Wednesday, 20 January 2016

So.... Where do you live?

This is a question that I am commonly asked when I am out and about running, training and competing around Britain and even abroad in Europe.

"Llandrindod Wells in Mid Wales, Powys," I reply. This frequently gets the usual blank face. It's very rare that anyone has ever heard of the town apart from an occasional one or two who recognise the name from driving through, or from their train journey along the Heart of Wales line. 

Looking back at the history of the town and the boom that it experienced during the Victorian times when I'm sure that the grand Victorian town of Llandrindod Wells would have been a name to cross everyone's lips throughout Wales, and even Britain; it struck me as odd that a town that experienced such success has now gone back into a town of little-known existence to people outside its area.

This may be a blessing in disguise as it means that us locals can get out and enjoy the area that we live in without disturbance from a large number of tourists. Nevertheless, it is clear that the local economy still relies heavily on tourism to make its money. Just look at the number of hotels in the town. I like to think that through my running adventures I am helping to put my hometown of Llandrindod Wells back on the map in the 21st Century. (My hometown is now well known in the worldwide mountain running community!) I believe that I am achieving this in many ways. 

1) On my social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram) from which I regularly post pictures of my hometown, I have followers from all over the world. This includes followers from Australia, Argentina, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Monaco, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United States and of course the United Kingdom. This means that I have a wide global reach and Llandrindod Wells becomes a town that is recognised by many people around the world.

2) I write my own blog about my adventures and experiences along my running journey. This like my social media accounts has a large global reach and along with the countries mentioned above has readers from Russia, Netherlands, Mexico, Portugal, Senegal and many more places.

3) Through Llandrindod Life, I aim to write creatively about my hometown by including posts about the community, local businesses, residents and local area. I hope that this blog will help people to appreciate the town and all the things that we are so lucky to have on our doorstep.

What does Llandrindod Wells mean to me?

I moved to Llandrindod Wells in 2008 with my family from the little village of Franksbridge just over the Rhogo. If I'm honest, before we moved to Llandrindod I didn't really like the idea of living in a town and imagined that I would hate it...but how wrong I was! Llandrindod has just the right amount of community bustle combined with a rural quietness that I have come to love.

Llandrinodod Wells to me is many things combined. I don't think that I can put my finger on one thing as a range of aspects make the town so special and unique. 

Llandrindod Wells is now a huge part of my life as it is the place where I discovered my love of running in my last year of Primary school. Since I have become heavily involved in the sport, the local area has provided me with a perfect training base to develop my running. The picturesque lake is a great place to do my speed work sessions and in the summer I'm able to use the grass track on the High School field. The rolling hills in the surrounding area are a perfect location for me to do my mountain running training and have enabled me to become competitive on the world stage. 

Llandrindod is truly in the heart of Wales from where you can reach all parts of the country. This is extremely useful to me as a runner who has to travel around the country frequently to different competitions. 

I remember learning about the magical Victorian history of Llandrindod in year 7 and it's always something that I have been interested in. I think that it is important to have a knowledge of the history of where you live and understand how times have changed.

The community of the town lives very close to nature and wildlife. The Lake and Rock Park both provide a haven for all sorts of wildlife and waking up to hear the birds singing is something that I treasure. I love running up through the wood at the back of the lake and onto the top of Little Hill behind the back of the golf course. On a clear day you can see for miles and miles and it's a wonderful sight. 

A running paradise
Llandrindod has a very strong sense of community and I'm very lucky to be able to experience this through running around the streets and local paths and trails as I hear many calls of "Hello", "Good morning", "Well done, keep going" etc. The friendly and happy community is only enhanced when you walk down the main streets and have a browse around the local unique shops. I believe that this community that we are part of can only enhance Llandrindod life and it's one of the many things that I love about my hometown. 

So, if I was put to the difficult task of summing up what Llandrindod meant to me, I'd use these words...
"Running paradise...wildlife haven...friendly community...my trinity of Llandrindod Wells, my hometown..."
Now, I'd like to find out what Llandrindod Wells means to YOU. The people of the town, the community, businesses and residents for a future blog post. What do you like about the town? What do you think makes it unique? What makes it such a nice place to live? Is it the wildlife, community, shops, the surrounding countryside or something completely different? You can tell me your thoughts via the contact form to the left of this blog post or via Twitter. You can also email me directly. I'm looking forward to hearing your views on Llandrindod life. 
Llandrindod Wells – the future of the town is in our hands, I look forward to working with all of you in the local community to enhance #llandrindodlife