Parkrun viewed as key strand of Dunleath project

Parkrun viewed as key strand of Dunleath project

13 October 2021

DOWNPATRICK could soon host its first ever parkrun.

Dunleath Park is being touted as a possible venue for the 5K event which is hugely popular across the globe and attracts runners of all abilities.

Downpatrick Town Committee is behind the ambitious plan for the new parkrun which it believes will bring the local community closer together and may encourage people who have never run before to get out and enjoy themselves in an event where there is no time limit and no one finishes last.

Traditionally held on Saturday mornings, the Town Committee has issued an online appeal for “enthusiastic and committed volunteers” to come forward to help get the parkrun up and running.

It is hoped that the parkrun could become a weekly event and attract people from across the district to enhance their health and enjoy the great outdoors. 

Those behind the new initiative say if running isn’t your thing, parkruns are also great spectator events.

News that Dunleath Park could host the parkrun comes after recent confirmation that major investment is planned for this part of the town.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council is planning to create a series of new facilities, including a dedicated running track.

Also in the pipeline are a pump track, skateboarding track, improved planting and a new play park, while soccer and GAA pitches are in line for an upgrade as part of 

the plan to transform Dunleath |Park into a sporting and recreational hub.

Downpatrick councillor Gareth Sharvin — who has been lobbying for major investment at the park — said the key aim is to start work as soon as possible.

“Given that the proposed pump track, skateboard track and play park sit outside the flood plain at this part of the town, it enables the council to move faster in putting a business case together and progress towards securing capital funding,” he explained.

“Everyone is acutely aware that the flood plain poses challenges for the grass pitches and I have asked council officials to examine the cost of introducing flood mitigation measures to deliver all aspects of the Dunleath Park proposal.”

Cllr Sharvin said there is a need to know what the options are moving forward, highlighting the need for 3G and 4G sports pitches in Downpatrick so that they can be used all year round.

“The need for a running track has been on the books for some time and this is our opportunity to really push and deliver a local track for everyone to use and one that can also host competitions,” he continued.

Cllr Sharvin added: “The proposed Dunleath development, in tandem with the planned Church Street revitalisation programme and Irish Street regeneration initiative, brings three pillars of the town centre together and supports the need for further regeneration investment in the town centre itself. All of the projects will truly transform what Downpatrick has to offer.”

Anyone who would like to 

volunteer to help get the parkrun 

off the ground is asked to contact