The Bere Island parkrun reaches a major milestone on August 29th when its weekly parkrun reaches its first birthday
It’s a chance to reflect on a very successful year for the parkrun’s founders who are delighted to see it become part of the fabric of island life.
“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 marshalling 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 Bere Island parkrun – one of three in Cork alongside events in Clonakilty and Macroom – recently broke the 100-runner barrier in style, with 140 participants, including tourists and islanders, taking part on the last Saturday of July. The numbers reflect a growing interest in running, evident in the numbers of people who took part in West Cork Island Run Series events on Bere, Cape Clear, Whiddy and Sherkin islands.
“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!”
“We’re hoping to have a great crowd on the 29th August to help us celebrate our first birthday in style.”
To take part, register at http://www.parkrun.ie/bereisland/. Once you have registered, bring your barcode to the parkrun event on Bere Island, or to any of the parkrun events on offer worldwide. See the West Cork Islands events calendar at http://westcorkislands.com/calendar for details.