How do I sum up 2017 for the club? Well I’m here to talk stats only so from January 1st with a record 39 runners at the Kenfig Prince of Wales run with several also doing New Years Day parkruns to 26 running Nos Galan 5K on the final day of the year, it has been simply record breaking. Whilst there have been hugely significant changes with the name change, committee structure and personnel – one thing has remained consistent throughout the year… our love of running.
Membership has continued to grow and it’s incredible to think that there will be dozens of members who will read this who weren’t part of our club at the start of the year, and many that didn’t run at all just a few months ago. Some of these will still be on the road to their first mile without walking, or aiming for their first parkrun, whilst others have gone from zero to Half Marathon or beyond.
parkrunning in 2017
2017 saw our members complete an incredible 1923 parkruns. We set a new club record attendance of 64 runners on 11/02/17 and regularly topped 50 runners per week from January to the end of May. A slight drop in number occurred from September to December where we averaged 30-40 per week but we seem to be back to normal with the recent festive period attendances which have continued into 2018.
We’ve also seen a huge amount of milestone parkruns in 2017 including…
Ian Lewis, Jo Betty, Claire Goldsworthy, Bev Sheard, Niki Puleio, Karl Johnson, Mark Worrall, Nigel Rees, Julie Ransom, Shawn Cullen, Graham Mackleworth, James Beynon, Gareth Richards, Chris Stanlake, Martin Beard
Aled Hughes, Sian Tossell, Caerwyn Lewis, Neil Jones
Nick Harris, Gareth Jenkins, Chris Pratt, Jackie Lewis
However, the biggest milestones have to be those who ran their first parkrun and this year has seen more than 50 members complete their first parkrun. Many of which then becoming regulars and improving their times dramatically over the weeks and months since. Some of our biggest parkrun improvers are listed below..
Claire Taylor: 42:56 to 38:11
Alun Wylde: 28:59 to 22:11
David McCann: 31:03 to 25:46
Ashley Howells: 28:28 to 26:00
Rhiannon Buckley: 34:12 to 29:40
Leah Boon: 45:42 to 37:01
We’ve also seen a huge uptake in parkrun tourism with many of our runners now checking to see where the nearest parkrun is if they are elsewhere on a Saturday morning. Shawn Cullen and Julie Ransom have now visited more than 40 different parkrun venues in their 2 years with the club, whilst Karl Johnson set a new club record by visiting 30 different parkruns in a single calendar year. We’ve had members run parkruns in Australia, Poland, America, South Africa, France, Italy and Ireland whilst dozens have run at other events in England and Scotland.
Volunteering has also been on the increase. Maria has continued to be there almost every week and recently volunteered for the 150th time at Porthcawl parkrun. Several others have qualified for their 25 Volunteer t-shirts.
Our parkrun total at Porthcawl now stands at 154 different runners who have run the event a total of 4437 times. Our club is the biggest for participants at Maesteg parkrun by some margin with 73 of our members having run there (Pencoed Panthers are second with 35). We also feature high on the list of other parkruns, having the 4th most different runners at the Gnoll parkrun, 4thmost at Llanelli parkrun, and 6th most at Swansea.
Top 5 most frequent parkrunners in 2017
1. Gareth Jenkins 50
2. Aled Hughes 48
3. Nick Harris 47
4. Dave Evans 46
5. Chris Pratt 46
Top 5 fastest male parkrunners of 2017
1. Neil Jones 16:55
2. Stephen Davies 17:58
3. Niki Puleio 18:22
4. John Burridge 18:51
5. Davidleigh Butler 18:57
Top 10 fastest female parkrunners of 2016
1. Sian Price 22:05
2. Claire Dunbar-Bowen 23:38
3. Kirsty Evans 23:41
4. Victoria Hillman 23:53
5. Shelley Smithson 24:17
Top 10 biggest events
1. Merthyr Mawr Lane 92
2. Cardiff Half Marathon 90
3. Kenfig Sands 5K 70
4. Cardiff 10K 67
5. Tuska Beach / Newbridge Fields BCRL fixtures 50
Number of members who have run events – year by year
2012, 17 runners, 38 events, 319 miles
2013, 34 runners, 284 events, 1,829 miles
2014, 42 runners, 560 events, 2,886 miles
2015, 101 runners, 1,658 events, 8,109 miles
2016, 185 runners, 3,508 events, 18,691 miles
2017, 175 runner, 3,509 events (yes, we beat the previous year by 1), over 19,000 miles
Most Events (Male / Female)
2013: Gareth Jenkins 45 / Kelly Owen 20
2014: Nick Harris 82 / Kelly Owen 39
2015: Gareth Jenkins 101 / Jackie Lewis 51
2016: Christie Coleman 108 / Natalie Griffiths 71
2017: Gareth Jenkins 85 / Jo Betty 52
Most Events 2017 standings
1. Gareth Jenkins 85
2. Christie Coleman 82
3. Chris Pratt 73
4. Nick Harris 69
5. Karl Johnson 69
Female Most Events 2017
1. Jo Betty 52
2. Jackie Lewis 50
3. Emma Morris 48
4. Angela Parry 47
5. Denise Bradley 46
The number of runners to do more than 40 events in a year is as follows..
Most Events overall as at the end of 2017
1. Gareth Jenkins 397
2. Nick Harris 336
3. Chris Pratt 252
4. Christie Coleman 250
5. David Kembery 227
Top 5 females
1. Jackie Lewis 182 (6th overall)
2. Denise Bradley 140 (12th overall)
3. Pat Stanley 137 (14th overall)
4. Heather Garratt 132 (15th overall)
5. Liz Davies 123 (16th overall)
The rise and rise of Trail Running
This has been the second full year of Richard LJ’s Sunday morning trail runs which have seen dozens of members put on some trail shoes to go off road. The success of the sessions has led to huge increases in participation of off road events as well as venturing into the world of fell running and cross country.
January seen 17 of our members take on the Riverbank Rollick (two years previous it was just Richard and I). It’s by far the muddiest race most of us have ever done and there’s 9 miles of it! 39 members took on the Hoka One Trail Half in February with more than half of them taking on their first trail half. There’s been off road ultras which I’ll come onto later, the Preseli Beast races, Merthyr Mawr Trail Festival, Snowdonia trail events and the Roman Run just to name a few. The Bridgend League provided some off road with the Tuska Beach 5K, Newbridge Fields event and Kenfig Sands 5K – all of which featured 50 or more of our members.
This year saw the men’s team finish runners up in our first season in the West Glamorgan Cross Country League and currently top of the league in our second season. The ladies have also had some excellent results in their division after 3 out of 6 events in the 2017/18 season.
The Marathon boom
Our runners clocked up 111 marathons between us this year. This was made up of 57 different members completing the marathon distance across 20 different marathons. The biggest being Snowdonia Marathon with 28 members completing the course, and Waterford where 22 members ran. 29 members ran their debut marathons this year.
The Ultra Marathoners
At the start of this review I mentioned some of our newest runners who might be aiming to run a mile, or for a few minutes without stopping. We all started there. Some go on to do 5K’s, 10K’s and Half Marathons. A few will go on to what many see as the ultimate distance of a Marathon. Then there’s the select few who see no limits. These are the Ultra Marathoners. Most non-runners and even some regular runners won’t even be aware that there are races beyond 26.2 miles but they are actually becoming increasingly popular.
The first Ultra of the year was the 44 mile Brecon to Cardiff with Gareth Richards, Wayne Hayhurst and Gary Piper all completing their first Ultra’s along with 4 other members who had all run at least that distance previously. We then had a record 20 runners in the 32 mile Vale Ultra (with a further 23 running the ‘mini’ 18 mile route). 12 of the 20 were running their first Ultra and there were actually 3 who were running their first Ultra who had yet to complete a marathon. Just a few weeks after completing the Vale Ultra, Chris Pratt went on to complete the St illtyds Ultra 50K in Pembrokeshire.
Wayne went on to complete the 100K (62 mile) London to Brecon Ultra. Jamie Vanstone and Gareth Richards completed the gruelling Brecon Beacons 50 mile Ultra in August where they finished 3rd and 4th respectively. The route included a mind boggling 7,500 feet of elevation.
Nick Harris entered the Joust 24 hour race which involves doing as many laps of a set course as possible in 24 hours. This can be done in teams of up to 8 but Nick entered as a solo competitor. Unfortunately injury mean he had to pull out after 10 hours and approximately 42 miles but it certainly counts as another Ultra to the list.
Having already run 2-3 Ultra’s each this year, Gareth Richards, Kris Denholm and Wayne Hayhurst then went on to run the Gower 50 miler in October. Kris had also run the previous year and was delighted to beat his previous time by almost an hour and a half.
Although it was back in April – I’ve saved the biggest for last when Jamie Vanstone and Nick Harris took on a challenge of epic proportions. The Pembrokeshire 100 miler. Yes, that’s right, a 100 mile running race. There was an option to do the run over 3 days in 3 stages but the boys chose the all-in-one-go version. They didn’t sleep and continued throughout the night along some treacherous cliff top paths along the Pembrokeshire coastline. They finished joint 17th out of the 35 finishers in a time of 31 hours 55 minutes. The race included 16,500 feet of ascent. For some sort of reference point it is roughly the equivalent of doing the Beast 10K 16 times in a row both in terms of elevation and distance.
2017 saw the second season of the Bridgend County Running League. This year we were joined by the newly formed Pencoed Pathers and there was a new fixture with a race around Newbridge Fields replacing the Parc Slip event. The league was a massive success for our club with the 6 fixtures featuring in our top 10 attendances of the year. The scoring system where every runner counts was a huge factor in runners of all abilities wanting to participate and contribute to their teams total.
As for final standings, we finished 3rd behind Brackla and Bridgend for the second year in a row fighting off competition from a much improved Porthcawl Runners and Cornelly Striders.
Chairman’s Runners of the Month
This part of my monthly blog changed for obvious reasons this year so we have a couple of months missing and from August we’ve had both the Chairman or Vice Chairman runner of the month, and Stato’s runner of the month. Below is the list of winners from this year…
January: Stephen Davies and Angela Parry
February: David McCann and Claire Taylor
March: Gareth Jenkins and Elizabeth Sim
June: Alun Wylde (Stato choice)
July: Jackie Lewis (Stato choice)
August: Sian Price (Stato choice), Ashley Howells and Lynda Denholm (Chairman’s choices)
September: Karl Johnson (Stato choice), Gareth Richards and Helen Griffiths (Vice Chair choices)
October: Niki Puleio (Stato choice), Kris Denholm and Emma Morris (Chairman’s choices)
November: Emma Morris (Stato choice)
December: Neil Jones (Stato choice)
Here’s to an amazing 2018!