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A picture from the weekly Clarisford Parkrun. Soon they'll be having this much fun in Shannon! Photograph by John kelly.

Shannon soon to get its own Parkrun

PARKRUN, the free, community-based, volunteer-led event will begin in Shannon on March 26.

The event happens on Saturday mornings at 9.30am in many countries around the world, with over 100 in Ireland already.

People can register online, print out a barcode and then take part in a 5km event in their local area.

When they finish the course, by running or walking, their barcode is scanned and they have a time they can aim to improve upon if they wish.

The nearest ones to Shannon until now have been at Lees Road in Ennis, Clarisford Park in Killaloe and UL and Mungret in Limerick.

At the start of 2020 there were moves to initiate one in Shannon but Covid intervened and the plans were derailed.

However the first Illaunmanagh parkrun will now take place on the morning of Saturday, March 26.

The route, which highlights some of the fine amenities available in Shannon, starts on the path near the Illaunmanagh cemetery, behind St Senan’s Rugby Club.

It continues along the estuary, looping around Lynch Park in Drumgeely before returning to the start. It is within walking distance of many households in Shannon and within easy reach of the 343 Limerick-Ennis bus route.

The plan is to celebrate this inaugural event with a post-run tea/coffee, and maybe a bun, in the Hope Cafe, Smithstown.

Rob Stephen is involved in the preparations and he said, “It has taken two years, we were just about to get going in March 2020 and it has been hard work to get it going again.”

He said they almost had to begin again.

“We had to build up a core team of volunteers again. It took a while to build up a team of volunteers and then we had to get some training done.”

Over time he hopes that more people will get involved in the organisation side of things.

“We need eight to ten volunteers each week. For the first couple of weeks all the volunteers we have will be tied up doing that. But over time the idea is that the people who participated, maybe every couple of months they would do a bit of training and the load gets shared a bit. That’s how it works.

“People who are registered for the parkrun get a time each week, but when you volunteer you also get a credit, so they get some kudos in the system for volunteering.

“They also get to meet new people and you pick up some confidence-boosting skills, so it’s quite a useful thing for people to do.”

He says it will be great to have a local parkrun at last.

“When you have to drive to Ennis or Limerick it takes the good out of it, you’re driving 20km somewhere to participate in an event like that, so a few of us wanted to get it going in Shannon.

“There’s a big enough population between Shannon, Newmarket and Sixmilebridge, there’s a fair population around, so hopefully numbers will be good and it’ll be well supported.”

He praised Niamh O’Callaghan, who he said did most of “the donkey work” in getting the parkrun organised.

Owen Ryan
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Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.