Siobhan, Event Director from Tralee parkrun tells us about the impact Tralee parkrun has had on the wider community, some familiar faces around the course and the Tralee tourism trips…
My first experience of parkrun was when I took part in an event whilst visiting Westport and I loved it. I got in touch with parkrun Ireland about starting an event and soon set about getting a group of people together. With the help of Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership we found a core team and soon Tralee parkrun was underway.
The course is three laps of the outer lane of the town park in Tralee, complete with beautiful rose gardens, flower beds and trees. We have a short out and back loop which we call the dog leg, love it or loathe it, it must be completed on each lap but you do get a chance to see fellow parkrunners as you walk, jog or run up and down it.
We have a number of recognisable faces most weeks at parkrun. Firstly we have regular Marshal Billy Lyons who stands at aptly named ‘Billy’s Corner’ and has a cheerful word of encouragement for everyone.
Next up, we have four parkrun Ireland volunteer ambassadors on our core team! We have three event support ambassadors (they help set up new events and we give support to existing ones) and the parkrun Ireland safeguarding ambassador
Finally there is Yann. Yann brings smiles and joy to us and he is famous for his high-speed sprints when he passes each volunteer and when he crosses the finish line. Yann has Down Syndrome and he takes part in parkrun with his dad Gerard and sometimes his brother Lucca. Since his first parkrun in October 2017 he has completed 45 parkruns as well as some volunteer stints. Yann says he looks forward to the parkrun every week and he is aiming for a new pb in 2019.
We always get a lot of walkers and runners from local running clubs, as well as those taking part in couch to 5k programs, which finish with Tralee parkrun! From a weekly average of 105 participants to now regularly having more than 220 and a record of 350, we know we have got lots of people moving in Tralee. Tralee parkrun has also given many people the confidence to go on to complete longer distances or to take part in other local events.
As a group of friends, we also love to take part in other parkruns away from Tralee. In November 2018, the ‘Tralee parkrunners on Tour’ had over 100 parkrunners venture to Hassenheide parkrun in Berlin. We also visited the spiritual home of parkrun in Bushy Park, London and we have a return trip coming up soon. Along the way we have built great friendships with many from other parkruns who now also join us on our parkrun gallivanting!
Tralee junior parkrun launched in 2016 after it was clear there was a demand with so many juniors taking part on the Saturday, and it is great to see so many involved with walking, jogging running, or volunteering on a Saturday also volunteering at juniors on the Sunday, there’s a real sense of community.
For me personally, I love that my family take part in the event and it has given my three boys a life enhancing love for running. Between us as a family of five we have clocked up 539 parkruns.
Being originally from Donegal, Tralee parkrun has given me a chance to make many new friends in my adopted home town of Tralee and Kerry and beyond!
I love being event director at Tralee parkrun and I love the rest of the core team, who are at the heart of the event. We have 20 outstanding run directors who ensure the event runs like clockwork every Saturday morning.
There is a buzzing atmosphere from 9am every Saturday morning as people start arriving in the park, doing their warm ups and catching up with friends and I love the inclusive nature of parkun – we get all ages and abilities.
Tralee parkrun has given everyone an opportunity to walk, jog, run and volunteer in our beautiful town park every Saturday morning and many of our regulars now come to walk and run in the park during the week too.
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