I'm running all of Northern Ireland's 22 parkruns for a local charity. With 18 venues run - 4 to go - it is a terrific experience!
Each course has its own characteristics; all have a powerful sense of achievement, community and encouraging support.
My 6th run was Enniskillen parkrun at Castle Coole, a strikingly beautiful place.
The blog for that day is here.
Recently Enniskillen parkrun and the National Trust decided to part ways, with Enniskillen parkrun seemingly required to relocate. I think that development is regrettable - not just for local parkrun regulars, but also for the National Trust and the town of Enniskillen.
Heather Harper, National Trust member and parkrun regular, recently set up this change.org petition
I don't really 'do' petitions, but I am signing this one, for several reasons
As a National Trust member (we signed up on 14th May when we visited Castlecoole parkrun, impressed by the collaboration) I want the "Welcome to Castle Coole" sign to signify an open, progressive National Trust that strives to be inclusive and engaged with its community
parkrun embodies the sort of society I want to see for future generations - people taking responsibility for their well-being + opportunity for regular volunteering + positive cross-community encounter.
The National Trust in GB promotes this positive ethos (on the NT website). So, surely, can the local NI National Trust.
Research is emerging that regular exercise can help prevent some cancers, ease the path through treatment for people who get sick, and promote rehabilitation and return to work afterwards.
As a four-time survivor of aggressive blood cancer, I am fitter and stronger than ever before. The regional parkrun community, including the strikingly beautiful Castlecoole venue, have played a part in that. I hope that future visitors to Enniskillen can have the same amazing running experience at Castlecoole that we enjoyed.
Hopefully, the National Trust and parkrun can revisit this decision - the life-affirming benefits to local people of this healthy and community-focused weekly initiative should not be discarded but, rather, treasured.
If interested, have a read of the press article above and, if supportive of retaining Castle Coole as a parkrun venue - the petition is here.