Portrush parkrun has been one of the most popular sporting events on the north coast for some time now.
And now it has gained high praise from a man who knows a thing or two about the hugely popular global phenomenon.
Parkrun, for those that don’t know, is a series of free, weekly events that, despite the name, are as much – if not more – about community as running itself.
The idea has spiralled from 13 runners in Bushy Park in south-west London 11 years ago to a community of more than two million people in 11 countries today, and is expected to double in size in 2016.
The first parkrun took place in 2004.
Paul Sinton-Hewitt, 55, an IT worker who ran for South London Harriers athletics club, decided to set up a different kind of event after tripping and falling during a run while representing his club.
One of the big things of the event is tourist parkrunners, who travel around taking part in as many different
The current record holder is Paul Freyne, a 44-year-old credit manager for Royal Bank of Scotland, living in Twickenham, west London. He started running in 2003 to lose weight. “I’m a rugby-player build,” he told The Independent.
He has run 241 parkrun courses in the UK and a further 34 elsewhere in the world, in countries such as Poland, Denmark, Russia and the US.
His favourite courses are in Ireland and Northern Ireland: the former is on Bere Island, a ferry ride off the south coast near Cork; the latter is at Portrush in County Antrim, a kilometre from the Giant’s Causeway, along the beach.
At Portrush, everyone runs two and a half kilometres each way by the sea.
“It’s a beautiful bay, and you see horses galloping along the beach on the softer sand, while running on the firm sand by the waves,” he said.
Portrush parkrun is a FREE weekly 5km event for runners of all standards, which takes place every Saturday at 9:30am in It’s run at East Strand Beach, Portrush.
It offers an opportunity for all the local community, male or female, young or old, to come together on a regular basis to enjoy this beautiful park and get physically active into the bargain. Taking part is easy – just register before your first ever parkrun. The great thing is that you only ever need to do this once! Then just set your alarm for Saturday morning and get yourself there!