News - 24th July 2019

Feeling like a first timer

Ross Gallagher ( VI)  and Niall Coppinger , pictured at Tralee parkrun on 13th July. (1)

When parkrun tourist Niall had a wedding 300k from his home event, Bushy, Dublin, he decided to do something extra special on his Saturday morning visit to Tralee parkrun, co. Kerry.


Visually impaired parkrunner Ross from Tralee parkrun, had coincidently posted some pleas on Facebook looking for a guide runner and Niall, having recently completed his VI (visually impaired) guide training, saw the perfect opportunity to team up.


Ross has been parkrunning for almost a year now and has had lots of different guides. With almost complete sight loss, Ross has great faith and trust in his guides. Tralee parkrun is no stranger to the VI community, welcoming a host of VI runners and VI walkers every week.


We asked Niall how he found meeting Ross and how he found guiding for the very first time…


“Strangely, although I would be running at a pace very comfortable for me, I was nervous for this new challenge. Not only was Ross a stranger, it would be my first time putting my training to use!


Guiding with Ross was a dream. He was so relaxed and took every instruction in his stride. When I told him with a few hundred meters to go that we had a potential PB if we upped the pace he took off dragging me behind!


The shared elation crossing the finish line was yet another new adrenaline filled parkrun experience. I anxiously awaited the publication of the results like a first timer.


It was one of my most fulfilling experiences at parkrun. Knowing that Ross will allow me to guide with him again is a testimony to the excellent training I received. I really appreciate learning this new skill.”


Ross described Niall as a great guide, despite being a first timer, and thanked him so much for getting him up to “good speeds in very good weather, that was not too hot and not too cold!”


Niall guided Ross to only seconds short of his previous personal best, which was no mean feat given this popular parkrun is known for its twists and turns. The now firm friends are hoping for a recreation of those perfect conditions when they take on Ross’s PB for a second time!


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