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Friday, May 21, 2021

The future of Parkrun - An open letter from World Athletics President Sebastian Coe

An open letter from World Athletics President Sebastian Coe in support of Parkrun.

As much as I have always felt that sport is an incredible force for good, I know that it also provides an opportunity to heal: to make us better.

Coronavirus has left us with deep physical and emotional scars. I have been inspired by the ingenuity and creativity of so many people over the course of the pandemic. Individuals and communities finding hope, laughter and positivity in the darkest of times.

But there is no escaping the fact that the events of the past twelve months have been devastating in so many ways. Of particular concern to me is the fact that inequalities in health and wellbeing have been exacerbated.

We desperately need to find ways of getting fitter, stronger and more resilient. And we need to do it in a way that embraces and includes as much of the population as possible.

As we tentatively look forward, and take those first steps back to normality, grassroots sport can, if we let it, offer the perfect remedy that I know so many individuals and communities are desperately looking for.

London has always been a city that leads the way. Our capital city sets a standard for others to follow, and for centuries this city has been the vanguard of progress and change.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games provided a legacy that was about inclusion, accessibility and diversity. A platform for inspiration, the London Games was a beacon of hope, positivity and togetherness.

But there’s another activity, born in this city and exported around the world, that for 17 years has been bringing communities together, helping to form healthy habits and breaking down barriers to physical activity.

Parkrun has been referred to as one of the greatest public health initiatives of the 21st century. Its footprint is now global, with an influence and a following that crosses borders, inspiring communities from Sheffield to Soweto, and from San Francisco to St Petersburg.

But it all began in London. And it is a legacy that all Londoners should be proud of.

I know that parkrun has been working hard alongside the UK Government, Public Health England and Sport England, patiently waiting for the right time and restrictions to ease to return events across England.

As more of everyday life returns, we must not forget about the things that quietly, efficiently, (perhaps almost without us noticing), offer some of the greatest benefits of all.  If we can shop, eat and drink inside restaurants, visit other families in their home, watch live sport, go to the gym, play centres and the theatre then putting on an organised community running event in our parks is really a ‘no brainer’.

Maybe we have taken parkrun for granted. Quietly and unassumingly, parkrun has become part of the fabric of everyday life. But unless we get behind it now, we risk losing it forever.

We should reflect on, and be proud of, how parkrun has helped to make London (and the world) healthier and happier. But it is also time to ensure it has a future.

Because the true legacy of parkrun is not what it has achieved already, but the tonic it could prove to be in the years ahead.


World Athletics President Sebastian Coe



Helping Conwy Sports Clubs

Helping Conwy Sports Clubs

Report by Don Hale

Sport Conwy is trying to identify any local sports clubs who may be in search of financial support, advice, or generous assistance, to help improve and develop the welfare of their club and membership.
First set up in 1996, this organisation is run by volunteers and has a prestigious track record in supporting local clubs through its Coach Education programme, and its talented Athlete Programme, whilst promoting them through its website, and within their bi-annual “Stopwatch” publication.  

Sport Conwy secretary, and Conwy Council officer, Caroline Jones explained: ‘We would really like to increase the reach of Sport Conwy. We have established a cohort of clubs who affiliate year on year, however, we know there are many more clubs out there in Conwy who could also benefit from the organisation. 
‘It would be great to hear success stories from clubs - grant successes, club developments, and any athlete successes, as all are featured in our own magazine published bi-annually.

‘Over the past three-years, Sport Conwy has worked very hard to move with the times, and we have made significant improvements to integrate technology into our organisation. It is completely run by volunteers, who remain the backbone of all sporting provision, and without volunteers, many sports clubs would simply not exist.’

An affiliation fee of just £30 is all that is required annually to join Sport Conwy, and yet, for this small donation, members receive numerous benefits including: - Discounted Coach Education courses in Safeguarding, First Aid and Disability Inclusion access to funding for regional level athletes through the Personal Development Grant, and a Sports Injury Grant.

Clubs are also provided with guidance and advice on funding for club and workforce developments, safeguarding, national governing body guidance and many new initiatives. Each of these provide access to funds to support the costs associated with competing at a regional level – accommodation, travel, equipment, physio fees etc.
John Hatton, the treasurer of Sport Conwy, emphasised the enormous benefits and opportunities presented by membership, and added: ‘All sports clubs can affiliate, and by affiliating it has so many advantages, such as access to several grants etc. We want Sport Conwy to prosper so that we can continue to help all local clubs, and last year we handed out grants totalling over £5,000.’

Sport Conwy additionally supports the Conwy County Borough Council annual sports awards ceremony, and the organisation were title sponsors in 2018/19, prior to the pandemic. Numerous nominations for awards come from Sport Conwy affiliated clubs, and each club is allocated tickets to attend the ceremony.

The organisation has a dedicated website that allows all clubs to affiliate, and to be able to book any specific courses electronically. It also has a prominent social media presence online via Twitter and Facebook. And Sport Conwy are also seeking sponsorship from local businesses who would like to appear on their website.

*For further details please contact Caroline Jones, the Leisure Development Officer for CCBC, who can be contacted on Tel 01492-575557, or by email: Alternatively, on Twitter or Facebook @sportconwy, or via their website link:






Monday, May 17, 2021

North Wales athletes raise funds and run the miles for RNLI Mayday appeal

*NWRRC relay runners with RNLI officials on Llandudno prom

North Wales athletes raise funds and run the miles for RNLI Mayday appeal

Report by Don Hale. Photographs by Steve Jeffery

Four mixed teams of athletes from North Wales Road Runners enjoyed a relay run in the sun last Sunday on Llandudno Promenade as they helped to raise funds for the RNLI as part of their Mayday Mile appeal.

*Josh Keogh recorded the fastest mile on the day for the RNLI relay

For many of the twenty-one runners, this was their first competitive “live” run for about fifteen months, and thankfully the cool, windy, and rainswept weather of recent days disappeared for a couple of hours to allow everyone to thoroughly enjoy the occasion.

Despite this necessary time absence from major events due to Covid-19 restrictions, several club runners still recorded PBs (personal best times), and the event included members aged from 16-70 years of age.

*(Above) partially sighted runner Daniel Owens with Carla Green and (below) Gethin Wyn Jones

Team 2 eventually claimed victory in this RNLI run-a-mile relay challenge, which incorporated a half-mile route out and back along the promenade, starting from close to the new Lifeboat house. 

Their overall time was 31 minutes 38 seconds, with Team 3 second in 35.08; Team 1 finished in third place, and they were just 17 seconds adrift in 35.34, with Team 4 (who competed virtually) in fourth spot in 41.55.

The fastest miler on the day was Josh Keogh in a remarkable time of just 5 mins 6 seconds, but Gethin Wyn Jones gave his colleague a very close run in second place in 5.43, with Stuart Culverhouse third in 6 mins 5 secs. 

   *Stuart Culverhouse (above) and Steve Poupart (below)

Out of the nine lady runners who took part, Carla Green was the first female finisher in 6.32, this time playing a *support role, with Sarah Ferguson-Hudson second in 6.44, and Mia Morris third in 6.57.

The high standard of the relay was additionally confirmed, as eleven runners dipped under 7 mins. And a stark contrast in ages was highlighted by similar, superb performances from relay team-mates, 16-year-old Mia Morris in 6.57; and M65 veteran Kevin Slattery in 6.26.

In addition, partially sighted runner *Daniel Owens made a welcome return to racing, and supported by Carla Green, deservedly formed a key part of the winning team, recording an impressive individual finishing time of 6 minutes 32 seconds. 

There were plaudits too for Mia Morris’s mother Rachel, who had her first light run out for many months following a severe leg injury, and M70 vet Peter Armstrong, who has recently returned to club colours, enjoyed a very good run in 6.57.

* A great performance from Mia Morris (above) and (below) veteran Kevin Slattery


Individual and team results in relay running order: 

1st place Team 2: (31.38): Josh Keogh 5.06, Kay Hatton 7.09, John Doe 6.08, Gethin Wyn Jones 5.43, *Daniel Owens 6.32 (with Carla Green).

2nd place Team 3(35.08): Peter Armstrong 6.57, Don Hale 7.06, Stuart Culverhouse 6.05, Hannah Griffith 7.15, Samantha Williams 7.45.

3rd place Team 1(35.34): Charlie Owen 8.02, Steve Poupart 6.28, Vicky Taylor 7.41, Mia Morris 6.57, Kevin Slattery 6.26.

4th place Team 4: (41.55): Ben Hudson 6.23, Sarah Ferguson-Hudson 6.44, Pat Finnie 7.23, Helen Hannam 7.54, and Rachel Morris 13.15.

*Pictured (above) Hannah Griffith and (below) Vicky Taylor.

   *Pictured (below) local soccer referee Charlie Owen

At the time of writing NWRRC have raised about £200 towards the RNLI appeal fund, and a generous donation from Tesco was also handed over to Lifeboat officials on Sunday by race organisers John Hatton and Carla Green, who each received due praise from all runners and supporters.

*NWRRC relay race organiser John Hatton (right) hands a donation to an RNLI official

*Mayday is a call for help. Usually, RNLI lifesavers answer mayday calls and go to rescue others. But today, with a busy summer on the way, they need YOUR help. The Mayday Mile is a way to answer their call. If anyone is able to donate towards this worthy cause, please use this NWRRC fundraising link:

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Llyr worked hard for success at Ely Duathlon

Llyr worked hard for success at Ely Duathlon

Llyr ApGeraint-Roberts flew the flag for North Wales last Sunday when he competed in the Ely Duathlon and claimed 3rd place in his respective age category.

The event held near Cambridge in England, which contrary to Wales, allowed entrants to enjoy a live performance in both cycling and running activities, meant an early 8am start for the talented athlete and high-calibre rugby union referee.
It included two 5k runs and lengthy bike race totalling 36., which Llyr completed in an excellent time of 1 hour 25 mins 50 seconds.

The NWRRC runner explained it was very windy on the day, and that his multiple efforts demanded extreme concentration. He said: ‘it was something different for me today, but I was happy with my overall performance and transition. I finished 16
th out of 150 entrants and came 3rd in my 45-54 age cat.’

And he added: ‘I was pleased with my runs – 17 mins 58 seconds for my first effort and in 10th place, and 18 mins 33 seconds for my second run and 8th place.’

Llyr also confirmed that both of his runs were in fact quicker than the overall event winner, but admitted he lost 7-minutes on his bike, saying he had to really concentrate between 20-25k into a strong headwind, and pledged to train a bit differently on his bike for next time.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Carla Green galloped home at Aintree races

Carla Green galloped home at Aintree races

Report by Don Hale. Photographs by John Hatton.

North Wales Road Runner Carla Green galloped home in style and marked her return to “live” racing last Sunday with a superb performance in the Run Aintree half-marathon, claiming a new personal best (PB) time and also won her F45 age category award.
Carla was the 3rd female finisher amidst a high-quality field of nearly 500 mixed entrants and completed her run around a blustery racecourse route in just 1 hour 25 mins 52 seconds, confirming an amazing 5-minute PB. This result also created a cause for family celebration, with her husband Martin finishing 3rd in the 5k race.

*Members of the successful North Wales Road Runners team at Aintree

A strong team from NWRRC travelled over the border to England with nine athletes in the half-marathon, and two more in the 5k race. The event included “live” starts that were socially distanced due to Covid-19 restrictions. This option though remains in stark contrast to current Welsh athletic rules which still only permits virtual races.

                            *Jonathan Kettle

Jonathan Kettle was the pick of the male club runners in the half-marathon finishing 5th overall and he was the 2ndM45 cat in 1.15.18. Kay Hatton also claimed a deserved podium place with another steady and consistent run, earning a 2nd placing in her F55 cat. 
Jonathan Kettle said: ‘My first race in six long months, but it felt great to be back out feeling the pain and suffering for 13.1 miles. With no speed work for over 6-months, I’m very happy with my time and 5th place overall out of 477 finishers. Now it’s time to focus and knock a couple of minutes off that time. Last night’s pint in a very special glass definitely helped!’
Additional plaudits were awarded to Steve Bozier, who smashed his previous PB by a massive four and a half minutes, and Sarah Ferguson Hudson, who just missed out on an age category prize finishing 4th in her F40 age category, and she was only a few seconds away from a great new PB; and just 5 seconds separated club mates John Dalzell and Ben Hudson.

*Pictured above (l-r) Ben Hudson, Kay Hatton, Carla Green and Sarah Ferguson Hudson and below (l-r) Stuart Culverhouse, Steve Bozier, John Dalzell and Ben Hudson.

Steve Bozier confirmed: ‘It was cool and windy out there today and it didn’t help but I’m more than happy with the result and made up by beating my PB by four and a half minutes. It was a staggered and socially distanced start but was very well organised. Very enjoyable start of races again.’
Sarah added: ‘It was so amazing to be back racing at the Aintree half marathon this morning! Just missed out on a PB by 3 seconds, and still need to crack sub 1:45 but pretty pleased with my time.’

The club half-marathon results included: Jonathan Kettle 4th 1.15.18; Josh Keogh 27th 1.20.47; Carla Green 54th1.25.52; Steve Bozier 55th overall in 1.26.00; Stuart Culverhouse 105th 1.32.20; John Dalzell 123rd 1.34.50; Ben Hudson 124th 1.34.55; Sarah Ferguson Hudson 237th overall and 27th female runner in 1.45.18, and just missed a PB by a mere 3 seconds’ and Kay Hatton, who was 263rd overall and 31st female runner in 1.48.50. 
*The overall race was won by Daniel Gray of Sale Harriers in 1.10.48, with Paul Tatler (Newcastle, Staffs) 2nd in 1.14.10, and 3rd was James Bartley in 1.14.10. The Ladies race was won by Vicki Cronin in 1.19.46.

                            *Hot pace for Martin Green at Aintree races

Martin Green starred in Run Aintree 5k


Martin Green opted for the shorter 5k race rather than the half-marathon as he is still recovering from his recent scintillating performance in the Cheshire and Wrexham Elite marathon a few weeks ago. 

He quickly used his speed and experience to record another fine showing to finish 3rd overall, and 2nd M45 cat in just 16 minutes 22 seconds. Some 180 runners completed the 5k and Martin’s teenage club colleague Harry Driscoll also enjoyed a return to racing finishing 22nd overall in 19.32. 

The high standard of competition was confirmed by the fact that the first five finishers all dipped under 17-minutes. And the overall race winner Sean O’Connor and 2nd placed Ruairi Maguire both shared the exact same finishing time of 16 minutes 15 seconds, with Martin Green 3rd just 7 seconds adrift.

Saturday, May 8, 2021



As we move through the reopening process for parkrun and junior parkrun, we are publishing a UK-specific update every Friday to keep ambassadors, event teams, parkrun communities, and landowners informed on our progress. 

5k in England

It’s been another positive week as we continue to liaise with landowners for our 5k events in England, and receive more permissions for events to return on Saturday 5 June.

At the time of writing we have received full or partial permission from landowners representing 135 events, with 232 in progress, and we’re waiting to hear from landowners for 213 events. We know that landowners have been under incredible pressure for over a year now, and in some cases where we’ve not heard back it may well be due to administrative delays, or incorrect contact details. We’re working hard to get that right.

With Saturday 5 June getting closer all the time however, and all parkrun communities requiring certainty around whether or not they will actually be returning, we are working towards a deadline of Friday 21 May for either confirming we have enough support to return on 5 June, or that we haven’t reached that point yet and will be delaying to a later date.

Other home nations

All parts of the UK are now seeing reduced COVID-related illness and strong rates of vaccination, and therefore are also relaxing restrictions and allowing more activities to take place. We now have dates in the diary for junior parkrun events in Wales, and in Northern Ireland, and are close to confirming the same for Scotland.

With regards to 5k events, whilst none of those nations have published roadmaps that provide absolute clarity around the return of parkrun events, we are beginning to see opportunities, are working with local and national stakeholders, and will be ready to open our events at the earliest appropriate time. Scotland, for example, may well be able to accommodate the return of 5k parkrun events from Level 1 of their roadmap, which is likely to begin on 7 June.

Conversations are ongoing across all the home nations, and we will of course provide further updates when we have more information to share.

Finally, it was great to see over 9,500 children complete a 2k junior parkrun at the weekend, with 3,500 personal bests logged, and 1,200 first-timers. All supported by almost 3,000 volunteers.

Thanks so much for your continued support.

Tom Williams

Chief Operating Officer

parkrun Global

Friday, May 7, 2021

Marc tackles Welsh mountains in May snow

Marc tackles Welsh mountains in May snow

Report by Don Hale


Keen fell runner Marc Roberts has shared his passion for running in the Welsh mountains with a series of breath-taking personal photographs as heavy snow, freezing temperatures, and blizzards suddenly returned to the peaks again this week despite it being the first week of May.

*Marc braves the unexpected blizzards during his mountain challenge

Marc, who has missed the brutal challenges of competitive races over the past year due to Covid-19 restrictions, seized the opportunity for a hard training session, tackling some of North Wales best known mountain courses.

He admitted: ‘It’s the first time I've really ventured up with some snow. It makes the mountains look more majestic in my humble opinion.

‘Glyderau today from Marchlyn Mawr to Y Garn and back, picking up Carnedd Y Filiast, Mynydd Perfedd and Foel Goch en-route. Some snow showers and reduced visibility for about 15 mins but good otherwise. Strange weather and all the seasons in one day.'

*A corned beef sandwich and a coffee break amidst the scenic splendour


Monday, May 3, 2021


North Wales Road Runners returned to live group activities last Tuesday evening as they once again enjoyed active training sessions at West Shore. The group then ran clockwise around the Great Orme.

If anyone wants to join in with training sessions organised by Mark Jessett or Kevin Slattery the group meet at 7pm each Tuesday (at present) at the West Shore car park. When normal sessions return for groups of 30 or more are finally approved, following Covid-19 restrictions,  the club will return to Ysgol John Bright at the same day and time. 

Kevin remarked: 'Celebrating the start of the return to normality, 12-members, including "new" member (back in the club after quite a few years!) Peter Armstrong, we ran around the Great Orme in cracking evening weather. Many thanks to Kelly and Vicky for tail-running, and to Mark Jessett for putting the route and covid safety details on the Facebook page.'

*See the club website or Facebook page for further details.

*Pictured (above) the NWRRC and Criw Colwyn runners also returned to live group gatherings last Thursday night on Llandudno promenade organised by coaches Jonathan Kettle and Tony Price-Jones.

Jonathan confirmed: 'As with the Club Runs starting again on Tuesday we also started the interval session last Wednesday on the prom. We meet near ATS at 6:30 pm, each week, and remember that everyone is welcome.

'We will put a reminder up each week but again we can only have a maximum of 30 runners per session, and still combined with Criw Colwyn, so please comment if you would like to attend so we know numbers.'

*Pictured (below) some of the members who took part in the Thursday session on Llandudno promenade for sprints and interval sessions.

Ultra-distance athlete Llinos Davies tackles Welsh Coastal Path for RNLI

Ultra-distance athlete Llinos Davies has hit the trail running again in her bid to raise much needed funds for the RNLI Mayday appeal by jointly tackling 874 miles of the Welsh Coastal Path

Llinos from Deganwy began her latest charity challenge at the weekend and intends to reach her incredible target together with fellow GOG members, by utilising a combination of swimming, running and cycling.

She confirmed: ‘I hope you'll support me in raising much needed funds for the RNLI. I am hoping to raise at least £150 myself, and fellow club members of GOG Triathlon Club are aiming to conquer the distance of the Welsh Coastal Path between now and 16th May.

‘This Charity has a place in all our hearts and minds especially in view of recent tragic events, and I'm aiming for a personal distance of 150 miles in 16 days.’

                               *Llinos Davies back on the fundraising trail

The RNLI has answered mayday calls for nearly 200 years, from families swimming on busy beaches, to dog walkers cut off by the tide. It's the most urgent plea, used by mariners when life is in immediate danger and when their lifesavers hear those words, they launch courageously into the unknown to help those who rely on their help.

This May, as summer approaches, they're the ones sending out a mayday call. As we look forward to 2021 and beyond, they know that they'll be facing the busiest summer season for the lifesavers to come. And to keep them safe, ready and knowing they can handle whatever the summer brings, they need our help.

They're counting on us to answer their call and take on the Mayday Mile. Our support will help the crew stand strong as our busiest summer season approaches.


*If anyone is able to support Llinos Davies and colleagues in their fundraising quest for the RNLI, please follow this link to donate:





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