Llanelli Coast parkrun, with Intersport, Scarlets and UKRunChat
No matter what the weather’s doing, when it’s parkrun day, local parkrunners and volunteers alike turn out to support what has become a way of life for many parkrun communities and from what we saw and heard, Llanelli Coast parkrun is no different. However, luckily for us (and the Scarlets boys who joined us), the sun was shining brightly at 5.45am when I awoke (half an hour before the alarm on my phone had even sounded, typically!) and continued to do so for the rest of our time in Llanelli.
Arrival in Llanelli
Having arrived at Llanelli train station the evening before (after a lovely 5-hour train ride down from Birmingham), I took a taxi with a Burry Port local, Sid, who told me all about the area’s celebrities, showed me the mini lighthouse roundabout and then took me for an extended tour so I could see the sea, before dropping me of at the Coasting Pilot Hotel where we’d be staying. He also told me how great the hotel’s bar was and that it served good food – and he was right – they even had a gluten free menu for me to choose from! We then watched Bolt win his 100m heats and Mo Farah win the 10,000m at the IAAF London World Champs in the hotel’s Sports Bar, so all in all, not a bad start to my first visit to Llanelli.
Saturday morning came and we arrived at the café meeting point at 7.30am ready to set up for the day’s filming with #ukrunchat. The tech team discovered the night before that there was only one spot on the course with good 4G signal, which we obviously needed to be able to live stream our very first parkrun Facebook event, so our station for the day became the solo 4G bench which luckily, was just after the start and before the finish. Always nice when things work out.
Volunteers & Runners Arrive
Just after 8am, the first parkrun volunteer arrived, Andy, who also happened to be one of the original Llanelli parkrunners at the first run back in November 2016 and has run or volunteered at the majority of them ever since. Andy is one of the many parkrunners we’ve met on our parkrun tourist tour who’s become a committed parkrunner and volunteer and couldn’t be more positive about the parkrun community and the impact it’s had on him. We also met the Webb family who have all become regular Llanelli parkrunners. Mum Janet has seen a fantastic weight loss transformation losing over two stone and improving her PB from 45:52 on her first run to 33:49 which she attributes to parkrun. This is just one of the many reasons we love parkrun.
Scarlets Rugby Players Getting in the Mix
Gradually, the other parkrun volunteers started to arrive, including Gill, today’s Run Director and Bruce, Event Director and co-founder. Gill was telling us about tomorrow’s junior Llanelli Coast parkrun they’d just started. Professional rugby player Garan Evans from Scarlets then turned up with his family, followed closely by fellow Scarlets players, David Bulbring, Dylan Evans and Scott Williams. While it was Garan, David and Dylan’s first parkrun experience, Scott is now in the early stages of becoming a Llanelli Coast parkrun regular, with this being his third consecutive week here – we think all rugby clubs should make parkrun part of pre-season training!
As parkrun briefing time looms, we joined the other first-time Llanelli parkrunners with the Scarlets boys before setting off alongside parkrunners of all levels, including a host of Llanelli Athletic Club’s runners. David Keenan finished first in 16m 48s and Ellie Dainton was the first female home in 21m 23s – a big well done to David and Ellie, and to everyone else!
Another Great parkrun
For any parkrun tourists reading this, Llanelli Coast parkrun is definitely worth adding to the list, with a beautiful coastal path and great on-site café at the finish to enjoy a well-earned breakfast in (with a fantastic gluten free breakfast menu too!).
As always, a big thank you to all the volunteers who came out today, without whom, parkrun wouldn’t happen.
If you’ve never taken part in a parkrun, you’re missing out on a world-wide community of friendly and supportive runners. Parkruns are free, weekly 5km timed runs that are open to everyone. They take place in safe, pleasant surroundings around the globe and are easy and enjoyable to take part in for newcomers and seasoned runners alike.
Want to get involved? Check the parkrun website to find your nearest local parkrun; there are over 400 in the UK so you are sure to find one close by.
About the Author: Michelle Dorgan is the Marketing Manager for Intersport UK & Ireland. She is also a keen parkrunner and parkrun tourist, taking part in events around the country wherever possible.