When Cardiff parkrun launched in 2008 it was the seventh event to join the parkrun family and the first outside of England.
Following on from its 10th birthday last weekend, Event Director Phil Cook looks back on an event that has had a significant impact on the Welsh capital and blazed the trail for parkrun in Wales.
Back in 2007 I was looking to start an event to fill a gap in the local area. While looking at options I came across parkrun – or UKTT as it was known then. After making a few enquiries, I decided to start Cardiff parkrun (CBTT in those days).
Since then it has been amazing to see the event gradually grow from 56 to 900+ participants, but more incredible is the way it has changed people’s lives through improved health, increased physical activity and social connections. Over 10 years we have had the full scope of people taking part, from international athletes to people taking their first steps towards a healthier and happier life. More than 22,000 people have taken part in Cardiff parkrun.
Our course is a flat, scenic route featuring river views, woods, parkland and gardens. It runs out for 2k, then does a 1k loop followed by 2k back to the finish. We have a few features on the route – the River Taff, SWALEC Stadium, and you can also just about see the Principality Stadium – better known as the Millennium Stadium, and also Cardiff Castle.
After parkrun we go along to the Costa Coffee in Tesco Extra on Western Avenue in Cardiff, which is right on the side of our course.
There are hundreds of positive stories to come out of Cardiff parkrun, but one that stands out is Steve Owen (A12376) one of our originals who ran the first 20 events. One of our key volunteers said to him as a bit of fun “about time you volunteered!”. Since then he has volunteered nearly every week, and has a spot on the course named after him. He has been told that he must run on our 10th anniversary!
Cardiff parkrun has had a significant impact on our city for a wide range of reasons. It has built its own community, regular runners include it in their weekly routine, people who have never run before come along and embrace it, there are people who come along every week purely to volunteer. High profile parkrunners mix with everyone else and take the time to stop and chat. Local running clubs have seen their membership numbers increase. The support we’ve had from Tesco and the Council has been amazing. Every week it is noticeable by the number of people who come and say thanks, when I’m out running I recognise parkrunners, the number of parkrun t-shirts I see when I’m out and about continues to grow. For a whole mix of reasons it has been an entirely positive experience.
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Photos courtesy of _nialls@flickr and JM Ross
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