Name: Patricia Kelly McGarry
Local parkrun: Lough Key parkrun
Number of parkruns completed: 29 volunteers: 149
How did you get involved in parkrun?
I had heard about parkrun through friends and after moving to my husband’s home town of Boyle and discovering the beautiful Lough Key, I got in touch with Matt at parkrun and asked had they ever thought about setting up a parkrun in Lough Key. Matt had said they would love one in Lough Key, if I would set it up! So eventually with the help of my wonderful sidekick Liza Egan and the great gang of Deirdre, Helen, Melissa & Graham – Lough Key parkrun was born and we’ve all been there ever since (nearly 3 years now!) and the team has expanded in a big way.
What do you love about parkrun?
I love the people I meet every week from all walks of life and corners of the world, the coffee, the chats and cake afterward, the amazing friendships I’ve made and the fact that you get out and do 5k your own way. It doesn’t matter if it takes you 17 minutes or 77 minutes, we’re all parkrunners. I also love that wearing the apricot t-shirt makes you a part of one of the biggest families in the world.
Who do you participate with?
Everyone and anyone to be honest! I’ll talk to whoever is beside me! I love running with my friend Cathy in Lough Key, and I have the best bunch of life long friends in Derry, who I persuaded to join in the tourism side of parkrun with me on a regular basis.
Any parkrun milestones / achievements you would like to share?
I’m about to hit my 150th volunteer week soon and I’m looking forward to celebrating my 50th parkrun before the end of 2019 with my buddy Adrian who’ll celebrate his 100th at the same time.
How has parkrun impacted positively on your family outside of 9:30 am on a Saturday?
I’ve taken up running regularly now, and joined our newly formed athletic club – Boyle AC- and love it. Our ten-year-old, Ben recently completed his first parkrun with his best friend Paudí and they are slowly convincing all their friends to join in.
Who is your dream parkrun running buddy?
I’ve three – Cathy and Evelyn – two friends that have challenged, encouraged and chatted to me through all my runs, we’ve nearly solved all of life’s problems during our runs, and then there’s Adrian who pushes me to be stronger and faster.
What was your best parkrun experience?
For me, it’s from the volunteering side of it, every week. It’s the finish line smiles and the lovely comments you get from people thanking you for bringing parkrun to them. It’s walking into the café in Lough Key and seeing and feeling the buzz after parkrun. It’s the friendships made, it’s really all about the friendships and the community we’ve created.
What was the funniest parkrun moment?
Oh, there’s been plenty of them in Lough Key, but we’ll let the forest keep those stories!
What advice would you give to someone who’s never been to parkrun?
That first step is the hardest, especially if you don’t know anyone but you truly won’t regret it. Within a matter of weeks, you’ll be a wee bit faster at your 5k, possibly a bit lighter (although the cake can counteract that at times!), and most importantly you’ll have a whole new gang of friends that become your Saturday morning family and you’ll never look back.
One of my favourite quotes makes me think of people arriving for the first time – Strangers are friends you are yet to meet. There are so many new friends waiting for you at your parkrun!
Caroline Kennedy tells us about the integral part Templemore parkrun has played in her cancer recovery journey, and breaking that 35 minute barrier. On the last weekend in June 2017, I became very ill and was given a bowel cancer diagnosis just a few weeks later. The chemotherapy followed, culminating in me undergoing extensive surgery…
Name: Brighid Smyth Age: 54 Occupation: Head of Corporate Communication, Vhi Local parkrun: St Anne’s parkrun Number of parkruns completed: 83 in 16 locations How did you get involved in parkrun? I ran my first parkrun on the 28 September 2013. At the time I was training for the 2013 Dublin City Marathon…