Having experienced a rather moving partial eclipse, it seemed appropriate to visit the city which is home to Norn Irn’s world class planetarium. It’s known as the city of saints and scholars, in Ireland’s orchard county, and I have fond memories of visiting my father’s relatives here when I was a wee girl.
It’s 33 miles form Lisburn, which took me about 40 minutes. The journey is really easy, most of it on motorways, and access to Palace Demesne is via a rather impressive gateway, and past a ruined friary. There’s plenty of car park spaces, and loos are available in the courtyard.
The start and finish points are very close, which means that keys and other valuables can be left in a biscuit tin. The route goes through a forested area first, doubles back on itself, then does a large loop round the grounds. And repeat. This entails a lot of different terrains – gravelly paths, twig-strewn woodland ways, tarmacked car park, and some rather steep hills. I found the doubling-back paths quite narrow, and had to keep Minnie on a very short lead to stay out of the way of runners coming the other direction. But the grounds are very beautiful, and I can imagine that with the changing seasons they look stunning.
There’s usually just under 100 runners, which is a nice sized crowd. They were all very friendly, and some people recognised Minnie from other parkruns we’ve done. It attracts a good range of abilities, a lovely illustration of the inclusivity of parkruns.
I was in my falling-down-trousers – I really must replace those. Maybe now that spring is here I should get some capri length trews. There were no kilometre markings, so I was relying on my Garmin for pacing and timing.
I was 12 something at the halfway turning point, and wasn’t too unhappy with a 26:33, which put me in 3rd place in my age category.