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Parkrun Review: Clare Castle Parkrun

Introduction

So, each week I go to Parkrun. Currently I am touristing around my local and local(ish) parkruns and I though I’d share my thoughts and experiences on each event. The course, the atmosphere, the location etc.

The Location

Well, this was a fun one to find. Clare Castle Parkrun takes part in Clare Castle Country Park. The park itself is very unique with the remains of Clare Castle in the park as well as a old railway station with platforms still in place. However, it is a hard place to find for a tourist. This was one of the more stressful journeys for me by a long shot. I was following my satnav and without another person to help me read it, I had to make some sudden turns etc.

When in Clare, the park is down a narrow road with a left turn into the car park. Its one way down this road really and you need to go down it slowly as there is nothing stopping you from driving straight and falling in the ditch. It looked like some people have done that before, so be warned. This car park is Pay & Display, though you can only pay with cash or via an app, so be prepared. There are toilets in the old engine shed building next to the car park if needed.

The Course

My Strava activity for Clare Castle Parkrun

The course at Clare is a nice 3 lap course with a mixture or tarmac paths and mud paths. Each lap is around a 1 mile long though the overall distance on my watch was 3.04 miles for my run. The course starts next to the station, goes around a a few gravel paths until a 180 wide turn to a wooded section. There is a chance you get a swan on the course, I did on my first lap xD. around the .7 mile mark you’ll reach the car park where you go over a bridge and follow a straight path to the worst bit of this course, a really sharp 180 U-turn before going back to the start. The course is mostly flat with a few small inclines and the 3 laps make it easy to know how far along the run you are.

My Experience

My result listing for Clare Castle Parkrun

This parkrun was nice. I wasn’t prepared for the ticket machines for parking though a friendly new park runner helped me out with the change for a 1 hour ticket which was nice. I then went on a warmup with the friend I just made in the car park. We went around the course for 1 lap at a recovery pace to get a look at the course and what was to come.

Once done it was almost time for the actual start, so we got the start line. On our chat it was clear I was the slower of the two. So I aimed to just keep up with a slower running near the front for as long as I could and then just run the best I could by myself. The actual run was nice with many of the marshals being vocal with their support which is always nice. I always thank the marshals that do so as I know they are actually putting some effort into it. As it is how I like to marshal. My time was on par with my runs since parkrun started back up again with a sub-23 minute. My time being of 22:50, my slowest since starting back, but only by a few seconds.

Conclusion

Overall this is a nice location with some unique scenery that you won’ get at other parkruns. It is worth a visit, though be prepared for the parking and navigating to and from the location. It is no very easy to find by yourself if you are not a local.

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