I’m Isaac, and I love parkrun. I am a Golden Retriever, three and a half years old, and I started parkrunning in 2016. The rules of parkrun state that I must be attached by a short lead to a two-legged parkrunner, so I bring Teresa along every week.
I trained with Teresa when she was doing a couch to 5k plan last year, when she was recovering from illness. She reckoned she needed to train me to keep pace with her, so I learned from the very beginning – run a minute/walk a minute, until she was confident that I could stick with her and not run off, pulling her with me. In fairness, it’s no harm for me to have her attached. Otherwise, I’m sure I’d go off too fast, and we all know what happens when we do that! Teresa keeps me at a fairly consistent (if somewhat boring) pace and that’s working for us for now.
Castletown parkrun, Celbridge
At first, I did all of my parkruns in Castletown in Celbridge. Unfortunately, I’m relying on Teresa to keep count and initially she didn’t take note of the parkruns I ran with her. However, she got curious recently and spent an inordinate amount of time trawling through her parkrun statistics and photos (her own and those from Castletown flickr page) to verify how many runs I’ve done. So, I can genuinely claim to have run a total of 24 parkruns (maybe more, but can’t be sure). Of these, 16 were at Castletown, because it was some time before Teresa decided to take me to other venues. However, in June 2017 we went on the road, and I have now run Tymon, Poolbeg, Ardgillan, Corkagh, Griffeen, Russborough, Cabinteely, Waterstown and Poppintree.
My very first parkrun took me 55:17 but, in fairness, Teresa was walking at that stage so she held me back. My PB is 35:07 which I achieved in Poolbeg. However, I usually come in somewhere between 35 and 40 minutes, depending on how often I stop to do my business. I like to stop during parkrun, whether I need to or not. It gives me an opportunity to sniff the scenery. By the time I choose my spot and Teresa cleans up after me, any hope of a PB is gone. I’ve heard Teresa say that there’s nothing very dignified about running through the finish chute with a poopy bag in her hand, but I’m not sure what she’s getting at.
Poppintree parkrun – Teresa was hoping for a PB but I had business to attend to!
Teresa wears a Flipbelt and hooks my lead through it, so that she doesn’t have to hold me by hand. Whilst most people use the Flipbelt to hold money, keys or a phone, Teresa mainly uses hers for poopy bags and doggy treats. These treats are necessary as I get very distracted if I meet another dog. parkrun is great fun, but it would be even greater fun to play with the other dogs I meet on the way round. However, I know that when I meet another dog, if I focus really hard on Teresa and not get distracted, she’ll give me a tasty morsel from her Flipbelt.
Russborough parkrun. Teresa couldn’t see much with the mist, but I could smell everything – delicious. Definitely on the cards for a re-visit on a clear day.
The best thing about parkrun is that I get lots of attention from other parkrunners. I’m very handsome and well behaved, if I say so myself, so people are always willing to come and give be great big pats. If they don’t know my name, they just call me ‘Gorgeous’ and I’m ok with that. I usually have my photo taken too, and have managed to get myself into the Liffey Champion, the Evening Herald and onto the Connaught Telegraph FB page – not bad for a pooch from Leixlip. I’ve also volunteered with Teresa, either as a Marshal or a pacer.
Poolbeg parkrun, my PB course. I loved the smell of the sea
I love that we go to different places. Each one has something different to offer. There’s never been a parkrun that I didn’t enjoy, and that’s a fact. Some are more challenging than others, some take us through the woods or along the coast, some are very hilly and some are very flat. Whatever the venue, I always have a great time and I know Teresa is having a wonderful time.
Griffeen, Cabinteely, Ardgillan
So I would really like to thank Paul Sinton-Hewitt for starting parkrun and allowing us four-legged pooches to participate. I’m loving it and hope to get to many more parkruns in the future. I like going to new venues, but Teresa has visited some venues without me and I think she plans a re-visit, so that I can experience the fabulous places she’s been. I would also like to go back to some of those venues I’ve already done and try to improve on my times. For the moment, I believe our next stop is Brickfields in Drimnagh. It’s gonna be great.
In October 2014 posters advertising a ‘parkrun’ began to appear around our local town and on social media. Not having any running experience prior to this, running wasn’t something we ever saw ourselves doing and definitely not getting out of bed on a Saturday morning to do! However, curiosity got the better of us and…
Name:Rachel Phelan Age:25 Local parkrun: I’m quite the well-travelled parkrunner – having attended the likes of Wexford, Ennis and Galway before, however Kilkenny and Dublin are my local and most frequent courses. Number of parkruns completed:12 How did you get involved in parkrun? My boyfriend has always had a passion for running and suggested it…