Name: Helen Carr & Eoin Fegan
Occupation: Helen: Book Editor / Eoin: Marketing Analysis Manager
Local parkrun: Malahide
Number of parkruns completed: Helen: 95 / Eoin: 51
How did you get involved in parkrun?
We saw on social media that the first parkrun in Ireland was arriving in Malahide, so we headed out the first week and loved it! Eoin was injured at the time, so brought his camera and took photos while Helen ran it. From that it was a short step to Eoin joining the core team, becoming a Run Director in Malahide, and now he’s an area ambassodor for parkrun. Helen also volunteers regularly at Malahide and has grown used to sharing the house/car with Run Director paraphenalia!
What do you love about parkrun?
We love the timed aspect, the opportunity to improve week on week and really get to know a course, and we also really love travelling round the country to try new parkruns – parkrun has taken us to parts of Ireland we’d never visited before. Highlights have been Oldbridge on a very frosty morning, Portrush into a headwind and the inaugural Mount Lucas parkrun, in the shadow of the windmills, beautiful Bere Island and Warsaw in the snow. We also love the sense of community, all the friends we’ve made, and the coffee and scones after!
Who do you participate with?
Each other, our parkrun friends, Raheny Shamrock club mates and sometimes our friends’ whippet, Lulu.
Any parkrun milestones / achievements you would like to share?
Helen: I’ve broken 20 minutes in Malahide, which I was really happy with as it’s my home parkrun. I was also happy to finish 3rd overall in New Ross – being so near the front was an unusual experience! This summer my goddaughter, Aine Hester, came over from London (where she is a parkrunner) and ran the Malahide parkrun, so that was a great experience too.
Eoin: Getting to 50 parkruns was a great milestone. I’ve also loved parkrunning at 35 different locations! Getting up for Edinburgh parkrun after a late night out a college reunion was probably my biggest achievement!
How has parkrun impacted positively on your family outside of 9:30am on a Saturday?
We’ve made a lot of friends through parkrun, who we see both at and outside of parkrun. We’ve also enjoyed travelling to different parkruns with the friends we’ve made.
Do you have a health or fitness goal?
Helen: I’m currently on a running hiatus after an operation, so my goal is to work back up to running 5k, and then start working on that sub-20 again! But mainly, getting back to parkrun is my goal.
Eoin: To keep running injury-free!
Who is your dream parkrun running buddy?
Helen: I have so many great running friends that I just can’t pick! I suppose my dream parkrun would be perfect running weather with all my running friends, and a café after with loads of free seats ☺
What was your best parkrun experience?
Helen: For the sheer novelty, I’d have to say running Warsaw parkrun in a blizzard in February. During my warmup I could hardly see for snow, but during the run the snow eased off and we ran through a beautiful park, past a frozen lake, on freshly fallen snow. There was a flask of hot black tea for everyone at the finish. Typically being the only Irish cross country runner, I was the only runner there in shorts.
Eoin: Running the inaugural Poppintree parkrun a week after a difficult Dublin Marathon in 2014 helped restart my love of running after a week of doubt.
What was the funniest parkrun moment?
Helen: One Christmas, a Santa in wellies stayed ahead of me for half a lap in Marley!
Eoin: When I was doing lead bike on a rusty old boneshaker in Malahide; I attempted to speed off, I changed gear and the chain came off! The lead runner sped past me, grinning ‘chain problems?”
What advice would you give to someone who’s never been to parkrun?
I’m always advising people to come to parkrun. Every time anyone mentions running I say ‘Have you done a parkrun?’ I’d tell them that parkrun really is for everyone, you can be as competitive or relaxed as you like; there’s room for everyone and everyone appreciates each other. It’s athletic and fun and social.
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