The picturesque beauty spot of Newborough Forest on Anglesey finally won the epic local derby parkrun battle over their North Wales rivals Conwy on Monday morning to land the top global tourism prize, with both teams recording a record number of votes.
In a dramatic 24-hour final staged online from 12-noon on Sunday, Newborough led for most of the way, and backed by tremendous Island support, fully deserved their victory.
With this inaugural, virtual running competition, which attracted 24 teams worldwide from a variety of tourist locations based in Australia, Germany, Holland, Norway, and from all around the UK, it seemed quite bizarre, and perhaps a shade unfortunate that two teams situated just 30-miles apart in scenic North Wales, should meet in the final.
It is however, perhaps confirmation that the spectacular scenery, and the warm, friendly welcome always offered in normal times to visitors to this region, is fully appreciated worldwide.
The finalists proved their popularity throughout, with each team celebrating outstanding successes on their journey to the finals, with both defeating quality overseas opposition.
Conwy beat Bibra Lake from Australia, Amsterdam, and Barry Island before facing Newborough, who had previously knocked out Welsh rivals Swansea Bay, Georgengarten from Germany, Yeppoon from Australia, and The Eden Project.
The choice for supporters of both parkruns was made even more difficult in this match, as people were only allowed to vote once via Facebook, or Instagram, and the fact that many runners often take part in the 5k runs at both locations.
For Conwy, it might have been a ‘bridge too far’ after completing two tough matches last week, including a close, record breaking semi-final encounter with Barry Island the day before.
The competition though, well organised by the Chester Parkrun team, certainly proved a massive hit during these troubled times, and created a tremendous amount of interest throughout the parkrun community.
Interest in this new concept soon took hold and from noting that early matches only attracted a few hundred votes, latter encounters quickly gained momentum, with a record 2,700 voting in Conwy’s semi-final tie, followed by over 4,300 people supporting both teams in the final.
Newborough Forest eventually won this World Cup Final by about 300 votes, but their deserved lap of honour and celebrations will probably remain on hold until lockdown restrictions are lifted.
They certainly proved themselves to be worthy winners though, and both teams were indeed a credit to both the global parkrun community, and to North Wales.
The World Cup of Parkrun Tourism 2020
1st round results:
The Eden Project 68-28 Richmond, Ashton Court (Bristol) 12-80 Bibra Lake (Western Australia), Stavanger (Norway) 47-55 Amsterdam, Rother Valley 25-81 Edinburgh, Riverside (Chester-Le-Street) 72-22 Queen Elizabeth (Horden, Hants), Newborough Forest (Anglesey) 103-10 Brokenhurst (New Forest), Fountains Abbey (Yorkshire) 61-43 Fell Foot, Swansea Bay 25-69 Barry Island.
Lovstien (Norway) 38-63 Barry Island, Normandy Hall (North Lincs) 60-31 Cardiff, Georgengarten (Hannover, Germany) 38-67 Newborough Forest, Yeppoon (Australia) 49-29 Riverside (Durham), Amsterdam 55-12 Doddington Hall (Lincoln), Whitley Bay 27-47 The Eden Project, Edinburgh 53-43 Fountains Abbey, Bibra Lake (Australia) 45-53 Conwy.
Normandy Hall 26-57 Barry Island, Amsterdam 47-100 Conwy, Yeppoon 12-95 Newborough Forest, The Eden Project 51-50 Edinburgh.
The Eden Project 46 -115 Newborough Forest, Barry Island 1,500-1,200 Conwy.
World Cup Final:
Newborough Forest 2,300 – 2,000 Conwy