Eaton & Cringleford

Cathal joins elite 500 Parkrun club

Just Regional
Mar 11, 2024 3 mins read

Cathal Daly has joined an elite club of Parkrunners with 500 runs under their belt.and it’s all thanks to the popular Saturday morning Eaton event.

Cathal was a complete novice when he decided to give the Eaton Park event a go – and is glad he did as it opened the door to a world of bigger challenges which has taken him far and wide.

After reaching the 500-run milestone at his local Eaton run, he initially played down the achievement, but then had a rethink.

“I didn’t think it was a big deal. I said to a friend: ‘It’s just a lot of years of getting out of bed on a Saturday morning.’

“Then I realised it is actually quite impressive. Today I’m one of only 928 people worldwide who have run 500 parkruns.”

Cathal, 53, started doing parkrun in October 2010 at Eaton Park’s 11th parkrun and completed it in 33 minutes.

He quickly found he liked the format and worked on improving week on week.

A year later in October 2011 he managed to complete a sub 30-minute parkrun.

By 2013 he was consistently running sub 30-minute parkruns and was really and truly bitten by the running bug.

Since then he has run many a 5k and 10k race and in 2013 decided to try his first half-marathon. It was a great success.

Following several more half marathons, always including the Great North Run, he decided to challenge himself further and did his first ever marathon in Valencia last December in a respectable time of three hours and 53 minutes.

But the Parkruns will always have a special place in his heart.

“My favorite parkrun is in Oranmore in Ireland which is near where I grew up,” he said.

“It’s got everything, a castle, the ruins of an old manor house, the sea (Galway Bay) which all help distract you from having to run up a hill, twice!

“I’ve run parkruns when I’ve been on holiday in Devon, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, and Denmark.”

Although he has missed several parkruns  he makes sure to have a run anyway.

“I’ve missed some because I was abroad and couldn’t get transport to the park.

“I’ve got to other parks and there’s been another event on and the parkrun was cancelled: I ran anyway!”

Cathal is keen to give something back to the event which put him on the running map and believes anyone who may be thinking about giving it a go could have much to gain.

“I need to volunteer at parkrun more. If everyone who ran a parkrun volunteered just once a year, parkrun would have too many volunteers!

“There’s a new parkrun going to start in Dereham and my goal here is to get patients from the GP Practice where I work as a clinical pharmacist at North Elmham, to take part.”

Cathal, who lives in Norwich, can often be seen running around Swanton Morley on his lunch break.

Prior to taking up running he was a keen cyclist and in August this year he and his son Jack, 26, have entered The Lap Of Anglia relay to raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

He can be sponsored via his just giving page.

A healthcare professional, he has always encouraged everyone to get involved and Elmham surgeries are soon to open the first Dereham parkrun.

Who knows? – someone starting at the first Dereham parkrun may be celebrating their 500th in 2034.

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