Run report by Andy Norman, visitor. 253 parkruns at 104 locations. Home parkrun Worcester. Honoured to write this run report on the third anniversary for this event and the return of parkrun to Wales after a 17 month absence.
Staying in North Wales for the week so seeing many of the parkruns closest to us were not ready to re-open, decided on Nant y Pandy. Offered to do the run report and was advised by the Event Director it would be quite a contrast to the other parkrun I had completed in the area at Conwy! After looking it, up saw it was approximately 450th hardest of 580 parkruns so a challenge after the flat courses of previous weeks.
On the 55 minute drive to Nant y Pandy I thought of facts I knew about Anglesey. It is the biggest island off England and Wales and has a place with the longest unpronounceable name starting with Llanfair…. What did Nant y Pandy mean? Looked it up again and apparently, mill on the stream. Not to be confused with Pontypandy, which means bridge on the stream and is where Fireman Sam carries out many a heroic deed. (I have a 2 year old grandson who is a fan!)
After popping into Asda we met the first cheery Marshall who showed us the way and said ‘it’s turned out nice?’ We did not share his optimism at that point after coming through a cloud burst en route but it had stopped raining. Park runners eagerly congregated in the car park by the church, unsurprisingly much higher numbers than the average of 75, including a number of visitors from places including Warrington and Aylesbury. A joint welcome and first timers briefing by the RD and after a request to start in order based on your time, as the route was narrow, we were away.
The route started along a path into the dingle, a wood inhabited by red squirrels. I was aware the route was undulating but understood this was at the start and finish being an out and back route. After the first hill I asked a fellow runner in a Cymru shirt if that was it for the hills on the way out but as always the case I had asked a visitor who could not help. Think there was another hill then a big down slope which I suggested to my running partner we needed to remember for the way back. My running buddy this week was my daughter, quickest of our 4 person travelling group, who had managed a pb of under 28 minutes last week, so I knew I had my work cut out to keep up with her.
The route continued along a beautiful path through the canopy of trees, then along a boardwalk and to a dam at the end of a pretty lake. This was the turn around point, but not yet as the path first twisted left then right before eventually, we were heading for home.
The five marshals on the course were great, clanking cow bells, greeting us in Welsh and generally so encouraging. As we headed back a few runners went past us which suggested we were slowing a little and then with one km to go we hit the hill. We knew it was coming and we managed it but it was tough! One more hill then the finish line came upon us quicker than expected to prevent my Bolt like finish. Came in under 30 minutes so best this year and not bad as carrying an injury.
Lovely marshals at the finish too, ‘Did you enjoy it?’ ‘It was certainly an achievement,’ I responded. Waited for our other group members to complete and a shout out for my good lady who is a 35-40 minute runner and despite being beaten by many who had to walk, ran every step of a challenging course.
This week 170 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 92 were first timers and 20 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 34 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 26 volunteers:
Alun JONES • Sue JONES • Andy NORMAN • Gwyn WILLIAMS • Tracey COOL • Steph BATTERSBY • Brian PIGOTT • Paul MAITLAND • Josie RHISIART • Aron RHISIART • Sal SEENEY • Darren SEENEY • Adel PRITCHARD • Peggy COOMBS • Sascha COOMBS • Heather VARLEY • Paul WILLIAMS • Richard COUPE • William PRITCHARD • Emily WILLIAMS • Janice DAVIES • Robin EVANS • Bethan OWEN • Wendy JONES • James VARLEY • Keith DAVIS
But perhaps the participants richest from today’s event were the Tail Walker and the parkrunrunner with her (who is recovering from injury) who were fortunate enough to see one of the wonderful red squirrels on their return journey towards the finish line.
For us it was breakfast at Mona’s where we discussed what a great course this was and probably goes into my top 10. It would have been even better if we had seen a red squirrel so we returned for a walk through the dingle and 3 squirrels obliged!
Big thank you to all at Nant y Pandy parkrun especially on your third anniversary but also for getting your great event going again.