Barry Island parkrun #92 – White Rock Runners ‘Takeover’ Week

by Eleanor Preece of White Rock Runners

This Saturday saw members from Cardiff based running club, White Rock Runners, takeover the volunteer roster at Barry Island. The descent of 28 volunteers from the club enabled most of the regular core team of volunteers the opportunity to run either Barry Island parkrun or visit others across the region. A little about the club; White Rock Runners is a relatively new club to the Welsh running scene. Forming in 2013, upon the disbanding of Virgin Active, White Rock Runners have attracted some 76 members and appear at a number of local events and some further afield (yes, seeing those aircraft land at Cardiff airport got me thinking of milder climes).

WRR Volunteers

The volunteer team from White Rock Runners – Photo courtesy of David Sinclair

The take-over was largely co-ordinated by core team member Dave Shields and club chairman Phillip Mears, with club and core team member Ian Jenkins on hand as official Run Director for Saturdays event. Following the event Phillip said “Every Saturday around 25% of White Rock Runners (WRR) partake in a pakrun somewhere across South Wales and are appreciative of the volunteers who make these events happen”. “Without the core teams at each event many parkruns would struggle to go ahead. WRR members often volunteer at parkrun and other running events and therefore putting something back into the running community from which we get so much”. “Volunteering is the lifeblood of parkrun and if you've not tired it then why not give it a go - its very rewarding”.

The wet stuff that parkrun regulars have come to associate with parkrun was upon everyone but it didn’t really last (thankfully) nor did it dampen the spirits of the 31 strong volunteer team and 116 runners. Arriving at Barry Island, the skies had cleared and all present were left with a beautiful sunrise reflecting on the calm, outward bound tide; maybe this was an omen into how today was going to pan out for the WRRs. All volunteers set up, briefed with their role, and those with marshal points at the farthest end of the course en route to their cheer points – some took this cheering a little bit seriously with some dance moves being busted at the crossover.


Showing the way, White Rock Runners on Nells Point – Photo by David Sinclair


Lee Harding of WRR and Hilary James of SMR (Barry) bustin' the moves - Photo by David Sinclair

All were afforded some light rain, as predicted the night before, at the start of the run when the runners set off over the 5km alternative, alternative course.
From my vantage point, I could see the runners snaking around the route up to me – fantastic efforts by all runners, whilst a pretty course, it sure is challenging. The rains left us just as quick as they came, making way for some winter sunshine to bring the runners home.

First to cross the line for the 4th time in 37 appearances was Matthew Ryan, stopping the watch in 19:34. Paul Kehl was second over the line in 20:37 with John Magee of Les Croupiers RC, third in 20:52.

First Three

Top three finishers, Matthew Ryan (left), Paul Kehl (right) and John Magee – Photo by Kevin Moore Photography

First of the ladies to cross the line, in 17th place overall and running in the JW11-14 category was
Harriet Kehl, finishing in 24:28, the first time in 22 appearances. Georgina Lloyd was second (23rd overall) over the line in 25:07 with Sophie Gott, third female finisher and 28th overall, crossing the line in 25:30.
Heartbreak Hill had its own photographer this week.

The photos can be viewed via the link on the official Barry Island parkrun page with some to be found via Facebook and Twitter pages. Thanks go to David Sinclair who carried out a dual role of photographer and course marshal. Regular volunteer photographer Kevin Moore, was placed on the promenade and his photos can also be viewed via the link on the official Barry Island parkrun page and the Facebook and Twitter pages.


High Street Harriers heading up Heartbreak – Photo by David Sinclair

Runners aged +4 are able to participate at parkrun and this week saw the High Street Harriers proudly donning their new kit. High Street Harriers are an after school running group for 9 to 11 year olds. parkrun requires that runners under 11 years of age to be accompanied at all times by a designated adult and must stay within arm’s reach during the running. This rule was followed to the letter, however some of the grown-ups were found wanting and struggling to keep up.

Following the rules

High Street Harriers following the rules – Photo by David Sinclair

Down at the finish funnel, of the 116 finishers, 25 achieved personal best times – well done all. All tokens and barcodes scanned and returned too – thanks to everyone for not taking these home. Runners come from far and wide to take part in Barry Island parkrun and Saturday was no exception with visitors from Aberdare Valley AAC, Cwm Ogwr RC, Pencoed Tri and Stoke Striders Recreational Running Group.

A very special mention to one core volunteer member, Claire-Louise Thorne. Claire is one of the 4 Run Directors at Barry Island parkrun and has volunteered on 66 occasions, carrying out 109 tasks but has only run it once …. at event 92! Claire can be regularly seen pacing up and down the finish funnel or out on the course when not on RD duty but on this occasion, inspired by the spirit of parkrun, was one of the events 10 first timers.

Congratulations Claire-Louise on your Barry Island parkrun inaugural run. I hope you enjoyed running it as much as the volunteers enjoyed cheering you on, and as much as you enjoy volunteering week in week out.

Claire and her support crew

Claire (centre) and her fellow parkrunners from SSMR- Photo courtesy of Beverly Ooss

During these events, the volunteer team are always on hand to assist any runner or fellow volunteer and will happily answer any questions. Luckily for us we have Mithu ‘barcode scanning but let me grab my coffee’ Rahman. A big thank you to you for your assistance.

Before I move on to some achievements and stats, I’d like to take this opportunity, on behalf of White Rock Runners, for letting us takeover your parkrun. We all had a ball and look forward to coming back soon.

One last thing from me, as I eluded to earlier, most of the core volunteers took up the opportunity to either run Barry Island or to attend other parkruns, with the exception of Dave ‘run director’ Shields and Ian ‘I’m here if it all goes wrong’ Jenkins. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to organise the course, where the marshal points are, what to do and have the event run smoothly. They are both an asset to our running club and we are proud of what they do every week for those who wish to take part in parkrun; thank you marshals

Eleanor Preece

The team at Barry Island parkrun would like to extend their thanks to all at White Rock Runners for their assistance in staging the event and look forward to welcoming them back soon.
If you would like to get involved in parkrun either as a runner or volunteer contact the team at

Some Barry Island parkrun #92 stats:

Barry Island parkrun
Event number 92
28th January 2017

Male placings:
Matthew RYAN (VM40-44) (Unattached) was first over the line in 19:34 - 4th time in 37 appearances.
Paul KEHL (VM50-54) (Unattached) was second over the line in 20:37.
John MAGEE (VM40-44) of Les Croupiers RC, was third over the line in 20:52.

Current standing in the Men's annual points competition:

Robert NEWMAN (Unattached) 3325 pts.
John MAGEE (Les Croupiers RC) 2759 pts.
Michael ELLISTON (Les Croupiers RC) 2532 pts.

Female placings:

Harriet KEHL (JW11-14) (Unattached) was first (17th overall) over the line in 24:28 - first time in 22 appearances.
Georgina LLOYD (VW40-44) (Unattached) was second (23rd overall) over the line in 25:07.
Sophie GOTT (VW40-44) (Unattached) was third (28th overall) over the line in 25:30.

Current standing in the Women's annual points competition:

Caitlin WILLIAMS (Seriously Mad Runners (Barry)) 3083 pts.
Lisa WILLIAMS (Seriously Mad Runners (Barry)) 2881 pts.
Bethan WILLIAMS (Seriously Mad Runners (Barry)) 2694 pts.

The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores:

Paul KEHL (VM50-54) was graded 72.68% for the time 20:37 (second overall).
Matthew RYAN (VM40-44) was graded 70.27% for the time 19:34 (first overall).
Terry CUMMINGS (VM65-69) was graded 68.59% for the time 25:25 (27th overall).

This week there were 116 runners, of whom 10 were first timers and 25 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 10 different athletics clubs took part.

Barry Island parkrun started on 2nd May 2015, and since then 2,216 different runners, including participants from 201 athletics clubs, have completed 8,883 runs covering a total distance of 44,415 km, and there have been 1,828 new Personal Bests.

The female record is held by Emma WOOKEY who ran in a time of 00:18:09 on 20th June 2015 (event number 8).
The male record is held by Oliver M WILLIAMS who ran in a time of 00:16:14 on 24th September 2016 (event number 73).
The Age Grade course record is held by Angharad MAIR who recorded a 88.54% run (19:55) on 26th September 2015 (event number 21).
This weeks full results and a complete event history can be found on the Barry Island parkrun Results Page.