Have you heard of Park Run, the world-wide, totally free, organised, timed fun 5km run held every Saturday in three venues in Mayo, Castlebar, Westport and Ballina? If you have considered taking some regular exercise you should consider having a go, after all it's open to absolutely everyone, of every level and ability and is completely free.
So, what do I have to do ? All you have to do is register at parkrun.ie and print your bar code which is scanned after each event so that your run and time are recorded. All officials and stewards are fellow Park runners who give their time for free and are on hand to encourage you over the line. Results are emailed to participants some hours later.
Park Run, Castlebar has been on the go now since March 2014 and in that time 918 different runners have participated from all over the world. That's the beauty of Park Run - you register once and you can take part in any Park Run in any city in the world where the runs are hosted. Castlebar runners have clocked up nearly 5,000 runs covering a total distance of 23,000km!
But Castlebar Park Run is all about fun, you can compete against your own best time or just enjoyable a casual stroll - it's your choice and there is no pressure on anyone. The 5km course which begins at the entrance to Castlebar Tennis Club at 9.30 am sharp each Saturday morning, passes through Lough Lannagh Holiday Village heading around Lough Lannagh for two circuits in a clockwise direction, the first circuit including a right turn to climb up the hill (always a volunteer to direct at this point) and the second circuit taking a left turn over the bridge to finish in front of the reception in Lough Lannagh Village. At this point your time is recorded and you are given a barcode. This barcode is scanned and so is your personal barcode which you bring with you to every race. Afterwards all head to the Tennis Club where Paul is usually on hand with a welcome cup of tea or coffee. This is where you can unwind and complain about the wind, the cold, the loose dog or whatever caused your attempt to beat your personal best time to unravel!!
Park runners are encouraged to volunteer to marshal the event whenever they can and points are attained for so doing. Volunteers of the year for last year were Seamus Devaney and Nuala McGowan for their great support of the races, the number of times they volunteered and for embracing the spirit of Park Run. In the Men's points race, currently, Brendan Molloy (2396 pts) is just in front of Gerry Ryder (2368 pts) with Michael Melody in third place (1947 pts). In the Women's points race Susan Heneghan (2396 pts - exactly the same as Brendan's score - there's equality!)leads Regina Kiernan (2179 pts) with Eileen Molloy in third place ( 1939 pts).
Last Saturday 56 runners took part. You could add to that number next week. So, go on, open up the laptop and register at parkrun.ie by clicking on the "register" link on the top right corner - you know you want to! Shake off the cobwebs on a Saturday morning and feel good for the rest of the day!
Karen Devaney who ran the New York Marathon recently - didn't knock a feather out of her!