Saturday, January 30, 2016

Looking at the first year of parkruns in Co.Kerry...Sat 30th Jan 2016

2015 saw plenty of changes in the running scene in Co.Kerry with two new 5km parkruns starting up in the county. The first one to start was in Tralee on the 24th of January 2015 and this was followed by one in Killarney on the 6th of June 2015.

Tralee parkrun....The chart below shows the weekly numbers over the last year.....

Since it has started, the Tralee parkrun has had 1327 registered runners to date with an average of 112.1 per week. As you can see from the chart, there was an initial surge of interest which then settled down over the Summer months and picked up again over the Autumn. The recent surge is no doubt due to the publicity from the Operation Transformation TV programme.

Looking back about 5-10 years, there was almost a complete lack of any races in the Tralee area in marked contrast to what was happening in Killarney. In the last few years, there have been new commercial races organised by Run the Kingdom but at €20 a pop with medals and dry fit tops, they're not for everyone. It's not all doom and gloom however as no doubt the free weekly parkruns will introduce a lot of people to running and some of them will in time go on to run in the some the longer events like the Tralee Marathon and Half-Marathon organised by the same company.

Killarney parkrun.....The chart below shows the weekly numbers...

The numbers in Killarney have been lower with an average of 42.1 runners per week. A total of 535 registered runners have taken part in the event since it started last June. As you can see from the chart, there was the initial surge due to the novelty factor. This stabilised about about 30-40 over the Autumn but it was hit badly by the wet weather in December. The recent surge is again due to the Operation Transformation TV programme.

One point of interest is that the average of 42.1 in Killarney is in marked contrast to the 112.1 average in Tralee. The town of Tralee has population of about 24k which is 1.7 times the size of Killarney. The parkrun average in Tralee is 2.7 times larger than that of Killarney. As for why the large difference? Perhaps there are several....more choice of modest priced races near Killarney? The fact that the parkrun in Killarney is about 3 miles south of the town centre? The marked difference between race prices in Tralee and the free parkrun?

Third parkrun??......Is there scope for another parkrun in the county? The thing about Co.Kerry is that Tralee and Killarney are really the main population centres and the other towns are quite small. If Killarney with a population of 14k2 has only an average of 42.1 runners per week then would a third parkrun get enough people to justify it? In terms of population, the third largest town is Listowel with 4,800 inhabitants which is about one third the size of Killarney. However if the examples in Cork have shown anything then it's that a parkrun can pop up just about anywhere.

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