Pontypridd father and daughter urge others to take up parkrun this weekend

Written by on 9th August 2022

A Pontypridd father and daughter are joining forces with Wales sport legend Iwan Thomas to encourage others to take part in parkrun this weekend.

Research by The National Lottery released this week has found that parents feel sporting role models on TV and in the media can play an important role in encouraging their children to be more active.

With the Commonwealth Games coming to a close and England’s Lionesses historic win in the Women’s Euro 2022, it has been a sensational summer of sport.

The findings by The National Lottery show that 77% of parents in Wales say that the presence of sporting role models can play an important role in encouraging their children to be more active.

This is particularly true for girls, according to parents with children of any age, with 84% saying they felt it was important for young girls to see positive female sporting models to encourage them to be more active.

Meanwhile, a Pontypridd father and daughter show that you can join parkrun at any age. The pair are celebrating almost 100 parkruns each, significantly improving their health.

Cath Maguire, 45, had been suffering with poor mental health when she first went along to Pontypridd parkrun:

“I was diagnosed with a type of bipolar in 2017. I was very anxious and I didn’t like to go out on my own. But I knew something had to change and my friend suggested I went along to parkrun.

“When I first started, I was almost 21 stone and very unhealthy. I’ve lost more than eight stone since taking up parkrun. And you are really welcomed and supported. I can turn up on my own and there is no pressure. It doesn’t matter if it takes you an hour or longer, you’ll never be last because they always have a tailwalker at every event.”

Cath is a carer for her husband who is diabetic and has suffered heart attacks and a stroke:

“parkrun is a good chance for me to clear my head. It’s a bit of me time when I get a little break. And I always make sure I have a nice breakfast afterwards too!”

After taking part for a few months, her Dad John Hughes decided to go down and watch. Then 73, he decided to give it a go the following week:

“I’ve done 94 parkruns now. I’ve only missed three since I started. When I retired 11 years ago, I stopped everything and my health went downhill. I’ve got type 2 diabetes so exercise is really important. But it’s good for mental wellbeing too. I’ve made friends and met people from all walks of life. You always get a big welcome from everybody.”

John is now 75 and his daughter couldn’t be prouder:

“He’s amazing. I am incredibly proud of him and I have a lump in my throat every time I see him taking part.”

While John says parkrun has had a huge impact on his daughter:

“She’s lost almost half her weight. It’s given her a whole new lease of life. I just wish we could have done it years ago.”

National Lottery Ambassador and former World, Commonwealth Games and European champion, Iwan Thomas said

“We’ve truly been spoilt this summer with so much incredible sport. As a proud Welshman, it’s been brilliant to see more role models created at the Commonwealth Games. Who can forget Olivia Breen’s trackside interview after winning gold? Or the delight on Gemma Frizelle’s face when she won gold in the rhythmic gymnastics? We’ve had some amazing performances right across the sports from cycling to athletics and boxing to swimming. And we’ve been inspired by the success over the border of the Lionesses at this year’s Euros too.

“Looking at the research from The National Lottery, and as a parent myself, I can see why so many feel that sporting moments like the Commonwealth Games help encourage children to be active. They see positive role models and want to give it a go.

“And we can all play a part in encouraging children to be more active – every week parkrun, which has had £3.6m of investment from The National Lottery, provides the chance for kids to get active in the great outdoors for free – and of course parents and families can join in too. Let’s celebrate our summer of sport in style and all get involved in a local parkrun this weekend?”

National Lottery players are the power behind sport in the UK, investing more than £5.7 billion into grassroots sport – including over £50 million into the FA to support women and girls’ football over the last decade and £40m to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which also includes elite.

Russ Jefferys, parkrun CEO said:

“It’s great to see that parents believe athletes and sporting role models can play a role in helping inspire children to be active. But we can always do more. Investment from The National Lottery, in small grassroots organisations like parkrun, helps us to continue the vital work to break down barriers to physical activity, encourage and support individuals to participate at a time and in a way that suits them, and to challenge the structural inequalities that exist which still prevent too many from taking steps towards improving their own health and happiness.”

National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – including over £3.6m of funding to parkrun.

Each week across the UK, over 150,000 people take part in parkrun and over 12,500 of them are Juniors.

The National Lottery and parkrun have joined forces to encourage people across the UK to take part in their local parkrun this weekend.

You can join in with Parkrun within the Rhondda Cynon Taf area in Pontypridd at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park from 9am and in Aberdare Park from 9am.  

For more information visit www.parkrun.org.uk

Current track



Current show


16:00 18:59

Current show


16:00 18:59