BARRY Island parkrun saw a record 432 runners this New Year's Day, as competitors took to the course twice over the weekend to make a flying start to 2018.

Many of the runners had travelled to the Cardiff parkrun for a 9am start on New Year's Day, before making a quick exit and heading to Barry Island to do it all over again at 10:30am.

The New Year’s Day runners were greeted by heavy rain and hailstones as they made their way to the starting area, underneath the Eastern Shelter on the promenade.

As the mass of participants lined up on the start line for the pre-run safety briefing, there were mentions for Jen Williams and Barry Island regular Gaynor Loveless who both ran their 49th parkrun at Cardiff that morning and reached their milestone 50th runs 90 minutes later. Ms Williams even recorded a personal best for the course.

With many of the regular volunteers hoping for a record turnout and looking to beat last year’s record attendance of 303, it was looking promising as the huge group of runners made their way around the seafront course, by now bathed in sunshine.

With a final total of 432 runners, a new course record was set that would appear tough to beat again next year.

Co-event director Ian Thorne said: “To have this many participants taking part is unbelievable.

"A huge thank you has to go to the fantastic volunteers out on the course and looking after the finish area. Without them this wouldn’t have been possible.

"Everyone played their part perfectly."

Ben Butler-Madden from Penarth & Dinas Runners was first across the finish line first in a time of 17:54, followed by Gareth Hurman of The University of Southampton in 18:19 and Matt O’Keefe in third with a time of 18:20.

For the ladies, it was Rachel Eales of Penarth & Dinas Runners in first in 21:15, finishing 38th overall. Helen Currie of Abu Dhabi Striders came second in 22:05 and Catherine Barker, also of Penarth & Dinas Runners, made up the top three in a time of 22:18.

Saturday’s regular parkrun was held in extremely windy conditions, making it a stern challenge for the 116 people that ran, jogged or walked the 5km, two lap course at Barry Island.

The first finisher was Ewan Fryatt of Ealing Eagles Running Club in 18:52, followed by Jeff Cox of Les Croupier RC in 20:06 and David Brown of Seriously Mad Runners, who completed the course in 20:16.

Joanne Donnelly of Newcastle (Staffs) Triathlon Club was the first of the ladies to finish in a time of 21:18, second place went to Lisa Papura in 23:30 and third was Bethan Apglyn of Penarth & Dinas Runners in 24:28.

The last day of 2017 also hosted the final junior parkrun event of the year, with 32 juniors assembling for the 20th time.

Just before the start of the run, Skye Lees was presented with her wristband for completing a half-marathon of junior parkruns (11 in total). After a warm-up, the runners were off, cheered and supported along their way by a 27 strong team of volunteers that included Tracy Buckle, volunteering for her 25th time.

First home was first-timer Ben Ray in an impressive 7:51, a mere 9 seconds off the course record of 7:42. He was soon followed by Lucy Donnelly in 8:34 and David Barker in 8:53.

The organisers and volunteers would like to thank all those who have helped out and taken part in 2017 and look forward to welcoming people back in the New Year.