September 2017 review

Saturday 2nd – parkruns and Roman Run

41 runners across 7 different parkruns. Most taking it steady with thoughts of Cardiff 10K the next day. However, there were PB’s for Nigel Hitchings, Debbie Bennion and a parkrun PB for David McCann. Tourism included several at Maesteg, Nick Harris at Worcester, Elaine at Tees Barrage, Wayne at Colby and Saul at Grangemoor. Tourism King and Queen, Shawn Cullen and Julie Ransom took the club record off me for parkrun tourism with their 34th venue which was Caldicot.

Juliet Amner, Richard Lowcock James and Ian Lewis took on the 16 mile Roman Run which is a challenging point to point trail race over multi terrain from Brecon to Merthyr. A shame the event is the day before Cardiff 10K as I’m sure many more of our runners would have been interested in giving this one a go and personally it’s still on my to do list.

Sunday 3rd – Cardiff 10K, Oldbury 10 Mile and Joust 24 hour relay

Christie Coleman, Shawn and Julie completed the Thornbury series of events which include Riverbank Rollick, Thornbury 10K and the Oldbury 10 miler. It was also Shawn and Julies first 10 mile event for the club meaning brand new PB’s.

Nick Harris kept it quiet that he was doing the Joust 24 hour relay. This event is organised by Ultra Runner Ltd who I am familiar with having done two of their half marathon events on consecutive days back in February. The event involved laps of a roughly 5 mile loop and can be entered in teams of up to 8…. however.. Nick chose to enter as a solo entrant, therefore signing up to attempt to run for 24 hours. Unfortunately things didn’t quite go to plan but despite cramp at just 9 miles in, Nick continued and managed 9 laps and therefore around 45 miles before retiring after 10 hours. The laps weren’t at all simple either with mixed terrain, gates, fences and hills. An incredible effort and I’m sure he’ll be back for more, if not in this event, then another 50+ miler.

Cardiff 10K saw 69 Phoenix take on the new course in the capital. The route started and finished near City Hall as it had before, but zig zagged it’s way to Roath Park Lake and included the ‘incline’ which is towards the end of the Cardiff Half route. Many including myself thought it might be a tougher course to achieve a PB but that was certainly wasn’t reflected in the results with 38 of our runners achieving PB’s. Many of our runners got to the event on a double decker bus arranged and driven by Karl Johnson with a rousing inspirational speech by Chairman Chris Pratt on the way to the event. The weather threatened to soak us to the bone by in the end we were lucky with mostly dry conditions for much of the race if not a tiny bit warm even though most of us wore the charity vests provided in support of Kidney Wales.

As for the results, I’m ignoring Neil Jones who ran for Pontyclun and not mentioning his amazing time of 36:29. So first Phoenix runner across the line was Gareth Jenkins (me!) with a PB of 41:33 with my teammates in the ‘Corporate Challenge’ finishing close behind with Aled 41:45, Neil Price getting a 41:55 PB and David Kembery also PBing with 43:10. Our time were combined and was good enough for us to finish 2nd overall in the team competition!

My Stato Runner of the Month for August, Sian Price was next up with an outstanding female club record time of 44:42 knocking nearly a minute and a half off the previous record.  The amazing times continued throughout the field with dozens of our runners smashing personal goals whether it was to complete their first 10K, or get a certain time, or a best time since injury or for the year. I wish I could write about every performance but I want to at least list out plethora of PBers as below…

Gareth Jenkins, Neil Price, David Kembery, Sian Price, Graham Mackleworth, Dan Clark, Chris Roberts, Karl Johnson, Nigel Hitchings (second PB in 2 days), Mark Burgess, Martin Beard, Jo Betty, Alun Wylde, Liz Davis, Louise Foster, David McCann, Jackie Lewis, Steven Taylor, Claire Goldsworthy, Ian Lewis, Rebecca Newton, Matt Murray, Kim Thomas, Jayne Powney, Kay Pedler, Hannah Kinsella, Joanne Rowling, Donna Radford, Natalie Aryal, Martyn Cameron-Davies, Sharon Delahunty, Nicola Allen, Vickie Cameron-Davies, Claire Taylor, Helen Perry, Maria George, Elaine Christian and Suzanne Harrison.

Saturday 9th – parkruns

41 runners again but this time over 8 parkruns and remarkably in 4 different countries with the various Welsh contingent joined by Chris Pratt in Huddersfield, David Sheard in Dundee and Peter Harrop in Milan.  Windy conditions at Porthcawl meant a rare week of no PB’s. A few travelled down to Llanelli parkrun which assume was equally as windy being an out and back coastal run but Elizabeth Sim managed to bag a PB accompanied by Gareth Richards. There was also a PB for Karl Johnson who shaved another second off his best overall 5K time with a 22:07 with a rare run at his home parkrun of Pontypridd.

Sunday 10th – Budapest HM, Great North Run, New Forest HM, Shepley 10K

Just because there aren’t any local races doesn’t stop our members. Adam Rowe bagged himself a 2:03 PB at the New Forest HM. Karl Johnson made it 3 PB’s at 3 different distances within 8 days with a 1:47 at the Great North Run with Dawn Hopkins running for the 4th year in a row. Meanwhile Emma Morris made it 5 different countries with Phoenix runners this weekend coming in at just under 2 hours in the Budapest Half Marathon.

Chris Pratt returned to his native Yorkshire for the weekend running the Shepley 10K in just under an hour. An event he’d last run 3 years previous before joining the club.

Saturday 16th – parkruns

45 runners across 7 different parkruns.  Gareth Richards lead our runners home at Porthcawl with a 19:45 PB. Jayne Bissmire knocked a massive 87 seconds off her PB for her first sub 30 parkrun at her 4th attempt. It was almost a 2 minute PB for Michelle Alexander in her 5th parkrun. Relatively new parkrunners Debbie Bennion and Andrea Self also shaved a few more seconds off their PB’s as well. Away from Porthcawl, there were 10 of our runners at Maesteg parkrun whilst parkrun tourist King and Queen, Shawn and Julie visited Andover parkrun.

Sunday 17th – Bristol HM, English HM, West Glam XC

Emma Morris ran an impressive 1:52 at Bristol whilst new member Steven James ran 1:48 at the English Half Marathon.

It was the first fixture of the West Glamorgan XC League where we had 13 runners at Llanmadoc. A multi terrain course with forestry trail followed by sand dunes and a 2 mile beacTh section before a short uphill section and then downhill finish. As I didn’t make it, Pippa Clark becomes the only member to have completed all West Glam fixtures since the club has been in the league. Niki Puleio lead our runners home followed by Gareth Richards and Dai James. Denise was the first of our 3 females in attendance followed by Bev Sheard and Pippa.

Saturday 23rd – parkruns

37 runners across a record TWELVE different parkrun venues. 22 of which were at Porthcawl for the Elvis themed run where we were joined by parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt. Maesteg had an influx of quick runners as Niki Puleio’s 18:52 which would be good enough to finish first most weeks got him 6th overall. Ashley Howells got a PB at the same venue whilst our only tourist to get a PB was Mark Gabb at Barry (arguably not a tourist venue for him). Aled Hughes ran the inaugural Haverfordwest parkrun.

Sunday 24th – Swansea 10K, Forest of Dean 5K and Half Marathon, Loch Ness Marathon

Starting at Forest of Dean for the Autumn edition of their Half Marathon event. Apparently a hillier course than the Spring edition. A great first trail half for those looking to get into distance trail events as the terrain wasn’t too technical and mostly on firm forestry paths. A challenging course with the downhills being steep and short whilst the uphills were gentle but very long. I was first of our club across the line in 1:43, followed by Samantha Thomas in 2:17, Mark Worrall 2:24 and Pippa Clark accompanied by Simon Harrison in 3:38 in her first trail half. Pippa’s time was quicker than her previous half in Waterford. Meanwhile Suzanne Harrison ran the 5K event in a PB time of 43:51. A great effort by all.

The fantastic four of Emma Morris, Liz Sim, Gareth Richards and Mark Burgess made their way to Scotland for the Loch Ness Marathon. Emma beat her previous PB by an incredible 23 minutes for a 4:20. The remaining 3 ran together throughout all finishing in 4:27 which meant a 13 minute PB for Mark and 16 minute PB for Liz. Amazing results.

The biggest event of the day was Swansea 10K where we had 25 runners. John Burridge became the 3rd club member to run sub 40 minutes with a PB time of 39:30. Wayne Hayhurst, Simon Williams, Karl Johnson, Alyn Wylde and David McCann were next up all achieving PB’s. Jo Betty was the clubs first female finisher in 52:33 which was just outside of her PB achieved at Cardiff earlier in the month. The PB’s continued with Ashley Howells (second PB of the weekend), Emma Williams, Dawn Hopkins, Julie Ransom (accompanied by Shawn), Lisa Jenkins and Nicola Allen.

Statos Runner of the Month – Karl Johnson

In a month with so many big events, it’s normally a tough decision after trawling through the stats to decide who should get the nod… but this month was pretty clear cut. Karl achieved a parkrun PB, 10K PB’s at both Cardiff and Swansea, plus a Half Marathon PB at the Great North Run.

To end the September blog it was the Vice Chair’s choice for runners of the month so here’s Sian’s thoughts on choices…

Vice-Chair Runners of the Month


Let’s just turn the clock back 1 year and the person I have chosen for male runner of the month was so disappointed that he could not run the Snowdon marathon after being very ill with pneumonia. He came to support the Snowdon marathon and vowed that next year things would be different …

And boy have they been different. This person regularly runs half marathons, marathons and ultras and has also done an ultra marathon and half marathon the next day !!!

When the zero to hero group needed a person to assist during the summer this runner took it in his stride and volunteered.

He does his races with no fanfare, helps others achieve their goals and is always quietly training in the background …

Who is my choice for runner of the month .. Gareth Richards, take a bow

You are awesome and inspire lots of us when coming back to running from having to take time off from illness.

Well done


This female runner has been a member from the original dissolved running club. She has had a tough ride the last few years but is always smiling.

Not only does she run, very well, she has taken quite a few of us under her wing to develop us into budding triathletes. She has given us confidence in taking on sea swims and has the patience of a saint with many of us on our bikes.

What challenges has this person done this year, well I think the biggest has to be when she swam the Solent, not a mean task, 5 miles and got caught up in a rip tide at the end !

This person is always in the background, helping, supporting and encouraging and this month, you are my female runner/athlete of the month (especially when you turned up for the Bridgend League Race in jogging bottoms and cotton t shirt!

Helen Griffiths … you are amazing!

August 2017 review

Wednesday 1st – Cardiff Summer Sizzler 5K

I was the only Phoenix for this one in what couldn’t have been further from a summer sizzler with wet and cold conditions for the time of year. The event is run on the same course as Cardiff parkrun but with only 150 runners rather than the 700+ on a Saturday there was a much better chance of a good time. I finished in 19:48 which I was absolutely delighted with. A fifth sub 20 this year at five different locations.

Saturday 5th – parkruns

32 runners across 3 parkruns.  PB’s for Rebecca Newton, Debbie Bennion and Sharon Pritchard at Porthcawl.

Sunday 6th – Brecon 10 miler and Gloucester HM

11 at Brecon runners lead home by John Burridge who set a new club age category record beating his own PB by 1 second. Sian Price smashed the female club record by almost 10 minutes with a time of 1:16:36. There was also age category records for Claire Dunbar-Bowen and Josie Bishop who were both also within the old female record time.

Karl Johnson and Ashley Howells completed the Gloucester Half Marathon whilst Dai Williams, Wayne Hayhurst and Mark Gabb all celebrated PB’s in the Full Marathon.

Saturday 12th – parkruns, Gower Tri and Brecon 50

41 runners across 6 parkruns. A first timer PB for Elaine Christian whilst Andrea Self bettered her debut parkrun time in her second event. Sian Price was first female overall in Maesteg adding it to a first female finish at Porthcawl last year despite running 3 minutes slower than her PB. John Burridge ran 19:39 at Swansea Bay parkrun which was just 1 second slower than his PB time set in January 2015.

Helen Griffiths notched up yet another triathlon finish in the Gower Triathlon completing the 750m swim, 25K bike and 5K run.

Jamie Vanstone and Gareth Richards completed the Brecon 50 mile Ultra which contained over 7000 feet of elevation! Despite going off course, they ended up finishing 3rd and 4th in the event.

Sunday 13th – Port Talbot Half Marathon

40 runners for the second annual Port Talbot Half Marathon. Lead home by Niki Puleio who ran a PB of 1:26: 14. Sian Price was first female back in 1:45:49 which is one of the fastest times by any female member in the history of the club. Her PB which was set before joining the club would actually beat the current club record. A plethora of PB’s including Keith Coleman, Dan Clark, Nigel Hitchings, Mark Burgess, Jo Betty, Kimberly Thomas, Steph Dyke, Amy Williams and Claire Taylor.

Karl Johnson was the only Phoenix at the Cottrel Park Summer 10K finishing in 54:22.

Saturday 19th – parkruns

47 runners across 6 different parkruns. After Sian Price claimed first female at Maesteg last week, Niki Puleio claimed first male and first overall at Maesteg this week. 38 runners at Porthcawl was a biggest attendance in a while so a nice rare surprise that I was first Phoenix across the line. It was Jackie Lewis 200th parkrun and she celebrated in style knocking over 30 seconds off her PB. My runner of the month for July had the 5th highest age grade percentage of the 376 finishers. There was another PB for Sharon Prichard whilst Maria George and April Kitchener also got in on the act.

Tuesday 22nd – Bridgend League 5th fixture – Newbridge Fields 4.5 miler

50 runners for this 2 lap course around Newbridge Fields with a steady climb towards the end of each lap. Niki Puleio lead us home and was 3rd overall. Chris Truman were 2nd and 3rd Phoenix across the line and also 2nd and 3rd in the Senior Male category overall. Juliet Amner was our first female across the line. Well done to everyone who ran the tough course including several running their first Bridgend League event and / or first trail event.

Wednesday 23rd – Aberavon Duathlon

Taking place the same time as qualifiers for the Commenwealth Games, 7 of our athletes rubbed shoulders with the elites to complete the swim, run course. Sarah Littlewood was first club member home whilst Philip Buckley completed his first multisport event.

Saturday 26th – parkruns and Llantwit Major 5K / 10K

37 runners across 7 parkruns. At Porthcawl there was a first sub 20 for Dai James whilst Wayne Hayhurst, Jayne Bissmire, Sharon Pritchard and April Kitchener. At Maesteg parkrun I had my highest parkrun finish with 2nd place overall. Jo Betty was second female.

At Llantwit, Mark Gabb completed the treble doing the 1K, 5K and 10K distances that were on offer. Alun Wylde did both the 5K and 10K. Chris Stanlake just went for the 5K option whilst 10 other club members did the 10K which takes in a section of the Vale Ultra course.

Sunday 27th – Narberth Nobbler HM and Marathon, Severn Bridge and Malmesbury 10K

Emma Morris ran at the interestingly named ‘Flying Monk Malmesbury 10K Carnival’ where she offered to pace 55 minutes and came in at 54:35.

There were 8 runners at the Severn Bridge Half Marathon where Chris Roberts helped pace Karl Johnson to his first sub 1:50 clocking.

5 members took on the Narberth Nobbler Half Marathon whilst marathon regulars Kris Denholm and Chris Pratt notched up another to the list in the full distance event. The half marathon course had various terrain with 1500 feet of elevation spread over numerous hills throughout the course. Resident King of the Trails Richard Lowcock James commented he’d never done a race with so many water crossings with several streams in the half marathon. The marathon followed the same course for 10 miles before branching off to do even more hills and a waist deep river crossing that required ropes. The temperature rose significantly just as most of us doing the half were finishing leaving even tougher conditions for Kris and Chris. They both battled through finishing yet another tough marathon.

Monday 28th – Machen Mountain Race

Emma Morris was in action again for the 3rd day in a row, this time taking on this fell race which includes 1300 feet of elevation in just 3 miles. In fact, nearly 2 miles are downhill so you could argue its 1300 feet in just over a mile. A great event to end what was a big weekend of trail with the Llantwit, Narberth and then this race.

Wednesday 30th – Tuska Beach 5.2K

50 runners for the final Bridgend League race of the year. Neil Jones lead the club home with a 3rd placed finish overall on the course run entirely on sand from Rest Bay to Pink Bay. Sian Price was our first female runner and 8th female overall. Great performances throughout the field. We are awaiting final results but a great turnout in the final event should have secured us a second year of finishing 3rd club overall. A great achievement with almost all clubs fielding more runners than last year.

Statos Runner of the Month  – Sian Price

After a lengthy lay off due to injury at the start of the year, Sian is returning to her best form. She started the month with a PB at Brecon 10 miler which beat the previous club record by almost 10 minutes with a 1:16:26 to finish 7th female overall. Sian followed that up a week later with a 1:45: 59 for the 3rd fastest female time ever for our club. Sian also finished 1st female at Maesteg parkrun and finished off the month finishing 8th female overall at the Bridgend League Tuska Beach event.

Chairmans runners of the month

With our ever increasing membership, the task of choosing a male and female member that stands out during a month is very difficult.  There are so many amazing people doing amazing things within the club every single day and so it’s an arduous task.  I wanted to award about 20 of these, but there will be other months where myself or Sian can celebrate others.

I wanted to choose people not based purely on their running abilities or scale of achievements but on steps they have taken to better themselves.

For those who might not know there is a group operating on Facebook under the title “Phoenix Lites“.  The idea is for members of Ogmore Phoenix (and some friends) to encourage each other in weight loss.  Every week there is a weigh in on a Monday morning and progress is shared within the group.  I love it when someone suddenly takes control of their life and has a eureka moment where they change something significant.  The reading of a book whilst on holiday, “The Cool Impossible” by Eric Orton inspired one member so much they took the big step to cut sugar out of their diet.  A 10lb weight loss followed within a week whilst battling with sugar withdrawal!  This led to further losses bringing his weight down by a stone by the end of the month.  He also achieved an increased running mileage of 27 miles in the final week of the month and a renewed vigour and attitude towards the running.  He’s looking a lot trimmer as well.  What an awesome change!  Inspirational.  Well done Ashley Howells, my chairman’s male runner of the month.

My female choice is someone returning to running after a very tough couple of years.  Illness forced a long rest and coming back from such an illness is a tough battle.  A battle that some would really struggle with.  It’s a testament to someone’s character when they come back fighting.  Our fundamental club ethos of being inclusive to all means we never leave anyone behind so no matter where you place in a race you are a hugely important member of the club.  Despite really struggling this runner has fought back by attending races undeterred by her plight and crossed finish lines with her head held high.  I have been inspired by this and it should be celebrated.  Hence I have chosen Lynda Denholm as this months chairman’s female runner of the month.