running and rolling together

team kerr

I've only ran on sand once before (without a buggy) and I didn't find that particularly easy so it would be fair to say I wasn't really looking forward to pushing Ben on a 5k Parkrun entirely on sand.  However, I did my research beforehand (i.e. made sure the tide was in my favour to maximise the firm sand and had the support of a great friend and willing 'pushing partner' - thanks Naomi!). 
The East Strand at Portrush is a lovely spot with plenty of parking, toilets in the watersports centre, lots of activity to watch on the beach and in the water, and with plenty of great cafes nearby.  The Parkrun is a popular one, both locally and with tourists, so it often attracts 300+ runners. It is an out and back course - East Strand to White Rocks, around a flag and back to East Strand. The brief is done in front of the Watersports Centre and then everyone heads down a concrete sloped ramp onto the beach to the starting point - it isn't far but the sand here is soft and well churned up so not the easiest. Once underway, there is an early obstacle in the form of a decent flow of water - sometimes a narrow river other times a lake, I believe! - into the sea. There is a fab little parkrun bridge set up over it each week but I was worried this would be slippy with the buggy so I opted to run through the water and accept the wet feet from the outset. The run is hard going, there is a bit of a slope on the beach and I really noticed it. Navigating around the halfway flag was very difficult as the sand was so churned up by the faster runners and the buggy just got stuck. Once round it and on the way back the biggest challenge was maintaining a steady pace while the tide came in and pushed us into softer sand - thankfully I had removed the mesh carrier from under the buggy so just accepted we would get wet and ran at the water's edge. It was August yet there was a reasonable headwind on the way back & Ben kept his cap pulled down over his face which made us think that it would be tough going on a cold, wet, windy day! As always the volunteers were welcoming and really friendly, and it is a great course to be able to say we have done, but I'm not sure I'd rush to do it again with a buggy.