ATHLETICS: Larne parkrun reaches 100-race mark

Enjoying the 100th parkrun at Drains Bay. INLT 46-212-AM
Enjoying the 100th parkrun at Drains Bay. INLT 46-212-AM

Larne’s parkrun organisers celebrated a milestone achievement at the weekend, staging the event’s 100th race.

It’s just over two years since the popular Saturday morning time-trial was first staged here, and it’s going from strength to strength.

Lynn and Michaela Rodgers. INLT 46-206-AM

Lynn and Michaela Rodgers. INLT 46-206-AM

The weekly 5km race has attracted runners from all over Northern Ireland and beyond and organisers have witnessed some remarkable displays over the past 24 months.

North Belfast Harriers’ Mark McKinstry holds the course record in a blistering time of 00:16:50, with James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners) not too far behind him in 00:17:09.

The town has experienced a bit of a running boom in recent years with members of Larne Athletic Club and East Coast AC regularly out in competition.

Larne parkrun Event Director, Nat Glenn, told the Times: “In my opinion parkrun is the best thing that has happened in Larne. There are so many people who take part in it - and it’s free!

Runners waiting for the parkrun to start. INLT 46-209-AM

Runners waiting for the parkrun to start. INLT 46-209-AM

“It’s fantastic to see so many people get together and give something back to the community - and they don’t mind giving up their free time.”

Competitors from as far afield as Australia have taken part.

Glenn added: “It’s a challenging course but it certainly builds your strength, stamina and endurance. In fact, someone was telling me that Larne parkrun is their bucket list!

“I’m really proud to be part of it and I’d like to thank everyone who gives up their time to make it happen each week.”

And there’s more good news for the local running scene with the Larne Junior parkrun set to get under way on November 22. The event, aimed at boys and girls aged four to 14, is set to be staged in the Town Park.