running and rolling together

team kerr

This parkrun is one of the 5 or 6 most hilly in NI (not surprising given its location) but choosing to do it in what felt like the heaviest rain of the year probably didn’t do the course justice! It starts at the rear of the main Valley Leisure Centre building beside the changing pavilion - the day we visited the rain and mist meant we could hardly see the changing pavilion from the huge carpark, nevermind taking in the stunning views in the area.  The core/volunteer team were friendly and assured me that I was just unlucky with the weather as, apparently, it is always dry here! The course takes in a 2 lap clockwise route around the Valley Park, with a short stretch at the start and again at the end from the pavilion past a duck pond and back.  The overall elevation is a bit less than at Colin Glen (which starts with a hard 1.2 mile climb) and it is undulating in nature so there are plenty of downhills and flats to recover between the climbs.  It is an inclusive parkrun and one of the few that has detailed information on its course description to indicate that there are no tunnels or bollards and generally the course route is a few metres wide.  There is a pedestrian gate to go through near the duck pond, which was wide enough but needed to be taken slowly and required a bit of careful steering. The route is hard but enjoyable – what goes up must come down - and would have super views in good weather.  It is mostly tarmac but the rough nature of a few of the paths (gravel / potholes etc.) means it may not be suitable for a road chair but it is perfect for an off-road jogger providing you have the energy to push it!