News - 9th June 2021

Age is no barrier

Francie 4

Francie Arthurs is one of the most treasured parkrunners at Falls parkrun in Belfast.


Run Director, Debbie Walsh, tells us his inspirational story.


If you have ever had the fortune of visiting Falls parkrun in Belfast you will no doubt have met our very own, homegrown legend, Francie Arthurs.


Picture this, a cold and frosty morning in Belfast, parkrunners are assembling at the start line (I know this is a distant memory, but hopefully will return in the near future). Francie arrives smiling and waving to all, with everyone waving back. After the briefing, the event gets underway. The walkers, joggers and runners settle into their varied paces and Francie greets one and all, dishing out pearls of wisdom and accolades of encouragement, as he goes by.


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Francie is the most welcoming and friendly gentleman. He has 84 parkruns under his belt along with being a keen volunteer, finding great joy in helping the event and the local community.


We all enjoy the pleasure of a chat with this legend, over a cup of tea after our parkrun, where we are met with sound advice, lots of encouragement and tales of his past achievements. We love to hear it all and can’t get enough of his tales and memories from previous events and races.


Francie has completed over 100 marathons. He’s run for Ireland as a Masters Athlete at European and World level. He is currently placed 7th in Europe and 24th in the world for the marathon distance in his age category.


For his 80th birthday he ran the Great Wall of China Marathon and at 82 yrs old he was the oldest participant in the Belfast Marathon. He is also a stalwart of the West Belfast Coolers running club. He has carried the Olympic torch twice, the last time in 2012.



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Francie celebrates his 84th birthday this week.


Please join us all in wishing him a very happy birthday. He’s a true inspiration to us all.


Debbie Walsh (RD Falls parkrun)

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