She snails sea trails, by the sea - Bridge to 10K

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She snails sea trails, by the sea shore...the trails that she snails, are sea trails I'm sure !

Oldfloss profile image

Well… Goodness me…that was so different!

I could just leave the post without adding more… but that would simply not be me…and folk did ask me to post a report, of this type of beach running.

So, a Floss ramble warning… which will be great for all you awesome runners who have run amazing races this weekend and achieved incredible things…. !

You can read this whilst you put your feet up, and enjoy a cuppa or a glass of something stronger. Bask in your well earned glory.

You are all incredible!!! :)

Yesterday, here at the coast, I woke to a glorious Welsh morning…sea-blue sky... pink frilled clouds and a day full of promise.

I was all ready to head out to Hafan Pwllheli park run. This is a fairly newly formed park run, held at Hafan Pwllheli, in the most glorious location. I am delighted it has been started as it is ten minutes drive from me, when I am here at the coast... or a pleasant run down the coastal path if I am up early enough! But yesterday was my first visit so I was driving there.

All my running gear set out the night before… the sand shaken from my running shoes, waistcoat and cap at the ready. I had researched the runs and checked the course read the race reports and scanned the photos. So, it was a slight feeling of trepidation that I set off at 8.15. Past run reports of a cancellation because of wind… and the challenges faced by the runners as a result of the high Spring tide…warnings of sea water, pebbles, deep sand and seaweed, were causing me a few niggly worries. Arriving at the turn for the beach, I was greeted by the sight of hundreds of boats moored in the Marina; the morning light sparking on the water and the symphony of sailboats, singing in the wind. Wind?

Yes, there was a wind, not forecast and totally unexpected. Turning, I parked on the huge car park for the beach, volunteers battling their way, laden with the tranklements of the run, towards the beach, I say battling, because that is what they were doing, and as I got out of the car, the wind whipped the door from my hand with a ferocity that did not bode well. In front of me, the modern lines of Plas Heli, the premier sailing event centre of Wales and a wonderful community asset, rising from the dunes like a silver beacon, and beyond the silvery snake strip of a sunlit sea.

After the usual first port of call inside the state of the art, centre, I followed a few runners down through the dunes to the beach, and there were only a few. The sound of the Park Run Flag greeted us, whipped by the wind, but holding firm to a nearby signpost. A dog walker leaving the beach...wrapped up, head down, gloved and muffled, muttered a, good morning, as we joined the small group at the start. There were just 25 of us; jogging on the spot, arm waving, hopping from foot to foot, and arms wrapped around the body in a vain attempt to stop a gale force wind from cutting them in half, the runners were cold. I joined them and joined also in the strange disjointed dance…within seconds I felt as if my face had frozen, it was hard to talk.

The race director shouted for our attention. Shouting as loudly as she could over the wind, she meeted and greeted and welcomed all of us. Apart from the volunteers, there were only two locals, and the rest of us were from various parts of the country. As none of us were first timers, she was able to go very quickly through the run. The tide was high... we would need to run above the sea weed line on the sand... there was a pebbly and stony bit near the turnaround point, we were to watch out for holes, stones and seaweed as the tide was still coming in. My heart sank… the wind was in our faces, the sea, getting ever closer, creeping, with stealthy unassuming white tipped finger-waves over an ever decreasing strip of sand. And we were off.

I moved… and the rest of the folk were gone, racing ahead as if they were on a running track…not so me. As they thinned out a little, I was left in their wake, and I was struggling from the start. The sand, thick, deep and grainy was like nothing I had run on before. There was no purchase for my feet, and lifting my legs was hard. I made the first half K, realising that even in that state I was moving too quickly... I was out of breath already, the wind making it impossible to breathe deeply, and I did not like it. Suddenly a voice by my side... the tail runner. “Are you alright… is this your first run here? “

I pulled back, and steadied into a shuffling stumble… as his calm voice reassured and relaxed me. He explained how difficult it was to run this beach in conditions like today how to just pace it until you got used to the soft sand... to forget the other runners, now specks of colour on a sand swept seascape, and simply to try to enjoy the new experience. I tried… I really tried, but my legs had no idea what they were doing. We moved on at the slowest pace imaginable, I could not catch my breath, there was no rhythm or pace and my legs felt like lead. Mt feet were blocks of ice and I could not feel my toes. The sea coming ever closer, and the wind snatching the words from our lips as we made our way towards the half way turning cone.

Runners on the way back.., below me on the sea side... the first one loping along with the relaxed easy pace, which the young just have! He seemed to float. I felt cumbersome, and ungainly, drowning on dry land. Sheer determination kept me moving, that and the closeness of the man at my side... with the odd encouraging word, positive and reassuring. We made the turn, I had a stone in my shoe... stopping to take it out, was a blessing and I was able to catch my breath in time to hear him say... the tide has turned... the wind will be behind us… you’re going to be fine.

As we ran, I could see Plas Heli in the distance, sliver sides gleaming like the walls of Camelot; it seemed a million miles away, but we ran…my Garmin had paused and not restarted, I think we had moved that slowly…but, the tide had turned. and there were some stretches of slightly firmer sand, wet, but firmer and I sought them out as eagerly as a drowning soul reaches for a lifebelt…finally, finally, my legs took over… a pace of sorts and the slow count in my head… the sun warm on my back and the wind pushing us gently along…My companion maintained his support… telling me I had found my pace, that I was moving much faster and as we made that blessed last half K..I was, sand notwithstanding, able to push for a little spurt… the finish line and smiles and applause. Never has anything been more welcome.

Photos taken... helping to take in the flags etc,, it was the least I could do for all those who had stood in that icy blast waiting for the slowest sea snail ever; into the lovely upstairs café for coffee and chats… The coffee was wonderful and the views amazing.

Chatter and friendship warmth and camaraderie… what a run…!

The legs took me home... I showered, stretched and rolled…. Last night I slept like a log and took a gentle recovery run...yes I do mean that...this morning. And completed 6 K faster than I managed the 5 yesterday! No effort!!!!

A great and humbling experience... and all credit to those runners who simply raced along and mostly the folk who marshalled… just terrific.

My Tail runner… well without him... I might still be running… or swimming :)


If you are in that area holidaying...then do this run...I shall do it again… and I will get better at it… and I will look forward to doing it at low tide too!!!


Turns out... I ran with a celebrity... a member of the British Masters Athletics Federation... who was newly returned from Events in Poland... and a Silver Medal winner!


PR for paddling

PR for finding a really lovely shell

and Katnap I now know what you meant by sand blasting... !!

53 Replies

Well done Oldfloss! You seem to have had a great experience. This is testament to everyone who does, and volunteers, at Parkrun.

Thanks to everyone, it couldn’t happen without you. 👍🙂

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to David_G

They were, as all PR volunteers are, amazing.. and my Tail runner was an absolute life saver!!!

Richard7 profile image

Brilliant Floss - I have to say it sounds both amazing and really hard. Well done for tackling it and coming out the other side. I can only imagine how difficult it is to run on that sort of surface 👍👍

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Richard7

Richard... I have never had to do anything like that.. even muddy fields are easier...the chap who helped me, is on Strava, and his remarks on the run were truly helpful to me, as I felt very old and despondent as I ran that first 2 and a half K!

I shall do it again... and I shall enjoy a low tide attempt!

When I ran today Richard, I ran down Beach Bank with my arms waving.. and thought of you x

Richard7 profile image
Richard7Graduate10 in reply to Oldfloss

Glad to hear it ... the world needs more arm waving 🙆

AlMorr profile image

I wonder if that tail runner, the man from the British Masters Athletics Federation knew who you were, the famous Oldfloss from C25K of Healthunlocked. 😊

Well done for completing that run yesterday under those exceptional difficult conditions, running on sand and in a gale force wind must be murder.

Just think if anyone is going to N. Ireland next year to meet Irish John at the Giants Causeway, the Port Rush 5K parkrun is also run on sand, once again well done on completing yesterday's parkrun by the sea.

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to AlMorr

Thank you my friend...he was far more important than I.. has run for North Wales and Great Britain and yet, was the most unassuming fellow and very kind to me.

I did find it very hard and I was struggling at first... but there is no way I would have not completed it... just extra slow and extra steady!

I am heading to N I next year to meet our wonderful colonial boy... I shall be well practised by then... are you going too..:) I do hope so!

AlMorr profile image
AlMorrGraduate10 in reply to Oldfloss

I have not made up my mind yet whether I will be able to go or not although I did have a look on how I would get there from Glasgow, that's 12 miles away from where I live.

There is a direct bus service to Belfast via Cairnryan where there is a ferry ⛴ over the North Channel to Belfast. After I got to Belfast I am not sure where I would be going??!! 🙄Port rush is the nearest town to the Giants Causeway.

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to AlMorr

I think nearer the time we will find more out and there may be chances of folk buddying up for journey there etc:)

That sounds like a really tough Parkrun! Well done for keeping going! I bet once you have got used to it it will be a beautiful place to run in the summer ☀️ and the Parkrun volunteers are brilliant rain or shine they are there with their encouragement!

Sea snails rock as well as land snails 🐌

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Bridget007

They do... they just have to contend with sea water.. I cannot wait until it is low tide and sunny... it would have been great today!!! It was hard!!!

Bluebirdrunner profile image

Magnificent performance and write up Floss! Gosh, walking on sandy sand ( not the wet stuff) is difficult enough... factor in the wind and the cold and running on it for 5k must have been an ordeal. Lovely of that Steve to get you through it, supporting and helping you to the bitter end...💪

You are such an accomplished runner, that you popped out for a speedy 6k recovery run today followed by a sprint finish! Are you sure you have just gotten another year older!😆

Running with a British elite athlete too... What will you be doing next!

I know you will be giving this another shot....

Happy running dear Floss! 😊xxx

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Bluebirdrunner

Blimey Jan... I thought I was done for...! Am I mad do you think... I love the running but am I mad???

Steve was such a lovely man, and the support... unbelievable...!

Thank you my dear friend... x

Sandie1961 profile image

What a wonderful descriptive ramble as ever dear Floss. I hadn’t realised you were such a small select band of runners - obviously made of much stronger stuff than all those locals who decided to stay in bed! I’m seriously thinking about Irish John’s weekend, but the thought of running on sand is now pretty scary. Still, nothing ventured and all that ... 😊😊

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Sandie1961

Thanks you... I think this was exceptional... and I am sure most beach running is quite different...and if not... we will do it... together.. all of us... you've guessed it.. slow and steady!!!

JonathanP profile image

Wow, what an experience! But not one you would want to repeat too often! 😀

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to JonathanP

It was and no..not every Saturday!!! x

molly1973 profile image

Wow! I thought it would be tough but...!! What a brilliant tail-runner! I will check the tides when I go in the summer and see how I’m faring with my running generally as to whether I’ll brave it! Well done 👍

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to molly1973

I shall watch for your post.. the Spring Tides are the highest... and on the plus side... I made it!!!

SaskAlliecat profile image

Wow! Running on sand - so difficult. Add in the wind pelting you... you are amazing! And kudos to your trusty tailwalker. This sounds like quite the experience and I'm glad you plan to do it again.

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to SaskAlliecat

It was so heavy and deep!! An experience indeed..but... I will be back and I will try again..hopefully at low tide! That man.. he was awesome.. and he was supposed to have run himself..but they were a tail runner short... lucky me!

Sadie-runs profile image

Oh my gosh, Floss, that sounds like a tough run! But hey, you were tougher and you did it! 👏👏👏 What an experience. And hats off to that lovely tail runner. Runners are the nicest people. 😊 Well done, Floss. You did yourself proud. x

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Sadie-runs

Blooming was.. talk about slow... but.. yes... it is done and the conditions were hard, at least for me!

He was fabulous!!

Sadie-runs profile image
Sadie-runsGraduate10 in reply to Oldfloss

Slow is of no did a tough run! I am in awe. 😍

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Sadie-runs

I still cannot believe how hard it was.. yes , I am older but heck... it was just sand. I went out again today... one of my routes here that I run and did 6 K in less time and added another 1K on for luck :) The legs were fine... so.. a good workout!!!

Sadie-runs profile image
Sadie-runsGraduate10 in reply to Oldfloss

Brilliant! But just sand?! Sand is notoriously tough to run on! And today’s “recovery run” just proves what a competent - and tough -runner you are. 👏👏👏

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Sadie-runs

Thanks you..right now..I am soaking up support. ...feeling a tad fragile..xx

Sadie-runs profile image
Sadie-runsGraduate10 in reply to Oldfloss

Well, this is what we here for - to bolster up the fragile when needed. We all feel a bit fragile about our running now and again, it’s par for the course! But, you know, the more you run this particular route, the more confident you will get about it - something positive to work on, a new challenge for HU’s favourite snail. You got this, Floss. xxx

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Sadie-runs

Thank you my friend,, feeling more positive this morning :) New adventures are always exciting...! x

UpTheStanley profile image

I’m disappointed OF, you didn’t get “sea snails” into your title - and when you said “Plas Heli”, shouldn’t that have been “Plas Hell”?

Fabulous run report, as ever 😀🍷

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to UpTheStanley

Ha ha.. I did my best... It was hard for me, but it is certainly going to be one I go to regularly. The location is absolutely lovely... the Marina is delightful and the centre also.

Dexy5 profile image

Oh my goodness Oldfloss! As you know, UTS and I have posted many times about the trials of running at the coast in strong winds, but at least we are on the solid promenade. I felt every step of that 5k with you after just walking along the foreshore today; it’s really hard on the feet and ankles. Your tail walker was sent from above to help you along, how wonderful. You are a star 💫 💨🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️🌊

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Dexy5

Thank you Dexy5 ...I ran yesterday.. and thought exactly the same thing... along the coastal path and the Esplanade there was a wind, but gosh it was so much easier. I have run on harder sand for short distances at the end of a run, but this was completely different.. I even had sand grains in my mouth...crunchy teeth!!

The tail runner was the reason I am not still running! And, despite all I did enjoy it... afterwards! x

Wow oldfloss, it sounds like one of the labours of Hercules! I don't even particularly like walking on sand, never mind running a parkrun! But, it sounds amazing, bless the volunteers they are wonderful. I now have a strange yearning for a holiday in North Wales, it's been a while and it's so beautiful.

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to grumpyoldgirl

Head on out here... lots of lovely B and Bs or small hotels here in Cricceth...totally un-spoilt and a gateway to the wonderful country... I spent yesterday walking the coastal path on the Lleyn :)

It was blooming hard... sea snail I am not,,but I shall return to it in a fortnight!x

Jell6 profile image

What an adventure!, at least you made it seem so.

Hats off to you though, I have done many coastal walks in Wales with the wind stealing your breath. 😊🌬🌊

I can't imagine running in those conditions.

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Jell6

Every run I do, seems to be an adventure..:) it was just very different and it is good to be put out of a comfort zone.

It focuses the mind! I did enjoy the return leg, once the legs got going! I hope the next time ( a fortnight) the tide may be lower and the wind less boisterous!

Thanks you!

Slinkymalinki profile image

Gosh that's quite an experience! You did have the wind in your hair even if your feet were sinking in more than kissing the sand! It was obviously great training though for your speedy 6k the next day. How wonderful to have a guardian running angel pop up beside you too. Enjoy the rest of your stay there.

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Slinkymalinki

Sinking... I was drowning... it was so, so hard...It did stand me in good stead as you say.. the 6 K felt so easy!!!

My tail runner.. he was a god send.. quite literally!

I am home now..but back in nine days and I shall have another try!!! x

BaddieThePirate profile image

Wow Oldfloss. What a super write up. Makes me want to go to Wales Well done! 😀

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to BaddieThePirate

All pirates welcome! Its bracing!!

Irishprincess profile image

Ooh Floss, that sounds like an obstacle course! Running on sand is so hard and you had the wind too 😭 You are a very determined snail but we already know that 🙂

Well done on what must have been a hard run. Bet the coffee tasted divine afterwards xxx

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Irishprincess

It was..and warm!!! Hard ..yes..I did feel quite out if my depth!! Ha experiences are to be embraced and my morning run yesterday did much to restore my enthusiasm!! Thanks you xx

TailChaser profile image

Brilliant post Floss, I was almost on holiday there again. Tbh it normally feels like that when we go in August 🙄. We always miss that brief window when Porthmadog is the warmest place in the UK. I was half expecting you to say that it was too much and you turned back - it’s hard enough to walk there when the tide is in. Well done you!

We will definitely be doing it (although Eldest Kitten says ‘no way, ever’...) 🤗

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to TailChaser

He will..and to be fair..we have had glorious weather in our years there..sometimes hotter than year..

I was determined not to give up..but Steve Taylor really did make sure!!!

Go you on your race too..blooming superb!!

TailChaser profile image
TailChaserGraduate10 in reply to Oldfloss

This running lark is amazing for pushing you on when you know you can do it, despite what the conditions tell you. And it helps having amazing help too!

Thank you 😀🤗

Sandraj39 profile image

Oldfloss - you are, quite simply, a legend! Wonderful report and you totally inspire me! Thank you 😀x

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Sandraj39

Oh no.. just a runner.. you are so, so kind.

We all run... we all run together and some runs.. wow! It was a real toughie!!

Sandraj39 profile image
Sandraj39Graduate10 in reply to Oldfloss

...but to me, you are the best kind of runner...🙂

How wonderful! What a great read!

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to LiisaM

An experience... truly! !

Katnap profile image

Great run and awesome ramble Oldfloss. We will definitely do this parkrun during holiday season. 😁

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to Katnap

You are on! Hope you are feeling back on form now... you had a great run and did TailChaser ! Wow!!!!

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