To maintain her weekly 5k routine, Mary Meaney created her own Derryard (not)parkrun 75 lap garden course. Mary Lynch, Run Director of Vandeleur parkrun, tells us the story.
Mary Meaney, a passionate parkrunner, attended the first ever Vandeleur parkrun back in March 2016 and has been an avid participant ever since.
Mary achieved her 100 milestone parkrun in May 2019 and is also on the core volunteer team, achieving her 50 volunteer milestone in January 2020.
In the absence of her Saturday morning Vandeleur parkrun fix, Mary quickly adapted, holding the inaugural Derryard (not)parkrun on 19 April 2020. Mary’s route is 75 laps of her garden, situated in the picturesque Derryard countryside in County Clare.
COVID travel 5k restrictions have prevented (not)parkrun tourism opportunities, so Mary has done all her (not)parkruns in her garden.
Each Saturday morning Mary sets off at the appointed time with the support from her family, Mike, Keelan, Aaron, Amy and Nicole, who keep an eye on proceedings through the kitchen window and switch on the kettle at lap 70 for a nice cuppa for Mary when she finishes. Amy like Mam is a very accomplished parkrunner with 15 parkruns and two junior parkruns under her belt. Amy is also an active volunteer frequently helping out at Vandeleur.
Mary uses her GPS watch to track the distance. The lap graphic looking quite dramatic!
4,500 laps later and Mary’s garden is starting to resemble London’s Olympic Stadium with a clearly defined running track around the edge. Mary has completed the course every week come sunshine, showers, snow or hail storms and has recently completed Derryard (not)parkrun number 56.
To keep herself motivated Mary does a post (not)parkrun social media post each week and friends check in on her progress. Amy and Nicole support as official photographer and run directors and have even designed a bespoke Derryard photo frame, for the post-(not)parkrun photo. Since the official launch of (not)parkrun Mary has logged her weekly run and is Vandeleur’s most prolific (not)parkrunner.
Mary misses the banter and fun with her many parkrun friends and whilst Derryard (not)parkrun has been a challenge, there is no substitute for the real thing.
Well done Mary, keeping the Vandeleur flag flying as we eagerly await the return of parkrun.
Mary Lynch (Run Director, Vandeleur parkrun)
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