News - 23rd September 2020
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Sligo parkrunners have truly appreciated their parkrun community keeping them connected and active over the past months. With Run Director Mary Davey at the helm, the ‘Sligo Virtual parkrun Participants’ tell us all about their lockdown adventures.


Calling ourselves the ‘Sligo Virtual parkrun Participants’, we want to express to the parkrun community our appreciation for our wonderful Sligo parkrun community and in particular our Run Director Mary Davey.


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When the parkrun events were closed down in March there was a palpable disappointment among the Sligo community. Sligo parkrun acts as an important outlet for often upwards of 100 community participants. Our parkrun event brings together people from all walks of life and of varying abilities. In recent times Sligo parkrun has enjoyed regular participation and integration of the Sligo Sanctuary runners, a group made up of participants from direct provision centres and the wider Irish community.


We missed the buzz that comes from participating and volunteering in an event together and the laughter and chat afterwards. However, this disappointment was short-lived. The Sligo parkrun core team quickly stepped up to fill the void, deciding by early April to try organising a weekly ‘virtual’ 5k run/walk for anyone who wanted to take part. We simply ran or walked our own 5k on a Saturday (originally within 2k from home limit) and then submitted our times to be included in the weekly results compiled by the team.


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Simple ideas, however, sometimes hide the trojan work involved in bringing them to fruition. In this case, Mary Davey stands out. Mary has continually gone above and beyond to provide a valuable service to the Sligo parkrun community during these challenging times.
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Mary has been in contact with us, ever since parkrun was closed down, checking in, offering help, encouragement and making sure everyone still felt connected.


On April 18th she called us all to action for the first ‘virtual’ Sligo parkrun. Since then we have been completing our individual weekly parkruns in various locations around Sligo and further afield.


Each week, Mary spends every Saturday evening sifting through the many messages she receives. These often include comments, photos of local scenery, participant selfies, random animal pictures, along with screenshots of running routes and photos of our 5k times in various guises. Then she has turned this diverse content into a positive, encouraging and witty weekly run report, posted out every Saturday evening, via social media, in order to keep everyone up to date and motivated with the latest news and performances of the regulars and the not so regulars.


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These Saturday evening run reports quickly became a weekly highlight, with chance to see photos of each other and hear who had been doing what!


Such is Mary’s dedication that she even managed to compile her report and results whilst on staycation in far-flung parts of Ireland.


It really has meant a lot to have something to look forward to every Saturday and to still feel part of the Sligo parkrun community. Mary’s ongoing efforts have continued to keep us motivated and our spirits lifted in these difficult times.
We are so grateful for all Mary’s efforts to maintain a weekly focus for the physical and mental health of our wider community.


Not many of us miss the hills in the rec park, but we do miss parkrun!


Thank you Mary.


Elaine Hynes, Jim Rushe and the Sligo Virtual parkrun Participants

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