Fiona O’Connor was never the ‘sporty type’ but a local running club, and the Tralee parkrun community, soon changed that misconception. Here’s her journey.
My love of running began in 2017, I joined my local running group, Born to Run in Tralee, and started off with their couch to 5k programme.
I would not be considered a sporty type, and exercise was not something that I ever really enjoyed, more so endured! However, I always enjoyed walking, so the couch to 5k was a gradual introduction to running, with the pace and distance increasing every week.
I enjoyed seeing my fitness improve each week, and with the fantastic support I received from Born to Run mentors I started to achieve my running goals. The goals started off small at first… run for 90 seconds sounds easy but if you are coming from the couch even that can be a challenge!
My confidence grew each week, and the friendships that were developing on the roads kept me coming back for more.
Tuesday nights at Born to Run were my favourite. Before the pandemic, we would have the “Dashboard Diner” where we got to have a cuppa, served from the boot of a car, after our run. It was a chance to chat with all the other runners in the club, most of whom I would not get to chat to on the roads as they ran faster than me!
My husband Denis and I ran our first parkrun together in June 2017, and before long we were hooked. There is a fantastic atmosphere there on Saturday mornings, a real community spirit. There is great support, whether you walk the 5k, or race to the finish line. In Born to Run our motto is “nobody gets left behind”, the same support is there at parkrun; the Tail Walkers ensure this so you never have to worry about coming last.
parkrun is a great way to start a Saturday morning, even the rain would not put me off. I started volunteering and got to know many more parkrunners.
I was delighted when my sister and one of my best friends started running also and they love parkrun too. I have such happy parkrun memories, my most memorable was celebrating my 50th parkrun, my friends made such a fuss! I love parkrun at Christmas too, the atmosphere is just magic.
I never thought when I took up running that I would stick with it, but the friendships I have made in Born to Run and parkrun are forever, now that I have found my tribe.
We have had many more adventures besides running; we were missing our race days in 2020 so instead we took on other challenges like climbing Mount Brandon, walking the Kerry Camino, kayaking in Listowel and swimming at Banna Beach. I cannot wait for parkrun to return, but in the meantime, I try to get out for a walk or a run every day and log my (not)parkruns. It is not quite the same but I will be “parkrun ready” whenever it returns.
Hope to see you there too!
Fiona O Connor
Name: John & Liz O’Dwyer Age: 52 & 53 Occupation: Airport Security & Housewife Local parkrun: Father Collins Number of parkruns completed: 51 & 57 How did you get involved in parkrun? I’ve been doing them on and off for years since Malahide Parkrun started and did a few in St Anne’s. I got…
Author and running coach Mary Jenning shares her advice on remembering the basics when you’re embarking on your parkrun Resolutions. Armed with your new year motivation, I bet many of you have made a parkrun resolution to walk or run a little bit more (or a little bit faster?). But before you rush out…