September 1 – Parc Slip
The 4th fixture of the Bridgend League seen a new event at Parc Slip. A record attendance of 83 for this one! There was some confusion over the distance as initially it was advertised as a 4 mile run and then due to an enforced change in the course we were told it was ‘nearer 5K’. I think a lot of people missed the ‘nearer’ bit so had a bit of a shock when it turned out to be around 3.5 miles. Neil Jones finished 4th overall but as there were two guest runners, he was 2nd in terms of scoring for league purposes. This was a day after finishing 2nd in a tough off road hilly half marathon. As usual, there’s a few too many runners to go through every result but a great effort by all and plenty of support for each other with an out and back early on and a couple of other sections were you passed runners going the opposite way. Banana, water, welsh cake and hot drink for all finishers went down very well. A great event which I hope they repeat in the league next year.
September 3 – parkruns and Roman Run
50 runners across 5 different parkruns. Starting with the tourists for a change, we had Chris Pratt in Sunderland, Wayne in Swansea, David Sheard in Bryn Bach ahead of the Roman Run, and Aled, Kris and Brian in Grangemoor. Our Grangemoor runners were doing the parkrun before going on to run to Nash Point along the coastal path as a 30ish mile training run for the Gower 50. Jamie Vanstone joined them at the starting point of the Vale Ultra to run the whole course ‘just for fun’… 32 miles of it!
Back at Porthcawl there were 44 runners for Chris Roberts 100 parkrun. It was also Jackie Lewis’s 150. Niki Puleio was first Cwm Ogwr runner home back in 19:34. The girls dominated the PB’s with Kirsty Evans, Josie Bishop, Dawn Hopkins, Bethan (paced by Kelly and Heather), Mandie Owen, Rhian Peacock and Sharon Delahunty. The final 3 mentioned all doing their first parkruns for the club. Anne Lalic and Chris Stanlake took up the new tail runner volunteer role.
David Sheard, Gary Piper and Mark Worrall ran the 16 mile Roman Run from Brecon to Merthyr in horrendous wet and windy conditions. Gary took a tumble in the early miles and dislocated his shoulder but incredibly carried on and completed the race before going off to A&E to get it sorted out.
The 401 Marathons
For those who don’t know about this, Ben Smith is attempting to run 401 marathons in 401 days in various locations throughout the UK. He is raising money for two anti-bullying charities and is now into his final few weeks of the challenge. He did miss a week earlier this year due to an increasingly painful injury that could have caused long term damage had he not rested, but he is now looking to make up the lost mileage by tagging extra miles onto some of the remaining marathons.
On Friday 2 September the venue was Neath with Run 4 All helping organise the marathon route for the day. Chris Pratt went along and had originally intended to run the full marathon but other commitments meant he had to change his plans to running the first 8 miles. Sian Tossell joined in for the Gnoll parkrun part of the route as well. He was in Merthyr on the Saturday and then Pontypridd on the Sunday where Dai Power and I went over to meet him and run the Reverse 10 miler which he would be using for the first 10 miles of his run. More on the race below. Then on Monday 5 September, Ben ran a double out and back marathon course from Pontcanna Fields following the Taff Trail north. Chris Pratt joined him for the entire run which was organised by Les Croupiers Running Club.
September 4 – Reverse 10
Organised by Pontypridd Roadents, this was an event that have seen a small selection of Cwm Ogwr runners do over the past 3 years. The race is called the ‘Reverse’ because apparently when they first ran the event, someone put the mile marks out in reverse order so instead of saying mile 1 after a mile, it said mile 9. They stuck with this and it’s the only race I’ve done where the mile markers count down. However, due to some building works, the Reverse 10 course had to be reversed! So it started from what would normally be the turnaround point before heading towards the old start / finish and looping back… still with me?!
Anyway, as mentioned above, Ben Smith, the 401 marathon guy was there so Dai Power and I managed to get a selfie with him before the start and wished him good luck. The 10 mile had a long incline after 1 mile which sapped the energy from the legs early before a reasonably flat out and back barring a few humpback bridges. The route was a mixture of gravelly / stoney paths and cycle track. I decided to go for it but fell just 40 seconds short of my time from Neath 10 miler with a 1:14:16 – 2 weeks later I’m still debating whether it was actually a PB or not as most of us measured the Neath 10 miler that year as being about 0.2 miles short which doesn’t sound like a lot, but is more than 40 seconds worth. After finishing I got a post-race selfie with Ben before heading off to run the final mile or so with Dai who finished in 1:58:59.
September 5 – Rose Inn Relays
26 runners for this one which caused a bit of an issue. Teams of 3 required so that left us one short. A volunteer was needed to step in to run twice. Realistically there were 3 likely candidates – me, Christie or Nick.. but you couldn’t run for the same team twice which counted out Christie and Nick so I ended up taking one for the team. Let’s be honest, I didn’t need much convincing although did start wondering if it was such a good idea shortly after getting my two race numbers. On the positive side it was only 1.9 miles per leg… on the downside, it was only 1.9 miles per leg meaning pretty much a faster than 5K pace sprint a day after pushing for a 10 mile PB.
Nick ran the fastest leg of the day in the first leg. Given I was running 3 on his team, this meant less recovery for me. Kevin ran the second fastest leg whilst I ran both the 3 and 4 fastest. My second leg was actually 7 seconds fastest than my first which helped the team of Nick, Christie and I finish as first Cwm Ogwr team across the line. Aled had signed us up as was supposed to be part of the team and had called us “Bridgend Athletic A”! Some great performances throughout the field and in true Cwm Ogwr spirit Ian Lewis accompanied our final runner Angela Parry on the last leg whilst a few more of us joined for the latter stages. We later discovered that David Sheard. Jackie Lewis and Ian Lewis won the over 50’s all-comers prize which Diana Purnell collected on their behalf.
September 6 – Tuska Beach 5K
A late cancelation of the Sandy Bay 5K that Porthcawl were organising meant that Pencoed Tri stepped in to do a Beach 5K instead. The plan was that it would start at Rest Bay and go down to Pink Bay and back but the tides had different ideas so the course had to be amended to a 2 lap ‘just under 5K’. I think most of us expected that to still be 3 miles but I don’t think anyone was complaining when it only turned out to be 2.6 miles. Fortunately the sand was quite firm which allowed for some speedy times. What we didn’t expect was having to run through quite a bit of water further up the beach on both laps. To be fair, there was a mention of ‘bring dry shoes’ from the organisers.
49 Cwm Ogwr runners for this one. A combination of some not being keen on running on sand and mainly the early start time of 6:30pm meant a smaller attendance for Cwm Ogwr although still by far the most represented club there. Neil Jones set of like a rocket and lead from start to finish to win his first event outside of parkrun. Kelly Owen was first female home just ahead of Shelley who is on the comeback trail after several weeks out injured. After finishing 3 of the 6 teams at Parc Slip last week, we improved to finish 2 in this fixture and are now within catching distance of second placed Brackla ahead of the final event.
September 10th – parkruns
48 runners across 4 parkruns. Saul ran at Southampton, Shawn and Julie were at Reading whilst Neil returned to his home parkrun of Pontypridd finishing 2 to Daniel Bodman who is a sub 16 runner. Neil’s time of 17:26 was his fastest on that course and the 11 time he’s run under 18 minutes.
Back at Porthcawl there were 44 runners lead home for the second week in a row by Niki Puleio. It was Nick Harris’s 150 parkrun and he celebrated with his 21 sub 20 time whilst Dave Evans ran a seasons best of 19:49 making it a trio of club members under the 20 minute mark. Josie Bishop was first club female back with a parkrun PB of 24:10 which puts her 9 in the female rankings. Kristy Thomas ran her first parkrun with the club with a swift 27:22 whilst Seanne Sandford, Natasha Hodgson and Nicola Allen got first timer PB’s. Jonathan Edwards ran his first parkrun in over a year so automatically got a seasons best time.
September 11 – Cardiff 10K, Great North Run and Glynneath Triathlon
78 runners at the Cardiff 10K which is a record outside of parkrun / Bridgend League. With 2 at the Great North Run and Sian Tossell completing the Glynneath Triathlon it meant Cwm Ogwr had clocked up 342 individual results in the first 11 days of September which includes 135 DIFFERENT members! That’s 80% of our membership with many of them running 2 or 3 events, or 6 in my case.
At the Great North Run Dawn ran 2:23 after slowing towards the end to help her running buddy who was struggling with injury. Helen Griffiths was just a couple of minutes behind and broke her 3 year old PB with a 2:25:58. Helen has now clocked 5K, 10K, 10 mile and HM bests this year.
Back at Cardiff Neil Jones was first Cwm Ogwr runner back in a phenomenal 35:44. Amazingly, such is Neils determination to get even faster, he was actually disappointed with this. Niki Puleio became the second Cwm Ogwr runner to break the sub 40 barrier with a 38:26 whilst Aled knocked over a minute off his PB but just missed out on sub 40 with a 40:13. Back in 2013 I ran a then club record of 44:17 at Cardiff – this year we had 11 runners under that mark which helped us finish 4th, 7th and 10th in the team competition.
Despite the recent return from injury, Shelley clocked a PB of 50:06 and was first Cwm Ogwr female back with Kirsty coming in with a PB not far behind. Helen Davies was 10th in the F55+ category with a brilliant 52:10 and Jackie Lewis was 9th in the F60+ category. Our highest male age category finisher was Kevin with 16th place in the M55+.
There were 47 PB’s in total plus several season’s best times. More than a dozen of the blue wave were either running their first 10K for the club or first 10K ever.
Still to come
This weekend see’s the blue wave descend on Swansea 10K whilst Martin Beard makes his Ironman debut at Tenby. The following weekend will see Cwm Ogwr compete officially for the first time in the West Glamorgan Cross Country league at Llandmadoc whilst a few are off to Scotland to do the Loch Ness Marathon. Best of luck to everyone.
Saturday 17 – parkruns
52 runners across 3 parkruns. Away from Porthcawl Fiona Drysdale ran Pontypridd parkrun whilst Niki Puleio set a new PB with a ’18:39 at Southampton parkrun. There was a new record attendance at Porthcawl with 50 of the Blue Wave running. Last months Male Runner of the Month Jamie Vanstone clocked his first sub 20 time with a PB of 19:57 whilst Dai Kembery beat a 2 year old PB with a 20:40. The PB meant he has achieved the Grand Slam of PB’s this year – 5K, 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles, Half Marathon and Marathon. Last months Female Runner of the Month Juliet Amner also notched a PB of 25:07 which is a club age category record. Dawn Hopkins got her third parkrun PB in a row whilst I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone so happy with a PB as Sian Llewellyn Goring was as she smashed her PB to go sub 30 for the first time by some margin.
Sunday 18 – Swansea 10K
33 runners for this one led home by Neil in 36:29 followed by a trio of PB’s from Wayne, Graham and Lloyd. Then it was the turn of the girls with an incredible 5 of them going sub 50 and all clocking PB’s. Shelley clocked the 3rd fastest female club time ever with a 48:17 followed by PB’s for Josie, Victoria, Claire DB and Juliet. The PB’s continued with Gary, Elizabeth, Shawn, June, Kimberley D, Julie, Anne, Louise and James. A special mention for Dawn Hopkins and Sian LG who made it 2 PB’s in 2 days!
Saturday 24 – parkruns, Disneyland 5K and Black Mountains Ultra
43 runners across 6 parkruns. Dai K ran in Falkirk whilst Nick H ran Inverness. Mark Gabb ran his first parkrun for the club at Barry Island (which is his home parkrun), Neil set a course best at Pontypridd parkrun with the Hillman’s also in attendance whilst Lisa J was at Colby. That left 36 at Porthcawl for the annual Elvis themed parkrun. Kelly, Pat, Jackie, Natalie and Heather wore inflatable ‘fat Elvis’ costumes which were very popular with the photographers in attendance and made the local papers.
Emma Loyns, Sarah Webb and Dawn Hopkins were in Disneyland for part 1 of the running festival there where they ran an early morning 5K event with their children and accompanied by Disney characters.
Jamie Vanstone decided to sign up for the Black Mountains Ultra just a few days beforehand. A roughly 36 mile Ultra with 7500 feet of elevation!! That’s the equivalent of climbing to the summit of Snowdon from Llanberis almost 3 times. Jamie completed the course in just under 8 and a half hours and is already looking at signing up for the next event in the series which is a marathon around the Brecon Beacons with 5500 feet of ascent.
Sunday 25 – Loch Ness 10K / Marathon, Bristol HM, Disneyland HM, Forest of Dean HM, West Glam XC, Ponty Aquathon
Cwm Ogwr runners at 7 different events across 4 countries! Starting in Scotland where Jayne Kembery ran the Loch Ness River 10K in 1:06:22 improving on her recent Cardiff 10K time. In the Marathon, Niki Puleio clocked 3:17 in his debut marathon putting him second to Neil in the marathon rankings. Nick Harris came in just under the 3:30 mark whilst Dai Kembery knocked a massive 10 minutes off his PB for a 3:30. Our final runner was Melanie Thomas who ran her debut marathon in an excellent 4:45.
Over in France, Emma and Dawn ran the Disneyland Half Marathon. Time wasn’t a priority and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I’m sure have convinced a few other members to sign up next year.
The Hillmans were at Bristol Half Marathon with PB’s for both. Graham picked up his first sub 1:40 time with a 1:39:00 whilst Victoria came in at 1:54:46.
Christie Coleman ran the Autumn Forest of Dean Half Marathon. A two lap off road half marathon with a very reasonable entry fee. He came in at 2:16:58.
Helen Griffiths completed the Ponty Aquathlon to add yet another multi-discipline event to her list. As a speedy swimmer she was actually first out of the pool after the 400m swim in her wave before being caught by some speedier runners on the 5K run.
The biggest attendance of the day was at Llanmadoc for the first fixture of the West Glamorgan Cross Country League with 20 Cwm Ogwr runners. This was our first fixture being part of the league. The course was 4.5 miles across multi-terrain with a few small sand dunes to contend with before heading onto the beach for an impossibly long 2 mile stretch into a very strong headwind. Kevin was first back followed by Simon, myself, Peter Walsh and Wayne who made up the 5 scoring positions. Martin and Chris R were close behind which meant they reduced the points available for rival teams so even if you aren’t in the top 5, you still make a difference. Captain Richard LJ, Gary P and Dai Power completed the male club runners.
There was an even split of male and female runners with 10 each and considering there were only 102 women in total then we were well represented despite the fact this will probably be our lowest attendance. Kelly was our first runner back followed by Denise, Fiona, Diana and Bethan who made up the 5 scorers. Kirstie, Natalie, Pat, Claire T and Pippa all fantastically represented the Blue Wave. We’ve already taken over parkrun and the Bridgend League in terms of attendance.. now lets get the West Glam League as well.
Chairman’s Male Runner(s) of the Month – Niki Puleio and Dai Kembery
I’ve resisted choosing two in the past but impossible to split these two who have had phenomenal success this month. PB’s for both at 5K with Niki setting another sub 19 time whilst Dai finally broke a PB that had stood for over 2 years. At the Cardiff 10K, Niki became only the second Cwm Ogwr runner to go sub 40 whilst Dai beat his PB set on the same course a year earlier. Then both rounded off the month with marathon PB’s with Niki setting the second fastest ever debut marathon time for the club and Dai knocking 10 minutes off his PB after already knocking 12 minutes off earlier this year at Brighton Marathon. Both have also represented the club in the Bridgend League this month with Niki our second runner across the line at Parc Slip whilst Dai was a top 15 scorer at both Parc Slip and Tuska Beach.
Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month – Dawn Hopkins
A very busy and successful month for Dawn. Two PB’s at 5K making it 3 in a row including one from last month. Dawn also did a double PB weekend with a 10K PB at Swansea a day after one of the parkrun PB’s. Dawn gave up the chance of a good time at the Great North Run by helping her running buddy who was struggling with injury in the latter stages. Dawn also ran at the two Bridgend League fixtures this month, ran a great leg at the Rose Inn Relays and then rounded off the month with a well deserved couple of fun runs in Disneyland with a 5K and Half Marathon.