June 2017 Review

Saturday 3rd – parkruns

48 runners across 9 different parkruns. Keith Coleman, Sue Roberts, Steph Dyke and Shelley Evans all claimed new PB’s at Porthcawl. Mark Gabb, Karl Johnson, Chris Pratt, Emma Morris, Shawn Cullen, Julie Ransom, Alana Lutwyche, Simon Melksham and Angela Parry made up our large band of parkrun tourists.

Wednesday 6th – Aberavon Run for All 5K Series (race 2)

19 runners braved the wet blustery evening on Aberavon seafront. Despite the conditions, Niki Puleio led our runners home with a PB time of 18:37 whilst Amy Williams got herself a PB of 28:33.

Friday / Saturday 9th-10th – London to Cardiff 24 hour relay

I signed up for this with a work colleague and 10 people who I’d never met before and only had contact with through a Whatsapp group set up for our team. The London to Cardiff relay starts just outside Twickenham Stadium and finishes in Sapphire Gardens in Cardiff 160 miles later. A GPS baton is carried throughout the run and each runner does 2 or 3 individual stages as well as 3 team stages which are the first and last stages plus one in the middle. Maps are made available 2 weeks before the event but marshals and signage on route are minimal.

Teams are set off at different times and we were allocated 4:22pm on Friday afternoon. The first team stage was just 0.3 miles. I then did an 8.3 mile individual stage (4th stage overall) which was very flat as it consisted almost entirely of canal paths and was delighted to complete it in under an hour. The second team stage was at 2:30am where we all had to run 1.8 miles through a wooded area around a lake. Our team had set out to complete the course in under 24 hours (cut off is actually 30 hours) but we were already well ahead at this point which worryingly meant my second individual stage which I thought would be around 6am, actually started at 4:45am. Fortunately it was just as the sun rose and I had a lovely scenic run from Royal Wooton Bassett to Malmesbury (near Swindon). 11.3 miles after no sleep and also one of the hilliest routes of the race was tough going so I was again really pleased with my time which was 1 hour 32 minutes – knocking another 10 minutes off the target time required to hit the target of sub 24 hours.

I was the first of the team to finish my individual stages, but with so much stop / starting at the various checkpoints, getting any sleep proved difficult for any of us. We arrived in Cardiff to run the final 400m together and smashed our target, actually finishing just under 22 hours. We were 4th of the record number of 48 teams and also had the accolade of first ‘new team’ as the top 3 had all completed the event in previous years. Incredibly the winning team finished in 18 hours 46 minutes meaning that they averaged 7 minute miles for the entire 160 miles.

Saturday 10th – parkruns

50 runners across 7 different parkruns. A reduced attendance at Porthcawl as 12 regular parkrunners chose to try out Llanelli parkrun. Brett Bonnell bagged a PB at Porthcawl whilst Alun Wylde, David McCann and Alana Lutwyche all got PB’s at Llanelli.

Saturday 17th – parkruns and Sospan 10K

53 runners across 6 different parkruns. Another PB for Brett at Porthcawl and this week he was joined on the PB list by Anne Lalic and Leah Boon with her first sub 40 clocking accompanied by James Beynon. Away from Porthcawl there were PB’s for Karl Johnson on the super fast Swansea parkrun course whilst Kimberley Thomas got a PB at Grangemoor where we had 8 runners.

The Sospan 10K saw 13 members runners including PB’s for newbies Kaye Pedler and Nicola Veasey. Gareth Richards was first member back whilst Emma Morris was first female member.

Sunday 18th – Caerphilly 10K

20 runners for this one with Sian Price setting a new club age category record with a 46:28 – just 19 seconds off the overall female club record. There was also a PB for Alun Wylde. Special mention for Gareth Richards who ran the course in 43 minutes having run 42 minutes in Llanelli the day before.

Saturday 24th – Waterford Quarter, Half and Marathon

I did consider a separate blog post for this but will keep it as part of the monthly review. It all started on Friday with 64 runners and supporters setting off from Sarn Services for a bus / ferry / bus journey to Waterford. Dai Kembery handed out the tour polo shirts and goodies before we set off and Sarah Littlewood provided entertainment on the ferry with a quiz. A few chose to calm pre race nerves with a pint or two on the ferry whilst others tried their best to just get through it without being sick (me included).

We pretty much took over the hotel arranged by the Kembery’s and Nolan’s taking up an entire floor as well as the dining area for the evening meal. Most headed off to rooms shortly after the meal to get an early night and lay out kit ready for the morning.

The morning saw a mixture of excited and nervous runners at breakfast. Most steering clear of a full cooked breakfast with the odd exception (Christie Coleman if my memory serves correctly).

We headed to the start en mass having a huge team photo and bumping into a few from Lliswerry running club. The races all started together meaning a mixture of those doing the quarter marathon (6.55 miles – which caught a few out who had assumed it was a 10K), the half marathon and marathon. The Viking chant / clap made for a spine tingling start to the event with plenty of supporters at the start area and over the first mile or so.

As for the race itself – an undulating course (many will be shouting hilly as they read this) around Waterford and some quiet country lanes which Neil Jones described as his toughest marathon to date despite having done Snowdonia and running several other marathon courses. Great support from our team who had headed out as well.

The Quarter Marathon included 5 of our runners which were lead home by Julie Ransom. The Half Marathon had 20 runners lead home by newest member James Littlewood. I accompanied Alun Wylde on his mission for a sub 2 hour PB which he smashed with a 1:55:48. Sarah Littlewood came agonisingly close to her first sub 2 hour half but was delighted with a new PB of 2:00:48 whilst there were also PB’s for Diana Purnell, Steph Dyke, Rhian Nolan, Jayne Kembery and Cath Griffiths.

The biggest field was for our Marathon runners with 24 taking on the challenge including 9 running the marathon distance for the first time. Neil Jones was our first runner back in an outstanding 3:03. Niki Puleio managed a 3:11:51 PB a few minutes behind. Aled, Dai K and Gareth Richards ended up running together with Gareth getting a PB of 3:43. First club female home was Claire Dunbar-Bowen in an amazing time of 4:08 in her debut marathon. The PB list also included Carol Bartle, Neil Morgan, Nigel Hitchings, Daniel Clark, Mark Burgess, Elizabeth Sim, Victoria Hillman, Jo Betty, James Beynon, Ian Lewis, Sian Llewellyn-Goring and Rhiannon Buckley. Rhiannon completing an incredible journey from Zero to Marathon Hero less than 2 years after starting running with the club.

Needless to say, many drinks were consumed that evening at the dinner at the hotel and then the marathon after party.  A couple of pubs had the pleasure / displeasure of 60 odd mostly Welsh with a few English and Irish and a single Kiwi descent on them. Some lasted longer than others – not naming anyone here of course (Aled Hughes).

A great weekend had by all and a massive thank you to David and Jayne Kembery and Dermot and Rhian Nolan as well the extended team of organisers who helped make it a memorable weekend.

Saturday 24th – parkruns

23 runners across 6 different parkrun venues. One of our smallest attendances overall and at Porthcawl (13) for a couple of years due to the Waterford trip plus those resting before Swansea Half Marathon. 6 of our runners headed down to Swansea to run on part of the course they would revisit at around mile 7-9 the next day. No PB’s to note but a special mention for Caerwyn Lewis who had his first ‘first club finisher’ at Porthcawl.

Sunday 25th – Swansea Half Marathon

Despite the huge attendance at Waterford, there were still 33 runners at Swansea for the Half Marathon. Neil Price was first of our club finishers with a 1:34 PB. Josie Bishop was our first female with a 1:46 PB which is in the top 5 fastest half marathons by one of our female members. There were PB’s aplenty with the list also including Emma Loyns, Steven Taylor, Claire Goldsworthy, Sara Vowles, Louise Foster, Nigel Rees, Kimberley Thomas, Ashley Howells, Darija Mann, Shelley Evans, Jamie Bevan, Amy Williams, Nicola Cornock and Nicola Allen.

Wednesday 28th – Porthcawl 4K Time Trial

The third fixture of the Bridgend League saw the return of the Porthcawl 4K TT. Amended this year to start from the shelter going out to the usual parkrun turnaround at Rest Bay before running to the start of the Promenade before another 180 degree turn to return to the shelter and finish. Many tired legs with almost all of our 48 runners having run at Waterford or Swansea just a few days before.  A big effort was required by all which is exactly what happened. Niki Puleio ran 13:10 on what was a course just short of 4K in the end. Our first female was Sian Price. Great support and effort by all.

Stato’s Runner of the Month – Alun Wylde

In a month of big races and occasions, Alun really stood out with 5K, 10K and Half Marathon PB’s. Not only that, but all were by big margins. Well done Alun.

Future blogs are to include Stato’s Runner of the Month and the Chairperson’s Runner of the Month which will alternate between Chris and vice-chair Sian. My Stato’s runner of the month will be based purely on the numbers – PB’s, age grade percentages, improvements, number of events whilst the Chairpersons Runner of the Month will take everything in account whether it be effort put in at training, achieving a new distance or goal, encouragement as well as all the numbers.