December 2018 review


This month saw 245 parkrun finishes by our members across 52 parkrun events and 34 different locations. parkrun tourism appears to hit an all time high with 15 different Welsh parkruns visited whilst across the border our members completed parkruns at Market Harborough, Minehead, Dartford, Henley Wood, Plymvalley, Stonehouse, Somerdale Pavilion, Finsbury, Eden Project, Winchester, Northampton, Hamstead Heath, Heartlands, Telford, Churchfields and Bushy.

Further afield, Gwyneth Steddy ran at Omagh parkrun in Northern Ireland, Chris Roberts ran at Amager Fælled in Denmark, whilst Tim and Philippa ran at Toolern Creek in Australia 5 times during the month.

December was a busy month for parkruns with 5 Saturdays plus an additional chance to run a parkrun on Christmas Day. This year we had a record 9 runners on Christmas Day across 5 different locations including Chris Roberts who ran at Bushy parkrun which was also his 50th different parkrun venue. Incredibly, there was a parkrun UK record attendance of 2011 runners at Bushy parkrun that day. I also ran my 50th different parkrun in December with Aberbeeg being the venue for mine. There are now 5 of us who have reach ‘Half-Cowell’ status.

Other highlights in month included Adrian Pearce being first finisher at Maesteg on 2 occasions bringing his total number of first finishes up to 6. Porthcawl broke their attendance record twice with 458 on the 22nd and 499 on the 29th. Those parkruns were included in the Festive Four which I’ll come onto again later.

Tammie Baker, Claire Taylor, Rhiannon Sian and Sian Jenkins all capped off an amazing year of running with further improvements on their parkrun PB’s during the month. There were several other PB’s during the month including one of the other side of the world with Philippa Rees bagging herself a PB whilst parkrunning in Australia.


5K races

With plenty of Santa / Elf / Reindeer runs to choose from over the festive period, the one that our runners are drawn to is the Aberavon Santa Run 5K. Chip timed, Santa outfit included and a goodie bag including mini Christmas pudding. It was the 5th edition of the run and my 5th year of running it. This year saw 27 of us head down the coast with many doing parkrun first despite horrible cold, wet and windy conditions. Despite the weather, I think most still enjoyed the run.

As it has been in each of the past 6 years that the club has been going, Nos Galan provided the final race of the year for our members. Simon Williams was our sole representative in the Elite race and finished in 21:55. We had a record 29 runners in the ‘fun run’ with Aled Hughes finishing 2nd overall in 19:56 and several other high position finishes with Kris Denholm 8th, Gareth Richards 23rd, myself in 24th and Chris Pratt in 32nd out of 912 runners. Jo Gamba was our first female finisher and 17th female overall out of 485. There were PB’s on the night for Wayne Randall, Rhiannon Sian, Natalie Aryal and Ffion Smith.

5 miles

This rarely run distance saw 2 events in December with the main one attracting 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.

Fiona Evans, Denise Bradley and Helen Griffiths ran the Old Father’s Time 5 miler in Cardiff between Christmas and New Year. This race only allows over 35’s so I’m looking forward to finally being allowed to run next year.


The Cottrell Park Christmas Cracker 10K saw 30 members take on the multi terrain course including the infamous Bunker Hill that also forms part of the relay section that many of us tackled earlier this year. Gareth Richards was our first finisher just ahead of myself. Liz Sim was our first female finisher just ahead of Emma Winch and Emma Loyns.

10 miles

A rarely run distance but Keith Coleman completed the Llandeilo 10 miler on New Years Eve in 1:23:58.


Only one marathon runner in December and unsurprisingly it was Elizabeth Sim. This was her 9th race this year at marathon distance or further which is the most of anyone in the club during 2018. Whilst most of us were last minute Christmas shopping or wrapping presents just 2 days before Christmas, Liz was running the Portsmouth Marathon which she completed in 5:09:48.

Other races

It’s not often we have a smaller turnout for a race than a previous year but given it was the morning after the club Christmas party, then it’s not too surprising we had a few less at the Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run. That said, we still had 24 members take on the tough multi-terrain course and I believe we were the most represented club at the event. Niki Puleio led our members home with the Lovelucks up next and adding more age category trophies to their collection.

I had a last minute call up to wear my South Wales vest for a second time at the Welsh Regional Cross Country Championships earlier in the month. The course consisted of 3 undulating and very muddy laps around Llandrindod Wells against some of the best runners throughout the age groups in Wales.

Boxing Day saw the annual Porthcawl Lions race which had to be shortened to around 6K due to a road traffic accident which happened as the front runners were heading towards Rest Bay. Niki Puleio was our first runner back with Sian Price our first lady.

Festive Four

This annual competition consists of runners signing up to run 2 5K’s, either of the Boxing Day races or Old Fathers Time 5 miler and the Prince of Wales Kenfig race on New Years Day. There are 3 scoring systems including simply the fastest overall, age graded scoring and most improved whereby runners times are compared to their ‘season’s best’ parkrun time for the year.

I know technically this should be the January update blog but Tammie Baker’s further improvements over these events bagged her second place in the most improved female standings. Adrian Pearce finished first in the age graded standings and 3rd in the accumulated time standings, whilst Gregg Harris finished 3rd in the most improved classification. Well done to all the Phoenix runners who completed the series.

Chairman’s Runners of the Month

The final month of the year.  Most are winding down to enjoy the festivities.  Just to make sure that we don’t over indulge there’s a friendly competition open to local clubs which encourages participation in 4 events over the festive period.  Accolades are on offer for sheer performance as well as recognising those with impressive achievements weighted to their age and those who show big improvements over their year of running.  Although the last compulsory event in the series is on the first of January the majority of them fall in the last month of the year and surround the time when a lot of us are tucking in to mince pies, large cooked dinners and maybe a little tipple.  If you’ve kept abreast of proceedings you’ll note that we had significant finishes by a couple in the club.  One has already been honoured this year and continues to excel.  The other smashed one category with a clean victory.  A relatively recent addition to the club joining through his attendance at Maesteg parkrun and being wooed by the members there.  His running has impressed many since before joining and now he is a member we’re looking forward to big things from him over the coming months.  He likes his tough off road events and has recorded admirable times in those that he’s attended.  With a very sociable nature too he’s fitting in nicely with the club culture.  I am very pleased to award my Chairman’s male runner of the month to Adrian Pearce.  Well done Adrian, looking forward very much to what 2019 holds for you!

We’ve had many come through the ranks this year – through our massively popular and, dare I say it, very successful Zero 2 Hero programme.  From complete non-runners to heroes in 10 weeks.  parkrun for graduation and from there most never look back.  Continuing their journey with regular parkrunning and signing up for events, steadily increasing the distance, to enter new territory that they would previously never have dreamed of before.  I love it when I see that glint in someones eye – when you know they’ve discovered the joy that running can bring.  Then, when it takes hold there’s a determination to improve.  It was never the goal, but it slowly becomes the goal.  Three personal best times recorded during December for one.  Steadily improving.  Steadily discovering what her body is capable of doing.  Dismissing each run as though it’s worse than the last but crossing the line seconds ahead of the previous run with elation.  I’ve run back many times to run in with her and share in that joyous moment.  I’ve always had a penchant for running back after a run to meet our back runners and encourage them in – it’s amazing what a bit of moral support can give when they most need it.   If I say it’s a biased choice you’re likely to know immediately who I’m talking about, but it’s the kind of endeavour I want to celebrate.  I know from experience that she hates the cold, she hates the rain and she hates running.  Hated (past tense) – she’s learning to love all three!  I saw her stop 400 yards short of the line on her first parkrun in tears – embarrassed that she’ll be seen as last.  But she finished!  She’s continued, pushed on further and has improved week on week.  A complete change in character.  A new sense of determination and focus.  She now looks forward to parkrun and races with a nervous excitement that says she has well and truly caught the bug and as a result the performances are improving!  I am delighted to award my Chairman’s female runner of the month to Ffion Smith.  Well done Ffion – keep it up!

2018 review


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. 

5 milers

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. 

10 milers

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.

Half Marathons

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.

Other Races

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

  1. Cardiff Half Marathon 91
  2. Ogmore Castle BCRL fixture 86
  3. Bryngarw BCRL fixture 78
  4. Tuska Beach BCRL fixture 77
  5. Newbridge Fields BCRL fixture 73
  6. Kenfig Sands BCRL fixture 63
  7. 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)

  1. Gareth Jenkins 37
  2. Karl Johnson 33
  3. Niki Puleio 33
  4. Chris Pratt 32
  5. Alun Wylde 30
  6. Gareth Richards 29
  7. Jo Gamba 28
  8. Shawn Cullen 25
  9. Jayne Powney 24
  10. Nick Harris 24

Most events overall (including parkrun) – 2017 totals in brackets

  1. 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.

Weekly Waffle – 30th December 2018

As we say goodbye to the last weekend of the year we look back on what has been a busy week for most….

Despite the festivities many of you still got out there and ran!

When the dinner is eaten and all have enjoyed the big day, Boxing Day comes round and the event calendar opens up once again.

Familiar territory along the seafront drew the Phoenix in numbers.  Despite a road traffic accident blocking the path the slightly shorter than expected event was enjoyed by all in perfect running conditions.

Some headed further afield for their running fix with a significant presence down west enjoying a flat-ish course with impressive times and awards collected for significant placings.  

Some clearly didn’t overdo the celebrations!

Training moved to the morning up the valley with a few heading round the keyhole (not through it) to the top of The Bwlch, some for the first time, to sit on top of the mist covered valley with its spectacular views.  Great to get out and enjoy the cool morning air on a very sociable run!

Saturday most were ready for their fix of parkrun and record numbers attended all around the country and further afield.  The drizzly conditions didn’t put people off  and a huge attendance on the seafront swelled numbers there to a new record for the event almost reaching 500!

Sunday’s trail extravaganza enjoyed large numbers with an innovative prize bonanza twist to the end of year session.  Much fun was had by all on the “Tour d’Dunes”!

A few headed to the capital to run with the old timers around Bute Park, enjoying snacks on the way home having earned the calories on the run!

The last weekend of the year.

Everyone is in a reflective mood, sharing running totals and speculating on the year ahead.

Exciting plans are forming…

Heart warming as well to hear this week stories of the friendships formed and subsequently strengthened within the club that bring the Phoenix family closer together.

The next weekly waffle will be the first weekend of 2019…

Let’s make it a great start!

Signing off 2018 with a big, proud smile on my face…

Well done Ogmore Phoenix – you’re pretty damn awesome!



Weekly Waffle – 24th December 2018

Only slightly delayed…  

It’s time for the weekly waffle…

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Christmas time.  

Elves have been naughty on their shelves for a while now, but one in particular has been causing havoc at one of our local hotels!!  He broke away from his daily mischief to bring joy to the Ogmore Phoenix Juniors at their Christmas celebrations.  Being the Naughty Elf he had to play a trick when introducing the real Santa who had heard of the exploits of the Phoenix and decided to pay us a visit during his busy build up to the big day!!  Lots of singing and dancing followed and much fun was had by all!  Seeing the happy faces of children enjoying the celebrations surrounding Christmas is a wonderful thing.  They feel the magic in the air and to be a part of lifting their hearts and helping to continue that Christmas spirit is incredible.  Well done to all involved!

Training throughout the week has involved festive celebrations with many finding their way to sit down for refreshments after their runs and spread some joy!

The weekend arrives and the festive parkrun fairy calls all to a start line somewhere.  It is common at this time of year for there to be many on their travels.  Visiting friends or family or simply getting away to enjoy this time of rest together somewhere different.  As a result a large number of tourists completed their runs at new locations sharing their experiences and pictures for us to admire. 

Our two home parkruns attracted big numbers as lots shared the joy of running in festive attire.  The weather was much kinder this week, which helped, and celebrations were certainly not dampened in either location.  parkrun is a wonderful institution and has been a cornerstone in bringing a lot of us together.  It was wonderful on Saturday to share happy times like these with many friends who have become so through parkrun.  Not only in the Phoenix but far and wide within the running community.  Back to the cafe with fellow club members sharing the exciting build up to the big day with hugs aplenty on parting wishing each other joy for the remainder of the festive period.  Heart warming stuff.  

On Sunday a lone ranger headed down to the south coast to get another marathon completed before Christmas is upon us.  This little lady has notched up significant event miles this year and looks likely to not be slowing down anytime soon.  Much kudos for doing so while most of us are overdoing the food at home!

Training numbers were lower this week but still some turned up to keep the legs ticking over on the trails and at Zero 2 Hero.  Well done all!


As we close on another weekend we are on the eve of Noel.

Running takes a back seat to family, friends and festivities… usually!  

Some will venture out and get another parkrun in on Christmas Day.  If you do, let us know and share the pictures – because you know we all really want to be joining you!

Some will be venturing to the beach to dip in the sea… One year I will have a go!!

Whatever you are doing over Yuletide, keep us updated on your antics.

With much love I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!  



Weekly Waffle – 16th December 2018

A week on from our wonderful Christmas knees up we’re back to what binds us… running!

Weather again is our nemesis.  Numbers heading out of the door to training improve slightly but the darker, colder nights still keep some indoors. 

Christmas is coming.

Responsibilities shift.
Families are so important at this time of year and demands at home keep some from training.  We know you’re there in spirit but some things are more important and quite rightly so.  We’ll all still be here when demands change again.

The weekend arrived and the weather worsened.  Cold.  Wet.  Windy.  Undeterred, The Phoenix still had to meet their constitutional requirements and parkruns abound.  Home and away.  Battling the elements was the order of the day but despite that for the very first time in our history we saw a first, second and third Ogmore Phoenix placing at a home event.  A unique and impressive outcome that is worthy of celebration.  Although parkrun, fundamental to it’s ethos, is not about winning or losing, an opportunity to register a significant placing is one that most of us would covet.  We are proud of this achievement at the same time as celebrating all those who stood on the start line at 9am on Saturday.  No matter how long it takes we salute all our runners for just stepping out of the door in their trainers.

Some went the extra mile on Saturday and donned Santa outfits to brave the extreme elements hitting the coast to the west.  With smiles aplenty mother natures worst didn’t deter maximum effort from those who took on the challenge.

Overnight it calmed.

Brighter skies.  

Elevated temperatures.  

OK, it’s worth saying it’s not tropical but a few degrees make a lot of difference at this time of year.  

Numbers travelled east down the A48.  Not to play golf but to run where the sport is played.  Significant numbers dressed in festive attire headed off road to circumnavigate the greens in this Cracker that proves to be increasingly popular year on year.

Others found a route which is familiar as one of our home parkruns for a fun run dressed in festive gear and enjoyed it immensely.

While all of this goes on our volunteers continue to support our recently graduated heroes continuing their running journey.

All the while collections take place within our midst to provide much needed supplies for those within our community who found themselves without shelter during the festive season.  Providing things for those who haven’t from those of us who have.

Another weekend draws to a close and despite the demands of family and home-life most still manage to fit their runs in.  For those who can’t we reach out and remind them that we know that life demands a great deal and often takes them away from the sport that we love.  It should go without saying that when the demands of life outside club ease we are always here and will welcome all back with welcome arms when time allows.

We enter the final week in the build up to the big day. 

The man in red with the white beard prepares for his annual journey.

No matter what you wished for we hope that all enjoy a happy build up to the big day.

The Phoenix continues to spread its wings and spread joy wherever it flies.

Fly high my friends.



Weekly Waffle – 9th December 2018

Whenever I think I’ve summed up the best weekend another one comes along to challenge it for the top spot.  This weekend was amongst those!

High winds and on, off torrential rain didn’t dampen the parkrun spirit and the Phoenix were out in force yet again to get their 5k in at 9am.  On the sea front we were belted with the wind on the way out, and while helped by it on the way back we were also soaked!

Our other home was also well attended with some impressive performances.  The usual tourists also found new haunts to visit.  An unusual little route for three members with a unique spiral in and out part way round the looped course. 

It’s weekends like this, when the parkrun weather fairy fails to protect us from mothers natures worst, that we particularly pay tribute to those of our number who give up their time voluntarily to make sure these events take place.  Standing out in the cold wind and rain to make sure we get to experience our constitutional despite the conditions.  We thank you.  We salute you.

One headed up to mid Wales to represent the region in a cross country event which delivered copious quantities of mud in testing conditions.

Saturday night arrives.  A moment we’ve waited for for a long time.

The Ogmore Phoenix Christmas Party brought our family together for Christmas dinner.  

With surprises, prizes, fun and food we met in front of the Christmas tree bedecked with unique handmade Phoenix baubles.  One for everyone to take home.  Our family members who opened their envelopes to see a golden hue from their ticket enjoyed being treated as VIP’s for the night.  A plethora of prizes were won.  Milestone t-shirts were awarded.  Good food was consumed before we danced and sang the night away together.  It’s true that we run and that’s what brought us together but it’s something stronger that binds us and Saturday night we proved that.

Family Phoenix.  

Family Christmas.

Sunday was always going to be hard for those who partied the night away…

Some stayed very local.  Thankfully a slight improvement in the weather meant only wet conditions underfoot greeted those who ran for a pudding on mud, grass, tarmac, sand and water.  Lots of water.  But the sun even made an appearance as we crossed the beach! 

Puddings were won by all but notably a 2nd place was picked up by one of our regular speedies.

The capital drew others to a race wearing festive outfits with all enjoying immensely.

Another one draws to a close.

It’s been a good ‘un.

A damn good ‘un.

Phoenix bind together.



Don’t change.

Keep doing what you’re doing.

Oh, and one more thing…

Merry Christmas.



Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by a chairman very proud of everyone who volunteers their time to help make weekends like this happen as well as every single runner that heads out of the door to further their running and pursue their dreams!  Keep dreaming.  

Weekly Waffle – 2nd December 2018

“Say hello, wave goodbye”

It came.  It went.

It’s 2018 and week 48 is over.

The weather changes constantly as the end of year draws near…  

Will it be fine?  Will it be windy? Will it be cold?

More chance of predicting the lottery than predicting what Mother Nature will throw at us?

Should we care? 


Skin is waterproof and we have more than enough layers to put on to keep the elements from affecting us.  

As the storms struck we still made training and the recent restructuring saw numbers remain high throughout!

Saturday arrives and the 9am ritual begins…

But where I ask you?

Everywhere is the reply!!

With more events on the calendar than usual we show our love for travelling afar. 

Scandinavia, Australia, England and Wales.  

Wherever we laid our hat, that’s our parkrun home!

Good times from all – whether that’s in terms of performance or in terms of enjoyment!!

Never forget our ethos – run to enjoy the experience as much as the outcome!

A new day dawns with our heroes continuing their path to super stardom…

Our trail lovers tackled our toughest local route in less than perfect conditions but as is the won’t of those who covet the trails they all braved the experience with valour!  We all loves a hill or two!

As we see the inevitable worsening of conditions, to even take a step out of the door in running gear is admirable and so to see consistent training levels in spite of this is heart warming.  You’re a hardy bunch alright!

We bond.  

We bind together.  

We share experiences and when the going gets tough we lean on each other.  

Our bond is stronger than just the running.

I’ve said it before…


Running Friends.

A mutual love for something that has touched us all.  

Whether in competition with others, competition with ourselves or not in competition at all, we all respect that we are fortunate to continue our running journeys.  As melodramatic as it may sound, please spare of thought for those of our number who are currently struggling.  Injury dogs many runners during their “career” and when it prevents them from enjoying the same experiences we are it can have a serious impact on their well being.  We extend love to those within our community in such a position.  It will come back.  You will recover.  When you do it will be stronger and fitter.  We look forward to welcoming you back when you are ready.

So as we enter a new month we look forward to the festive season…

A week from club celebrations we are getting excited to enjoying the party together… en masse!

In the meantime keep heading out of the door and keeping those legs ticking over!



Fly Phoenix.  Fly.

As always, it goes without saying…