Cork park forced to cancel run as ‘Operation Transformation’ sparks huge demand

Cork’s newest public park has run into more access difficulties after being swamped by people trying to keep fit.

City officials confirmed last night they had to postpone tomorrow’s free 5km Parkrun at Tramore Valley Park for health and safety reasons after a surge in the number of people turning up. “Numbers have nearly trebled within two weeks, causing major health and safety concerns for the city council,” a spokesman said.

“While very supportive of the event, we are left with no choice at present but to cancel it.”

It is the third time a public event at the new park, which has been developed on the site of the city’s former Kinsale Rd landfill, has been cancelled because of access or insurance issues.

Parkruns are free-timed 5km fun runs held in parks across the world at 9.30am on Saturdays. Each event is managed by a local voluntary Parkrun committee.

The council worked with Parkrun Ireland to establish an event at Tramore Valley Park, and after initial teething problems, it has attracted about 200 runners every week since October.

The Tramore Valley Park car park can accommodate 240 cars but numbers attending the Cork event have soared in the last two weeks — fuelled in part by the promotion of the runs on RTÉ’s Operation Transformation.

Almost 520 people attended last Saturday’s event, and when the car park reached capacity, there were reports of people parking their cars on nearby Mick Barry Road, and running across the busy South Link Road to get to the park.

“The city council has serious health and safety concerns regarding capacity to cater for such numbers of vehicles, given the proximity of the site to the South Link Road and the Parkrun model not allowing for control of numbers by pre-registration,” the council spokesman said.

“In the event of not being able to cap the number of participants and numbers of vehicles arriving at the site, and attendances increasing each week, the city council reluctantly has no option but to withdraw permission for the event this Saturday.”

He said the council is working with Parkrun Ireland to review the Tramore Valley Park event to see if it can be tailored to meet the necessary health and safety requirements on a more modest scale.

He defended the cancellation and said health and safety concerns take priority.

The park’s initial access problems were addressed late last year when the sequencing of traffic lights was tweaked to cater for the extra cars on Saturday mornings.

However, the Office of Public Works has blocked efforts to use an underpass, linking the park to the Black Ash park and ride site, for pedestrian access.

The use of a shuttle bus between the park and ride site and the park has also been ruled out on cost grounds.

There are plans to extend the car park tojust over 300 cars, but that could take up to nine months to complete.


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