News - 14th December 2017

Smoking man to marathon man – all thanks to parkrun!


31-year-old Dean Beirne credits Lough Key parkrun with transforming him from a 20-a-day smoker to a 3:18 marathon runner in just three years. This is his story:


parkrun has changed my life dramatically since running my first parkrun in October 2014 at Roundhay parkrun in Leeds. It was not a planned visit – my sister-in-law, a parkrun enthusiast, asked me to join her (more like dragged me). I reluctantly said yes.


I arrived a ‘non-runner’ and finished in a time of 24:01, much to my sister-in-law’s amazement. She gave me so much positive feedback that it made me wonder if I could be good at this running lark. Since that day I’ve caught the parkrun bug and have given up cigarettes after smoking 20 a day for almost 15 years.


My health and lifestyle completely changed after this unplanned visit to parkrun. I now have a parkrun PB of 19:28. I’ve earned membership to two worthy milestones this year: the 25 Volunteer Club and the 50 Club.




On 16 July 2017 I arrived at Lough Key parkrun to run my 50th parkrun. Never did I think back in October of 2014 that I would ever be running another parkrun, never mind my 50th. So here I was standing at the start line with two others for our 50th parkruns.


The core team at Lough Key went above and beyond to help us celebrate with red balloons and badges. Thank you to the enthusiastic core team at Lough Key – now I look forward to that much sought after 100 Club milestone, only 41 to go!


parkrun not only initiated my love for running and giving up smoking but it also inspired me to run the Dublin City Marathon this year, almost three years to the day since my first parkrun. I managed to get around the 26.2 mile course to my amazement in 3:18. Who would have thought it?


I owe it all to parkrun as it has started so many chapters in my running story. Here’s to the next chapter…


Dean Beirne
parkrunner A1264249

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