A huge month for parkrunning with 215 results in the month across 43 parkruns. That total includes 99 different members and 29 different parkrun venues. Gareth Richards, Kris Denholm, Dave Evans, Rhiannon Sian, James Beynon and I all kicked off the year by doing a New Years Day double with Cardiff at 9am and Barry Island at 10.30am. It’s the only day of the year where parkruns are started at different times and recording 2 parkruns is allowed. Jo Betty also ran Cardiff before supporting at Barry. We even had New Years Day double tourism with Karl Johnson running Ashton Court and Pomphrey Hill parkruns in the Bristol area, whilst Sarah Littlewood ran Shrewsbury and Telford, and Nick Harris went for Peckham and Southwark parkruns. Chris Roberts added yet another Australian parkrun with St Peters parkrun on New Years Day before Airlie Beach on the first Saturday parkrun of the year.
Aside from the usual home parkruns of Porthcawl and Maesteg, we had members at the following Welsh parkruns – Cardiff, Barry Island, Swansea, Llanelli, Newport, Gnoll, Pontypridd, Bryn Bach, Rogiet, Riverfront and Grangemoor. Further afield Kris Denholm ran at Andover, Fiona Drysdale at Whiteley, Sarah Littlewood at Gunnersbury, Saul Harris at Eastville, Rebecca Newton at Wycombe Rye, Chris Pratt at Wyre Forest and Maria Lalic at Hereford.
Worthy notes in month include Maria running her first parkrun after volunteering over 150 times after first registering her barcode around 4 years ago. There was a first sub 19 parkrun for Jamie Vanstone which he beat again in the same month. We had an amazing Maesteg parkrun takeover on 13/01/18 organised by Karl Johnson where our members covered pretty much all of the volunteer roles and still had 17 runners at the event as well including pacers and tail walkers. Gareth Richards got a PB at Swansea parkrun with 19:42.
On 20/01/18 we had our first ever first finish double with Niki Puleio first overall and Claire Dunbar Bowen first female at the same event. On the same day I was 2nd overall at Rogiet parkrun. Niki had a 2nd placed finish at Maesteg the week after.
Congratulations to everyone who achieved PB’s during the month including Jayne Bissmire and Rhiannon Sian who are both regularly running sub 30 parkruns and chipping away the seconds.
Races in January
As with the parkruns, it all started on New Years Day. Awful weather for the Kenfig Prince of Wales 4 miler with 24 our of members braving the elements. Niki was first in for our members and amongst the top runners in the field whilst Fiona Drysdale finished just ahead of Liz Davis as our fastest female. This was the final event of the Festive Four where Liz Davis finished 4th overall in one of the categories.
The first 10K of the year was the Buff 10K where yet again Niki was first of our members across the line with Jamie Vanstone not too far behind. Brand new member Steve Loveluck was next up and won an age category prize for his efforts whilst his wife, Annaliese was 3rd female overall as well as an age category winner. The Loveluck’s could be shaking up the Ogmore Phoenix record books over the next few months.
Neil Jones ran the Gloucester Marathon in an incredible new club record time of 02:46:57 knocking a massive 7 minutes off his previous best.
In the first of 2 West Glam XC fixtures in the month, Ryan Evans made his club debut in some style running the 5.6 mile Margam Reservoir course in 34:56. Gareth Richards, myself, Kris Denholm and Dai James completed the scoring places for the men’s team. For the ladies, Sian Price ran quick enough to have scored for the men’s team and was joined by Josie, Claire DB, Emma Loyns and Liz Sim. Great results for both teams particularly with this being the same day as the Buff 10K and Riverbank Rollick meaning a lot of members spread across a number of events.
As for the Riverbank Rollick, there were 20 members running this year including several completing their furthest trail race (9 miles). Dan Clark lead the club members back through the thick sticky mud, rope required climbs and ice cold river at the end. Sharon Pritchard and Debbie Bennion were our final finishers in their longest trail race to date.
34 members took on the rearranged Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run on the new route. No change to the lung busting Big Dipper start but soon the race descended into muddy paths and mixed terrain with much of the course used for the Rabbit Run. However, the big difference being that this is January not July! Multiple river crossings (10 maybe??) which were all icy cold and some up to waist deep – it certainly wasn’t for the faint hearted in cold wintery conditions. Niki was our first member across the line and was 3rd veteran male overall. Annaliese Loveluck would have almost certainly been in with a chance of a veteran female prize but fell badly on the beach section with around 2 miles to go and required rescuing to be taken to the finish. Huge thanks to the organisers for quick response and thankfully Annaliese was OK with no long lasting injuries.
Neil Jones, Jamie Vanstone and Paul Johnson also braved the weather to run the Craig yr Allt fell race which was the first fixture in the clubs 2018 trail championships. Mark Gabb, Nigel Rees, Shawn Cullen and Julie Ransom ran the inaugural Barry CF64 Winter race which included some equally muddy conditions to the Pudding Run with some equally deep water crossings as well.
The final weekend of the month saw another Sunday were the club were split across a couple of big events. We had 33 at the Lliswerry 8 ranging from Dai Kembery as our only sub 1 hour finisher in 59:39 to Claire Taylor, Vickie Cameron-Davies, Helen Perry and Nicola Allen who all finished in just over 1 hour 40. A great effort by all.
Meanwhile there were 19 for the Margam Park fixture of the West Glam XC. An extremely strong mens team with Neil, Niki, Jamie, Gareth R and Simon Harrison our points scorers. For the ladies team, Claire DB, Emma Loyns, Emma Morris, Sara Vowles and Eryl James scored with Denise just behind.
As usual, I really wish I could comment on everyone’s achievements during the month and appreciate the blog often only references a few but a massive well done to everyone who ran one of these events or parkruns. A great start to the year.
Chairmans runner of the month
I’ve said in the past that my chairmans runner of the month may very well change it’s selection criteria on a whim. They’re not statistical as that’s statto’s job. Often the accolade might be bestowed for an achievement that has a build up through previous months. It’s a very difficult decision to make with so many members doing so many wonderful things and I want to credit those who make achievements at all levels and not just those of wondrous proportions.
Some people run long. Some people run fast and short. We’re all different and tend to target different distances. Rarely do we do both. It’s usual to favour one over the other as the training is often so different. However, it’s sometimes the case that with training going well, increasing the distance with dedication and care so it’s effective, the endurance obtained can lead to improvements in speed at the shorter distance naturally. My male chairmans runner of the month has long been an ultra runner and despite injuries impacting progress at times he has bounced back – taken the sensible approach and come back with a-vengeance. A sensible approach is something the coaches will back me up celebrating. It has led to a improvement in short distance performance that even took this runner by surprise himself. Dipping sub 19 (twice) for the first time during January after gradual improvements over the last couple of months he is flying high. He is still training and racing long smashing both disciplines with apparent ease. My chairmans male runner of the month is Jamie Vanstone.
From time to time the club will gain new members who come with a pedigree. We have some amazing runners in our midst but this month we’ve had newcomers from the North. OK, I’ve probably given the game away already but the build up to this was always going to be difficult to make discrete. The impact of our new arrivals has been dramatic. During January we’ve seen a 3rd female finisher overall in the Buff 10k – which people will know is a challenging route – and recognising the placement at the point of disaster another accolade was on the cards in The Pudding Run. Anyone there will know that a fall on the beach brought an end to that chance but it was well and truly on! A startling introduction to the club that warrants instant recognition. Anticipating good things to come over 2018 but recognising the impact on the club in the first month my chairmans female runner of the month is Anneliese Loveluck.
Well done guys.