This year our members have clocked up 2081 parkrun finishes. In it’s first full year, Maesteg parkrun has become home for some of our members whilst we still have our biggest attendances at Porthcawl. Between Zero to Hero graduates and other new members, we’ve had 35 members make their parkrun debuts this year.
This year has seen a huge increase in the number of members participating in parkrun tourism. We had finishers at 141 different parkruns this year including parkruns in Wales, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Norway, Poland, Italy, America, Canada and Australia.
Top 10 parkrun tourists in 2018 (only counting events not previously done)
Joint 1st Shawn Cullen and Julie Ransom – 24
3rd Karl Johnson – 21
4th Chris Roberts – 17
Joint 5th Jo Gamba, Kris Denholm and Aled Hughes – 15
Joint 8th Gareth Jenkins and Jayne Powney – 14
10th Chris Stanlake – 10
Most parkruns in 2018
1st Aled Hughes – 51
2nd Gareth Jenkins – 49
3rd Nick Harris – 48
4th Kris Denholm – 46
Joint 5th Chris Pratt and David Sheard – 44
7th Jo Gamba – 42
8th Chris Roberts – 41
9th Karl Johnson – 40
10th David Kembery – 38
Races in 2019
The Aberavon Run 4 All series proved popular again this year with an average turnout of 15 members running each of the 3 events and several members completing all 3. Outside of BCRL events, the final race of the year at Nos Galan proved our most popular event with over 30 runners mostly in fun run events with a couple of Elite entrants as well.
Neil Jones ran the fastest 5K of the year with a 16:53 a Merthyr Mawr Lane 5K, whilst Jo Gamba ran the fastest 5K race time of any female in the club with 24:06. Worth noting that no one ran a faster parkrun time than Neil’s 16:53, but there were fastest female times topped by a female club record of 20:41 by Anneliese Loveluck.
A rarely run distance although we did have 17 runners at the Boxing Day race in Glynneath where Anneliese Loveluck smashed yet another female club record with a 32:30 clocking. In the same race Adrian Pearce ran the fastest club 5 mile time of the year with 30:59 which claimed him the veteran club record whilst Steve Loveluck also set a club age category record in the over 50’s (super-vets) category.
Unsurprisingly one of our most popular race distances with the usual fixtures at Cardiff, Swansea, Cwmavon (Richard Burton 10K) being joined this year by the Run Wales series including Cardiff Bay, Newport and Barry. Between those 6 races our members clocked up 183 finishes.
The interest in trail events also meant we had great turnouts for Llantwit Major 10K (17 runners) and Cottrell Park Christmas Cracker 10K (30 runners).
Our fastest 10K of the year was Neil Jones with 37:50 at the Cardiff Bay 10K. However, what makes this time even more remarkable is that he actually started towards the back and had to weave around thousands of runners. Having already claimed the female club record at Treforest 10K with a top 3 female finish, Anneliese broke the record again with a 41:26 at the Magor 10K. Amazingly this also puts Anneliese 7th fastest overall in the club 10K rankings with only 6 of our male runners having run quicker.
Another one of the less popular distances with limited events on offer, our members ran the Reverse 10, Oldbury 10 and Pembrey 10 this year.
Jamie Vanstone (running for us at that time) clocked the fastest 10 miler of the year at the Reverse 10 miler with a 1:05:52 which was just the start of a phenomenal year of running for him. Kayley Griffiths clocked the fastest female time with a 1:39:24 in the same event.
This year saw our members clock up 311 Half Marathon finishes in 33 different Half Marathon events. Yet again our biggest attended event of the year was the Cardiff Half where we had 91 finishers whilst Swansea Half saw 44 members cross the finish line and Port Talbot is also becoming a firm favourite with 37 finishers this year.
A quick run through the list suggests that over 20 members completed their first half marathons this year.
Neil Jones set a new club record with a 1:18:33 at the Cardiff Half Marathon. It won’t come as a surprise that Anneliese Loveluck clocked the fastest female time of the year with 1:43:15, however, that time came at the Hoka Winter Trail Half Marathon with around 2000 feet of elevation.
This year saw 114 marathon finishes by our members of which 43 were at Snowdonia Marathon.
We also had a record number of international marathons this year with Paris, Zurich, Bilboa and Athens Marathon all having Ogmore Phoenix finishers.
The big one at London saw 8 members complete the course in temperatures soaring to record levels.
It was a different story at our biggest attended marathon at Snowdon where the temperature for the start was minus figures according to some and a strong head wind for much of the second half made a challenging course all the more so challenging.
Neil Jones clocked our fastest 4 marathons of the year and had PB’s in 3 of them resulting in the club record now standing at 2:43:07 which he ran at the inaugural Newport Marathon. The female club record was also broken in that same race with Claire Dunbar-Bowen running 3:46:32 and gaining herself a Good For Age place for London 2019.
As the amount of races beyond the marathon distance increases, it also appears to be the case with our members participation in them. This year saw 41 ultra finishes across 12 events. A special mention for Liz Sim who completed 5 Ultra’s this year including 2 in just 7 days in September. Kris Denholm also ran 5 Ultra’s this year including a huge improvement in the Gower 50 miler. Chris Pratt and Nick Harris ran the inaugural Vale of Glamorgan Ultra Marathon – a 40 miler from Porthcawl to Penarth, whilst David Sheard took on 2 of the hilliest ultras on offer with the Preselli Ultrabeast and Snowdonia Trail Ultra.
For the 3rd year running, the Vale Ultra was again the most popular event with 12 runners completing the 32 mile course. We already have even more signed up next year!
Bridgend County Running League
Our most successful season so far as we finished 2nd overall of the 7 clubs in contention. As usual, we dominated in terms of having the most runners at each of the 6 events ranging from 57 to 86. In total we had 149 different members run for us in at least one of the events. 14 members ran in all 6 events.
In the individual standings which are based on age grade percentages, Anneliese Loveluck was 3rd female and 10th in the overall standings whilst her husband Steve was our best male placing with 22nd overall (15th male).
West Glamorgan Cross Country League
The clubs first season as Ogmore Phoenix ended with the men’s team being promoted to Division 2 whilst the women’s team also had a strong season maintaining their place in Division 2 of 3. The 2018-19 season has seen 2 fixtures so far with Llanmadoc and Kenfig with strong performances from both our male and female teams.
Whilst the above distances and the two leagues make up the majority of our events, there’s still plenty of others our runners sign up for. The Vale 18 miler had a record 32 members complete the course with many of those running their furthest distance to date. Our inaugural trail championship proved popular and encouraged attendance at events such as Riverbank Rollick, Sodbury Slog, Ponty Plod and Preselli Beast Bach to name a few.
2018 saw 2 Merthyr Mawr Pudding Runs after the 2017 race was postponed to January of this year. 34 of our members took on the course in January whilst we had 24 finishers (despite our Christmas do being the night before) in Decembers race.
On the roads, the Liswerry 8 proved popular again with 33 finishers back in January whilst we had 20 runners for the Porthcawl Lions Boxing Day run.
This year saw a return in mass participation in relay events with 19 runners at the Cosmeston Relays and 55 runners involved in 20 different teams for the Cottrell Park relays.
Club and individual achievements
Closing the year with over 250 members, I unfortunately can’t mention everyone otherwise it would take me a year to finish this blog. Here are just some of the highlights.
As already mentioned, the club finished 2nd in the final standings of the Bridgend League and the men’s team gained promotion in the West Glamorgan Cross Country League.
Anneliese Loveluck has won age category and even overall finishing place prizes and trophies in almost every event she has entered this year. So many that even I don’t have the stats on how many. Steve Loveluck has also won numerous age category prizes in the same events.
Denise Bradley won a Welsh Athletics medal for her age category placing in the Snowdonia Marathon. Neil Jones also received a medal for his age category placing in the same event. Neil also received several prizes for finishing in the top 3 overall or for age category placing in events this year.
Claire Dunbar-Bowen and Neil Jones both achieved Good For Age qualifying times for the London Marathon.
In December I was fortunate to get a last minute place to represent South Wales senior men’s team in the Welsh Cross Country Championships along with former member Jamie Vanstone.
There have been some incredible improvements this year from our fastest runners to newest members. Tammie Baker started the year with a parkrun PB of 33:56 – 8 PB’s throughout the year including one of the final Saturday of the year has brought that down to 28:38. She has also had PB’s at 5 miles, 10K and Half Marathon distance. Sian Jenkins who only started running with us this year clocking a 42:43 in her first parkrun back in February. 11 PB’s have followed and Sian also clocked a PB in the final parkrun of the year with a 31:42. Like Tammie, Claire Taylor and Natalie Aryal had been a regular runners prior to this year but increased training coupled with weight loss transformations have saw their PB’s at 5K right up to Half Marathon improve by huge amounts. There are dozens more I could mention with inspirational stories throughout our members.
Stats, stats and more stats
Top 10 Largest number of finishers by event
- Cardiff Half Marathon 91
- Ogmore Castle BCRL fixture 86
- Bryngarw BCRL fixture 78
- Tuska Beach BCRL fixture 77
- Newbridge Fields BCRL fixture 73
- Kenfig Sands BCRL fixture 63
- Beast of Blackmill BCRL fixture 57
J8. Vale 18/32 Ultra 44
J8. Swansea Half Marathon 44
J10. Snowdonia Marathon 43
J10. Richard Burton 10K 43
Also worth noting there was a record 52 runners at Porthcawl parkrun on 20/10/18, and a record total of 66 parkrunners across various venues on 29/12/18.
Most Races 2018 (excluding parkrun)
- Gareth Jenkins 37
- Karl Johnson 33
- Niki Puleio 33
- Chris Pratt 32
- Alun Wylde 30
- Gareth Richards 29
- Jo Gamba 28
- Shawn Cullen 25
- Jayne Powney 24
- Nick Harris 24
Most events overall (including parkrun) – 2017 totals in brackets
- Gareth Jenkins 86 (85)
2. Chris Pratt 76 (73)
3. Karl Johnson 73 (70)
4. Nick Harris 72 (69)
5. Jo Gamba 70 (52)
6. David Sheard 67 (57)
7. Niki Puleio 66 (51)
8. Kris Denholm 65 (58)
9. Aled Hughes 64 (62)
10. Alun Wylde 59 (57)
Incredibly every one of the top 10 did more events than last year. I topped the standings for the 2nd year in a row and the 4th time in 6 years (the other 2 years I was second). Jo Gamba tops the most events for the ladies for a second year in a row and did 15 more events than Jayne Powney who had the second highest female total.
An amazing year
This year has seen record numbers join the club and start their running journey. Dozens have done their first parkruns, 10K races, trail races, half marathons, marathons or even ultras. Some members have increased their mileage. Others have seen amazing results and are almost unrecognisable with running and training helping some to lose weight and get healthier. Awareness of mental health has been a big focus for the club in 2018 with members supporting each other and running playing a big part in many peoples lives in coping with mental health issues. Friendships have formed, running buddies gained and the club plays a huge part in many of members lives.
Well done to everyone involved in our amazing club. Cant wait to see what 2019 will bring.