Portrush to celebrate a significant birthday with her family and had arrived for a quiet Saturday morning run when all of a sudden in burst a choir full of her singing friends who had come all the way from Saintfield to surprise the birthday girl! Our headbanded leader's face was a picture as the Watersports Centre was suddenly filled with song! I think he thought he was experiencing a Cilla Black or Jeremy Beadle style moment! Anyway it was a memorable moment and a lovely gesture by all Gillian's club members. Happy birthday Gillian and thanks to you all for starting our proceedings in song! Gillian's turned 40 by the way...but after 3.1 miles of our cool Portrush breeze she looked about 21!

Following our surprise sing song it was on to our usual business and Mervyn took to his mount to welcome 186 hardy parkrunners...thankfully he decided not to burst into song too! All you runners obviously hadn't checked the tide forecast as high tide was happening before our very eyes meaning only one thing...wet feet and a battle with sand that was as soft as a melting 99! Sorry that's 2 things but you know what I mean!

As well as our bus load of party goers from Saintfield we also welcomed visitors from Liverpool, Glasgow and other arts and parts in Northern Ireland...but our international visitor of the week came all the way from sunny Brisbane! Good to hear the Aussies have heard of Portrush parkrun too. As one of our visitors crossed the finish line they actually proclaimed (almost in song) how beautiful a run they had had along our golden miles...must have been something in the air this morning with all the singing! Thanks for your kind words about our wee parkrun! Just shows that however challenging and tough that sand is the unique scenery makes it all worthwhile in the end! A bit like childbirth I suppose

Mervyn also summoned local
regular runner Diane Hill to the front to celebrate an impressive 200 Saturday morning early starts...well done Diane and thanks for all the refreshments you kindly brought!

No bridge needed this morning. The half way flag was swimming by the time our runners got to it so hopefully all your little toesies have now dried out! Sure what else would you be doing on a Saturday morning than half running, half swimming around Portrush!

So down to some stats...the gender gap is closing and today we had 95 male runners to our 91 female runners. Come on ladies we can catch those boys some day!!! With today's challenging conditions special mention needs to go to the 4 runners who amazingly managed to get themselves a well earned PB:

Jonathan Cummings
Richard Jordan
Jonathan Mitchell
Emma Jane Graham

However you managed that I definitely want tips!!

As always huge thanks go to our band of merry volunteers who clapped and encouraged each of you in as you crossed the finish line and made sure you were all timed, scanned, fed, watered and still living at the end of your 5k! So here are today's terrific troop:


So that's us for another week! We will see you all next month . Happy running and have a lovely rest of weekend!



22 September Run Report

Portrush parkrun #321

180 of you joined us on an autumnal morning when a few of the barefoot runners were considering how much longer they’ll be feeling sand between their toes before their toes are so numb that they are not feeling anything!
But shod or not, we will continue our weekly pilgrimage up and down the beach, surrounded by beauty and nature and listening to the thundering waves and possibly thundering hooves of the local racehorses as they gallop past, snorting and tossing their tails as they go. (Did you hear them on Saturday!)
Also tossing her tail last Saturday was Patricia McNally who was our wonderful volunteer tailwalker. She was joined by Davy BLAIR, Clive BRADBERRY, Maureen DONNELLY, Pamela HOWE, Lauren LAVERTY, Rhona LAVERTY, Faye MCLERNON, Patricia MCNALLY, Wesley MOORE, Mervyn THOMPSON, Laura WATTERS, Christine WILMOT, Andrew WILMOT, Andrew WILSON, Jason WILSON, who all took on various roles to allow our parkrun to once again run smoothly. There were a few more tossing their tails too later that night, following our 6th anniversary dinner at the Portrush Atlantic Hotel. It was a great evening celebrating the previous year and it was super that Davy BLAIR, one of our parkrun stalwarts, got a special mention as one of our unsung heroes. Unfortunately Davy’s toes were a bit sore for dancing but hopefully they will be better soon.
Thank you to Mervyn for organising this and to the hotel for a great meal and a customised dessert menu.
Of the 180 runners we had many, many visitors who were not shy about shouting out from where they hailed and seemed to get right into the spirit of our parkrun. We had tourists from Worcester, Southampton, Manchester, Oxford, Leicester, Carrickfergus and USA
One of our tourists, from Bradford, had run Inch Beach parkrun at Kerry the previous week which is also all on sand. Will definitely have to get a trip down for comparison!!
We had 12 people joining parkrun for the very first time. You are all very welcome to the parkrun family and hopefully it won’t be long before we are cheering you on as you join the milestone clubs.
Talking of which, we had no official milestones but with Sally McClean completing her 200th parkrun at the weekend we had to mark the occasion. Sally started with us back at the beginning in 2012 and has completed 175 runs at Portrush and 25 others in Ireland and the British Isles, including Jersey. Sally has also volunteered over 50 times at parkrun and junior parkrun and is also very generous when it comes to a Tunnock’s Teacake or the like for our post run treat.
With the cooler conditions and sand quite firm underfoot, there were bound to be a couple of PB’s and 18 of you nailed that! Well done to all.
First finishers were Sonia Knox, gliding her way down the beach to finish in 20:36 while Jamie McKEE was first for the boys in 18.46.
Well done to all too who competed in any of the distances at the 26 Extreme Causeway Event. You may have seen a few of the ultra runners as they made their way from Portstewart towards Portballintrae, where they then just had marathon distance to go before they could finish! There was also marathon, half and 10k distances on offer.
For all the parkdogs, all restrictions have been lifted from the beach so you are welcome on all areas now at any time. You may also be interested in knowing that there is a local cani-cross (cross country running with your dog) event coming up on Sunday November 18th at Benone Strand, organised through Dog Trails NI. There are 5k and 3k options available and suited to all fitness levels. Juno and I are definitely up for that! And judging by the cacophony of barking at the start of our parkrun, perhaps a few others would be too.
Just to let you know that The Arcadia café is now closing for the winter season (although just the café, the classes continue), but post run refreshments are still available at 55 North and of course we have the use of our Watersports Centre to huddle in post run and enjoy a hot drink.
See you next week.


Run Report 15/09/2018

Portrush parkrun #320

Could there be any better sight as you walk around the corner of The Watersports Centre at silly o'clock on a Saturday morning than that of our headbanded leader hard at work...well actually as lovely as it was to see our Captain back from chasing Mo Farah I think I was marginally more delighted to see the return of...yes you've guessed it...our parkrun pop-up banner! Now if you were following last weekend's shenanigans you will know that said banner was sadly 'in hiding' (deliberately obviously!) so I hope you all gave said pop-up banner a wee smile as you passed it this morning!

With a few mumblings in the air of "oh it's chilly this morning" and "oh I don't think I will part with my coat" and "oh aren't the nights drawing in", 150 hardy folk gathered around for the run brief...beside the pop-up banner of course!

With his return to Mervyn's mount well received, we set about welcoming our lovely visitors from England (to be honest I'm not entirely sure exactly where as firstly I was talking and secondly my geography skills aren't the best), Dumfries, Craigavon and Cookstown. It was sort of like a school exchange programme this morning as our very own Kenny Bacon took on Cookstown parkrun for the morning. I do hope it's a temporary exchange and that he finds his way back to us in time for next week's sandy adventures!

No milestones this week to celebrate, but sure when you have the headbanded one back, and the very important pop-up banner out, sure what else would we need to celebrate?!

So here's to the numbers game...millions of grains of sand were stood on, oodles of footprints left, dozens of smiling faces spotted and many an encouraging word exchanged on our beach. But to be more scientific...150 runners tackled the firm stuff this morning and interestingly 12 more males crawled their way out of bed than ladies but who's counting?!

With the kind conditions we saw 31 people smash their Personal Best times, a great achievement well done! 21 newbies nervously joined us but hopefully that's the first of many to come. I would tell you how many different running clubs were represented but I didn't count them...let's just say a fair few! Well done everyone. Another great run and 5k banked...the distance variety not the monetary value I mean!

As always we couldn't all take in the sights of the Portrush coastline today without the efforts of our volunteers who today were:


Thank you so much for your time and enthusiasm yet again.

In other news an inhaler was found on the beach by a runner and so if you lost one this morning let us know.

Finally, next weekend is our annual excuse for a 3 course meal, plenty of laughs and hi jinks! Oh wait...it's only be 2 courses but 2 lovely courses they will be! Have some soup or something before you come! It's our Portrush parkrun dinner on Saturday 22nd so if you would like to come and join us you would be very welcome. Please contact any of us in the core team to pre-pay your meal.

Have a lovely rest of weekend and see you all next week.


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