team kerr

Driving into the Ecos centre I was struck by the relative remoteness of the location despite being close to town.  It is a peaceful nature park with plenty to see but also felt a bit isolated at 9am so I was glad the Parkrun signage was good for parking etc. When we arrived the cafe / visitor centre wasn't open, which seems to be the usual meeting point, so it wasn't immediately obvious for a visitor where to find the toilets, start point etc.  I spoke to a member of the core team to seek advice on the suitability of the course for the buggy as there had been a lot of heavy rain the previous night and she was very helpful. The run is on tarmac paths and takes in an interesting route following a figure of 8 (of sorts) through varied and pleasant wetlands, meadows etc. There are a couple of bridges, all fine for us but a wider chair might struggle on one (another runner waited to check that I could get across ok which was very thoughtful). However, the biggest challenge for us was the narrow paths for substantial parts of the run - they are largely single file with limited scope to pass and it would be very hard (if not impossible) for 2 people to run together to push a buggy or chair.  In addition, the nature of the location meant that there were high nettles, overgrown plants etc alongside many of the paths - while these aren't an issue for others, they posed a bit of a hazard for us as Ben grabs at whatever is at his eye level. Another issue I had, and maybe this was just bad luck, was the incredible amount of dog poo on the paths - so much so that the buggy wheels had to come home in a bin bag. This is a mostly flat and fast Parkrun in a lovely location, and the core team and volunteers were disability aware and welcoming, but I think the route has real limitations for anyone pushing a large buggy / wheelchair. 

BALLYMENA, ECOS CENTER

running and rolling together