Touring Parkrun Cymru
Last month I moved to Wales. It’s completely new to me. I’d grown up in Bournemouth, then moved to London. This is an exciting new start that can feel a bit overwhelming at times. So I’m using parkrun to get to know the country a bit more, and keep busy while I’m settling in.
I’ve set my sights on a challenge involving completing all the parkruns in Wales – there were 28 when I decided to do this tour, and since then they’ve increased to 30.
So that’s 30 different timed 5k runs across Wales, completely free to take part in all starting at 9am on a Saturday morning.
I absolutely love a challenge (the type that doesn’t hurt too much, can be done flexibly, but also gives you a good few talking points) and I’m going to do a mini blog series on it, with one big write up at the end of it all.
I did parkrun number one a few weeks ago, but I volunteered instead of running. I’m going back at least once a month, so I’ll save a bit on volunteering for another time.
So this is parkrun number two.
Dragging my significant other out of bed early on a Saturday morning, we bundled into the car to drive for an hour to Porthcawl.
“An hour to get to parkrun?! Why didn’t you start with a closer one?!” I hear you ask.
Well, if you’re not familiar with Porthcawl, the views are to die for. The coastal location has views for days, and is just the best way to start a Saturday morning.
After listening to the first timers talk to find out about the course and any safety information, we lined up behind the start line.
Now I absolutely love what they’ve done with the start line and would really advocate this for every parkrun: lining up according to rough finishing time.
Porthcawl Parkrun goes along the millennium coastal path, which is the width of a standard pavement. If they didn’t line people up by rough pace, it would be a nightmare for congestion and runners tripping over each other. This way no one feels held up, or pressured to go too fast.
The run itself was pretty uneventful. We headed out at a very comfortable pace along the coast path, before looping back round to the finish. There were a few ups and downs, but nothing too challenging.
There were some quite tight parts where you really had to keep to one side, but the marshals managed it so well that you didn’t have to worry about doing anything wrong. Parkrun etiquette is pretty well explained in the first timers talk (although I might ask if they can add ‘don’t sneeze on your fellow runners’ after an incident at 2.5 miles-ish. Yuck.) so there’s very little to worry about, other than holding down your breakfast if you’ve gone a bit too hard.
We came in just under 28 minutes, having paced my significant other to a time he was pleased with, and we managed to run negative splits.
This was a great way to kick off my first run in my parkrun tour, and thank you so much to all the amazing volunteers for putting on such a successful and enjoyable parkrun.
Ps – if you’re doing some parkrun tourism over at Porthcawl, I really recommend popping to the Aberdulais Tinworks and Waterfall afterwards. It’s not too far to drive, national trust run, and there’s something for everyone there.