A bakery is celebrating the 21st anniversary of its association with the first ever half marathon in Wales.
The Village Bakery Half Marathon will be a record-breaker this year with nearly 1,000 runners signed up to take part in the race on St Valentine’s Day.
The event will start and finish on Wrexham Industrial Estate where the family run firm have two bakeries, a baking academy and an innovation centre.
There will, however, be a one change this year.
Traditionally, all the runners have received a loaf of the Village Bakery’s famous bara brith instead of medals.
This year, however, they will be getting instead some of the company’s Welsh Cakes or sourdough crumpets.
The Village Bakery Half Marathon is the brainchild of the spectacularly successful triathlete and iron man, Peter Norman, 77.
He established the event in 1995 when he was working as a maintenance engineer with the Village Bakery who have sponsored the event ever since.
Among those taking part this year will be one of the Village Bakery’s current employees, Florence Roberts, 24, from St Martin’s in Shropshire.
Florence, a product development assistant, is putting in some hard yards on the running machine in the company’s gym at their Baking Academy and Innovation Centre.
A keen fell runner, Florence has done several half marathons before but this will be her first go at the Village Bakery Half Marathon that’s run by Wrexham Athletic Club.
She said: “I am really looking forward to taking part and it’s a massive bonus that there’s a gym here because I can put in some extra training during my lunch break.”
Mike Harrington, from Cute Fruit Events who organises the event on behalf of Wrexham Athletics Club, said: “The Wrexham Half Marathon is very popular in the North West of North Wales.
“It’s a very fast, flat course and you get a lot of the faster runners coming to do this race just to get a personal best.
“This will be the 21st running of the race which has a long distinguished history. It was one of the earliest half marathons in the UK and the first in Wales.
“The bara brith has always proved popular but the Village Bakery’s Welsh Cakes are second to none while their crumpets are to die for – so I’m sure they’ll go down a treat.”
Village Bakery managing director Robin Jones said: “It was our engineer Peter Norman, who’s now retired, who started the half marathon.
“From humble beginnings with a few bara brith, I believe this year they’re expecting nearly 1,000 runners.
“In fact it’s so big that we can’t give the bara brith this year because we couldn’t keep up making them, so we’re going to give them Welsh Cakes and crumpets instead
“It’s fantastic to still be part of it after all these years. “We make a claim to being the local baker, and supporting events like this underlines that – we bake local and we support local.”