Waterworks parkrun, in North Belfast, was the first one in Norn Irn, and attracts around 200 runners every week, making it one of the province’s biggest. It has taken me a while in my parkrun career to visit it, only because for a long while there were ongoing works to the park, meaning they weren’t using their “official” course. And if anyone actually READS this blog with the intention of parkrun touristing, then I’d like to describe the route they’d be running!
The park is located just off the Antrim Road. There’s pedestrian access beside the children’s play-park, but I didn’t see any car-park. So if arriving by car, find a safe place to park your vehicle on the road. There are basic loos in the shed/ hut beside where everyone gathers.
I was told to ask for Matt, who’s the brother of Wallace’s event director, and has done a staggering 31 different events, at the time of my run! He and his wife bade me a warm welcome, and I fell into an easy conversation with another runner who was admiring my shiny new red 50 shirt, and wanted to know about the sizing. There weren’t too many dogs or buggies running, but there’s every range of ability represented, and everyone is enthusiastically cheered over the finish line.
Lying in the shadow of Cavehill, and with views over Belfast, round a couple of duckponds full of swans, geese, and other waterfowl, this is a really attractive course. It’s on tarmac paths the whole way, there’s one sharp steep hill, but it’s over quickly, and you only have to do it twice!
The start is quite narrow, especially with so many participants, so it helps to take it easy and adopt a rolling start approach. The path widens out as you pass what will be the finish zone, so there’s a good opportunity to overtake at that point. My biggest issue was trying to stop Minnie chasing all those birds!
Oh, I’m still enjoying showing off my new 50 Tshirt! There’s a special glance and nod exchanged between anyone wearing the Tribesports tops, we’ve waiting a loooong time for this moment, and we’re damn well going to enjoy it. My Adidas shoes with the yellow/white socks were a good combination, and my Garmin and music all worked perfickly.
Strangely Appropriate Song On Shuffle:
I thought I was well on track to get round all 20 of the NI parkruns before I do my 100th. And now I hear there’s going to be another one starting at Stormont next month. Ah well, the more the merrier. As MJ reassured me, “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”.
I was reasonably happy with 26 something. In position 102 I made it into the top half, though they’ve got a lot of fit 50 year old females in that part of town, and I was 4th in my age category! One of those was the 1st female, though, and I was more than content with being 14th female.