The town of Strabane in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland has been home to parkrun since June 2019.
Keelin Begley from Holy Cross College parkrun tells us more…
When living in Belfast, I’d walk my dogs in Ormeau Park on a Saturday morning and see a sea of runners and walkers gather together. I asked what it was and got involved the following week and soon became addicted!
I’ve since moved back to Strabane and when I heard there was a public interest meeting to set one up here I jumped at the chance to be involved. Our event is a real community get together, all ages, all abilities.
Our event is unusual in that it’s the only parkrun in Ireland that is held on school grounds! Strabane doesn’t actually have a park, but we were creative in finding a location and our home is at Holy Cross College, hence the name.
The route itself is mostly flat but with one ‘small and short hill’ (depending on how you feel about hills!). The surfaces are good and smooth to walk, jog and run on, made of mostly tarmac and pavement, whilst also includeing a section on a running track.
The course is made up of 3.75 laps, so that hill has to be completed four times!
The most famous landmark on our course has to be the School Bus Stop. You have to pass it 3 times before you’re finally home on the fourth! Although our parkrun is in Northern Ireland, for our first 16 events it didn’t rain once during the event – this has to be a record?!
Given our location, there isn’t a coffee shop or cafe nearby, so the regular participants donate the refreshments each week, from tea, coffee, cordial and snacks, and we all enjoy them under the bus shelter, whilst cheering fellow parkrunners home! Tourists are always welcome to join us afterwards.
I actually gave birth to my second baby five days before our first event, and he hasn’t missed one yet, meaning he must be one of the youngest parkrun volunteers!
Another interesting story from our event is one of the special guests we welcome – double Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes!
The local community have really got behind the event and are supporting it, we see people making new acquaintances and friends every week.
We see people who wouldn’t normally partake in a sporting event get involved, and enjoy a coffee together at the end. We see so many families run together every week.
parkrun offers a great family event and we’d love to see you soon!
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