January 2017 review

January 1 – parkruns and Kenfig 4 miler

New Years Day is the only day of the year that parkrun allow you to run two parkruns. With Cardiff starting at 9am and Barry Island at 10:30am, Chris Pratt, Nick Harris, Kris Denholm, Karl Johnson and myself went for the option of doing both. Neil Jones joined us at Cardiff where he ran 17:27 for his third sub 18 time within the space of 24 hours and 18 minutes and in the process set a seasons best that is unlikely to be beaten by anyone but himself less than 10 hours into the New Year. Mark Gabb joined us to do Barry Island only. Meanwhile, Aled clocked 19:58 at Swansea parkrun just ahead of Brian Cotton with David Evans, Juliet Amner and Christie Coleman also in attendance.

Later that morning was the Kenfig 4 miler with 39 members in attendance including the 5 who’d ran Swansea parkrun earlier. Neil Price was first of the Blue Wave across the line in a speed 25:07 on what turned out to be a 3.7 mile new route. Our first female was Denise Bradley who was celebrating her 100 event for the club. Well done to several of our runners who completed the Festive Four competition with this being the final event. Sian Tossell finished 5th in the ‘Green Jersey’ competition which looked at how participants did against seasons best times. Helen Griffiths, Jo Betty both made the top 10 with 9th and 10th respectively whilst Pippa and Claire T were just outside in 11th and 13th.

January 4 – Track Session

The second track session attracted even more runners with around 50-60 in attendance. Some chose a technique session in the clubhouse whilst others were put through their paces by multiple club record holder Neil Jones. The session ranged from doing 8 laps with 30 seconds recovery to some of the faster runners doing 12 laps and a couple of cool down laps to finish. Another superb session with many already looking forward to the next one.

January 7 – parkruns

58 runners across a massive 8 different parkruns. 33 were at Porthcawl where Stephen Davies annihilated his previous best set just 3 weeks earlier and finished a remarkable 3 overall with a time of 18:43. He becomes only the third Cwm Ogwr runner to get a sub 19 time and over the past month has jumped from 25 in the club 5K rankings to 3. Aled Hughes set a new course best for himself with 19:43 whilst Niki Puleio clocked an early season sub 20 time as well. Interestingly Aled’s time of 19:43 gives him a better age grade percentage than Stephens 18:43. New member Alun Wylde clocked himself his 3 PB in as many parkruns. Chris Stanlake got a course best whilst Cath Griffiths got a PB of 31:06.

We had 16 runners at the Gnoll which was a memorial run for Dan Tomlinson, a promising young runner who tragically died just over a year ago. Chris Pratt lead the way with seasons best all round with most running their first 5K of the year. Great to see coach Kev in attendance and some great team spirit with Pippa, Rhiannon, Sian T and Llinos running the whole course together.

The Hillman’s attended Cardiff parkrun where they had a record 815 runners. Dawn was at Newport, Jo Betty at Cheltenham and Fiona D at Grangemoor. Neil Jones clocked 17:37 at Pontypridd parkrun – the same time to the second that he ran there a week earlier. At the same parkrun, Neil Harris set a new PB with a time of 19:31. I attended Gloucester North parkrun where I became the 20 member of the sub 20 club with a time of 19:58 knocking 12 seconds off my PB. A lot of us had put what our goals for 2017 were on the clubs Facebook page and my top priority was to get a sub 20.. I didn’t expect it to come on the first Saturday of the year! It also meant we have a record 6 runners under 20 minutes on the same morning at 3 different venues.

Sunday 8 – Tata Steel Run Round the Reservoir   

This is normally a fixture in the West Glam XC league but after not making the list this season, they decided to still put on the event and only charge £2 for affiliated runners. A combination of no Zero to Hero session and interest in off road running seemingly being at an all time high in the club meant that over 30 members chose to do Richard’s trail session which took in part of the Hoka Half Marathon course just a few miles away from where this race was. Christie Coleman and Chris Roberts were our only runners in what was described as ‘the Blue Dribble’ as opposed to ‘the Blue Wave’. It meant after the first full weekend of the year, Christie already gained top spot on the 2017 most events table.

Thursday 12th – Chepstow Night Run 5 miler

Stephen, Bethan, Emma W and Ian signed up for this one which was a headtorch required night race which included hills that reduced runners to using their hands to climb and running through caves. Stephen finished the course in 41:37 for 21st position overall out of 294 runners. Bethan, Emma and Ian finished close together around the 1 hour 5 to 6 minutes mark.

Saturday 14th – parkruns

54 runners across 5 different parkruns. 46 of which were at Porthcawl where Stephen Davies helped pace Graham Hillman, and Chris Pratt helped pace Victoria Hillman to course bests. I ran with Jo Betty helping her knock an incredible 69 seconds off her PB which had been set over 6 years previous at Cardiff parkrun. There was more pacing heroics with Bethan helping Matt Murray to PB meaning both my December Runners of the Month picked up PB’s in the same morning. Angela Parry picked up a PB whilst Dai Power made it 5 Cwm Ogwr pacers to help others get PB’s with Lisa Jenkins knocking 43 seconds off her previous best.

Away from Porthcawl, Karl, Julie and Chris S ran at Newport, Sarah Littlewood ran at Telford and Peter Walsh ran at Brighton. Aled got a parkrun PB and was 2 seconds shy of his overall 5K PB at Cardiff parkrun with an impressive 40th place finish amongst a record attendance of 856. Nick Harris and Mark Gabb also ran at Cardiff with Mark pushing a buggy round.

Sunday 15th – West Glamorgan XC league – Margam Park and Riverbank Rollick

33 runners at the 4th fixture of the West Glamorgan Cross Country League. This one was a 2 lap course around Margam Park which was advertised as approximately 4.5 miles – it turned out there was a bonus mile and it was closer to 5.5! The lap started with a lengthy tarmac section before entering the zig zag ‘Field of Dreams’ which included a mixture of mainly grass and some muddy sections whilst gently inclining before a short sharper incline towards the top. At the highest point runners were treated to a mile or so of trail and mostly downhill back to the tarmac section at the start.

Stephen was first of the Blue Wave across the line in a speedy 36:12 followed a couple of minutes later by stand in captain for the day Chris Pratt. Simon, Kevin and Graham H made up the remaining scoring positions with myself and Nick Harris close behind.

Bethan Cross was the first Cwm Ogwr female across the line in 47:29 which would actually indicate a large 5 mile PB. Victoria, Claire W, Liz Davis and Sara made up the remaining points scoring places. In true Cwm Ogwr spirit, most of the members in attendance waiting for our final runner who on this occasion was Pippa and ran the final straight with her.

Meanwhile we had 17 runners taking on the Riverbank Rollick. A 9 mile race with mud, mud and more mud. Aled was first across the line for Cwm Ogwr with Daniel Clark second. Fiona Drysdale was first of our female runners.

Saturday 21st – parkruns

56 runners across 8 different parkruns. 45 at Porthcawl where Neil Price was first Cwm Ogwr back in a PB time of 19:42. Denise Bradley beat her PB which had stood for over a year whilst there was another PB for Angela Parry.

Away from Porthcawl, Aled helped pace Karl to a PB at Penallta parkrun, the Hillmans ran at Cardiff, Neil clocked another sub 18 at Pontypridd and Shawn and Julie continued their parkrun tourism run in Bournemouth. Dawn and Kevin ran at Swansea, Stephen, Bethan and Mark Gabb ran at Grangemoor and finally we had Jayne P at the Gnoll.

Sunday 22nd – Buff Trail 10K

The first 10K of the year brought an off-road event following the same course as the Night Trail Race that had a huge Blue Wave attendance last May. Just 12 runners this time with Nigel Hutchings leading the way just under the hour mark on the tough course which has a killer incline in the last kilometre. Josie was first Cwm Ogwr female less than a minute behind Nigel. Top effort by all.

Saturday 28th – parkruns

46 runners across 5 parkruns. At Porthcawl Stephen notched up another sub 19 and a time only Neil and Niki have beat in the past. There was a first sub 20 at Porthcawl for Chris Pratt and his fastest 5K since last June. Matt smashed his PB by 51 seconds and has 9 PBs from his 14 Porthcawl parkruns. Emma Williams got a PB despite running down to Porthcawl in only her second parkrun. Rhiannon Buckley had PB of the day knocking a huge 109 seconds off her best at Porthcawl. Her stepson George was first junior over the line in a swift 20:43.

Away from Porthcawl, Aled beat his PB which had stood since May last year. Aled has now achieved sub 20 at 6 different parkruns plus the Merthyr Mawr Lane 5K. There was also parkrun tourism from Chris R at Passhanger, Dawn at Barry, Nick and Mark at Penallta, whilst Saul ran at Southampton.

Sunday 29th – Lliswerry 8

29 runners for this race which sold in out just a few hours after a Snowdon Marathon style midnight entry system. Chris Pratt was first across the line beating his previous course best with Dai K and Nick Harris next up. Josie Bishop and Claire Dunbar Bowen were the two fastest female club runners respectively. We also had members running their first race over 10K distance so a massive well done to them.

Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month – Stephen Davies

2 months ago, Stephen had run 3 parkruns, a 10K and a two Cardiff Half Marathons in around 15 months. I’m not sure what happened.. but he seems to have caught the racing bug. He’s doubled that in January alone. An incredible 18:43 at parkrun catapulted him from outside our top 20 ranked 5Kers to third and only to Neil Jones and very close behind second placed Niki Puleio. He also finished 3rd in that parkrun. In another parkrun he helped pace Graham Hillman to a course best and then got another sub 19 in the final parkrun of the month. Add to that being first Cwm Ogwr by some margin in the Margam XC and a 21st placed finish in the Chepstow night race and it has been a remarkable month for Stephen.

Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month – Angela Parry

Angela notched up two parkrun PB’s in 2 weeks knocking a total 39 seconds off her previous best set in October. She also volunteered as tail runner in the final parkrun of the month in a role she has now done 4 times. There were also great performances in both the Kenfig 4 mile on New Years Day and the Lliswerry 8.

December 2016 review

Saturday 3rd – parkruns, Aberavon Santa 5K, Might Contain Nuts Brecon 10 miler and Christmas drinks

The month kicked off with 43 runners across 5 parkruns. 38 of which were at Porthcawl where Brian lead the Blue Wave home with his first sub 20 at Porthcawl. There were overall PB’s for Wayne Hayhurst, Bethan Cross, Matt Murray and Jayne Kembery. Away from Porthcawl, Fiona D ran at Penallta, Ellen Wyn Evans at Penryhn, Simon M at Newport whilst Nick Harris and Mark Gabb warmed up for the Santa run by doing the Gnoll parkrun beforehand.

Later that morning, 40 of the Blue Wave got into their Santa Suits for the Aberavon Santa Run 5K. A dozen had already run a parkrun but we totaled 73 different runners for the morning. Brian led us home for the second time in two hours and despite wearing Santa Suits, Lloyd West and Rhiannon Buckley managed to bag themselves 5K PB’s.

Meanwhile, in Brecon, Gary Piper and Mark Worrall were taking on the ‘Might Contain Nuts’ Brecon 10 miler. A very hilly off road race with technical ascents and descents.

Later that day around 40 members met at the Wyndham Arms in Bridgend for the annual Christmas drinks with a few going onto the Wicked Lady and a small hardcore group carrying on until the early hours. A great night had by all.

Sunday 4th – Childrens Christmas Party

Our social committee are evil and decided to organise the clubs first childrens Christmas Party for the morning after the Christmas drinks. The chairman was in attendance and a little worse for wear and this was a theme for a few adults in attendance. Another fantastic event set up by the new committee and a massive thank you to everyone involved… even if they did insist on me getting involved in the party games!

Saturday 10th – parkruns

43 across across 5 parkruns with 36 at Porthcawl. Neil Price clocked his second sub 20 and improved his PB by a further 2 seconds. Jamie Bevan, Kim Thomas, Amy Williams, Louise Bennett and Joanne Rowling all got PB’s as well. Away from Porthcawl, Neil Harris ran a PB of 19:36 at Cardiff putting him up to 6th fastest on the Cwm Ogwr rankings. Julie and Shawn ran at Perry Hall, Chris Pratt ran at Huddersfield and Karl ran at Cheltenham.

Sunday 11th – Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run

An amazing turnout with 61 runners making the Blue Wave by far the biggest represented club at the event. Our top 5 runners were seperated by just 51 seconds with Aled, myself, Nick, Dai K and Graham H. Kelly was our first lady in with a course best. A special mention for Rhiannon Buckley who ran the event last year having only started running a few weeks before and on her return this year, beat her time by over 18 minutes. Plenty of the Blue Wave ran in fancy dress so it was a mixture of fun running and competitiveness with the race also being a club championship fixture which ended up confirming several winners which I’ll post about in the final review of the year. The race also marked the 102nd event of the year for Christie Coleman, setting a new record which again, I’ll write more about in the final blog of the year.

Saturday 17th – parkruns, Cottrell Park Christmas Cracker 10K and Christmas Party

40 runners across 8 parkruns with one of our lowest Porthcawl attendances in a while at 29. Neil Price set a PB for the second week in a row knocking another 8 seconds off his time for a 19:49 with Graham Mackleworth up next also beating his PB. David Kembery shaved a second off his PB whilst Jo Betty smashed her first parkrun with a 27:38 after apparently telling others she’d be happy with sneaking under the 30 mark. PB of the day has to go to Jayne Kembery who on her 50th parkrun beat her PB by 26 seconds and in the process got her first sub 30 with a 29:42. Oh, and did I mention we were all wearing Christmas jumpers as well!

Away from Porthcawl, Aled, Karl, Christie and Brian ran at Grangemoor before heading to the Cottrell Park 10K which started by 30-40 minutes after they’d finished their parkrun. Aled ran a super-speedy 19:43 making it the 3rd different parkrun he has achieved sub 20. Neil J and Niki are the only others to achieve this. Neil Harris followed up his overall parkrun PB last week with a 19:51 at Pontypridd. Bethan Cross was first in her age category at Bognor Regis. The Hillmans ran at the Gnoll, Chris R at Harlow and Fiona D at Linford Woods. Martin Beard ran the Rhodes parkrun in Australia – his 3rd different Australian parkrun and despite a slightly earlier start time, the temperature was around 28 degrees.

14 of the Blue Wave headed to Cottrell Park for the Winter version of their 10K that just myself, Brian and Christie ran the year before. Neil Jones finished 6th overall and would have finished higher had it not been for a fall around the halfway mark. Jayne Powney was first Cwm Ogwr female whilst Llinos Humphreys won a prize for being the final runner.

That evening around 20 odd of the Blue Wave descended on the Hi Tide in Porthcawl where the local Bridgend clubs got together for a joint Christmas Party. A great night had by all with the highlight being the secretly new formed band ‘Caution Runners’ which included our very own Chris Pratt as well as representatives from Bridgend AC, Porthcawl Runners and Cornelly Striders.

Still to come in December

The Festive Four competition is due to get underway with parkruns on both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, an option of either the Porthcawl Lions 7K on Boxing Day or a 5 miler in Glynneath, plus the New Years Day 4 miler in Kenfig. Nos Galan 5K can also be used as one of the options. Rhiannon Buckley won the most improved category last year having beaten her previous bests by more than anyone else and is back to defend her title.

My next blog is likely to be after Christmas, so a Happy Christmas to everyone. Hope Santa brings you lots of running related gifts!

Christmas Drinks – part 3 and 4

 The week leading up to Christmas seen the club take the usual quick stop at a local pub a bit further. Tuesdays session involved more than 20 members running to the Wyndham pub with most staying for at least an hour and some (Kirsty Evans and Claire Dunbar Bowen) staying considerably longer. Then Wednesday’s session also decided to do a more swift pub stop at Tondu Railway club. No doubt this will now be an annual fixture with potentially more focus on the drinking than the running!

Christmas Eve – parkruns

Surely people got other things to do on a Christmas Eve morning? Apparently not… a staggering 70 runners across 5 different parkruns setting a new parkrun participation club record and a record at Porthcawl with 65 of the runners there. It was a triple celebration with Dai Power, Sian Tossell and Mervyn Beckwith all carefully timing their 100th parkruns for the occasion. Many dressed up and the less said about my outfit the better. As for the running bit, Stephen Davies got himself into the sub 20 club despite starting towards the back of a record 425 strong crowd at Porthcawl with a 19:53 and was first Cwm Ogwr across the line. Richard Lowcock James set a late season PB whilst Jo Betty and Matt Murray got PB’s – both for the second time in December. Bethan Cross helped pace Kimberley Thomas to a PB whilst Amy Williams had the unfortunate sight of my outfit for the entire run as I paced her to PB exactly one minute faster than her previous time – she may have been trying to run away from me which might have helped. Nicola Allen completed the set of Porthcawl parkrun PB’s for the morning.

Away from Porthcawl, Neil Jones notched up another sub 18 run at Cardiff whilst Neil Harris ran another sub 20. Karl Johnson ran at Pontypridd, Simon Melksham at Newport and Brett Bonnell at the Gnoll.

Christmas Day – parkrun

 Yes – this is a thing… Cardiff and Newport have both done Christmas Day parkruns for a number of years with Richard LJ, Dai Power and Sian Tossell attending in previous years. Sian was back again, along with Fiona Drysdale, Gavin Lewis and Juliet Amner.

Boxing Day – Porthcawl Lions 7K and Glynneath 5 miler

35 runners in attendance for the Porthcawl Lions 7K which starts at the Hi Tide and takes in the entirety of the parkrun course plus a bit extra at either end. Neil Jones finished 3rd overall with a time of 25:36 for the 4.5 mile course (roughly 7K). Several members including Aled, Brian and myself improved on our times from the previous year in what was also the final club championship event of the year. There was an unfortunate incident with Tammie falling at Rest Bay which resulted in a broken finger and hospital admission. A massive thanks to several of our club members who stopped to help and others that ran back to assist.

5 members attended the Glynneath 5 miler where Shelley Smithson smashed her PB and was agonisingly just 4 seconds short of the female club record. Carole Bartle set a PB with a superb sub 40 time. A PB for Helen Griffiths meant she joined a select group of runners to have achieved the ‘Grand Slam of PB’s’ in a calendar year which includes 5K, 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles, Half Marathon and Marathon distances. Joanne Rowling also set a PB with it being her first 5 miler and was encouraged around the course by Keith Coleman.

New Years Eve – parkruns and Nos Galan 5K races

 55 runners across 4 parkruns. 49 at Porthcawl where we had yet another new member of the sub 20 club with Joey Howland clocking 19:51. Mark Gabb got a PB of 23:24. I paced Jo Betty for the second half of her run to a PB of 26:13. Incredibly this beat a time that was set over 6 and a half years previous. Richard Lowcock James became only the second member to run his 200th parkrun. Away from Porthcawl, Claire Taylor and Pippa ran at Swansea, Chris S, Julie R and Shawn ran at Llyn Llech Owain and Neil Jones ran at Pontypridd. Julie and Shawn’s run at LLO parkrun marked their 20th parkrun venue putting them on the UK parkrun most events table.

That evening 19 Cwm Ogwr runners were in Mountain Ash for the Nos Galan races. Neil Jones and Neil Harris ran in the Elite 5K race where Neil Jones set yet another club record of 17:08 whilst Neil Harris got 19:57. Neil Jones had also run a 17:37 at Pontypridd parkrun that morning. In the fun run 5K they were no more PB’s to be had as many enjoyed the party atmosphere on the course. The final race of the year resulted in Christie Coleman finishing on a club record 108 events for the year.

Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month – Matt Murray

Two parkrun PB’s for Matt in December as well as great performances in the Pudding Run and Cottrell Park 10K.

Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month – Jo Betty

The only member to get three parkrun PB’s and beating that 6 and a half year previous best. Jo also ran at the Pudding Run and accompanied Pippa on the Boxing Day 7K.

That’s it for 2016. Bring on 2017!