World champ O’Sullivan joins in Enniskillen parkrun

ON Saturday, the Enniskillen Parkrun was celebrating its ninth birthday and on that special day, a guest of athletics honour took to the track at the Lakeland Forum, unbeknownst to the unsuspecting runners.
World and Olympic champion and record holder runner, Sonia O’Sullivan, took part in the Enniskillen parkrun on Saturday.
The Cork native was spending time in Fermanagh over the weekend and she searched on Google for the nearest Park Run and she ended up jogging round the track at the Lakeland Forum.
Brendan Rasdale was one of the participants at the parkrun on Saturday and he recalls that O’Sullivan had sneaked into the group under the radar, without anyone ‘noticing her’.
“Every week at parkrun, there is people down in Enniskillen for the weekend or people down visiting somebody and who just appear, so for someone strange to be at parkrun, it isn’t that big of a deal.
“There is a group of 50 or 60 people and there is 10 or 15 people who just turn up. Nobody really noticed her.”
As the runners lined up at the start line, a few people ‘twigged’ that the famous Sonia O’Sullivan was amongst them, but Brendan still hadn’t realised until the run was well underway.
“During the race, just at the beginning, one or two people must have twigged it. There is about two points on the run where everybody meets each other and the word spread.
“I had my headphones in so I didn’t hear it. She was behind me for quite a bit of it and I was right behind her for the next mile or so.”
While most of the runners were exhausted and gasping for breath at the end of the Park Run, O’Sullivan went on another leisurely lap around the track as a ‘cool down’.
It was then that the bystanders realised that they had shared the track with a legend of the sport.
The famous runner had just appeared to the Lakeland Forum for a normal run, unaware that it was a real day of celebration for the Enniskillen parkrun crew.
“It was lovely. It gave a real buzz on a day that was a real celebration for us as it was the ninth birthday since the first one in Enniskillen.
“It just happened by pure coincidence that it was our ninth birthday and she [Sonia O’Sullivan] just appeared. She was very obliging afterwards. She hung around and took photos with people, it was great,” concluded Brendan.

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