News - 10th August 2017

A friendly hello


Did you know that your barcode is unique to you? It can be used at any parkrun event anywhere in the world.


When a family holiday was in the planning this year to Orlando, the first thing I packed was my barcode and my run shoes. Anybody who knows me is aware of my love of parkrun, so the thoughts of missing a parkrun for an extended family holiday would be a chore for me.


My daughter loves parkrun just as much as me, but being a teenager she wasn’t quite so sure about the prospect of getting out of bed at 6am on her holidays as the start time is 7.30am, a bit earlier than the 9.30am start at home. I had visited Clermont Waterfront parkrun (I was very proud to have been their first ever Irish visitor) on a previous holiday a few years ago, and remembering how fabulous the location was, I just couldn’t wait to get back to enjoy another stint around. Alicia, to my delight, was easily persuaded.


I did my bit of homework and realised that the course was different from the last time I’d been there. That was even more exciting. Same beautiful location, just a bit further along the lake so it meant there was something different to see. But, just to keep the team at Clermont on their toes (as if they’ve not enough to do behind the scenes), they re-routed their new course temporarily due to a triathlon taking place, to ensure they didn’t have to cancel.


My daughter, my husband Keith, and myself arrived to a beautiful sunrise over the lake front with the triathlon well underway in Clermont and the hustle and bustle of the parkrun team very evident. It was just the best buzz for an early morning wake up. Clermont has a beautiful community feel, but is just as welcoming to the large number of tourists who come and go weekly there. It was amazing to stand back and soak up the atmosphere that is unique to each event, but identical because of the parkrun framework.


The temporary route was a beautifully shaded, fully flagged, two-loop trail route located just across the road from their new permanent route. The event was thoroughly enjoyed by all three of us. We are far from the same ability, but the beauty of parkrun is all finishers are winners. We hung about for a bit after the event to soak up the atmosphere and chat with some of the regulars and enjoy a cooling bottle of water lovingly provided by a volunteer. Gosh, we had a fantastic morning.


The following week was our going home day… hmmm, would we make it to parkrun before we packed? Eh, of course! Lucky us, we were going to enjoy another route around Clermont. Feeling grateful for the fantastic hospitality of the week before, I offered to do the pre-run brief. Volunteering is always easy at parkrun (full training is given) and with this role I could still get my run in. It just happened to be a record attendance that morning at Clermont, but I was proud as punch to give the brief under the guidance of Jim Pickering RD for the day. Jim did the count down and we were off! My second visit to Clermont for this year certainly didn’t disappoint.


While it was somewhat hotter than the week before, the views were spectacular around the beautiful lake Hiawatha Preserve. The very simple out and back route allowed fellow parkrunners to share a friendly hello and a bit of support if you needed it on the way back. I was a tad slower than the week before, but when you’re enjoying a view and friendly company at parkrun time is never important. I didn’t get the chance to enjoy breafast with the crew as I had packing to do, but it was an absolute privelige to share the time with likeminded runners and walkers from all corners of the globe. parkrun certainly was the icing on the cake for my holiday. I’m very grateful to all at Clermont Waterfront parkrun. They really have something very special going on there. I’m already looking forward to my next visit… whenever it may be.


So, next time you’ve a holiday planned, check the parkrun map… you could enjoy a parkrun at a new location that you never even thought existed.


Sharon Ashmore
parkrunner A404034

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