This month saw 172 parkrun finishes between our members at 19 different parkrun venues. As we as covering many of the South Wales parkruns, we had tourists at Swindon, Durham, Longrun Meadow, Bushy, Reading, Stonehouse, Barking, Bakewell and Wythenshawe parkruns.
Of note in month was David Kembery running the inaugural Parc (prison) parkrun and setting a course record of 22:15 which still stands at the time of writing. Karl Johnson ran at his 50th different parkrun venue for his ‘Half-Cowell’ status joining less than 3000 parkrunners worldwide to achieved that milestone.
Karl also ran his 100th parkrun with Grangemoor eventually being the venue after storms meant that Pontypridd (1st choice) and Maesteg (2nd choice) had were cancelled that morning following several other South Wales parkruns that had already cancelled the day before. Richard Lowcock James became the 3rd member of the club to run his 250th parkrun at the start of the month, with Alun Wylde celebrating his 50th parkrun on the same day.
The Lovelucks ran their first ever parkruns and tore up the record books with Anneliese clocking a new female club record of 20:41 whilst Steve’s time of 19:28 earned him another club age category record. We had 52 runners at Porthcawl on 20/10/18 for the latest Zero to Hero graduation and despite a huge proporation of our runners being in Snowdon the week after, we still had 36 runners at Porthcawl with many of the previous weeks first timers returning and improving on their debut times.
We had an incredible 91 members finish this years Cardiff Half Marathon. Neil Jones led the way with a new club record of 1:18:33 with Ryan Evans getting a PB of 1:24:11 as our next finisher and Niki couldn’t quite improve on his PB just a few seconds behind. Dai James smashed his PB and came agonisingly close to making it 4 of our runners under 1:30 with a 1:30:09.
The PB list is incredible so here goes – well done to Simon Williams, Anotonio Antoniazzi, Steven James, Chris Roberts, Kevin James, Nigel Hitchings, Dawn Hopkins, Alun Wylde, Sam Miller, David McCann, Wayne Randall, Jo Gamba, Ashley Howells, Sarah Littlewood, Sara Bayliss, Nige Rees, Adam Rowe, Brett Bonell, Louise Foster, Emma Winch, Ian Lewis, Beverley Sheard, Gary Loo, Emma Marshall, Sally Littlehales, Deb Griffin, Stephanie Dyke, Fran Collins, Rosaleen Lian, Shawn James, Debbie Bennion, Deborah Edwards, Hannah Knight, Sharon Pritchard, Tammie Baker, Alexis Barrett, Siobhan James, Shelley Evans, Jamie Puddy, Siân Bright, Siân Jenkins, Cath Griffiths, Leah Morgan and Nicola Allen. Martin Beard and Natalie Esp ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon where Natalie beat her previous years time by an incredible 36 minutes showing her remarkable improvement over the past 12 months. Karl ran the Stroud Half Marathon in just over 2 hours to tick another event off in his mission to run 18 halves or longer in 2018.
Before we get onto Snowdon, Niki Puleio ran the Bilboa Marathon in 3:16:41 and Chris Pratt returned to the Keilder Marathon managed a sub 4 hour clocking.
At Snowdonia Marathon the club had a record 43 finishers which incredibly is more than we’ve had running parkrun in some weeks earlier on in the year. Freezing temperatures at the start and a strong headwind for much of the second half of the race gave the already testing course an extra bite. Neil Jones lead the way but conditions meant that his quest to go sub 3 at Snowdon fell just short with a 3:02:06. Neil Price was up next with Gareth Richards and Aled Hughes all getting in well under the 4 hour mark. Wayne Hayhurst set himself a new marathon PB as did Dan Clark. Denise Bradley ran 4:34:00 PB and was our first female finisher. She later received a Welsh Championship Medal for finishing in the top 3 in her age category.
The PB’s continued with Dai McCann, Mike Brian, Nige Rees (who ran quicker at Snowdon than he did at London?!), Peter Walsh, Shaun Evans, Ashley Howells, Hannah Bartle, Rhiannon Buckley, Leigh Francis, Wayne Randall, Alexis Barrett, Dawn Hopkins and Shelley Evans. Many of those completing their first ever marathons.
The only 5 miler of the month saw Shawn and Julie ran the Ghost Run in Cardiff whilst the only 10K of the month saw Shawn Cullen and Jayne Powney run the Swansea Epic 10K. At the 11 mile Ponty Plod race the Lovelucks were adding more prizes to their collection with Anneliese finishing first lady whilst Steve picked up another great age category placing. We had 15 runners in total at the event with many using it as a final long run before Snowdon a week later.
This year the club has officially entered the Gwent Cross Country League. The first fixture was at Llandaff fields where Niki, Chris Pratt and Simon Williams ran whilst Juliet Amner ran in the womens race. The fixture also doubled up as a fixture in the British Cross Country series meaning several Elite runners were on show.
Last but certainly not least, 5 runners took on one of the toughest races in the South Wales race calendar – the Gower 50 miler. Gareth Richards was our first member across the line with Kris Denholm next up. Both knocked over an hour off their previous Gower 50 attempts. Nick Harris was next up with Simon Harrison and Liz Sim running the course together finishing in just over 14 gruelling hours.
What a month – from Zero to Hero’s running their first 5K to 50 mile Ultra-runners and everything in between!
Chairman’s Runners of the Month
October was a great month for running… As Autumn well and truly sets in event frequency peaks before the inevitable downturn into Winter as the nights draw in. My word of the month is “epic” – one which gets trawled out every year as my favourite marathon concludes the month on the roads around Snowdonia. A great race and wonderful atmosphere within the club as we always take many up there. Epic can also be used to describe the enormous turnout at Cardiff Half this year. Wonderful running from lots and lots of Phoenix!
My first selection is from that crazy bunch who headed up north. Someone whose running is always inspirational. One of the first people I met in the club back in 2014. Not unlike many of us there have been periods of injury which have prevented good progress for her but when the going was good, it was good! With a unique level of determination she faces down races in a way that teaches us all valuable lessons. Totally committed to her training but also more than willing to help and guide others through theirs. I’m sure many will join me in saying she has been an inspiration to them throughout both their training and their racing. In October she was first lady finisher in Snowdonia in a very impressive time of 4:34 – a marathon PB (how crazy is that on that course?) – coming down the finishing straight very strong holding a photo of her parents aloft as she crossed the line to honour their memory. Impressive in it’s own right, but it also warranted a Welsh Athletics Masters Gold Medal for being first in her age category! I am absolutely thrilled to award my Chairman’s female runner of the month for October to Denise Bradley. Well done Denise and thank you for all the inspiration and encouragement you give to our running community.
With so many picking up Personal Bests this month it was so difficult to choose based on performance. The beauty of this award, though, is that I have free rein on reasons for awarding. For some, their running is out shadowed by other commitments they have within the club. Giving their time to make sure other peoples running journeys are on the right track. None more so than a coach. Training sessions with club involve giving your own time and often not being credited with your own achievements. This affects your ability to get your own training done for your own events. I’ve already given the game away, I’m sure… A unique opportunity presented itself this month. A new parkrun initiative to introduce events into prisons came to Wales for the first time during October. Working at the prison provided a totally unique opportunity to get involved in the inaugural running with a course record being set. He doesn’t like to talk about it though! He went on to tackle the Snowdonia Marathon at the end of the month and I had the great pleasure of sharing much of the distance with him, on and off, as we played cat and mouse. We mutually supported each other through the last few miles finishing with tales to tell of a tough day, physically and emotionally. I saw this guy dig very, very deep to fight off the demons at the end of the race!! I have no hesitation awarding my Chairman’s male runner of the month to David Kembery. Well done Dai!