Castlebar parkrun in Co Mayo launched in March 2014 and since then has welcomed 2,300 walkers, runners and volunteers. Event Director Maggie Heneghan, who has been involved since the beginning, tells us more about this beautiful parkrun.
I have been involved from the start of the event in 2014 and parkrun is my second home every Saturday morning! My family comes out and support every weekend too and that makes it even more special.
Castlebar parkrun consists of a two loop course around Lough Lannagh, the lake that hugs the west border of Castlebar and is home to a large number of wildlife including our resident swan family. The first bit of the route is downhill and flat, but don’t be fooled as there is a hill coming! The hill at the back of the graveyard on the far side of the lake will ask questions of your legs but then good thing is that you only have to do it fully once and remember, what comes up must come down! Once you are over the new bridge you start your second loop, which also has a hill in it but don’t worry its only half the one of the first loop!
We have various landmarks on our course, from the Aldi bridge, the hill mentioned above as well as the new bridge over Lough Lanagh. On a good day you can see the top of Mayo’s most famous mountain forming the backdrop to a very nice and scenic route.
Lough Lanagh is a hidden gem in Castlebar that is very accessible and has a number of other attractions, such as the famous Mayo greenway, the dragon boat, stand up and paddle, the children’s playground as well as the tennis club and, very shortly, the new swimming pool! If you’re visiting, why not parkrun and make a day from it afterwards with the family exploring this unique location!
We have lots of personalities at our event as well! Two of our amazing volunteers, Seamus Devaney and Nuala McGowan, have a combined total of almost 300 volunteer roles between them over the past four years and we are so grateful for their help and enthusiasm every week.
One of our regular runners and volunteers used our parkrun lap to run 50k for his 50th birthday recently, raising money for charity along the way. Another regular runner, volunteer and Run Director has had some major health scares in recent years but has battled through them by not only remaining very positive and upbeat but regularly coming out to help and participate and he has gone on and finished the Dublin Marathon now on a number of occasions. Also, Irish athletics legend Sonia O’Sullivan is our Strava course record holder!
Mayo fit4life and the newly formed Castlebar triathlon club both use our parkrun as a training event which brings people that never have known each other together and has led to long lasting friendships along the way.
After parkrun we go to coffee in the Castlebar tennis club, where Paul is waiting for you with fresh brown bread, tea, coffee and scones for a small fee. Castlebar tennis club has been very good to us as they allow us to store our equipment, give us use of the changing rooms as well as giving us a place to have a sit down, chat and process results!
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