Parkrun finally returns to North Wales and local star Bryn Woodall smashes course record

Bryn Woodall stole the show at the Conwy Parkrun

Report by Don Hale. Photographs by Steve Jeffery

Parkrun finally returned to Wales, and to the Conwy RSPB site on Saturday for the first time in about 17 months due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Despite light rain and a puddle-ridden course, the event was welcomed by 310 muddy finishers, including many tourists, and several athletes from top clubs across the UK.

Colwyn Bay AC’s teenage athlete Bryn Woodall stole the show however, and recorded a tremendous new course record of just 15 minutes 16 seconds over this picturesque 5k route, which was voted ‘runner-up’ last year in the Parkrun “World Cup” contest.

The SM18-19 runner knocked more than two minutes off his own previous personal best time at Conwy, set in January last year, and he also smashed the previous course record set more than six years ago by Andi Jones of 15.52 in August 2015.

Bryn, who is about to leave Wales shortly to study in America, set a fast pace from the start and the first 16 runners all dipped under the 20-minute barrier, with six athletes from this elite group also recording personal best times.

Jonathan Kettle claimed a new PB at the Conwy Parkrun

North Wales Road Runners Club’s Jonathan Kettle was one of those few star athletes who managed to keep Bryn in sight, finishing 3rd overall in 17.24.

He too set a new PB at Conwy, was the 1st M45 age cat winner, and was just 10 seconds behind the 2nd placed man Daniel Quinlan (Aldershot, Farnham & District AC) in 17.14.

And Eryri Harriers duo Gavin Roberts and Nic Brook also ran hard with Gavin, claiming 6th place in 18.01, with Nic just 5 seconds behind in 7th spot with a PB in 18.06.

NWRRC had 17 club members involved at Conwy Parkrun and successfully claimed four age category wins, two second placings, and one third.

Jonathan Kettle, Harry Driscoll and Peter Armstrong were the cat winners, with some members also celebrating excellent PB times.

Driscoll finished 16th overall and won his SM20-24 age cat in 19.49, and fellow youngster Troy Kettle was 2nd SM18-19 cat in 22.07. Sean Butler was 40th and 2nd MV60-64 in 22.13, with Tony Price-Jones 53rd in 23.02.

Armstrong continued his fine form as a master veteran winning his M70 age cat in 82nd place in 24.13, with fellow master Don Hale claiming 2nd spot in the M65-69 cat in 24.33.

Stuart Culverhouse ran with his young son Joe in 95th and 96th places respectively, jointly finishing in 24.57, with Joe finishing winning his JM10 age cat, and his mum Lucy also enjoyed a rare run out in 267th place in 39.01.

Daniel Owens (left) and Gethin Wyn Jones

Partially sighted club runner Daniel Owens also returned to this live event, and ably assisted by Gethin Wyn Jones, the pair claimed 99th and 100th placings in 25.03.

It was good to see Liz Driscoll back too after a long-term injury, and finished 3rd in her VW50-54 age cat in 25.57, and she was just a couple of seconds ahead of colleague Helen Hannam in 25.59. And Mia Morris won her JW15-17 age cat with a great performance in 26.34.

Another master veteran Rob Fryer returned to competitive action in 27.32, and fellow vet Ian Turner ran a PB in 29.03, whilst Rachel Morris confirmed her own recovery from injury, recording 33.16.

Praise was given to the race director, and to all officials and marshalls’ for their determination to ensure this first event since March last year went ahead safely as planned.

*This is the link to the results from Conwy parkrun:

Richard Eccles wins senior challenge race at Endurance Eliminator

Report by Don Hale

Champion Richard Eccles (right) with runner-up Daniel Weston on the podium

NWRRC athlete Richard Eccles became the senior men’s champion at last weekend’s unusual North Wales Endurance Eliminator challenge held at the Queensway Stadium in Wrexham.

Richard finished ahead of rival Daniel Weston from the host club to claim the top spot on the podium to win a prestigious senior trophy at this Welsh Athletics event.

After the race, Richard confirmed: “We ended up running two 400-metre laps, and then on then on the third lap, it was basically a first over the line. I just sat on Daniel’s shoulder for around 250, and then sprinted for the line.”

This eliminator contest attracted competitors from clubs at Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Deeside, Eryri, Menai, Prestatyn and Wrexham, with athletes taking part in races from U13 and U15 Boys and Girls events, to senior men and senior women.

Some of the athletes included the U15’s 800m and 1500m, Welsh Champion Beca Haf Bown, as well as senior athlete Ffion Mair Roberts, who has represented Wales and Ynys Mon on the national and International stage.

In addition, it also included Gethin Griffith, a silver medallist in the 300m at the Welsh T&F Championships along with Alfie Sheiland, who was the U13’s 800m Welsh T&F Champion for 2021. Plaudits were given to key officials involved and to coaches, clubs, parents, and athletes for their support.

*The Endurance Eliminator champions included: U13 Boys Champion – Alfie Sheiland; U13 Girls Champion – Rosie Parsley; U15 Boys Champion – Gethin Griffith; U15 Girls Champion – Beca Bown;
Senior Men Champion – Richard Eccles; Senior Women Champion – Ffion Roberts.

Kelly and Cai ran together at Shrewsbury 10k

Kelly-Marie Alford and her partner Cai Roberts ran together in the Shrewsbury 10k race which attracted 1,561 finishers.

The intrepid couple continued with their series of regular endurance runs, this time competing from Quarry Park, in the Hatfield’s event, at Shrewsbury, with Kelly recording 55 mins 39 secs, and Cai 55.40, with the pair finishing in 689th and 690th places respectively.

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