Wales

Gavin and Stacey parkrun: It's occurrin' in Barry!

James Corden as Smithy, Ruth Jones as Nessa, Rob Brydon as Bryn and Melanie Walters as Gwen Image copyright BBC/BABY COW
Image caption Well lush! Fans still visit Barry Island to see places featured in the comedy

A parkrun has been "occurrin'" with a special Gavin and Stacey twist as runners from Billericay travel to Barry Island to take part.

The BBC comedy about the long-distance relationship between Essex boy Gavin and Welsh girl Stacey introduced both towns to the masses.

Now their runners have united for a 5k parkrun in Barry on Saturday.

It takes in landmarks from the show like Marco's cafe and Barry Island's promenade.

It is hoped runners from the seaside town will reciprocate and travel to Billericay for another run in the future. "It'll be lush, it will" - as Stacey would say.

Rachel Varnam, 26, who helps run Billericay parkrun - said they decided to head for south Wales after their weekly 5km timed run in the local park was cancelled for Bonfire Night.

"We just thought it was a really funny idea so we dropped the Barry Island team an email to see if they were up for it and they thought it was funny too," she said.

Image copyright Billericay ParkRun
Image caption Billericay's parkrun group exchanged signs with their Barry counterparts as a souvenir

"We put it up on Facebook but didn't expect many people to come but the reaction went crazy.

It is thought about 30 people have travelled from Billericay and in total, about 150 from all over the UK.

She added that the runners - as well as the mayors of Barry Island and Basildon - would meet for a coffee at Marco's cafe after the run.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe cast of Gavin and Stacey on the beach at Barry Island

The comedy, which was written by and starred James Corden, and Ruth Jones, ran on the BBC from 2007 to 2010 - but even eight years after it ended it still has fans in the towns where it was set.

"I think you have a connection to it if you're from Billericay or Barry Island," Rachel said.

Image caption Gavin and Stacey saw the characters in both south Wales and Essex

"Billericay is quite a small town so for it to be on TV and for people to have heard about it, it's nice.

"It's a really friendly, lovable show and the idea of it seemed to really fit with what parkrun does because it's all about communities."

Ian Thorne, who helps to organise the Barry Island parkrun, added: "Parkrun isn't just about running it's also about fun and we thought this would be great fun for all.

"As a Barry Island resident myself, I think it's fantastic. Some local businesses are opening early to take advantage of the visitors."

Image copyright Billericay parkrun
Image caption Official representatives from the two areas attended the event
Image copyright Parkrun
Image caption Hundreds took part in the event, which started on the promenade

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