by Luke Wakeling
Charlotte Arter broke the female Parkrun World Record at the Cardiff Parkrun on February 1 in a time of 15 minutes 49 seconds. The GB athlete, who also runs for Cardiff Athletics Club, ran at a 5:05 mile pace over 5km to come eighth overall in one of the most competitive and popular Parkruns in the UK, with 931 participants.
Arter reflects on the ‘great feeling’ of breaking the record at the Cardiff Parkrun on February 1.
“It’s a great feeling and I feel honoured to hold the record, it’s probably the only world record I will ever hold. The parkrun is all part of the process to hit some big goals later in the year and it shows I’m in good shape leading up to my next big race which is the Barcelona half marathon.”
The Cardiff Parkrun is a notoriously fast course with many runners looking to break their PB’s along the Taff trail and Arter was looking to join them before she broke the record.
“I felt in good shape and had just returned back from a training camp in Spain with Welsh Athletics, so it was a good chance to have a run out at the parkrun and see where I am at.
“So I was hoping to break my previous time, however it was pretty windy on Saturday so it wasn’t the best conditions for running fast. Hopefully I can go quicker when I run my next one,” said Arter.
Achieving a Parkrun personal best is no easy task and Arter offered some tips on reaching that end goal.
“On the day of the parkrun, make sure you get a good start position and pace yourself to your strengths to maximise your chance of running a PB. In terms of tips to improve your parkrun time, consistency is key, trying to establish a weekly routine for your training. Incorporating one ‘speed’ session a week, which is at your 5k pace or quicker, will help to improve.
“This could be done out on a run where you run fast between two lamp posts, jog for a bit then repeat 8-10 times within the run. Also, finding a running buddy, group or club will always help with motivation and help push you further in training.”
Parkruns present a rare occasion in sport where participants of all abilities compete in the same race; runners with dogs and pushchairs line up against international athletes which contributes to the community feel.
Arter adds to this, saying “I absolutely love running at Cardiff parkrun, it always amazes me how many people turn up at 9.00am on a Saturday morning (and at the hundreds of park runs around the UK). There is always a great buzz at the start with everyone aiming for their individual goals and everyone running together to achieve them, it’s something quite special. It’s great to see such a large range of abilities, from first timers to international athletes. There were some strong runners at the park run last weekend which was great to have some fast guys to chase.”
The 28-year-old believes Parkruns can be a huge driving force for promoting active lifestyles in the UK.
“It’s a huge positive, and its amazing to see the numbers of people attending park runs and the number of new park runs starting up grow. The work Parkrun are doing is fantastic, for instance next month they are supporting This Girl Can to celebrate International Women’s Day. So they are a huge driving force in getting people active and staying fit.”
Arter hopes to compete at the European Championships later on in the season and will possibly attempt another World Record Parkrun attempt along the way.
“I’m not sure when my next park run will be, probably in a few months time. My main aim is to reach the European Championships, and if things go really well, try and achieve the Olympic 10,000m standard.”