Name: Olwyn Dunne
Occupation: Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon Race Director
Local parkrun: Cabinteely
Number of parkruns completed: 76
How did you get involved in parkrun?
I first ran Marlay parkrun in April 2013 and volunteered as soon as I could after that. I was very quickly put at ease by the team there even though I was sure I would do something wrong when I first volunteered! I loved getting my run in and was delighted to see that there were plenty of roles where I could volunteer and run and of course I always enjoyed a coffee with the team afterwards. My youngest son joined me in Marlay in August of that year and we enjoyed many happy parkruns together that summer.
What do you love about parkrun?
I love the fact that parkrun really is for EVERYONE, whether you walk, jog, run, volunteer or even just support from the sidelines. In addition to the parkrun community it also provides an opportunity for us to explore the beautiful parks we have all over the country and I have also had the opportunity to participate in parkruns in the UK, Moscow and Berlin. To put it simply, parkrun opens up a whole world of possibilities and no matter what you are looking for you are bound to find it at parkrun. It ticks all the boxes; community, health and well-being, an opportunity to broaden your horizons…the list is endless really.
Who do you participate with?
In the early days I ran with my youngest son and occasionally my husband Joe. In 2015 the opportunity to take on the role of event director at Cabinteely presented itself and I jumped at the chance. I received wonderful support from family and friends and we are almost four years old now! We have an amazing group of regular volunteers and a spectacular team of Run Directors; Darragh, Ben, Niall, Annemarie, Martina, Séamus, Johnny, Aidan and Malika are doing such a great job that I now have the opportunity to do a bit more parkrunning elsewhere.
Any parkrun milestones / achievements you would like to share?
My favourite parkrun milestone is my purple t-shirt that I received a few years ago for volunteering 25 times. I also really enjoy my role as parkrun ambassador in Ireland where I help new parkruns get started and give the teams support where necessary.
How has parkrun impacted positively on your family outside of 9:30am on a Saturday?
I am lucky to have a very active family; my three sons all play rugby and my husband is also a runner. I think my role in parkrun helps them see how great it is to be able to give back to the community and they are all very proud of me.
Do you have a health or fitness goal?
While I am obviously a HUGE parkrun fan, I actually prefer to race longer distances. My husband and I are currently training for Seville marathon in February 2019.
Who is your dream parkrun running buddy?
My wonderful husband Joe; just over four years ago he suffered a cardiac arrest whilst running and he is alive today thanks to bystander CPR and an onsite defibrillator. Every day I’m reminded of how lucky we are that he survived but especially when we are running together.
What was your best parkrun experience?
I’ve had so many wonderful parkruns it’s hard to choose but if pushed I’d choose St Anne’s parkrun in August 2014; after Joe’s cardiac arrest he gradually went from walking then jogging to running and the first organised run we did together was there. As always, we received a wonderful warm welcome and finishing together on that warm summer’s day we were once again reminded how lucky we are to be part of the parkrun family.
What was the funniest parkrun moment?
In September last year I was presenting one of our regular participants/volunteers Lisa with a milestone cert. Lisa and I had so much fun and her mum Máirín captured a brilliant photo of us laughing, I love this photo so much and it really captures the fun of parkrun.
What advice would you give to someone who’s never been to parkrun?
Come and join us! You will receive a warm welcome no matter which parkrun you head along to, pop up and say hello to the volunteer team beforehand and tell them you are new, and they will put you at ease. Before you know it, you will be hooked like me!
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