In County Antrim, Northern Ireland you can find the town of Carrickfergus, and since February 2014 it has been home to a parkrun!
Carrickfergus parkrun Co-Event Directors Vivien Davidson and Emma Barclay tell us more…
Carrickfergus is famous for its well-preserved castle, and in 1912 the people of Carrickfergus caught a glimpse of the RMS Titanic, as is it made its first ever journey up the lough, having been constructed in Belfast.
However, parkrun is a favourite event at the heart of the Carrickfergus community. It has rejuvenated a tired, lonely park into a space that is vibrant, friendly and welcoming to residents and visitors alike.
We launched our parkrun in February 2014 and since then our numbers have risen from 70-80, to now well over 100 each week.
Our course starts at the front of the Ampitheatre and circles around to the park at the rear. It involves three loops of two parks, with lots of interesting sounds and sights including an overhead train, waterfall, football & hockey and beautiful swans enjoying watching all the parkrunners!
The lap is around the ponds towards North road under the railway into Shaftsbury Park beyond the railway line then back into the park vis the second underpass.
Our most famous landmark is what we call “the Smartie Tunnel” – the tube shaped tunnel that goes under the train line.
The lap is then completed by running around the outside of the pitches. Our course is quite tricky, particularly for tourists as we have a total of 54 ninety degree turns, which keep things interesting!
In February of this year, we celebrated reaching our 200th event milestone, and we have loved every one of them for different reasons.
Interestingly, one of our core team members, Karen Magill, has yet to complete a single parkrun!
Karen is not a runner and only got involved when a neighbour of hers shared a post on Facebook looking for volunteers, but she just loves helping out in the community.
Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in the Pi Café, which is inside the Amphitheatre, just a short walk from the finish.
We love welcoming parkrun tourists from within Northern Ireland, or from overseas and if you’re looking to tick off your letter C in the parkrun alphabet, we’d love to see you at Carrickfergus!
If you’ve been inspired to bring parkrun to your own community, we’d love to hear from you using this form.
This article first appeared in the Journal of Holistic Healthcare and the British Holistic Medical Association (BHMA) has kindly allowed it to be reproduced here. My name is Dr Simon Tobin and I’ve been an NHS GP and trainer in Southport for 25 years. I am also one of parkrun’s volunteer Health and Wellbeing Ambassadors. My…
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