I had quite a fun time volunteering as lead bike. Was made a little more exciting than needed by me going the wrong way right near the start! Eejit! Thank goodness 300 runners did not follow! Recovered from that and rest of the run/cycle was ahead of lead runners acting as a flourescent-yellow friendly early-warning signal.
Up at 8:30 with Fionnuala. Grabbed breakfast with coffee, borrowed bell from Fionn's bike. Pumped her front wheel. Leave Maeve and Kate with granny getting breakfast, Daire in bed. (My mum came up on train on Fri visiting us and my sister driving up later coming to see us and also last night of the play Dancing at Lughnasa (by Glencullen Musical and Dramatic Soc. (for whom I do PR and other things))).
I wear a helmet - unusual for me though being lead/safety bike I had better.
No gloves on hands for cycle today. The cold temperatures finally broke this week. Despite the breeze we have had such chilly air this winter the last couple of days feel positively balmy. Wind with us most of way to Marlay. Our usual route - Sandyford village, double-back after Sandyford bridge to get on green route (would be nice if we could bungee or mountain-bike/scramble down from Sandyford bridge to cycle path) across to Marlay park.
I jog over to volunteer group and say hello. Martin is running the group this week. At first I might help with timing after lead bike gets to finish but then Liam comes and he asks me to go around again after I get to finish, catch tail runners and leave marshalls on route know where the end is and when they can return to base. At 9:10/9:15 runners start a warmup. A few more volunteers arrive. At 9:30ish race briefing is given by Martin on megaphone.
Then runners take position at the start. I goto bike start position on path. About 300 runners I think and I guess they will spread out over 10 mins on the course. (Fast runners under 20min, me about 26min, most people from 2? to under 35min -ish, then a few more - great parkrun has a wide range of runners - I found the first runs faster than I expected, quite a fit crowd a bit intimidating but with beginners in there enough that novices can fit in comfortably (thankfully!)).
The route for Marlay starts on grass, the bike starts where the runners hit path. The runners and bike first do lap of field in front of Marlay house (anti-clockwise direction W(grass)SENW). Then enter trees and follow path S(trees), E(trees), SE(trees and fairy tree), E(field), S(hill up), E(inside S side of park), N-W(inside E side of park) back to field (NWS clockwise direction) to FINISH. The bike skips last lap of field.
I had looked up parkrun the night before on what a lead bike does. Very simple:
Lead Bike cycles on ahead of the front runners to show them the way and to give other park users a friendly warning that hordes of runners are heading their way
I had also seen Liam's post the week before.
"I was lead bike and was surprised at just how fast I had to go to avoid being caught by the lead runners, these guys and girls obviously operate in a parallel running universe to the one that I occupy."
Yikes. :-) Good to know.
Hello to marshalls at the first corner. Brief anticipation. Brrrrt! Then there are 300 runners heading for us. Eep. Here they come (see photo on facebook), Okay I'd better go.
A few pedestrians are on the path around the field including one group with 2 dogs on leads and 5 people. "Hello. Please watch out, there are about 300 runners heading this way." Tricky to balance the need to be friendly and give information and keep ahead of the runners! I cycle fast when not near people then slow down and give my "Hello." or "Sorry, excuse me" then "Marlay parkrun" "300 runners heading this way" "about 10 minutes".
I go off-route at the end of the field. After greeting several groups I just go straight ahead and follow path into woods. I'm speeding along when and gone a good way towards fairy tree when ... OH! ... ******. This is the wrong way! I turn around and go fast back to corner of field. I can see big group of runners streaming past. OK. ARGH! I zoom up on path inside woods. Thankfully only two pedestrians (Sorry people!). And come out ahead of runners. Brief hello to marshalls but runners are right there. On I fo. From then I'm okay again. On the right path and ahead. I get a comfortable distance ahead and start the friendly warning system again.
I found it hard not to surprise some people. Cycling normally not allowed in Marlay park so while finding it quite novel I was trying hard to give all people (and dogs) loads of space and go quite slow past people. Also try not to get too far ahead of front runners so people can see what I'm talking about. Not much time to greet people, warn them about runners coming and then stop and say it again. Greeting some people causes them to slow and move into middle of path puzzeldly but they look back and I think it might be working as a warning. One dog on lead moves right across path when I give warning but there is lots of space at that point to move well around the group. Also now a lot of people know already about the run.
The front runner is in yellow and when I see him catching up I move on quickly. After the fairy tree and field before golf course the runners are quite close as I have just warned some groups pedestrians spread out right across path. The runners are as fast on the hill as I am! Yikes. Thank goodness for last couple of months of training. I'm tired at top of hill but still ahead. Then it is easy all the way.
Back at starting field I skip last lap of field and then go follow the route again chasing tail runners. I have not caught anybody likely by fairy tree so I tell the marshall near there that's it. Soon after that though (still below 2km mark I think) I catch two people. I dismount and jog/push bike and stay with them a little but don't want to make them feel uncomfortable so move on after a bit. Jog/pushing bike up the hill is hard work! Oh. I catch up with a lady and a 7yr old boy at S side of park. He has a stitch but having a lovely jog spinning around the odd pole or detouring over tree-stumps or other interesting path-side items. He really likes seeing the 3k sign. We get to East gate and tell marshall there there are 2 ladies behind. Walk with her to field. Marshall there knows another lady runner who is last of all. Fair play! All pass and go around for the last lap. Then we head over to clap them at finish.
That's mostly it. The funnel is packed up. We think someone else has gone to collect signs. Fionn has had good run. We are both warm. The marshalls and time-keepers are all quite chilled. Lots of standing around working with hands. Brr. We head for coffee.
On the way home wind is against us. I try to go ahead of fionn a bit and act as wind breaker.
What is parkrun? Still new enough to me and Ireland that most people don't know what it is. Parkrun is a free run in parks worldwide run by local volunteers. Simple idea of having the run on the same route and at the same time each week makes it easy for local runners and travellers to just take an hour and drop into any run. For me the starting up or Marly parkrun co-incided with Fionnuala registering us for a little Duathlon at Helfire for her birthday this year (Mar 23). We turned up a week early somewhat by accident and joined in with the volunteer meeting. Then Fionn marshalled for Marlay parkrun #1 and I ran. And we ran the next week with Daire.
Marlay parkrun: http://www.parkrun.ie/marlay/
Marlay parkrun - Weekly Free 5km Timed Run
What is Marlay parkrun?
It is a 5km run - it's you against the clock.
When is it?
Every Saturday at 9:30am.
Where is it?
It's run in Marlay Park, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin, Co. Dublin. See Course page for more details.
What does it cost to join in?
Nothing - it's free! but please register before your first run. Only ever register with parkrun once. Don't forget to bring a printed copy of your barcode (request a reminder).
How fast do I have to be?
We all run for our own enjoyment. Please come along and join in whatever your pace!
Marlay parkrun needs you!
It is entirely organised by volunteers - email@example.com to help.
Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in Marlay Park Café - please come and join us!
The rest of the weekend. Well as usual there were a few things on!
Fri afternoon my Mum came up on train. I got home from work 5:45ish. Hello Mum! Kids. Fionn. Food (yum Fionn cooked milky potato bake and chrrizo/chick-pea/tomato stew). Shave. Shirt. Tie. Shoes. Pants.
Then I headed down to help at front of house for the play. Dancing at Lughnasa by GMDS in The Mill Theatre in Dundrum. Cycled down. Foof. Should have cycled slower but it was great fun zooming down hill with wind behind me. There early. First time I saw the finished set - I was last there finishing kites and spinning top just before dress rehearsal on Mon night. Met the lads. Got programmes. Headed to front of house and people started arriving quite early so started greeting and helping with questions. Good crowd in 187 (max 210). Therese front of house chief arrives and gives us raffle tickets for interval and she had the sweets for handing out. I took some photos but Bren's camera schnicks when taking each photo and it was too loud. Saw first act. Nice job!
At interval Marcus & I start in auditorium and start selling raffle tickets and then move on to bar. Various people we know are there and very much liking the play. Great cast, set, acting, antics. Act 2 starts, we do raffle then I run to hold ladder (for Bren(Michael Evans) climbing sycamore tree). Second act seems over quite quick. I have a pint and meet lots of people after and then cycle home. No gloves. Not chilly.
Sat morning - Marlay parkrun lead bike.
Daire cooks pasta and has some before heading to GAA.
I cook celeriac + other veg ~thick curry soup and a variant of it with tomato sauce goes with pasta. Deemed yummy by girls and Mum and Fionn.I bring Kate to gym and get paper.
Get video and normal camera and gloves ready for play.
Mary arrives in afternoon. Fionnuala goes shopping after collecting Kate.
Shopping in. More food (Fionn makes betroot + orange salad with ?).
We go down early to play at 7 so I can get video setup. Fionn drives. I go down get tripod, plug in camera. Barry gets mat for lead. Bren fixes camera to tripod properly. I join my family outside in bar. Bren intros Garrett to camera. On/off/demomode and move/zoom. In we go. Smaller crowd tonight (114ish) Fantastic play. I take photos and try to be discrete about it. After play the crowd clears out quickly. Not like previous night. Then flurry of chatting to people. Family head home and I help dismantle set and carry out and load into two vans. Then party. 1.5 guinness + pizza + talk + 1 song then lift home with Colm.
On Sunday alarm 8:30. Up 8:45. Soccer cancelled. Pitch unplayable. Foof. Okay. Breakfast time. Coffee. Relaxing morning with family and newspaper mixed with hanging up clothes. Daire cooks me & girls eggs for a snack at 11ish. I cook tortilla for lunch. (Turmeric + sambar powder with potato and onion first then chorizo and eggs from Cobh). With beetroot and orange salad again. Clodagh has some too. Then Fionn brings Maeve and Clodagh over to Orla's party.
At 3pm Kate comes with me and we meet Peter and bring vans with set of play to scout den. Garrett joins us and we unload set into corner of Den and Ruth's antique mowing machine + bench + other items into scout van. It is windy. Then back up home, collect kites and bag with cameras and home we go,
Kate. Up tree Sunday. Of course we had to try and fly the Dancing at Lughnasa kites. And of course we had to fly kite into tree once it was flying! The kite is from Dancing at Lughnasa and made quite crudely though with reasonably sound kite-making principles. Quite heavy bamboo for such a small kite matched by quite a strong wind today. We got a longer kite line with some more of our kites. Kate's friend came and we flew the little kite. Then make the bigger kite fly. Stan came out, put a vertical then horizontal bridle on and it flew better. Then Kate and friend flew stunter in the stong wind by the stand far apart and crash alot (and Dad puts kite back together and re-launches method).
Then I started writing about doing lead bike in Marlay park run. At 10pm! Now it's coming up on 1am! Jeeez! Weekend is overrrr. Monday is here. time for SLEEEP is here right now.