ALMOST 250 runners attended Torfaen parkruns on Saturday and Sunday to mark the 12th birthday of the free timed running events.

On Saturday, 184 athletes braved the downpours in Cwmbran and Pontypool before 60 younger participants, aged four to 14, took part in the junior Pontypool parkrun on Sunday.

Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds attended events at both locations on Saturday and Sunday, and promised that he would soon be testing out the course in the near future.

“I am so pleased to be celebrating the 12th anniversary of Parkrun in Cwmbran,” he said on Saturday, October 1 at the 5k event in the Northfields Recreation Ground.

“Well done to all the runners and thank you to the amazing volunteers at both parkruns. I have promised to run the course myself in a few months, so time to get training.”

Mr Thomas-Symonds also attended the shorter 2k event for younger athletes, which follows a shortened version of the senior route in Pontypool Park.

On Sunday, Pontypool’s junior event director Iestyn Rhodes said: “The children and volunteers were delighted that our local MP was able to visit us.

“We're committed to provide this wonderful free opportunity for young people and I encourage children to come along and try the run.”

The senior Pontypool event was first launched nearly three years ago in November 2013, with the junior event following one year after in December 2014.

Earlier this summer, the Cwmbran 5k course was launched, with support for the event steadily rising since its first run.

Event director for Cwmbran, Fiona Cross, who also helped to establish the Pontypool events, added that the deluge on Saturday failed to dampen any spirits.

“It was great to see our local MP out on the course as a volunteer. It was a rather wet event but all the regular parkrunners enjoyed the route as always,” she said.

“Torfaen council are working with us to improve the route further, so watch this space. We're fortunate our local council are so supportive.”

The senior 5k events in Cwmbran and Pontypool both start at 9am every week on Saturday, while the shorter junior run in Pontypool starts at the same time, but on a Sunday. For information, visit