- Average Number of Runners: 132
- Average run Time: 29’29”
- Average Number of Runs/Runner: 6
- Biggest Attendance: 441
- Female Record: 17′ 27″
- Male Record: 15′ 59″
I and, I imagine a few others besides, have done something this February that has never been done before and it will be 28 years before it can even be attempted again. I ran five different Park Runs in the month of February (Donabate, Bushy Park, Monaghan Town, Cabinteely Park and Tymon Park). You can only run one Park Run a week as they all start at 9:30 am, which means that you can only run as many Park Runs as there are Saturdays in a month. Most years February has 28 days, so it has only four Saturdays max. But if on a leap year, February 1st falls on a Saturday, then there will be five Saturdays in the month. This is what happened this year. The last time it happened was in 1992, 12 years before Park Run started and it won’t occur again until 2048. OK, I’ll admit, as records go it’s a fairly niche one but still, a records a record!
Thanks to the threat of stormy weather, aka Jorge (pronounced ‘hore-hay’ and not George, as I was pronouncing it!) Marley Park and a number of other parks were closed by the local council. And so, instead of venturing too far in case I found the run cancelled when I got there, I went to a more local run – Tymon Park. It turned out to be a beautiful morning – There was no sign of Spanish George! I was a little pushed for time and rolled into Tymon Park at 9:17 – All good, or at least I thought so. It was strangely quiet. No folk in running gear walking toward a meeting point. No signs, no flags – Feck, I thought – I’ve come to a cancelled run. I’ve wasted my Saturday run. An elderly gent saw me stopped in the middle of nowhere in the park on my bike and asked if he could help. I explained my situation and he laughed. Great, there now lining up to mock my misfortune. But he said, he thinks the run is going ahead it’s just at the other side of the park. I thanked him and said I thought he was laughing at my misfortune. To which he replied, I was – The other side of the park is on the other side of the M50. The park was split in two when the 6+ lanes of the M50 were pushed through.
We shared a moment silence – Even I started to laugh. All’s not lost he said, there is a pedestrian bridge over the motorway and the Hond50 could get over it – I hesitated, but he said there would be no one on it. I spent the next 5 minutes simultaneously apologising profusely and trying not to knock down the many ‘Nobodies’ who were crossing the bridge at the time. Long story short, I just made it and was off with the crowd which was huge 437 in all, just 3 short of their record attendance. Obviously some of the Marley migrants are here! I was flustered, crowded in and resigned that this was going to be a 30 min + run. Then I saw something which I have not come across before in A Park Run. A pace runner. Apparently they have pace runners from time to time in Park Runs. The guy up ahead had 28 min on his back and for some reason I decided to keep him in sight. 1 Km, 2 Km, 3 km past and I was still with him. By the 4 km mark I think he knew me well because even though I was always behind him and he never looked back my heavy breathing is quiet distinctive. So with 400 m to go he turned his head and shouted, come up beside me and then he started counting down the seconds. With about 100 m to go he said floor it. Floor it! I was practically on the floor but under pressure I booted on and came in at 27:55.
That is still over 3 min slower than what I was running a few years ago but it’s much better than recent runs – I was thrilled. I chatted to my pace maker. His name was Alan and thanks to Alan, my record breaking fifth February run was done, not in a record breaking time but one that I am proud of – The adventure continues.
Before I sign off I want to congratulate all the Special Olympians who took part in the swim meet in Armagh today. And a special shout out to de brudder-in-law Mark mcElroy and de niece Clare McElroy on yet another successful outing! Ribbons and medals Galore – We mere mortals, salute you!!