running and rolling together
This parkrun takes place in a very pleasant, mature park in West Belfast. We got parked easily, close to the bowling pavilion, and walked up the path to the front of the building (accessible toilets inside) which is where everyone meets before the run. The group walks the short distance to the starting point, not far from the children’s playpark, and this is where the run brief takes place. The course is run on a good tarmac path, with one small lap and two large laps round the Falls park. Some parts are a little narrow (ok to run 2-wide), including a bridge to be crossed a couple of times, but most of the route is wide and easy to pass / be passed. The finish is back where the run started. It is a deceptively hilly one – there aren’t really any steep or obviously challenging climbs but there is an uphill drag in a few places (repeated on each lap) that will test the stamina of anyone pushing a jogger or a chair! Of course, downhills follow the climbs so plenty of recovery opportunities. Scanning takes place inside the pavilion, where there are tasty treats and good banter among the runners and volunteers.
We found this to be a fantastically inclusive parkrun, from the information received in advance (parking, toilets, course etc.) to the welcome and support on the day, and that witnessed around the course with encouragement for us, help pushing all the hills, and seeing the genuine inclusion of others with disabilities who were taking part (not just my son). This parkrun oozes community spirit and inclusivity so even though it is a challenge pushing up those hills, the buzz from the others around us more than makes it worthwhile.