Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Bere Island ParkRun celebrated first anniversary last Saturday

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Bere Island ParkRun celebrated first anniversary last Saturday

On the 30th of August 2014, the first 5km parkrun on Bere Island in West Cork was held and it attracted a field of 31 runners and walkers. Last Saturday, it celebrated its first anniversary and you can see the weekly numbers below...

For the last few months of 2014, the numbers hovered around the 30-40 mark per week. During the Spring of 2015, the numbers have stayed around the 50 mark with the occasional spike and it has stayed like this for most of the Summer. From mid-July, there has been a surge in numbers which was probably due to more tourists being in the area. The largest peak in early August coincided with the Bere Island Festival which was on for over a week. Last Saturday, 151 took part in the anniversary run.

All 5km parkruns are free to enter and are held every Saturday morning at 9:30am. When you consider that it must be one of the most remote parkruns in the country then the numbers are very impressive. It says a lot about the work and dedication that the volunteers behind the event put into it.

1) Prionnsias O'Keeffe has some photos of the run last Saturday HERE (Facebook account required to view)

Some info from the organisers...

"So many people have supported us to make this work," says John Walsh of the Bere Islands Projects Group, "from the ferry operators who make sure our runners get here on time and run a bus service to get people across from the island's west end, to the volunteers who help with the marshaling and the practicalities of recording each runner's time."

“The islands minister Joe McHugh, and Noel Harrington TD, have given us great support too, and we couldn’t have got the project off the ground without fantastic help from the Cork Sports Partnership, the HSE (Healthy Ireland), and Matt Shields, the parkrun Ireland manager.”

The free weekly timed 5k event has attracted some formidable runners over the last 12 months including Irish Olympians Sonia O'Sullivan and John Treacy – CEO of the Irish Sports Council - and parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt. Running groups from Dublin and London have travelled to West Cork to take part, and the parkrun has provided a welcome boost to the island's tourism industry as regular runners from across the world look to add unusual destinations to the list of places where they've completed their weekly run.

"The event is going from strength to strength,” says John, “but we wouldn't be making that progress without the help we get each week from our volunteers."

"The beauty of the parkrun is that everyone can take part", says Carol Murphy who organises the event’s volunteer rota each week. “It brings islanders and non-islanders, young and old, runners and walkers together. There's always a great atmosphere, particularly after the event when everyone rewards themselves with tea and scones at the Bere Island Bakehouse!"

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