News - 7th January 2019

The parkrunning Mayor!

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Growing up in Ballybough, we played football on the streets, football in the schoolyard (Canice’s and O’Connell’s) and in Fairview Park. After playing Gaelic football and hurling as well as soccer I also tried my hand at rugby and ended up playing all of these sports in DCU – mainly because this was when the college opened in 1980 and competition for places on the teams wasn’t great!

 

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Being a Dub I decided I would run the Marathon in 1988, the Millennium Year, and this got me interested in running as well as triathlons. When I finally finished my non-illustrious football career I kept up running for fitness sake and did a few more marathons here and abroad, the Boston Marathon being a particular favourite of mine. Training for marathons involved a regular run from my then home in Ballybough, out to St. Anne’s, one lap there and then down onto Dollymount Strand via the “new” road and back up the wooden bridge and home, taking Fairview Park in on the way. It was always nice running through St.Anne’s and Fairview Parks reminiscing about my playing days and the wonderful goals I scored in pre-TV times (well there definitely was one goal – but possibly into the wrong net!)

 

Someone mentioned parkrun to me some time last year and I decided to give it a try. St. Anne’s was the obvious choice and I went one Saturday morning and innocently asked the run director where I could register. She explained the procedure but, being a technophobe, it took me about a month before I worked out how to register and print off the barcode! Being a sad accountant, I found the publication of the results and the stats very interesting and obviously tried to set new PBs whenever possible. Attempts at PBs depended on Friday night activities!

 

When Fairview started I went there a couple of times and last July the park took out its revenge on my years of ruining the grass with mistimed tackles. I managed to get a nice dose of plantar fasciitis running down the hill. This kept me quiet for about six months but I got back in training and in parkrun mode a few months ago and although not quite as fast as before I’m still getting around in a respectable time.

 

As Lord Mayor of Dublin I want to get to each of the parkruns in the City and I’m getting there slowly but surely. I’m on schedule to get number 50 done before I leave office and look forward to reaching that milestone, although having recently presented Conor with a Lord Mayor scroll to mark his 250th parkrun, I can’t see the organisers baking a cake for my efforts!

 

The parkrun concept is brilliant and I have met so many super people at them. It’s like a big family who all look out for, support and encourage each other. It’s a family I’m proud to be part of.

 

Nial Ring

Lord Mayor of Dublin

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