August 2020 review

Virtual / (not)parkrun

Week 20 saw 39 entries with Neil Price setting the fastest time with a 19:58 and Fiona Drysdale setting the fastest ladies time with 24:58. Week 21 saw the lowest attendance to date with 36 entries with Rhodri Thomas and Fiona Drysdale submitting the fastest male and female times respectively. A bit of gentle encouragement saw the attendance rise back to 49 for week 22 which was no doubt also helped by cooler conditions. Gareth Davies continued his return from a long standing injury and topped the standings with a 24:08 with new member Melanie Thomas the fastest female time at 26:02.

Week 23 saw a repeat of week 21 with Rhodri and Fiona recording the fastest male and female times. The final week of the month saw attendance hit the 50 mark for the first time in a while with Neil Price and Emma Marshall posting the fastest male and female times.

Races – yes – real ones!

A relaxation on some restrictions led to some races going ahead in August. New member Carl Walsh ran the Bath Two Tunnels Marathon in just over 4 hours. The Severn Bridge 10K also went ahead, albeit with the start moved to the English side of the bridge as the race could go ahead under current rules at the time in England but not in Wales. Runners were allocated start times with only a few runners going off in each wave, effectively making it more of a time trial than a race, but still getting to ‘race’ against other runners nonetheless which is something we haven’t experienced for a long time. Niki Puleio ran 39:47 whilst Carl Walsh ran 41:00.

Virtual events

With many events hoping to restart over the next few months, it has meant a drop off in virtual events available and therefore participation by our members. However, we still managed quite a few in the month.

The Cardiff Summer Series continued with the 4K event finishing on the first weekend of the month. Only Keith Coleman, Nick Harris and Pippa Clark submitted times for this one and in doing so completed the 1, 2, 3 and 4 Kilometre series.

The final Run for All Aberavon 5K of the series saw 21 of our members take on a 5K course of their choosing. Adrian Pearce set a blistering time of 18:21 followed by Rhodri Thomas in 20:41 and myself in 21:32. Claire Dunbar Bowen was next up and first club female with 22:28 whilst regular virtual racer Sarah Davies was the next female finisher in 25:44.

Leanne Parsons was amongst a few members that did the Blackpool virtual 10K. Judith Jeeves did the ‘Run 5 for Pride’ virtual whilst Judith and several others also completed the Virtual ‘Gin Run Half Marathon’ – I’m sure some Gin was consumed by some of our runners afterwards if not during / before as obviously we like to get into the spirit of things and do them properly!

Only Sarah and I entered and submitted times for the Twister Half Marathon – another in the series of events where time is taken off for elevation gained during the run.

Another fun challenge from Infinity Running was the ‘Run Around the Clock’ Challenge. This challenge was for runners to complete a 1 mile or 2K run a 1pm, 2 mile or 2K run at 2pm and so on collecting all 12 hours over the course of a week or month. David and Bev Sheard completed the challenge during August whilst Kris Denholm used the challenge as he continued his RED (Run Every Day) streak in 2020 as well as other mileage challenges.

Phoenix 7 in 7

The success of the Phoenix 24 which many of our members did in June has certainly raised the profile of the Phoenix Running Events company and 20 of us signed up for their 7 in 7 event. This time round it involved running at least 1 mile each day for 7 days from Mon 27th July to Sunday 2nd August. For many years, I’ve wanted to do 7 Half Marathons in 7 Days so decided this was a great opportunity with a big shiny medal at the end to mark the achievement. However, I wasn’t happy that 7 Half Marathons would add up to 91.7 miles which I regarded as too close not to do 100 mile week which is just a standard week for an elite athlete who competes at anything from 5K upwards so I was intrigued to see what it was like to just do it once. In the end, I ended up doing 107 miles in 7 miles averaging over 15 miles a day.

A popular target was to go for 7 miles per day for the 7 days. Anthony Kavanagh ended up clocking 61.9 miles with runs ranging from 7 to 11 miles. Sarah Davies aimed to do 7 miles a day but threw in a Half Marathon in the middle of it to end up on 55.2 miles for the week. Sharon Pritchard and Leigh Richards stuck closer to the 7 mile average with 50.3 and 49 miles respectively. Chris Pratt had to rethink his goal after a recent injury and went for 10K per day but like most of us, ended up doing a bit more and ended up on 48.8 miles. Chris Richards, Debbie Bennion and Ken Salvatore clocked up over 40 miles whilst Nick Harris, Dawn Hopkins (who started with a hilly half marathon), Samantha Thompson and Jayne Bissmire all clocked over 30 miles. I’d like to think Phill Iveson purposely finished on exactly marathon distance with 26.2 miles whilst everyone else did an average of at least 5K a day for 21+ miles in total.

FKT (Fastest Known Time)

During the pandemic, there’s been a huge increase in people attempting FKT’s. These are normally ultra distance routes (further than a marathon) and / or on long trail routes, mountains, cycle paths or canal paths. The website linked at the bottom of this section details all the ‘fastest known times’ and anyone can attempt these at any time although some do have specific Winter / Summer records as well. You can also suggest your own although in the spirit of things, it should be something challenging and not fastest known time for one lap of Bridgend Running Track or something.

Our very own Steven James discovered there wasn’t an FKT for the Limestone Way so decided to give the 47 mile route which runs through the Peak District. Most FKT records have a ‘supported’ and ‘unsupported’ option and Steven decided to go for the unsupported option. This meant he had to carry all his supplies with him which included 4 litres of water as well as food and emergency supplies – significantly more than anyone would normally have to carry in a Ultra-Marathon race where you’d normally have one or two bottles and rely on aid stations for topping up on water and food. Steven completed the route in 10 hours and 14 minutes. Upon submitting the relevant evidence, he now has an official FKT record. More about his run can be found on the fastest known time website linked below

Return to Training Sessions

August was the first full month of training sessions being back on with all the guidelines in place. Attendance steadily grew throughout the month with many sessions having the maximum 15 runners that the club is allowing at the present time. Sessions at our original base in Ogmore have been so popular that a second session was introduced with one group starting from the Life Centre and another from the Planka. There was also the introduction of a ’15 minute mile’ group on a Wednesday alongside the long standing session and the Flyers session which gave plenty of opportunity for all runners. A massive thank you to all the coaches and Lirfs who have contributed to allowing sessions to take place again under the current circumstances.

Over to Chris for the Chairman’s Runners of the Month.

Chairman’s Runner of the Month

A glorious summer was getting lots out of the door to get their allowed exercise.  

Training returned and we were able to meet up in groups again.  Freedom returning in some form.

I have said many times that my criteria for selection will change.  It’s difficult at the moment for singling out achievements when events are almost all virtual and I want to spread out the acknowledgements across the board.  One thing I’ve always said has been a huge factor in my improvements and remaining injury free is consistency.  “Consistency is key”.  Virtual parkrun has been a consistent and some have continued to submit times, week in, week out.  Some people have appeared frequently and caught my eye to “doff my cap” to.

We have members with a range of history with the club.  Some have run with us for years and it is from that camp that I make my first choice.  My first choice I’ve always had down as someone very determined.  If my memory serves me correctly, a lover of hills.  Well, living in an area surrounded by them many of us end up that way – either that or just accepting that if we can’t avoid them, we have to run them.  I digress.  I’ve seen this name appear numerous times on virtual parkrun results and usually at or near the top.  Consistency is key.  Keep attending.  I’m not sure whether a family full of runners is a motivator but whatever it is, it’s worthy of note.  Not only this but consistency and significant placing has also put my choice in serious contention for the club championship!  I am delighted to announce my Chairman’s Runner of the Month for August to Fiona Drysdale.  Keep the consistency up Fiona!

My male choice has also shown consistent attendance at virtual parkrun as well as a number of virtual events.  Attendance at Flyers keeps his pace up and he regularly positions near the top of the table in results.  It’s that consistent attendance at training and that determined head to maintain good times – even when the only motivator is a name on the list rather than crossing a finish line.  Not only this but my second choice has been a volunteer who put himself selflessly forward to join our 12 strong team of volunteers always willing to receive a message from members who are struggling through the current crisis.  An ear there for if anyone needs it.  An extra accolade to add additional praise.  I am delighted to announcemy Male Chairman’s Runner of the Month for August to Rhodri Thomas.  Well done Rhodri, thank you and keep up the good work!