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No One Comes Last



At Banstead Woods. Narnia or parkrun?
In what feels, at times, like an increasingly troubled and divided world, discovering parkrun has been an utter joy. Although these free, weekly, timed 5k runs - organised entirely by volunteers - have formed an integral part of my half marathon training, I’m no different to anyone taking part for the first time because everyone runs or walks at their own pace. As the event director said at Banstead Woods parkrun, where I was a visitor recently, ‘No one comes last because there’s always a tail walker.’

Participants gathering for the start of Banstead Woods parkrun
The end of a really lovely run through the woods

I’ve always found the running community to be friendly and supportive, but the atmosphere at parkrun is especially uplifting and encouraging. Llanerchaeron, our ‘local’ parkrun (some 15 miles away) attracts participants of all ages from the over fours to the over seventy-fives and everyone is warmly applauded as they cross the finish line. Of course, I always hope to shave a few seconds off my time and achieve a new personal best, but it’s the kindness of the parkrun community, the words of encouragement along the way and the generosity of volunteers who give up their time to help which combine to make it such a lovely event. If you’re at all tempted but feel slightly daunted by the idea of dipping your toe in the water, please don’t be afraid to go along to your local parkrun and give it a try (remember to register and download your barcode first) - you’ll be assured of a warm welcome, you’ll meet some lovely people and you might even get the running bug!


Traditional team photo at Llanerchaeron with my dear friend Helen

With less than two weeks to go, and 286 training miles under my belt so far, I’m on the final countdown to the Cardiff Half Marathon. When the event started, fifteen years ago 1,500 runners lined up at the start, this year there’ll be 25,000 of us! That’s a measure of just how many people have caught the running bug in the interim. This October also marks a decade of half marathon running for me so I set myself the ambitious target of raising £800 for Pancreatic Cancer UK. Thanks to the generosity of others, I’ve raised 62% of my target, a little over £500. I know that Pancreatic Cancer UK will put whatever they receive to good use so even if the final total falls short of what I’ve hoped, every pound will help in the race against pancreatic cancer.

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