Borrisokane Parkrun Review

August 02, 2023

Parkruns help contribute to a sense of community and shared emotion.   Borrisokane Town Parkrun is a prime example of the wonderful things that can happen when a community comes together for the betterment of all.   Set on a ten-acre park, the grounds originally started life off as a pitch and putt course with evidence of the fairways still in existence however, once it no longer became financially viable to continue the locals feared it would be purchased by a developer and turned into yet another soulless housing development. In May 2006, a number of local residents and business people came together to purchase the grounds, develop it into a stunning parkland and donate it to the community for the benefit of all.    

“It is not more bigness that should be our goal. We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility, and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.” – Robert F. Kennedy

  Over the years, the park has transformed to include everything a community could want. Just inside the gates is a colourful playground for young children with many age-appropriate activities, fenced off to prevent them from wandering when parents’ eyes are turned. Well-known seanchaí Eddie Lenihan often recounts stories of The Good People or The Other Crowd, as he calls them, and there is ample evidence that they might be living in the park with imaginative and creative Fairy Doors scattered around the place for children to find and explore. For the history buffs, there is a replica of an ancient Irish stone circle from the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age, with limestone rocks taken from the nearby Ballycasey bog surrounding a stunning bog oak artwork created by Mother Nature in the center. There are a large number of beautiful hens, peacocks and other vibrant birds that have made the park their home and they offer a supportive “cluck” as Parkrunners glide past the duck pond!  

“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” – Sherry Anderson  

  Upon arriving at the park, I was greeted with the infectious enthusiasm of race director Greg Starr. Some of you might remember him from his participation on RTÉ’s Operation Transformation which as Greg himself admits, changed his entire perception and outlook of exercise and since the programme he has completed numerous half and full marathons as well as a gruelling Iron Man. His fitness journey has led him to becoming a vocal promotor of Borrisokane Parkrun and everyone is welcomed with a smile and hello from Greg and the other volunteers, immediately setting all visitors at ease as they know that there are no strangers here.   The course itself is relatively flat with a few minor inclines, but nothing to worry about. It is mostly covered in tarmac, making it a welcoming place for those with prams and buggies while it is also a dog-friendly Parkrun. However, it is imperative that all dogs are kept on a leash so as not to scare, chase, or harass the many beautiful birds around the park.     It begins on a minor incline at the car park, around a large freshly-cut meadow where children and teenagers can play before a left-hand turn at about 300 meters brings the runners past a pink and green coloured bug motel aptly named “The Creepy Crawly Inn”. Arriving soon after at the far end of the park, the course meanders to the right, alongside the duck pound and immediately you cross a galvanized bridge over the Ballyfinboy River, up a minor hill and continue straight on until you meet an arch. On lap one the runners take a sharp right and continue back across the river to the start line for lap two.   

“We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done” – Alan Turing

  When coming to the arch on lap two and three the runners continue straight before looping around the stunning fairy tree and returning back to the start line. At this loop sits a stone seat, made from the steps of the nearby Arran Hill House, birthplace of the mother of the legendary Alan Turing, the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. As well as being a mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and theoretical biologist, Turing is perhaps best known for his contribution to World War 2 where he helped the Allies defeat Nazi Germany by cracking German ciphers and the Enigma Machine.   As it is a relatively flat course it is ideal for those who are seeking a fast time or beginners who may be unready to tackle a hilly path. One thing that really stuck out for me today was the many different abilities of all the participants, from the walkers to the runners, who were all made feel incredibly welcome and were offered a delicious slice of chocolate biscuit cake at the finish line as the parkrun celebrated its one hundred event. Emphasizing the community spirit, many of the participants hung around for a long time afterward chatting and laughing, showing the social side of parkrun in action.   The volunteers were especially friendly, with Ian Kennedy presented with a T-shirt beforehand as he closed in on helping at one hundred parkruns in Borrisokane. The parkrun successfully attracts visitors to the wonderful space that the community have created for the betterment of all, a gift that they have given to current and future generations and one they are rightfully proud of. Borrisokane Town Parkrun is worthy of inclusion for those interested in parkrun tourism as it encapsulates everything positive about the parkrun movement.   Events: 100
Finishers: 542
Finishes: 1,925
Average finishers per week: 19.4
Volunteers: 60
PBs: 304
Average finish time: 00:37:30
Average finishes per participant: 3.6
Groups: 60
Female record: Shona NÍ FHLOINN – 20:20 – Event 2 ( 8 Feb 2020)
Male record: Daniel ELLIS – 16:53 – Event 80 ( 4 Mar 2023)
Age graded record: Shane SCULLY - 79.73% 17:31 – Event 59 (24 Sep 2022)   *photos from the Borrisokane Town parkrun will be added soon

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