The Course

The course is 5000m (5K) long. The course is at Valley Leisure Centre, Newtownabbey. The course is run entirely on tarmac paths. Some sections of the course may accumulate mud, leaves and puddles after rain. Dependent on availability, marshals will be at key sections of the course, or signs will be in place.

Please remember that the parkrun uses shared paths. For the continued success of the event, please give way to other park users. This won't hurt your time, it won't stop you from getting a PB and it will make sure everyone continues to enjoy the event.

Please, wherever possible walk, jog, cycle or use public transport when attending the event. If you do have to drive, please consider car-sharing to reduce our impact on both the environment and other park users. Please also watch out for other park users when arriving and leaving. Parking may be limited so try to arrive early.

Course Safety

The Valley parkrun, Newtownabbey is a fun, free event organised by volunteers for the benefit of everyone. We wish to make the run as safe as possible, so runners, spectators and helpers are asked to take care about the following:

  • Please be considerate to the park and other park users at all times.
  • Children under the age of eleven must be accompanied (within arm's reach) throughout the run by a parent, guardian or appropriate adult of the parent's choice.
  • Please arrive by foot, by pedal-power or by public transport if you can - your efforts help to reduce our impact on the park and the planet.
  • Please consider volunteering to help occasionally - this event survives only because of your generosity - please visit the volunteer page for more information.
  • Take care near roads and car parks - some vehicles drive very quickly. Please congregate away from the cars and be careful in particular if you have children. If you’re driving to the run, please drive carefully even if you’re late!
  • When running, take care on uneven surfaces - whether on grass or on tarmac. Watch out for cyclists, other runners, pedestrians, children, dogs, wildlife, park animals, vehicles, park maintenance work, falling branches, bollards, posts and other obstacles around the course.
  • Please ensure that you are fit enough to walk, jog, run 5k (3.1 miles) with us. Health advice about running can be found at the excellent Runners' Medical Resource website (although this external website focuses on preparation for a race and does not describe parkrun events).
  • Remember to warm up before the run.
  • If you see a runner with a serious problem, please stop to help them out and get help as soon as possible.
  • If you’re watching, keep clear of runners on the course, and look after any children and dogs you may have with you.
  • It is not permitted to run with a pushchair and a dog at the same time.
  • Runners wishing to run with a dog are welcome, but please keep the dog on a short lead or harness and under control throughout the event. Please also review the parkrun support page article about running with a dog at parkrun events.
  • Runners pushing buggies are also welcome, but please take extreme care of other runners around you. If possible start from the back of the field and try to keep to one side of the main body of runners.
  • While rare, Lyme Disease is present in areas where deer live, and occasionally passed to humans through infected ticks. See NHS Choices website for more about Lyme Disease, and how to deal with ticks.

We hope these tips help to ensure that Valley parkrun, Newtownabbey is fun and safe for everyone.

Age Grading

All parkrun events use Age Grading to help athletes compare results.

Age Grading takes your time and uses the world record time for your sex and age group to produce a score (a percentage). This score allows you to compare your personal performance against other people's performances even though they might be a different age and a different sex to you - the higher the score the better the performance. The scores can also be compared across different race distances - to allow you to, for example, compare a 5km time against a marathon.

For more information, please see the Running For Fitness website.

Course Map


View Valley parkrun in a larger map

Course Description

The course starts at the rear of the main Valley Leisure Centre building beside the grass pitches changing pavilion. The majority of the course is a 2 lap clockwise route around the main body of the Valley Park with a short section at the beginning and again at the end of the route leading from the pavilion past the duck pond and back
This course is not flat. The park is located on a slight slope and therefore we have sections of the route that are either uphill or downhill but the gradient of the slopes would be described as gradual rather than acute or severe. There are no tunnels or bollards to negotiate and generally the course route is a few metres wide. There is one pedestrian gate to go through leading to the area around the duck pond and this is approximately 500 metres from the start finish line.

Facilities

The course is located within 100 metres of the main Valley Leisure Centre building where toilet, changing and showering facilities are available. During the summer these facilities are also available at the grass pitches pavilion just adjacent to the start finish line.
There is ample free parking space available at the start finish line beside the pavilion or in the main car park at the front of the Valley Leisure Centre building. There are also a number of accessible parking spaces available at either car park.

Getting There

Location of start

The run starts at the rear of the main Valley Leisure Centre building beside the grass pitches changing pavilion.

Getting there by public transport

The best way to find us using public transport is to check the route planner on the Translink website. This website will allow you to locate the best form of transport to get you to us on time for the start of the Valley parkrun. This website journey planner will allow you to enter your location and the destination: Valley Leisure Centre, Rathcoole in order to get the best details for your journey.
These timetables change depending on the season but the current timetable shows that you can get a Metro operated bus 2D at 8.57am from the Tescos in Royal Avenue, Belfast that will have you at the Valley Leisure Centre (Rathcoole) by 9.20am. Just enough time to do your stretches!

If you prefer the train you would need to get the train in Central Station, Belfast at 8.25am that will have you at our closest train stop - Whiteabbey Train Station at 8.35am and then it’s a 25 minute walk to the Valley Leisure Centre in order to get you there before the 9.30am start.

Getting there on foot

From Whiteabbey Train Station as you leave either platform onto the B513 Station Road turn right and proceed up the hill towards Cave Hill on the horizon. Continue on this road until you reach the roundabout beside the Tesco Express, take the 2nd exit onto O'Neill Road - B513. Continue up the hill until you reach the next roundabout where you take a left on the 1st exit onto Church Road. After approximately half a mile turn right at the Valley Leisure Centre.

From the bus stop ? there is a bus stop directly outside the main Valley Leisure Centre building ? we are on a Metro route.

Getting there by road

Valley parkrun, Newtonabbey takes place at the parkland directly behind the main Valley Leisure Centre facility. If using a SATNAV the best postcode to use is BT36 7LJ.

If travelling from the South or from the nearest large city (Belfast) the easiest route would be to go Northbound on the M2 motorway towards The North, Larne, International Airport. Exit the M2 at junction 2, then merge onto Shore Road - A2 signposted for Greencastle, Rathcoole. Keep in left hand lanes then continue forward onto Shore Road - A2 signposted for Carrickfergus. Continue forward onto Shore Road - A2 Entering Whiteabbey. After approximately ? a mile turn left onto Longwood Road signposted for the Abbeycentre Shopping Complex. At Longwood Road Roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Church Road. After approximately 1 mile you will see the Valley Leisure Centre on the left side of the road opposite Halfords & Harvey Norman retail units.

If travelling from the North or Antrim/Ballymena or Londonderry the easiest route would be to go Southbound on the M2 motorway towards Belfast. Exit the M2 at junction 4, then at Sandyknowes roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Ballyhenry Road - B90 signposted for Carrickfergus. At Manse Road Roundabout take the 1st exit onto Manse Road - B90. At roundabout take the 2nd exit turning right onto Prince Charles Way. At the next roundabout take the 2nd exit straight ahead onto Prince Charles Way. Continue forward on the Prince Charles Way and go downhill to another roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Church Road. After approximately ? a mile turn right at the Valley Leisure Centre.

If travelling from the Northeast or Carrickfergus continue forward onto Belfast Road - A2 entering Greenisland. Continue forward onto Shore Road - A2 entering Whiteabbey. At roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Shore Road - A2. At Shore Road Roundabout take the 3rd exit onto Shore Road - A2 signposted Belfast, Shore Road. After approximately 1 mile turn right onto Longwood Road. At Longwood Road Roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Church Road. After approximately 1 mile you will see the Valley Leisure Centre on the left side of the road opposite Halfords & Harvey Norman retail units.

Post Run Coffee

Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in Café Zest (located within the Valley Leisure Centre) - please come and join us!