February 2024 review


February saw our members complete 261 parkruns across 59 parkruns with 32 different locations. Overseas tourism included Jo and I at Caferella parkrun in Rome, Denise Bradley at Bushy parkrun in Dublin, Helen Griffiths at Navan parkrun in Ireland, and Emma and Rob Loyns at Jamiaca Pond parkrun in Boston, USA. Emma was also running her 100th parkrun whilst in Boston.

Other highlights in the month include Johnson’s tours taking a mini-bus load of Phoenix runners to Oaklands parkrun. Claire Goldsworthy ran her first tourism parkrun after her first 243 were all at Porthcawl with University Parks the venue. There were overall first finishes in the month for Jake Tasker at Aberfields and Jamie Verran at Cosmeston Lakes whilst Carys Bissmire was first lady at Maesteg.


There were a couple of XC races with Gareth Battle and myself the only OPR members running at the Gwent League Margam fixture which was probably one of the muddiest XC events I’ve ever done. We did have a better attendance just a couple of miles down the road from Margam Park at Kenfig Nature Reserve where there was a lot less mud but a lot more sand for the West Glam fixture which saw 15 members running. Jake Tasker took the victory whilst Jade B was our first lady across the line.

Jake took another win at the Reverse 10 where he broke his own club record for 10 miles with a staggering 52:45. Claire DB ran a PB of 1:21:22 whilst Lee DB made it a great day for the Dunbar-Bowen’s with a PB of 1:36:36. Katie Plimmer finished in 1:33:33.

The clubs trail championship fixture for February were the Caerphilly Trail races which depending on your fondness of mud could either be described as glorious or horrendous – it was extremely muddy and slippery underfoot by all accounts. In the 5K, Sarah Davies was 3rd overall and 1st lady in a time of 40:59 which probably goes some way to showing just how tough conditions were. Bev Sheard also completed the 5K. Six other members had the pleasure of doing double that distance through the mud in the 10K with Jade our first lady followed closely by Claire Dunbar-Bowen.

Five members took on a much more flatter, road 10K with now long-standing Llanelli Half Marathon adding the distance to their event. Wayne Hayhurst was our first finisher followed by Phill and Steph Iveson. Jon Batchelor and Helen Griffiths completed our runners in the 10K. In the Half Marathon, Gareth Richards ran a speedy 1:26 whilst Connor Panting ran a 1:28:01 PB. Unbelievably, Toby Kearns ran exactly the same time as his PB from Cardiff Half last year with a 1:29:14. Wayne Randall ran a 1:39 PB – Wayne’s HM PB was over 2 hours 30 minutes when he first joined the club. Kris Denholm paced 2 hours at the event.

On the same day, Jo and I were in Naples for the Napoli Half Marathon where I ran 1:50 on what was my 40th birthday and Jo ran 2:16. In a third different country on the same day, Chris Richards was running the Bath Two Tunnels Half Marathon which he completed in 1:53.

Carl Walsh was our only runner in the Brecon to Cardiff ‘Extreme’ edition. The organisers, Run-Walk-Crawl decided to mark the anniversary of the traditional 44 miler which normally follows the Taff Trail from Brecon to Cardiff (or actually Nantgarw) with a special ‘extreme’ alternative version. This alternative was nearer to the original distance of 50 miles but featured a route that included numerous off road climbs through the mountains. Carl finished in just over 13 hours.

Chair’s Runners of the Month

My first choice has shown great prowess ever since becoming a member.  Setting high standards for herself, she strives to achieve great things – and always does!  Sometimes self-exterted pressure can weigh heavy and our own expectations of great things in the outcome can mean that even when we achieve, we don’t always celebrate it.  Others look on and are inspired – but that doesn’t mean that the outcome will inspire us ourselves.  Success can be measured in so many ways and embracing every different way heightens our enjoyment of running.  I’ve seen that steadily enter the mindset of my first choice.  Embracing when it goes well – as it does so often – but also learning to accept that when it doesn’t – the process and the sheer enjoyment of being out there is enough to warm the heart and lift the soul.  While accolades are collected – and were obtained in February – I want to celebrate as much the mindset shift to welcome whatever the race may bring and use it to smile at the experience as much as the outcome.  As I write this, serious injury is preventing running – but sheer determination ensures that she keeps showing up – sharing her determination to keep moving – keeping fit and building strength – working sensibly to recover well and be ready to take on the world again.  When she does she will do it with flair – but also embracing every ounce of enjoyment out of the experience – and in doing so continue to inspire us all with it.  I am very proud to announce my first choice for February 2024 Chair’s Runner of the Month as Jade Bazylciewicz.  Keep inspiring us with your journey Jade!!

My second choice also shows true grit – something I applauded in another last month.  Courage and determination in the face of difficulty.  Some of us face enormous challenges in our running journey.  Physical and psychological.  Everyone’s story is different and the path is rarely easy.  Injuries come and go.  Motivation wanes.  We ebb and flow, returning for bursts – the frequency and length of which vary.  But life can throw in challenges too.  It conspires against us often.  Things we are not in control of prod and poke at the process to send it off-balance.  We roll with the punches and keep coming back for more.  But sometimes, those challenges are big and keep getting bigger.  Sometimes the running is the balance – the thing that makes the path that little bit straighter.  When it’s impacted it takes strength and a great deal of care to ensure we can continue in some form while allowing the body chance to recover and allowing the healing power of activity do its job.  All the while, battling the enormous challenges that life throws at us.  Epic races were tackled and completed.  Appearance at training to keep a level head.  Admiration in the utmost for the dedication through adversity to my second Chair’s Runner of the Month to Chris Richards.  I know that injury is playing havoc right now with running but we look forward to when things are running smoothly again. 💙