Highly recommend Bryn Bach Park parkrun! Bit long, sorry!

My sister Fran (my big sis who took up running aged 48 & has since done 7 marathons INCLUDING Snowdon!) suggested we do the inaugural Bryn Bach parkrun today. This is near Tredegar, South Wales, just off the Heads of the Valleys road.

It is a beautiful venue, 2.5 laps of a lake, and I had intended visiting the park some time soon with the dog anyway. So I agreed. She said she was going to run slow as she had to carry on running afterwards - 16 miles in total - eek! - as part of her training for Snowdon again.

She was going with her husband driving plus 5 of the 6 dogs she is currently responsible for (dog sitting her daughter's 3 and 3 of her own) so there wasn't going to be room for me and my dog! But I am very glad I made my own way, as I arrived in time but she didnt!

It was a small turnout (maybe 50) and friendly as you would expect. We started off walking round the lake from the visitor centre where the finish would be, to the start. I was really nervous, especially as at that point I was wondering where the heck my sister was. I was having trouble breathing!

We set out and I kept up with the back of the pack but breathing was a problem. Then I realised I had gone off far too fast for me, so tried to slow down a bit, but it was very lonely at the back lol!

My sister had arrived too late to start so they were cheering me on near the visitor centre. I really really struggled on the first mile, kept having to try and steady my breathing and slow down lol!

I then got into my groove. But I DIDN'T like running past the car twice! And I got awfully hot. At one point I asked a marshall if I could just swim across the lake to the finish as it seemed so close as the crow flies (or as the wannabe runner swims?) and that seemed a much nicer idea than running a further .75 of a mile! I did have three very short walk breaks on the last lap but no more than 15 seconds each.

I then realised that I had actually caught up with a few of the ladies that had gone out fast and who were now walking/jogging so that cheered me up! Halfway round the last lap the marshall shouted at me to give a big smile and a victory salute as he was taking photos! I suggested he keep that one for the post mortem!

My sister joined me about .3 of a mile to go (I was just thinking of walking fast to finish as I was pooped ut she said she had seen I had been exchanging a few words with a young boy who I felt could do with some encouragement, and she said if I could chat I could run faster lol!) and ensured I kept up the pace and also did a bit of a faster finish than I would ever have done on my own!

My time according to my Garmin was 36.25 which is a lot better than my previous attempt which was 38.24 officially. My official time will unfortunately reflect the fact that I had to queue for at least a minute before my barcode was read :-(

Cant wait to go back there :-)

22 Replies

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  • Fabulous timing !

  • well done and a great time you should be proud of yourself

  • Really well done! It sounds like a friendly parkrun and I bet youll have many more there.

  • Well done, sounds fab! :)

  • Excellent read and well done on completing your first parkrun. Now you've done it once, you know what to expect and you'll be back there for more! And a very good time too, let's see how it compares to the official time, I doubt that it will be out much.

  • Thanks Caz I realised after I posted that I hadnt made it clear this was my second parkrun, having done my first just after graduating but in Cardiff (also a lovely venue, out and back in a loop through Bute park, really pretty), that's where my previous time came from.

  • Thanks all, my official time was 36.25 so the few seconds it took me to cross the start line obviously wiped out the (seemingly endless) seconds that passed whilst queuing to get my barcode read.

  • Well done ! Sounds like a lovely place to run.

  • Well done. Parkrun is fun isn't it

    The position barcodes are timestamped as they are issued. The wait to get your personal barcode scanned with your position code won't affect your time.

  • Thanks for this, they are so clever! I cant believe so many people up and down the country (and indeed in other countries) give up their time on a Saturday morning to encourage running in this way, really inspiring! I have put my name down as a volunteer too now.

  • Well done you! Excellent time too :) some days everything clicks and the run is wonderful and other days everything goes a little haywire, we get there in the end either way ;)

    My pb was 35.24 until today when I did it in 35.07! A small yet significant improvement in my eyes :D

    I ought to volunteer, good thinking

  • Well done! Which one do you run?

  • Fantastic, well done Anonymous36!

  • Thank you. I run Pontefract Parkrun, which is in west Yorkshire if you're ever passing through ;)

  • Thanks :-) Coincidentally, the young man I was having a little chat to just before the finish line and his dad run at Pontefract!

  • Wow. It really is a very small world!

  • As "Anonymous36" said, it is a small world... I'm just about to make it smaller!

    That would have been my son, Alex, you spoke to at Bryn Bach.

    I'm a C25k graduate too and have now run 69 parkruns at 21 different venues since April 2012 :-)

  • I was looking at Bryn Bach parkrun a couple of days ago! I didn't realise that it hadn't held its first run yet. I thought the route round the lake looked lovely (and potentially level!) and was thinking it might be a nice one to do some time. Getting a bit ahead of myself, as I'm only on week 4, but I can't wait to do a parkrun. :)

  • Well let me know when you're ready if you want company there (or Cardiff which is the other one near where I live) ! :-)

  • Cardiff might be a bit of a trek for me, but I could probably get to Bryn Bach for 9am(?) So was it pretty level? I might pop over there some time for a walk with a friend. How often do you plan to do parkrun/Bryn Bach? I'll let you know if/when I'm ready for parkrun. ;)

  • Almost completely flat, the slightest incline in two places I think. I aim to go up at least once a month, but could try for once a fortnight (including the odd volunteer session).How far from there are you then?

  • Google tells me it's about 39 miles and would take just over an hour. I don't have a really 'local' parkrun. I've got a choice of about 3, including Bryn Bach, that are roughly an hour away. I like the look of this one though. :) Due to the distance/time/petrol and family commitments, I don't suppose I'll manage more than one a month. Let me know when you next plan to go, and if I can, I may well join you there.

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