I’d heard about the Lliswerry 8 but never entered.  Our local Parkrun is Cardiff but we don’t live far from Newport and so tried that in November 2013.  We saw a few Lliswerry 8 T-shirts at the Newport Parkrun and looked the race up on the internet.  There aren’t many 8 mile races so we thought we’d give it a go and entered just before Christmas.  It was a good thing we did as for the first time in its nearly 30 year history, the race sold out and no on the day entries were accepted.

The week before the race was wet.  Really wet.  The day before the race it rained solidly.  On the morning of the race, we weren’t sure whether to jump in the car to drive to the start or build an ark.  In spite of that, when we got to the sports hall to pick up numbers and timing chips, the atmosphere was great with everyone laughing about how awful the weather was and runners who knew each other catching up.

The Lliswerry 8 prides itself on being flat and, as we set off in monsoon conditions, I was pleased that, as promised, we didn’t have to deal with any hills.  The course is on country roads and was quite scenic, especially when the rain eased off now and again.  The race was superbly marshalled with extremely friendly and encouraging marshals who had a tough job of not being washed away. The marshals were everything that you would expect from a running club whose strapline is ‘Newport’s friendly running club’.

Never having done an eight mile race before, naturally I got a PB but I was thrilled to finish in under an hour.  And even better, when we returned to the sports hall to collect our race T-shirts, not only were they exceptionally nice, they also came in extra small size meaning that I didn’t have to add mine to the pile of race t-shirts that double as nighties!  There was also a charity bake sale, meaning it was possible to stock up on delicious home-made cakes as a reward for running eight miles in the rain.

Despite the weather, myself and my husband really enjoyed the Lliswerry 8 and will definitely be back next year.  I’d highly recommend this race to everyone – great value, great organisation, great course, great marshals, great T-shirt.  But with only around 700 places available, best to sign up quickly to avoid disappointment.

Rachel Bowen