Carrick On Shannon AC is an athletics club based in Co. Leitrim that caters for athletics in the Carrick-on-Shannon area, including the areas of Leitrim Village, Gowel, Kiltoghert, Jamestown, Kilnagross, Cortober, Boyle and parts of North Roscommon.
The club, which was founded in the early 1970s and is based 17 kilometres from Lough Key, are delighted that parkrun is available to its members, many of whom have joined Carrick AC through Lough Key parkrun and vice versa. It strives to keep progressing every year while promoting athletics as best as possible in the Leitrim/North Roscommon area. The current membership is 250 and the youngest a member may join is eight years of age, with no age restriction for the adults.
There are many members who are core team members at Lough Key parkrun and encourage the club to take part at parkrun every week either as runners or volunteers. Graham Allen, the senior club’s coach and a weekly attendee at parkrun was involved in the setup of Lough Key parkrun. Graham encourages the club to take part in parkrun and to enjoy a cup of tea afterwards in the café. It’s a great way of meeting people at the weekend and off course getting a timed run in.
Recently I was involved in hosting Lough Key parkrun’s first ever Athletic Club ‘takeover’. The aim of the AC takeover was essentially to fulfil the volunteer roster with members from Carrick AC, in turn allowing the regular faithful volunteers to get out on the course to take part and for those regular runners to volunteer. It also gave the AC an opportunity to explain what the club does on a weekly basis and to encourage regular parkrunners to consider taking the next step by joining an athletics club.
My inspiration for the takeover came from witnessing a similar event at Roundhay parkrun in Leeds, where my sister brother-in-law are core team members and also members of the local AC Valley Striders. On occasions Valley Striders AC host a takeover at Roundhay parkrun with the same intentions, as many of their members are regular parkrunners.
On the morning of the Lough Key takeover 111 parkrunners made their way eagerly to the start line, and it was clear that something different was taking place that week. As the blue and white balloons bounced in the breeze, so did 15 of our enthusiastic Carrick AC members.
One such volunteer was our wee Ian Harkin who is a regular clapping marshal. Ian ran alongside his mammy Tracey for the very first time!
parkrun isn’t just about first finishers, it’s about taking part and getting around the course, and to ensure nobody was last we had our fabulous tail walker Pauline. Pauline was at the back to encourage and ensure everyone got around the course safely.
A green 250 Club milestone t-shirt was in attendance alongside a parkrun tourist t-shirt, all the way from the birth of parkrun, Bushy parkrun in the UK. The proud owner of the shirt was a gentleman named who ran his 268th parkrun alongside his son. That’s more than five years of running parkrun!
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