Runners meet up in Colin Glen on Saturday morning before walking to the start of their 5k

Runners meet up in Colin Glen on Saturday morning before walking to the start of their 5k


Parkruns are free timed 5km (3.1mile) runs that occur every Sat morning at 9:30am. Parkruns are open to anyone, you can register online beforehand or just turn up on the day and run it. If you register beforehand (it's free) you can get a barcode that allows you to record your time and get a t-shirt after 50 parkruns. There are seven magnificent parkruns in Belfast (see below), all of which are run by local volunteers. Per capita, this is one of the highest concentration of parkruns in the world for an urban area.

Parkruns are spread across North, South, East and West Belfast (see map below, parkruns in green) and provide a great opportunity to see the city and meet other runners. As a timed run, participants can choose to race it, run it with friends or as part of training session, social run or even bring their pet or push a pram. If visiting Belfast, it's certainly recommended. If you want to run a bit longer, why not start or better still finish it with a parkrun. To learn more about parkruns, read our blog post and scan on down for lots more info.

Belfast Running Club volunteers at Stormont out in the cold providing runners with tea/coffee, mince pies and sweets in December 2016

Belfast Running Club volunteers at Stormont out in the cold providing runners with tea/coffee, mince pies and sweets in December 2016

If you can't make a parkrun you can still run the parkrun course. Most of the courses are marked out (on the road/path) along with kilometre markers. Parkruns usually comprise 2-3 laps of a course. Only Colin Glen, Stormont and Victoria (occasionally) have small trail sections that are run in ordinary trainers. You only need to turn up a few minutes before the race starts and there's usually free tea/coffee afterwards (donations and volunteers welcome). Staying afterwards is a brilliant way to chat to other runners... and get a rest. 

In Belfast there are seven parkruns, with two junior parkruns (2km runs on Sunday mornings for 4-14 year olds). Outside Belfast there are about 15 parkruns elsewhere in NI, including the world's first beach parkrun in Portrush. Across Ireland there are over 55 parkruns with more becoming available all the time. A map (as at 30-Jan-17) of parkruns is below with a more details available via parkrun site.

List of parkrun events (from  parkrun  site, via  Google )

List of parkrun events (from parkrun site, via Google)


The seven parkrun courses are very different to each other. Waterworks was the first parkrun in Ireland, Victoria is the flattest, Queen's on average is the fastest, Colin Glen & Falls are scenic but hilly, Stormont is beside the NI parliament buildings, and Ormeau is the biggest and run round the popular Ormeau Park. All are outlined in more detail below, but a summary of stats for January 2017 is below. Parkruns are rarely cancelled (they're not postponed) but it was icy on 14th Jan that lead to some being cancelled on safety grounds. The fastest times belong to Conall McCambridge (15:52 on New Years Day at Stormont) and Amy Bulman (17:57) at Victoria Park.

Race numbers and times taken from Average time taken of all race users, fastest time just from Jan-17.

Race numbers and times taken from Average time taken of all race users, fastest time just from Jan-17.

Below is a list of Belfast parkruns including course maps, links to latest results, fastest times, more info and their respective social media pages. Photos will gradually be added for each venue. Once a year, organises a challenge to do all the Belfast Parkrun courses in one day, before lunch. Two years ago, we completed all 18 (at that time) parkruns in NI over 36 hours. 

New Junior Parkrun & Parkwalk

Junior parkruns are 2km runs exclusively for children aged 4 to 14. They take place 9:30am Sunday mornings and run on the same format - and often same locations - as the traditional parkrun. Additional volunteers (and other safeguarding) are in place so that children are safe in sight at all times. There are two junior parkruns in Belfast. 

Ormeau Junior Parkrun - boys & girls from age 4 to 14 run 2km every Sunday morning in Ormeau Park

Ormeau Junior Parkrun - boys & girls from age 4 to 14 run 2km every Sunday morning in Ormeau Park

Latest Results  |  Event History  |  First Finishers  |  Fastest Times  |  Getting Involved  |  Facebook  

Parking: People can park at the Ozone Recreation Centre, usually on the gravel pitch. This is very close to the junior parkrun start (50-100m). Ormeau Park can occasionally be busy, so please follow the volunteer/marshal instructions at all times and park safely. 

Meet-Up, Start & Finish: Junior parkrun starts bout 100m up the hill from the adult parkrun start and follows the first loop (2km) of the adult parkrun. It finishes at the same point as the adult parkrun, denoted by a wooden start/finish post and opposite the gravel pitch.

Latest Results  |  Event History  |  First Finishers  |  Fastest Times  |  Getting Involved   |  Facebook

Parking: People can park on the Cavehill Road, Limestone Road, Antrim Road or Cliftonville Road (and walk through Waterworks). 

Meet-up, Start & Finish: Meet at the play park (Cavehill Road side) for pre-race announcements and then everyone walks to the start point at the bottom corner of the top pond (not far from Solitude and Cliftonville Road access). The finish ends at the play park after circling the bottom pond, as per the adult parkrun.


Parkwalk was a 6 week pilot in autumn 2016 at the Waterworks Parkrun. However you can walk/run at any of the parkruns, but please check with the volunteers beforehand. If you want to record your time then sign up at beforehand


7 Parkruns in Belfast

There are seven picturesque parkruns to choose from across Belfast.

Colin Glen Pakrun

OVERVIEW: Colin Glen is the most recent parkrun opened in Belfast. It is hilly, but the hospitality, environment and challenge more than makes up for it. Top coaches recommend it for XC preparation whilst most others runners will find it a hidden gem.

Latest Results | Event History | First Finishers | Fastest Times | Getting Involved | Facebook 

PARKING: Colin Glen has a small car-park (approx 40 cars) that can fill up quickly. If you are coming late you are better parking along the streets to the side, being respectful to residents. Colin Glen is near the junction of a few main roads, with easy access to the motorway via Blacks Road.

MEET-UP & START: Meet in the car-park beside the main building and wooden arch (see photos below). Pre-announcements are given out here and then everyone walks about 200m along the path to the starting point. The path is narrow, so if looking a good time you may want to move closer to the front. The first part is on a hill, and people soon spread out. You follow the path, marshals and blue arrows (see photos) and then emerge from the forest to do two laps of the small lake and then the last 1-1.5km is downhill to the finish. The course finishes at the wooden arch and there is tea & coffee etc and seats in the main building.

PHOTOS: Slide through photos below to get a better sense of the start/finish area, course and atmosphere

Falls Parkrun

OVERVIEW: Falls involves 2.5 laps around Falls Park, which involves 2 sharp inclines and two inclines. It attracts a smaller but welcoming crowd and is a great opportunity to try somewhere different. It has lovely views of the Belfast Hills and is a good test for all runners. 

Latest Results | Event History | First Finishers | Fastest Times | Getting Involved | Facebook 

PARKING: There are two small car-parks within Falls Park. Falls Road is a main arterial route so it can be busy, but is also easily accessible and within a mile of the motorway.

MEET-UP & START: Meet at the Bowling Club, which is about 100m from the main gate and close to the car-park. Pre-announcements are made here and then everyone moves to the start about 100m from club. The first lap is a short lap of the bottom half of the park and then there are two full laps of the park. Between the bottom half and the top half there is a short sharp hill up. You run between the pitches and then run down to the bottom half of the park. After 2.5 laps you finish at the bowling club (after passing it twice on the first 1.5 laps). Tea & coffee etc is available in the club afterwards.

Ormeau Parkrun 

OVERVIEW: Ormeau Park involves two laps - first 2k, second 3k with a slight hill on the second - through the scenic Ormeau Park. There are a few turns on the course, so it's best to know the way although it's well marshalled. It has a narrow start but very quickly widens out. Ormeau regularly attracts 300+ and is the biggest in Belfast. It has a dedicated parking area for parkrunners right beside the start/finish area.

Latest Results | Event History | First Finishers | Fastest Times | Getting Involved | Facebook | @ormeauparkrun 

PARKING: Ormeau Park can get very busy, as there are many other activities on as well as parkrun. So please drive slowly, park carefully and listen to any marshal and/or Council staff instructions. Parkrunners are advised to park on the gravel pitch beside the start/finish line. Enter Ormeau Park via the Ormeau Embankment. Drive through the gates, a grass football pitch will be on your left, 100 yards in you will see the gravel pitch on your right. Follow traffic, you will pass a sign saying Ormeau Park and then turn right into the gravel pitch. 

MEET-UP & START: The gravel pitch is right beside the start/finish point as denoted by a large wooden post (and bench opposite). People meet-up at the start point and line out along the narrow path. It is hard to hear any announcements if you are not near the front. The race is two laps, the first lap is approx 2k and the second 3km (same as first with additional 1km section that involves a slight incline). There are quite a few 90-180 degree turns so please follow the marshals. There are large wooden posts at each km but there are no markings on the tarmac. After the start, the course turns right into a wider tarmac road and runners begin to spread out. There is tea & coffee etc afterwards in the upstairs room of the Ozone Recreation Centre. 

NB In heavy rains (approx twice a year) the course will get altered as one section is prone to flooding, so please always follow marshals and listen to race instructions especially if there has been heavy rain. One or two bits can also be prone to ice but the course can still be run safely. You will often see people with dogs and prams at the race. Ormeau Park is used for many 5k and 10k races, and is the finish point for the Belfast Marathon.

PHOTOS: Slide through photos below to get a better sense of the start/finish area, course and atmosphere

Queens Parkrun

OVERVIEW: Queens is based at the 'Dub' (Queen's University Belfast Malone Road Playing Fields) and involves two laps of path, trim trail and road. There are 1-2 inclines, with a two narrow path sections although the crowd is usually spread out by the time you reach them. It's a great varied course, but there are a few turns - and although signposted - it's best to run within sight of other runners on the first lap.

Latest Results | Event History | First Finishers | Fastest Times | Getting Involved | Facebook 

PARKING: The 'Dub' (so called because it's on Dub lane, although it now has it's own access road 100yards on right hand side beyond the House of Sport Roundabout) is a very busy sports complex with approx 14 pitches, so there will usually be much else going on. So please drive slowly, park carefully and follow marshal instructions. There is parking near the main building (where most people go) with an additional car-park accessed by Dub Lane (about 250m from main building). 

MEET-UP & START: Runners meet at the front of the main building (see photos below), which is also the finish line. pre-race announcements are made there before everyone walks down approx 150m to the start line (mid-way along 3G pitch). People head back towards the main building and through the main car-park onto a narrow trim trail which goes behind the hockey pitches, before circum navigating the grass pitches and then back along the road to the start line, repeat for lap 2. It's a great open course but with a few turns so best to be in site of runners on the first lap and take care when passing through car-park (although always well marshalled). There is plenty of space in the main building with tea & coffee etc afterwards.

NB The Dub lies next to the Mary Peter's Track, the top track in NI. It is also just off the tow-path, near Belvoir Forest & Lagan Meadows so it can easily from part of a longer off-road run. It's a great course to race due to the mix of paths, small inclines and two laps. Also, it is usually 5-10mins late starting.

PHOTOS: Slide through photos below to get a better sense of the start/finish area, course and atmosphere

Stormont Parkrun 

OVERVIEW: Stormont involves two laps of the scenic Stormont Estate (home of the NI Parliament), starting at the bottom of the famous hill. It comprises mainly path with a small bit of trail and has a few inclines. It holds the record for the most parkrun participants in NI, with over 500 coming on new years day in 2016.

Latest Results | Event History | First Finishers | Fastest Times | Getting Involved | Facebook | @StormontParkrun 

PARKING: There are approximately 20 car-parking spaces at the main gate (50m from Meet-Up), with about a dozen spaces at the Massey Avenue side-gate (about 600m from Meet-Up). You can't park in the main estate. There is a large hotel on the opposite side of the road from Stormont. 

MEET-UP & START: People meet-up at the barriers (about 50m from main gate) and all pre-announcements are made there. Then everyone walks about 300m to the start line towards the bottom of the hill. The finish line is at the barrier. Many people leave stuff at the barrier. Tea & coffee etc are normally provided afterwards but this is all done outside (huge thanks to volunteers who have to bring everything with them). The course is two laps, begin by going up the hill, then left on trim trail, following that round the bottom of estate and up coming out close to the start line and repeat for lap two. There is a toilet block near the Massey Avenue side gate.

NB It's a great way to see Stormont and the Stormont Estate (formerly hosted international cross-country events).

PHOTOS: Slide through photos below to get a better sense of the start/finish area, course and atmosphere

Victoria Parkrun 

OVERVIEW: Victoria is a completely flat course that involves either three laps of the outside Victoria Perimeter or 2 laps of the outdoor perimeter and one of the internal trail path. It is perceived by some as the fastest parkrun course in Belfast and is the site of the 2017 24hr World Championships.

Latest ResultsEvent HistoryFirst Finishers | Fastest TimesGetting Involved | Facebook | @bfastvictoriapr 

PARKING: Follow signs for Victoria Park, and then go under an underpass and into a car-park. You will be parking near the small bridge into the island (where the football pitches are). You can also park in the harbour estate and come over the Sam Thompson Bridge (800m from the start line at opposite corner of the Park). Victoria Park is popular so please be careful parking/driving.

MEET-UP & START:  The start is about 250m from the main car-park, beyond the bowling club and play-park. There is a small brick hut with parkrun markers. People meet here, start here and finish very close to here. The paths are wide but there will often be other park users. After one lap, you go across the bridge and do a lap of the island on a narrow trim trail path. By this stage most of the runners are spread out. You then go back across the bridge and do another full lap of the outer park. There is tea & coffee etc provided in the bowling club (near the main car-park), as well as toilets. 

NB The outer perimeter of Victoria Park is a fraction over a mile at about 1,660 metres. It is great for mile reps and one section of the outer path is lit at night providing a good training venue. Victoria Park hosts the annual NI Road Relays (Clubs only) in October and hosts the annual Energia 24hr National Championships in June/July. The IAU World 24hr Championships are being held at Victoria Park on 1st July, 2017.

Waterworks Parkrun 

OVERVIEW: Waterworks was the first parkrun on the island of Ireland. It's a flat course with two short climbs. It involves two laps and the only thing to look out for is the narrow paths, but mostly the crowd is spread out by the time it hits this part of the course. The course ends with an exciting circumnavigation of the bottom lake. 

Latest ResultsEvent HistoryFirst Finishers | Fastest TimesGetting Involved | Facebook | @Waterworkspark1 

PARKING: People park on the neighbouring main roads especially the Cavehill Road, top of the Limestone Road, Antrim Road and Cliftonville Road. Note these are all main roads and be mindful off residents although there is usually enough space.

MEET-UP & START: Runners meet beside the play-park beside the bottom lake for pre-race announcements. Then everyone walks 200m to the starting point at the other side of the bottom lake. There can be big numbers along the sides of the lake (see photos). Runners go round the bottom lake and then up the narrow path (sharp 20m hill) at bottom, long straight till the turn at the top and then go right up an incline before rejoining path and continue on passing start point for another lap. Race finishes at play-park (meet-up point) after going round bottom lake for third time. There is tea & coffee etc usually provided afterwards. Waterworks normally hosts parkruns on Christmas and New Years Day, but in bad weather can be called off due to ice (although rarely happens).

PHOTOS: Slide through photos below to get a better sense of the start/finish area, course and atmosphere


From Waterworks, the first parkrun in Ireland to Colin Glen and all in between, they are all well worth a visit. Just turn up 10 minutes early, follow the volunteers and listen to any announcements. Any queries just ask a nearby runner, they'll only be glad to help. Bar that just enjoy. If you don't want to run, you can walk, spectate or why not volunteer. Either way you'll be part of a great local event. Remember parkruns are free and open to anyone. You don't need a barcode to take part. You only need a barcode if you want your time recorded on their system. Always thank the volunteers.

About 1,300 people run parkruns in Belfast each Saturday. If you can't run, consider volunteering (takes less than an hour). Also don't forget many have tea & coffee afterwards


  1. If you've been to one try out a different one out, see some more of Belfast
  2. Stay around after for tea/coffee and refreshments, start chatting to other runners, meet new people
  3. Check out the parkruns website and social media to find out more, volunteer and see photos
  4. Use it as the end of a long training run, makes it a lot easier running - and finishing - with other people!
  5. Volunteer, if you've never done it or not done it in a while, please help out. It takes less than an hour and really helps as parkrun events are run completely by volunteers. Plus it's good experience and a great opportunity to support local community
  6. If you don't think you can make 5k, join a JogBelfast programme. They are free and on three times a year throughout Belfast. They are akin to 'Couch25k' schemes and coach people over 10 weeks to run parkrun. 99% of people who go on JogBelfast recommend it!
  7. Try parkruns outside of Belfast, there's many great ones within NI (e.g. Portrush Beach, Craigavon Lakes, Antrim Castle Gardens, Armagh Trail, Carnfunnock Park (Larne), etc)
  8. Run the course at a different time, they are all mapped/signed out and are perfect for training runs
  10. Just give it a go!!!