BY HELEN RIDDELL
AN online competition to find the world’s most scenic Parkrun location has been won by Bere Island.
The World Cup of parkrun beauty was held by the organisers of the With Me Now podcast, who produce podcasts featuring all the latest news from the Parkrun world.
People were asked to nominate the Parkrun which, in their view, had the most beautiful scenery. Two West Cork Parkruns were among those nominated, Bere Island and Glengarriff. Through a process of elimination the Bere Island Parkrun made it through to the final, along with Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire, with the island eventually crossing the finish line with over 1,500 votes.
The Bere Island Parkrun started in 2014, and is the only Parkrun on an Irish island. The 5km route takes in a loop at the eastern end of the island, overlooking Bantry Bay and the Caha Mountains, and takes in some of the island’s rich heritage, including a wedge tomb, Viking harbour and World War One gun battery.
John Walsh, of Bere Island Projects Group who worked to bring a Parkrun to the island said: ‘We are a small island of 180 residents and are delighted that we won this event through support from islanders throughout the world.’
A core group run the island Parkrun all year round, including a number travelling from the mainland every Saturday morning. Numbers increase during the summer months which can see over 170 participating some weeks.
Over the years a number of top athletes and celebrities have also taken part in the Bere Island Parkrun, including Olympic medallists Sonia O’Sulivan and John Treacy, legendary wheelchair marathoner Jerry Forde and Daniel and Majella O’Donnell while filming an episode of B&B Road Trip on the island. The Irish Defence Forces who have a training camp on Bere Island also regularly take part.
All Parkrun events are suspended due to the pandemic. However, John says they look forward to when they can restart: ‘Our last Parkrun here was number 300 and we can’t wait for when we can hold number 301.’