EASTER weekend welcomed the 103rd running of Barry Island parkrun and the fifth highest turnout.
A cool, cloudy, dry and near wind free morning made for ideal running conditions for the 175 runners assembled by the Eastern Shelter for the 9am start.
Amongst the runners, were parkrun tourists from as far afield as Edinburgh, Yorkshire, Norwich and London and a number of birthdays. A 50th parkrun milestone, cemented with a new personal best (PB), was celebrated by Sue Gershenson.
Of the 27 first timers, 13 chose Barry as their very first parkrun.
This week, the parkrun was ably assisted by a team of 42 helpers, 13 of whom were pacers coming from Seriously Mad Runners (Barry).
The pacers were running 'odd' minutes from 21 to 45, providing a visual reference for other runners wishing to beat their times. It's fair to say that with 53 runners, or 1/3 of the field, achieving the coveted 'new PB' against their parkrun result, it was a roaring success.
Thank you pacers - your hard work put in over the last few weeks has paid off superbly and is appreciated by all.
Amongst the PB'ers was Vale of Glamorgan MP, Alun Cairns, who along with core team member Julie Broughton, were using the free 5k run as part of their London Marathon tapering.
Also racing in London next weekend are core team member Ben Butler-Madden and regular volunteers/runners Lisa Cleary, Tracey Buckle and Tracey Elliston. Good luck next Sunday all.
A huge thanks must also go out to all of the volunteers dotted around the course and in the finish area.
This week's run director, Dave Shields, said: "On Thursday we were thin on numbers and pulling the pacing may have been the only option to ensure we could safely put on the event.
Thankfully, the call for volunteers drew in both experienced and new people, and things turned out fine.
"Unfortunately volunteer numbers can be a problem and doesn't make for an easy week for the RD.
"Luckily we have a great runner base at Barry Island parkrun and we really appreciate it when people step up to help.
"Personally, I started marshalling on event number two, wanting to 'put something back' having been invited to the practice events and have become a part of the furniture since.
"The reward for me, comes in seeing people bettering themselves week after week and amply eclipses the 1-2 hours needed of me on a Saturday morning."
The parkrun event is a free, weekly 5k timed run and is open to anyone of any ability from age four upwards - runners, joggers or walkers alike. It starts at 9am every Saturday morning on the promenade.
The start location can vary, depending on what’s happening on the prom. Find out more on the run website at parkrun.org.uk/barryisland
If you would like to get involved in Barry Island parkrun, either as a runner or a volunteer, contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week 175 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 27 were first timers and 53 recorded new personal bests. Representatives of 19 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 42 volunteers.
Alfie Davies (JM15-17) (Unattached) was first over the line in 19:04 - third time in six appearances.
Lawrence Wilkinson (SM25-29) of CSSC Sports and Leisure, was second over the line in 19:22.
Christian Barlow (SM30-34) of Durham City Harriers AC, was third over the line in 19:44.
Joanne Donnelly (VW40-44) of Newcastle (Staffs) Triathlon Club, was first (24th overall) over the line in 21:44 - ninth time in 16 appearances.
Caitlin Williams (JW11-14) of Seriously Mad Runners (Barry), was second (37th overall) over the line in 23:00 - has been first to finish on six previous occasions.
Anna Ihme (VW35-39) (Unattached) was third (44th overall) over the line in 23:32.
The three highest age grades were recorded by:
Annette Newton (VW65-69) – 83.00 per cent for the time 24:48 (59th overall).
Paul Kehl (VM50-54) – 74.48 per cent for the time 20:07 (6th overall).
Tessa Matthews (VW60-64) – 73.22 per cent for the time 26:53 (80th overall).
The female record is held by Emma Wookey who recorded a time of 00:18:09 on June 20, 2015 (event number eight).
The male record is held by Oliver M Williams who recorded a time of 00:15:58 on March 25 (event number 100).
The Age Grade course record is held by Angharad Mair who recorded 88.54 per cent (19:55) on September 26, 2015 (event number 21).
Barry Island parkrun started on May 2, 2015. Since then 2,404 participants have completed 10,397 parkruns covering a total distance of 51,985 km, including 2,183 new personal bests.