Last December 3 of us from Start2Jog, a running club based in Glossop, Derbyshire realised that if the stars aligned and none of us got injured, parkrunday on 2nd March 2019 would be a triple celebration for us - Kathryn Grays 25th volunteer occasion, Phil Grays 50th different parkrun and my 100th different parkrun location.
The big question was, where would we run? We all wanted to run at a castle and Phil suggested Penrhyn. As it would be the day after St. Davids Day we realised there would be a fourth celebration. A quick email was sent to the core team and our plan was put in motion.
There were a couple of challenging weekends before that - the first weekend in February saw many parkruns cancelled due to sudden heavy snowfalls, then the following week Storm Erik caused further parkrun disruption, but, with numerous backup plans in place, we got there - arriving at Penrhyn parkruns St. Davids Day celebration to achieve our personal milestones.
Regulars at this parkrun don't need to be told how beautiful the surroundings are, but first time visitors like me can't fail to be impressed as they drive, cycle, run or walk up the driveway to this stunning neo-Norman castle.
The pre-run briefing was held in a cobbled courtyard where we saw many of our fellow runners wearing red or yellow and sporting daffodils in celebration of St. Davids Day. As the Run Director shouted for us to 'Go!' we ran through the imposing archway and into the sunshine of the castle grounds for two laps of a large loop, followed by two laps of a smaller loop.
The route affords impressive views of all aspects of the castle including a grassy carpet of daffodils, dancing in the breeze, and in the distance The Menai Straits and The Snowdonia National Park. The marshals were brilliant, especially the young lady who enthusiastically rang her cowbell every time we passed.
The run finished in the old stable yard where the St. Davids Day celebration continued with home-made Welsh cakes for everyone.
We visited the on site cafe where we had a good breakfast, chatted with the local runners and volunteers, exchanged tips and stories with fellow tourists and shared our celebration cake.
Today was my 100th different parkrun location and Penrhyn has gone straight to 3rd place in my favourite parkrun list (being just beaten by Stormont and Fountains Abbey).
17 priceless volunteers enabled 195 runners to complete the course today.
This included 50 first timers to Penrhyn, and an amazing 33 runners who recorded PB's.
First male finisher was Tomos ROBERTS
First female finisher was Ellis HAV
First junior male finisher (in a fantastic 3rd place) was Cameron SHAW
First junior female was Ella GRUNDY
For any tourists considering visiting, I'd suggest January to February when the snowdrops are in flower, March to April to see the carpet of daffodils, May to see the bluebells, the summer months for the fuchsia arch, autumn for the colourful falling leaves or the end of the year for winters views of the castle. Whatever the occasion, put it on your list & visit - it really is magnificent!
On a more serious note, last week, whilst visiting a parkrun in the East of England, a man standing in front of me during the pre-run briefing fainted. He was attended to immediately by parkrunners and volunteers.
He was wearing a parkrun wrist and containing his emergency contact details. This enabled the core team to make contact with his next of kin and to take him home.
Please, can I ask you all to make sure the 'In case of emergency' details and any pertinent medical information are up to date on your parkrun profile - you can find the link on your results / volunteer email, then reprint your barcode and the updated information will appear.
It's useful to carry your barcode or wristband at all times when running, so your ICE number is always readily accessible, although hopefully won't ever be needed.