My lovely Jog Lisburn crew like to do a bit of parkrun tourism now and again, and so we had chosen Ormeau, Belfast for our next assault. We’re quite choosy – we like flatish courses, with not too many laps, and we do like a good bun afterwards.
It was Autumn when we visited, and so early in the morn, the shadows are long, and the sun low in the sky.
Access: Ormeau Park lies between the Ormeau and Ravenhill Roads, and it is definitely the Ravenhill end that you want to be aiming for. There is an indoor tennis arena and football pitches onsite, and as I arrived a marshall ascertained that I was a parkrunner, and directed me to dedicated gravel parking area. Loos are available in the Ozone/ tennis centre.
Course: I loved the course. It is basically 2 laps, although the second one incorporates an extra detour through the trees. The signs for the start and finish, each km marking, and at each fork, are on wooden posts, and there are also plenty of marhsalls making sure no-one takes the wrong path. There are lots of pretty features to look at en route, and to remind you that you’re in East Belfast, the Harland and Wolff cranes are visible at certain angles.
Gear: MapMyRun wasn’t playing ball with me, so I had No Idea how fast I was going. It seemed quick – I was trialling my new Trixie belt for runningwithyourdog. This has a stiff bungee cord to stop the dog catapulting you dangerously, and a grab handle to grasp if the dog sees a bird/ squirrel/ bicycle that they’d rather chase. I was a bit worried that the lead was longer than my usual one, and I would die of embarassment if we impeded another runner, but it was fine. We started at the back, I shot past the tail end of the pack on the grass to the side, and we soon found a wide space that I could let go of the grab loop, and let Mini pull me along. It has a little pouch for treats, poo bags and keys etc, which I found was best to position at my back. We have a canicross event coming up soon, and I’m looking forward to using the belt in its intended context in the very lovely Tollymore Forest for the Waggy Races.
Strangely Appropriate Song: Ormeau is another park that I am familiar with from days gone by – we used to live a stones throw away in Roseberry Road. My teeny tiny children loved to play on the swings and slides, and when they were older on the BMX track, and my son had a teddy bears picnic birthday do here. It was he who introduced me to Paramore, and as I’m working hard on my crap finish, it was “You go out in style” that made me smile.
Crowd: I found it hard to hear the briefing at the start, but we got the usual types trying to befriend Mini (hint: don’t approach her, she’ll bark; come and talk to me, and she’ll come and say hello in her own time). I did get chatting before hand to an English parkrun tourist, which was nice, and she took some photos for me. They’re a young and fast group!
Time: My previous 4 parkruns had been in the 28s, so I was really hoping for a 27 something, and a sub-100 position. MapMyRun being unhelpful, I had to analyse what info was available to me: I felt it was fast, especially with the bungee lead. I had finished, scanned, returned to my car, drunk my chocolate milk, Mini had had her bowl of water, and I was pulling out of the car park by 5 past 10. But I’d been position 120! The text results were slow coming through, but late in the afternoon I learned that I’d achieved a time of 27:51, and was 4th in my age category. 4th!!!!! An analysis of the results poured salt into that wound when I discovered that 2 out of those 4 were less than 10 seconds ahead of me. But I always defer to my own scale; Under 30- good. Under 29 – great. Under 28 – brilliant. Under 27 – fabulous. Under 26 – standing ovation.
Post-run: Sadly, I had to run and, errrr, run, as I was heading for the birthday luncheon of my godfather and 70 year old uncle in BallyGally Castle. And I’m not sure any of my co-runners stayed for post run socialising either. Maybe we should go back and see whatb the buns are like. I mean, I have an age category target to conquer!