Tuesday 20 November 2018

Milestone for Gorey parkrun

Tamsin O'Neill scanning the barcode of Gwenda Goff.
Tamsin O'Neill scanning the barcode of Gwenda Goff.

Fintan Lambe

Gorey parkrun celebrates its first birthday this Saturday, November 25, with refreshments and a cake to mark the occasion after the 9.30 a.m. run in Gorey Town Park.

'It's gone very well,' said volunteer Gareth Mitchell who has been involved since the first 5km run last year. He said they've just had to cancel one event this year, due to ex-hurricane Ophelia and Storm Brian which followed.

'An average of 70 people per week take part,' he said. 'It ranges from people running it in 16 to 17 minutes, to people walking it in an hour, running it with their children, or walking or running with dogs.'

'The whole idea is to make it as inclusive as possible,' he added. 'It's a participation run as opposed to a race. It's all about self improvement. People set themselves a target, and they have a score card with their times over the weeks. It's about challenging themselves.'

Participation is free and new members are most welcome. All people have to do is register before their first run on and they receive a barcode which can be used at any of the 70 parkruns nationwide, or 1,200 globally. 'There's such a thing as parkrun tourism,' said Gareth. 'Some people go to as many parkruns as they can. Recently we had 17 hens from a hen party from Dublin take part dressed as nuns. We've had people from Tralee, and from the UK.'

He paid tribute to Gorey parkrun founder and event director Elaine Harold. 'She had the foresight to bring parkrun to Gorey,' he commented. 'Gorey owes her a great debt of gratitude for her efforts. She put a lot of work into getting it up and running. It took six months of hard work.'

Gareth said that each parkrun event is run by ten to twelve volunteers who give their time for free. 'There's a core group of people you see week in week out,' he said.

'We've heard some amazing stories,' he added. 'There are people who could barely walk the 5k and are now running it. Five of our members ran the Dublin marathon a few weeks ago, down in no small part to the Gorey parkrun.'

'There's also a big emphasis on getting youngsters involved,' he said. 'We have seen some impressive progression by youngsters.'

Gorey Guardian