The Healthspan Porthcawl 10K made a spectacular debut as more than 3,000 runners enjoyed picture perfect conditions at the seaside hotspot.
The summertime resort came alive on Sunday morning as runners flooded the esplanade to take on the third installment of the Healthspan Wales 10K Series. Welsh sprint legend Iwan Thomas warmed up the runners from the balcony of the Grand Pavilion before firing the starting gun and joining the 3,375 starters on their 10K journeys for this year’s #ibeatIwan challenge.
The sun shone down on the runners as they raced along the promenade before taking in panoramic views across Newton Bay, Trecco Bay and Sandy Bay through kilometres two and three.
Welsh cross-country champion James Hunt motored to a lifetime best across the fast course, but still found himself being overtaken by Swansea marathon expert Josh Griffiths in the final kilometre
Griffiths, the Team Wales Commonwealth Games and Team GB World Championships marathoner found himself trailing at the half-way mark in the spectacular new event on the seafront at one of Wales’s most popular resorts, but had the strength to hit back and claim the title in 29:54.
Fellow marathon star Natasha Cockram held off the challenge of Bristol and West AC’s Jenny Spink to take the women’s race in 34:51.
Then came another 500 runners before Thomas crossed the line in 48:58 in 501st place. For each and every runner who finished ahead of the former world champion on gun time, title partner Healthspan will donate £10 to lead charity partner Tŷ Hafan for a grand total of £5,000 and send a bespoke t-shirt to each of Iwan’s conquerers to commemorate their achievement.
The town came out in force to support the new event. Supporters lined the street to boost the runners while elected representatives of Bridgend County Borough and Porthcawl, including both mayors were in attendance to give their backing. There was even a surprise fly-past by the Red Arrows to mark the beginning of a new chapter of distance running in the town.
Run 4 Wales Chief Executive Matt Newman said: “We’ve been blown away by the support we’ve received from participants, major stakeholders and every single local resident along the route. Run 4 Wales is passionate about bringing world-class running events to new locations and Porthcawl has welcomed us with open arms.
“The Healthspan Porthcawl 10K has proved to be everything we expected and more. We had the perfect location, stunning weather and passionate support that made for fast times and an unforgettable day.
“I would like to thank Title Partner Healthspan, Bridgend County Borough Council, Porthcawl Town Council, Lead Charity Partner Tŷ Hafan and each and every runner and supporter who contributed to an amazing day.
“The Awen Cultural Trust played a key role at the heart of the event at the Grand Pavilion and the KPC Trust raised vital funds for youth in the local community.”
Healthspan Ambassador and Welsh sprint legend Iwan Thomas said: “I’m ashamed to say 48:58 is my slowest ever 10K run, but it just means more money will go to fund vital projects at Tŷ Hafan.
“I would like to say I took it easy, but I’m just not in great shape at the moment. That being said, it was a fantastic day and a great event and the support I received on the way round was unbelievable. I’ll be back to post a better time next year.”
The event will be back next year for a second installment after the Healthspan Wales 10K Series concludes at the ABP Barry Island 10K. A further 400 budding runners took part in the Family Fun Run along the seafront after the Toddler Dash gave the youngest runners a chance to take their first steps at a mass-participation event.