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Conwy Parkrun in World Cup semi-finals

Conwy Parkrun is taking on the world. Picture: Steve Jeffery – SJ Photography.

Conwy Parkrun has reached the semi-finals of a prestigious World Cup competition based on the support and popularity of global parkrun tourism, which can be voted for online by runners.

In the world of athletics, runners are always looking for a glimmer of hope and light at the end of a long dark tunnel, and during this challenging lockdown, this concept seems very apt, as everyone is eagerly searching for some essential new interest.

And whilst the Parkrun community worldwide remain in lockdown due to the rapid spread of this horrific coronavirus pandemic, 24 global organisations and representatives of the popular sport, have been competing in a virtual challenge for runners that first began late last month.

The brainchild of an enthusiastic team from Chester, this inaugural event, although dominated by several parkrun teams from around the UK, also includes similar strong contendors from Hannover in Germany, Stavanger and Lovstien from Norway, Amsterdam in Holland, and both Bibra Lake and Yeppoon from Australia, with many representing interesting tourist destinations.

Kay Hatton and Cheryl Frost at the Conwy Parkrun. Photo: Steve Jeffery – SJ Photography.

The idea of the challenge, is that both teams must post some details about their parkrun course and event, providing a description of the potential twists and turns, to try to reflect just how and why their event is worth trying for a tourist runner.

The Conwy Parkrun, which in normal times organises 5k runs from the RSPB centre on Saturday mornings, has the ideal North Wales setting along picturesque river banks and close to Conwy Castle, and was the second Welsh organisation to reach the semi-finals this week, after Barry Island earlier defeated opponents Normanby Hall in the first quarter-final by 57 votes to 26.

And quite bizarrely, on Friday (17th April), colleagues Newborough Forest from Anglesey, celebrated a unique hat-trick of Welsh parkruns making it into the next round, as they defeated Yeppoon parkrun from Australia by 59-10 in the third quarter-final tie.

On Wednesday, Conwy received the largest vote of the competition so far when they beat Amsterdam, one of the most popular overseas Parkruns, by 100 votes to 47 in the second quarter-final.

Carla Green recently completed her 300th Conwy Parkrun. She is pictured near the finish with Steve Jones. Pic: Steve Jeffery – SJ Photography.

Conwy received a bye in the first round and then surprisingly defeated one of the top competition rivals and favourites, Bibra Lake from Western Australia, in the second round by 53 votes to 45, in one of the closest matches to date.

The final match of this round will see the Eden Project face Edinburgh in another expected close encounter. The games will be running most days now until the final with people encouraged to click on a photograph of their chosen parkrun to try to encourage success, and to support their favourite run.

*Further details are available via Facebook and on the Chester parkrun Facebook pages.

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