This month saw 182 parkrun finishes across 32 events with 22 different parkrun venues. We covered most of Wales with members running at Haverfordwest in the South West of the country to Wepre parkrun in the North East. Outside of Wales, Karl Johnson ran at Burnham and Seaton parkruns, Jo and I ran at Sixfields Upton, Chris Robrets ran at Osmskirk and Barclay parkruns, Dawn ran at Fulham Palace, Liz ran her 99th parkrun overall at Boston whilst Juliet Amner ran at Reigate Priory. Fiona Drysdale wins for furthest parkrun away this month with Fort William parkrun which is close to Ben Nevis in Scotland.
Some highlights in month included Claire Dunbar-Bowen beating her own club age category record with her first sub 23 time of 22:55. Tammie Clemett had an outstanding month with 3 PB’s in 3 parkruns knocking almost 2 minutes off her previous PB time during the month. For the final PB of the month Tammie was joined by Lisa Jenkins, Nicola Allen and Angela Parry at Swansea Bay parkrun where Lisa and Nicola also got PB’s.
At Maesteg, Kris Denholm became the 4th current member to finish first overall at a parkrun, joining David Kembery, Niki Puleio and Neil Jones.
Races in July
The first Wednesday of July saw 15 members at the third and final race of the Aberavon 5K series. Jamie Vanstone led the club members home with Natalie Esp clocking a 30:10 PB accompanied by Jo Betty. Jo ended up finishing 4th overall senior female in the 3 race series.
The 4th race of the Bridgend Running League saw the ‘challenging’ Kenfig Sands 5K fixture. The race was first run 3 years ago as a ‘one off’ between the current Bridgend League clubs. As the main contact for the club at the time for parkrun, I suggested in a regular group e-mail with the other clubs contacts that we could start some sort of Bridgend League and a few months later, mainly due to Steve Brace, the league was up and running. This time out we had 63 runners with Ryan Evans leading the way. With a few of our top runners missing, Brackla and Cornelly gained points on us but we remained second overall. Anneliese Lovelock finished 3rd lady overall.
In his swansong for the club before joining the newly affiliated Pontyclyn Roadrunners, Jamie Vanstone ran a PB and a slightly agonising time of 18:00 in his mission to get sub 18. He ended up doing so a week later in his first 5K for Pontyclyn knocking over 20 seconds off his PB.
The final 5K of the month saw Sian Jenkins, Fran Hipkiss and Alyson Morris complete the challenging Afan Epic 5K.
No 5 milers in July but I’ve missed Porthkerry 5 miler off my last 2 blogs so want to mention the 8 runners that ran the course back in May. Fiona Drysdale led the way whilst a rare 5 mile event allowed for PB’s for Chris Stanlake, Sharon Pritchard, Debbie Bennion and Rhiannon Whitely. Shawn Cullen, Julie Ransom and Pippa Clark completed our finishers on the multi-terrain course which is also the starting venue for the Vale 18 miler.
The month kicked off with the free Maesteg 10K. I was expecting a reasonably flat road 10K so it was a bit of a shock to only discover on the day that it was a reasonably hilly trail race that ended up being 6.7 miles. Niki Puleio finished 2nd overall on a course he often uses on training runs. I was 7th overall whilst Claire DB was 1st female and 8th overall. Sara Bayliss and Jo Betty also completed the challenging course whilst Jayne Powney did the 5K.
On the same day, Chris Pratt completed the Lindley 10K with a course best time of 47:59.
At the Cardiff Epic 10K, Neil Jones finished 1st overall whilst Anneliese was 2nd female and first in her age category with husband Steve also picking up a first in age category prize.
We had 4 runners at the Thornbury 10K where Emma Loyns picked up a new PB whilst there were good age category places for Claire DB, Sharon Pritchard and Debbie Bennion.
Three very different 10K’s on the 3rd Sunday of the month with Kevin James running the Virgin Sport British 10K, Rebecca Newton running Tenby 10K and Bev Sheard completing the Snowdonia Trail 10K.
At the Magor 10K Steve Loveluck finished 3rd in his age category against a strong field of runners, whilst Anneliese set a new female 10K club record with a 41:36.
Finally in a very busy month of 10K’s, Alun Wylde, Debbie Bennion, Sharon Pritchard and Nicola Cornock completed the Afan Epic 10K.
A month of many 10K’s but very few Half Marathons. Peter Harrop completed the Snowdonia Trail Half Marathon – by far the toughest HM I’ve done and I would go as far to say there can’t be many tougher in the UK. We had 10 runners at the Wales Half Marathon in Tenby where Karl Johnson was our first finisher notching up another event for his 18 in 18.
We had 5 runners at the Wales Marathon in Tenby which included Fiona Evans and Helen Griffiths who completed the full distances of all 3 disciplines over the Long Course Weekend. For those that don’t know that’s a 2.4 mile swim on the Friday, a 112 mile bike on the Saturday, and running a marathon on the Sunday. Amazing.
Kris Denholm ran the only other marathon of the month with a 4:14 in scorching conditions at the Dorchester Marathon.
Plenty of other non-standard distance races in the month and the Lovelucks were at it again with Anneliese winning another age category prize at The Loop 6 miler organised by Pontypridd Roadents. Karl Johnson and Brett Bonnell completed the Tintern Trot. 17 of us ran at the Cosmeston Relays where due to a few last minute changes, Jo and I both ran 2 legs for our respective teams. Neil and Sian Price ran at the Buxton Carnival 4 miler. Darija Kennor completed the 14 mile Lundy Island race.
At the more extreme end of the scale, Simon Williams completed the Ham and Lyme 50K Ultra whilst Chris Pratt and David Sheard completed the 39 mile Snowdonia Trail Ultra. Given my comments on the Half Marathon being the toughest event I’ve ever done, then I can’t imagine what running 3 times that distance is like including climbing the summit of Snowdon towards the end.
Well done to all that represented the club this month whether it was a parkrun or an Ultra, be proud to be Phoenix.
Chairman’s runners of the month
July was a month of incredible achievements by so many members. The task of selecting winners becomes more difficult as our membership grows and the members we have continue, en masse, to show so much spirit in their endeavours.
My first accolade goes to someone that I’ve held in high esteem for a long time. I remember not long after joining the club tagging along with her on some club training sessions hearing her regale stories of marathon attempts not ending as planned and how tapering never worked for her because it always seemed to leave her with a cold! It was back then that I gained a sense of reservation from her when it came to the long distances. I’ve seen her take on the might of Snowdonia (and conquer it) but never really show the love for it that some us feel resulting in last year being cycle mounted support crew along the route. Turning to (as some in the club call it) “the dark side” her love for multi-sport has grown and one particular competition wooed her with it’s glamorous approach very much akin to Ironman. Spread over three days, she’d always feared the open waters but with the big five-o approaching it was time to bite the bullet and throw off the shackles of fear to get the job done. This is a runners accolade but when the marathon distance is tackled by someone on day 3 of an event that involves a 2.4 mile sea swim and a 112 mile bike ride on the two days previous it is worthy of very high praise. When it comes from someone who has battled with the fear of open water and a desire to complete the event spanning 7 years it carries even more weight. With her partner in crime at her side (who may be honoured very soon in the same way) she made us all proud the day she completed the full distance with most incredible smile on her face – which was still there when I congratulated her at training the Thursday after!! I am absolutely delighted to award my chairmans female runner of the month to Fiona Evans. Continue to inspire us Fiona…
My second choice this month was a foregone conclusion that it was going to happen at some point soon. It will be difficult to mask who I am talking about really as soon as I mention that he’s the other half of a wonderful couple who have been honoured many times since joining the club just a short time ago for simply outstanding running. It’s almost every month where we see them pick up age category prizes or they appear in the top 3 finishers. This month saw some fantastic running by them both. I honoured one half of the pair back in January but it’s now the time of the other. In a month of great running July saw yet another significant result and a second in age category prize. The benefit of writing this much after the event gives me the benefit of adding that in August he went on to pick up a silver medal in his age category at Llantwit 10k which formed part of the South Wales regional championships with his wife picking up gold in the same age category and third lady overall. Someone who shows consistent form and a passion for representing the club at events is definitely worth of accolade. I have great pleasure in awarding my chairmans male runner of the month to Steve Loveluck.