THE main talking points ahead of Barry Island parkrun number 126 were ‘International parkrun Day’ and the weather.

While the weather was distinctly autumnal in nature, with strong winds and drizzly rain, it was the combination with a high tide that made for challenging conditions for runners and volunteers alike.

The waves breaking over the sea wall into the Eastern shelter meant there were some great photo opportunities, but it also necessitated a last minute organisation of the start and finish area. As veterans of 125 previous runs, run director Lyn Evans and his team quickly adjusted things to work around the waves and keep the runners and volunteers safe and reasonably dry.

October 7 was designated ‘International parkrun Day’ to mark the 13th anniversary of the very first parkrun at Bushy Park, London, in October 2004. Thirteen runners took part in a free timed 5k run around the park, organised by parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt, so he could continue to socialise with his running friends while he was injured. Runners turned up in their apricot home parkrun t-shirts, including regular parkrunner, Vale of Glamorgan MP and secretary of state for Wales, Alun Cairns.

Ahead of the run, Mr Cairns paid tribute to parkrun for its success in getting people around the world out exercising and socialising on Saturday mornings. Noting that more than 3 million people are now registered as parkrunners, Mr Cairns also praised the efforts of the armies of volunteers who turn out every week to put on the free weekly timed runs.

Alun led a generous round of applause to mark International parkrun Day, and a second round for the local Barry parkrun team under the leadership of co-event directors Lyn Evans and Ian Thorne. Alun then joined the waiting runners at the start line - finishing in a very commendable 14th place in 24:02 - including a crowd-pleasing sprint finish.

In thanking Mr Cairns and the day’s 17-strong volunteer team, Lyn Evans said: "We’re grateful for Alun’s enthusiastic support for parkrunning.

"He helped pave the way for Barry Island parkrun, and since we got underway in May 2015, we’ve put on 125 events for nearly 3,000 runners to clock up over 67,000 km around the Island. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the unstinting efforts of our brilliant volunteers - 419 of them filling 2,800 roles come rain, wind, shine or, as we’ve seen today, high tides."

After setting off into the stiff breeze, 119 people ran, jogged or walked the 5 km course. Fifteen were first time parkrunners and 13 recorded new personal best times. Representatives of 13 different clubs took part, among them several first timers including runners from Sevenoaks Tri Club, Vegan Runners, and Major Milers.

Ben Butler-Madden (Penarth and Dinas Runners) marked his 50th parkrun milestone with a first place finish in a time of 18:30. This was Ben’s sixth first place in 15 appearances. Junior runner Alfie Davies was second over the line in 20:04, with Robert Newman third in 20:18.

Fellow Penarth and Dinas Runner, Lisa Cleary matched club mate Ben by taking the first female finisher spot in a time of 23:03. New grandmother Lisa also topped this week’s age-grade scores, with her best time equating to 75.56%. Lisa Papura was second female over the line in 23:50, with junior runner Caitlin Williams, a member of Seriously Mad Runners (Barry), third in 24:36.

Amongst the other runners recording a new personal best time this week were Kelson Mathias (23:02), birthday boy and Major Miler Peter Trotman (24:47), Seriously Mad Runner Alun Chapple (25:32), junior Megan Meyer (28:10), and another in a long list of recent PBs for SMR’s Sarah Thomas (39:48).

Trying to sneak home under the radar was regular runner Helen Archer, who probably thought she’d got away without having her 50th parkrun milestone noticed. Helen was a reluctant initial parkrunner, to say the least, so the event team were particularly pleased to see her 50 milestone get flagged up during the result processing. Cake will be expected for run number 51.

Barry Island parkrun is a free, weekly 5k timed run and is open to anyone of any ability from the ages of four upwards - runners, joggers and walkers alike.

It starts at 9am every Saturday morning at Barry Island promenade, normally under the Eastern shelter. Find out more on the run website at:

Not to be outdone, the new Barry junior parkrun continues to go from strength to strength with the number of participants increasing steadily as the word spreads. Last Sunday, 86 children, ran, walked or jogged the 2km course around Romilly Park in warm October sunshine. Seventeen of them were doing their first ever parkrun.

This coming Sunday, October 15, will be the 10th event and the volunteer team would love to see as many junior runners join them as possible and hopefully see 100 runners for the first time.

Barry junior parkrun is free weekly 2k timed run for four to 14 year olds at 9am every Sunday in Romilly Park, Barry. There’s more information on the run website at:

To register as a runner or volunteer, visit Registering just once gives a unique barcode number that allows people to run or volunteer at any parkrun anywhere in the world.