LAST weekend's 140th Barry Island parkrun event marked the second takeover by Cardiff based running club, White Rock Runners.

A takeover consists of club members taking on most or all of the roles and marshal posts for the event, allowing regular volunteers a week off and, equally importantly, giving the club an opportunity to actively put something back in to the running community.

White Rock are a relatively new Welsh Athletics affiliated running club, formed in 2013 from the ashes of the Virgin Active Running Club. They have a healthy membership of around 80 runners, are well represented in numerous events both locally and further afield and are staunch supporters of parkrun as athletes and as volunteers.

Last Saturday, 23 members of WRR lined the course and manned the finish area posts on Barry Island. Run director, Dave Shields, seized the chance to let people experience roles they've never done before, allocating one of the time keeper tasks to club secretary Henry Wright. Henry was paired with volunteer Alex Tombs, who guided Henry through his timekeeping debut.

Mr Wright said of his new role: "Despite it being daunting having the responsibility of my first time doing time keeping, it was good fun and great to see how events are put on from the other side."

Finish tokens for the 174 runners taking part were taken care of by Ed Brown and Nick Lewis, before they moved on to the scanning team of Ellie Preece, club chairman Phillip Mears and Sarah Parker. Looking after the smooth running of the finish funnel was fellow run director, Ian Jenkins.

Claire Yandall did a superb job as tail walker, employing her unique encouragement techniques to get the final finishers across the line.

Safety on the course was provided by Dan Aberdeen, Emily Baggs, Mike Bessell, Claire Curtin, Simon Stokes, Ceri Davies, Nick Drage, Shell Flynn, David Goodall, Leanne Hockey, Karen Minto, Pippa Morgan, Dylan Thomas and Richie Williams.

Dave Shields said: “My task this week of allocating roles was slightly complicated, in a very nice way, by the fact that so many of the White Rock volunteers have covered lots of the roles at parkrun, so I had an extensive wealth of experience to draw upon.

"Everyone from White Rock that turned out this morning did a great job, putting on a superb advert for both the club and parkrun. This was backed up by universal praise from the athletes that took part.

"Whilst today was a club takeover, I’m indebted to SMR's Richie Williams for stepping in at the last minute to cover Heartbreak Hill. Thank you Richie.”

First across the line was Gareth Poston of Port Talbot Harriers in a time of 18.57, with Ed Matthews coming in close behind. Phil Cross finished in third place around 30 seconds later.

In the ladies category, Catherine Barker (22.36) finished in first place, followed by Lisa Papura (23.08) and Emily Parker (23:35).

Seventeen runners were taking part in the event for the first time, with 32 people setting new personal best times. There were also two major milestones – Geoff Twigg celebrated his 100th parkrun (91 of them at Barry) and Martyn Parsons completed his 100th Barry Island parkrun.

The Barry Island parkrun team would like to extend their gratitude to White Rock Runners and look forward to another take over by the club in the summer.