Rush junior parkrun in Dublin was the first junior event to launch in Ireland, in December 2015, and since then more than 1,200 4-14 year-olds have completed the undulating 2k course. Event Director Niall Power tell us the story of this pioneering event.
I’ve been a runner since my childhood and would have loved an event like junior parkrun.
I had been doing parkruns for years in Malahide, Ardgillan and Donabate and was really enjoying them. They are really responsible for me getting back into running again and actually joining my club, Raheny Shamrock. I’ve made tonnes of new friends.
Once someone mentioned the idea of junior parkrun at a local council meeting, which was discussing getting a trail in the park, I just ran with it and got a great core team together. I had a massive drive to do it as running changed my life as a kid. I was quite wild but I calmed down enormously upon joining an athletic club. I was also inspired by having two young kids and a strong interest in fitness. I love watching them both every week and they never miss it.
parkrun Ireland Country Manager, Matt Shields, and the local council were fantastic in helping Rush junior parkrun get off the ground. The first day was amazing with 184 finishers and a great atmosphere. It was nerve-wracking but we’ve never looked back. I’m there most weeks as I love it and my favourite role is marshalling at the back of the course. It’s really green and peaceful there and a good spot to cheer kids on 500 metres from the finish when they need it.
Our course is on a beautiful, winding, tree-lined trail on low impact grit and is a little bit hilly but balances out with good downhills too. It’s basically a two-lap down, up, down, up course. On a sunny day, the contrast of light and shade there is fabulous.
We have our start at the scouts’ den which is a beautiful little building which they kindly give us the use of. The lead up to the finish is quite challenging after 1.8k but the kids bound up it. I really don’t know how they do it!
We are a very friendly, buzzy and atmospheric parkrun with a lovely seaside village on our doorstep and nice cafes and amenities. It’s also not too big with 80-100 finishers usually.
After junior parkrun, some of our participants go to a café called ‘Skinny Batch’ where the owner is a great supporter of our event. Others go to the very supportive Tesco, which has actually started opening an hour earlier on Sunday since Rush junior parkrun started!
We have very happy, healthy kids, one of whom is in cancer remission. All the participants, volunteers and parents are special. Without them, there’d be no event. We will always be the first junior parkrun in Ireland and we are very proud of that.
Rush junior parkrun is a routine for people now and you hear of kids who are excited all week for it. We have other young people who are just a joy to watch happily running. We love them all and not being there on a Sunday feels odd. junior parkrun is a fantastic event and we just need to maintain our ethos to ensure the kids are running happily in a no pressure environment.
The Vhi parkrun Hero award for the month of August has been awarded to Sharon Ashmore from Royal Canal parkrun. The monthly award recognises and rewards inspirational, hardworking, and dedicated members of the parkrun community who embody the ethos of parkrun or have made an outstanding contribution – be they participants or volunteers. As…
There was more youthful energy springing in Cork on 27 August with the launch of Clashduv junior parkrun. Clashduv Park is situated in the suburb of Togher and can be found here on Google Maps. The inaugural event attracted 45 junior parkrunners who walked, jogged and ran the 2k course, with the following two events well…