August 2016 review

Saturday 6 – parkruns

42 runners across 3 parkruns. A massive 39 at Porthcawl which is our second biggest attendance there after we had 46 at the 3rd anniversary run.  Joey Howland, Wayne Hayhurst, Graham Hillman, Victoria Hillman, Julie Webster, Nerys Jenkins and Karen Saunders ran PB’s whilst Natalie Griffiths ran a seasons best which was also a best time in 11 months. Victoria’s time was good enough to put her in the top 10 in the female 5K rankings. Julie Webster finally ran her first parkrun – for those that don’t know, she’s not exactly a beginner having done long course weekend, Ironman’s and is our female club record holder at Half Marathon and Marathon distance. Nerys knocked 52 seconds off her PB and was running her first parkrun since 2011. Karen knocked 48 seconds off her parkrun best.

It was David Kembery’s 100th parkrun but no PB attempt after running down with Melanie as part of marathon training. Chris Pratt, Gareth Richards (who also ran home), myself, Emma Loyns, Liz Davies, Fiona Evans and Steve Riddler carried out a nicely coordinated plan to all meet a different points to run the final few miles down together.

Away from Porthcawl, Julie and Shawn ran at Ashton Court parkrun in Bristol whilst David Sheard ran Pontefract parkrun which had a bumper attendance due to the 401 marathon team being there.

Sunday 7 – Gloucester Marathon and Brecon 10 miler

The inaugural Gloucester marathon was marathon number 7 in under 16 months for Antony who bagged his second marathon PB of the year with a 3:57. Jamie Vanstone was running his 3rd marathon or longer in just 6 weeks which included a 69 mile Ultra. His race didn’t quite go to plan today but still an great effort with 4:34. Wayne was running his second marathon of the year having done the Great Welsh Marathon in Llanelli and finished in a time of 4:15. Keith Coleman was running his second marathon in four weeks and beat his time from Tenby by over 10 minutes.

There were 23 of the Blue Wave at Brecon 10 miler where Niki Puleio broke his own 10 mile club record with a 1:06:34. Only 6 of the 23 had run a 10 mile race previously so it was guaranteed to be PB’s galore and there were excellent times across the board. Kirsty Evans was first Cwm Ogwr female across the line and was less than a minute off breaking the female club record which dates back to August 2013. There were age category club records for Fiona Drysdale and Denise Bradley. Special mention for Dai Power who had a stormer coming in at 1:49:48. Many were also using the event as an ideal training run for Port Talbot and Severn Bridge Half Marathons later in the month.

Saturday 13 – parkruns

45 runners across 3 parkruns which is just 1 below our record. 43 of which were at Porthcawl for Natalie Griffiths 100th parkrun which several Cwm Ogwr members wore fancy dress for to celebrate. There were PB’s for Lloyd West, Ellen Wyn Evans, Matthew Hopkins, Chris West and last months runner of the month, Pippa Clark. Elsewhere, Jamie Vanstone got a PB at Cardiff parkrun whilst Ann Davies ran at Colby.

Sunday 14 – Cottrell Park 10K

A quiet Sunday for a change with just 3 runners at this one. 61 of our runners had done part of the course in the relays back in May but clearly the thought of running ‘Bunker Hill’ as part of a longer race wasn’t too appealing. Also worth pointing out that many were doing final long runs before upcoming half marathons, marathons or ultra’s. Back to the race and Jamie Vanstone ran the course in a swift 46 minutes whilst Daniel Clark clocked just over 51 minutes which is quicker than doubling his 5K best at the time. Christie came in just under the hour mark but had done a lot of mileage in the previous few days again as part of marathon training.

Saturday 20 – parkruns and Welsh 5K Championships

A record 50 runners across 4 parkruns. Ellen Wyn Evans ran at the beautiful setting of Penrhyn Castle which Chris and I did a few weeks ago, Neil Harris ran his first parkrun in 3 months at Pontypridd, Ceri and Jackie ran at the Gnoll whilst there were a record 46 at Porthcawl. Due to a combination of wind, rain and high tide, it meant for only the second time in 177 Porthcawl parkruns that they had to use the second contingency course which means 4 and a bit laps of Salt Lake Car Park. This week was Peter’s 100th parkrun where the theme was ‘short shorts’. There were some fantastic efforts and I think the boys may out outdone the girls this week with Aled, Daniel and myself all wearing worryingly small, tight shorts (in my case, actually boxer shorts).

As for the running bit, a miscalculation meant the course was a little short which in turn meant a lot of personal bests and seasons bests although a few still would have achieved them on an accurately measured course so don’t want to take anything away. Incredibly Neil Jones equaled his club record time of 17:21 despite having run 20+ miles to Porthcawl. Graham and Wayne achieved their first sub 21 minute times whilst Daniel Clark knocked over 3 minutes off his PB from a few weeks ago. Peter came agonisingly close to beating his PB which has stood for 14 months, missing out by 2 seconds but still recording a second best time ever parkrun time. Kelly recorded her best time in over a year with a 23:59.

Diana Purnell smashed her PB by almost a minute with a 26:03 whilst Dawn Hopkins achieved a seasons best. A massive well done to our 3 new parkrunners with Kristie, Nina and Martyn. Completing the huge list of PB’s were Shawn, Jamie B, Chris S, Julie R, Matthew H, Angela and Rhiannon W.

That evening was the Welsh 5K Championships where Juliet Amner had signed up for the womens race with the exciting prospect of a medal as the age categories were split into 5 year segments like in parkrun. I didn’t intend running and only decided last minute to go down to support… only to end up signing up to run in the men’s race along with Christie. Neither Christie or I were near PB times and finished 78th and 74th respectively out of 80 runners which is unsurprising given this was the best Wales (or at least South Wales) had to offer. The winning time was 14:38 and 58 of the 80 runners in the men’s race finished sub 20. The guy who finished 2 seconds behind me who I needed a sprint finish to pip to line was in the 75+ category. I’d be happy with running 42 minutes at that age let alone 22 minutes!

An agonising wait afterwards as they went through all the age category top 3’s to find out if Juliet had got a medal… and she did! Second place and a SILVER medal in the women’s 55-59 category – amazing. Worth reiterating this was a National championship so a pretty major medal to win. She also smashed her 5K PB with a 25:09.

Sunday 21 – Port Talbot Half Marathon, Merthyr 10K, Tuska Tri and Cotswold Challenge

16 runners at the ‘inaugural’ Port Talbot Half Marathon. I say ‘inaugural’ because there has been a free half marathon run on the same course for a few years but in the opposite direction to this one, however, this was the first time it had been official with pre-entries, an officially measured course and chip timing. All at a very reasonable £15 for affiliated runners which included a medal, shirt and goodie bag. We probably would have had a lot more runners but a few had already signed up for the Severn Bridge HM a week later before entries for this one opened.

The course follows gravel paths and cycle tracks around the beautiful setting of Afan Argoed. The first 6.5 miles were a mostly gentle descent before a short sharp zig zag hill in the middle, followed by a shallow but constant incline for the second half. Nick was our first runner back in 1:38 whilst our first female back was Kirsty Evans in 1:54. As described, it wasn’t an ideal course for going for PB’s but Gareth Richards, Lloyd West and Neil Morgan were all recorded as PB’s with it being their first half with the club. Gary Piper improved on his Swansea by several minutes whilst despite the tougher course than Swansea, Denise beat her PB by 3 minutes.

Dawn Hopkins and June Parry ran the Merthyr 10K coming in at 57 minutes. Lorna and Helen Griffiths entered the Tuska Tri which due to sea conditions was changed to a Duathlon with a 5K run at the start instead of the sea swim. That actually worked out very well for them as Lorna ran her fastest time in over 2 years whilst Helen got a PB before going onto do the bike and then a 2.5K run to finish. Natalie Griffiths also did the bike leg as part of a team. Richie Pett completed the Cotswold Challenge Triathlon which was a roughly Half Ironman distance event – a great effort considering by his own admission he’d done very little training since his Ironman back in May.

Saturday 27 – parkruns, Llantwit 10K and Narbeth Nobbler

Yet another record attendance with 52 runners across 4 parkruns. The parkruns were part of ‘I am team GB’ day with many runners wearing GB / union jack / red, white and blue. Signs and t-shirts were also handed out with several of the blue wave getting involved. We now top the table at Porthcawl parkrun for most different members who’ve run there (159) and number of runs between us (3424).

Neil was first at Porthcawl and only missed out on his PB by 1 second. Gareth Richards got a PB with another sub 20. Sarah Littlewood knocked an amazing 45 seconds off her PB with a little encouragement from the clubs top pacers (me and Dai K) on the final 2K. There was an 18 second PB for Julie Griffiths and PB of the day went to Jayne Powney who knocked 1 minute 42 seconds off her pervious best for her first sub 30 parkrun finish. Well done to Rhian, Llinos and Claire on their first parkruns.

Elsewhere there were huge PBs for Dawn Hopkins and June Parry at Pontypridd parkrun. So close for Katie Wood at Raphael parkrun in Romford coming in 2 seconds short of a PB on her first parkrun tourism. Finally, Bethan Cross ran Barry before going onto do Llantwit 10K.

11 of the blue wave signed up for Llantwit 10K with 6 having done a parkrun before whilst Adam Rowe had done the Llantwit 5K event. A lovely but tough 10K course. However, it was the first race I’ve done were all the kilometre markers were out (too soon) but then they added it all in after the 9K mark which was about 1.3K from this finish which was a bit cruel. Great medal and good entry price.

As for the race itself, Nick Harris was first back in just over 45 minutes whilst new member Simon Harrison was next up. Graham Hillman and I ran the first 4 miles together before he pulled away to finish a few seconds ahead. Lloyd West and first female for the club, Nicola Symmonds was up next, followed by Victoria Hillman, Christie, Adam, Kimberley Thomas and Bethan. It was a PB for Kimberley as it was her first ever 10K race and first event overall outside of parkrun.

Kevin ran the inaugural Narbeth Nobbler Half Marathon. A tough off road half (bit longer than 13.1) with plenty of hills and technical terrain. Results not available at the time of writing but according to Strava data Kevin finished in just over 2 hours.

Sunday 28 – Severn Bridge Half Marathon

28 runners for this one which was run over a vastly different course to the previous years. Elevation profiles and comments suggested organisers had decided to make it much tougher with hills throughout rather than the old profile with was mostly downhill after the big hill in the middle.

Niki Puleio was first back in his first half marathon with the club in a blistering 1:30:35. Our first female finisher was Juliet Amner who finished in 1:58 and was 5th in her age category. First female finisher from last weeks Half Marathon, Kirsty Evans finished just a minute behind for her second sub 2 hour time in 8 days. Rob and Chris Pratt helped pace Nicola Prior to a PB – an amazing effort considering her previous PB was on the much flatter Llanelli course. Dawn Hopkins ran with Kirstie Edwards who got a PB of 2:34 whilst Rhiannon Buckley and Sian LG got their target of sub 3 hours and two shiny new PB’s.

Monday 28 – South Wales Trail Half Marathon

Organised by Run Walk Crawl who’s events include the Vale Ultra and Gower 50 miler, this was always going to be a tough event. A half marathon through Llanwonno Forest just North of Pontypridd with 2000 feet of elevation over varying terrain. Neil Jones finished second and actually beat the previous course record by 5 minutes. Jamie Vanstone finished in 7th place whilst David Sheard continued his year of off road events with another one ticked off the list.

Tuesday 29 – Parc Slip

ANOTHER RECORD ATTENDANCE. 89 Cwm Ogwr Runners registered for the event with 83 actually running it. This was the 4th fixture of the Bridgend League with the biggest combined attendance to date from the 6 clubs with over 220 runners. Neil was 4th overall but beaten by two ‘guests’ so was 2nd for league scoring purposes. The distance was 3.5 miles so you could either say we all got ‘3.5 mile PB’s’ or there weren’t any PB’s due to it not being one of the standard distances. I won’t go through all 83 results so will just say a massive well done to everyone that ran. There is one amazing stat I want to share from that race though, which is that 44 of our 83 runners only signed up to the club this year! That number increases to around 70 for members who’ve signed up in the last 18 months.

Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month – Jamie Vanstone

Runner of the month in his first full month with the club – it’s all downhill from here! Interestingly Jamie commented the other day that Christie ‘never misses an event’ however this coming from someone who this month did 3 parkruns (two of which were PB’s), the Parc Slip race, an off road 10K where he was first club finisher back in 46 minutes, a hilly off road half marathon in which he finished in 7th place, and the small matter of the Gloucester Marathon. The marathon was also his third race of 26.2 miles or over in just 6 weeks and one of those was a 69 mile Ultra. Jamie has also attended both Ogmore and Pandy Park sessions despite having to travel further than most showing great commitment to training.  Tomorrow he plans on running the 33 mile Vale Ultra course… despite not being in training for a marathon – bonkers.

Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month – Juliet Amner

Our first female ‘national medal winner’ with a second placed age category finish after her PB performance at the Welsh 5K Championships. Juliet followed that up by being our first female finisher in the Severn Bridge Half Marathon and getting a sub 2 hour finish for a 5th placed age category finish. Finally in the Parc Slip fixture, she was 1st in her age category for over 55 females.

Coming up in September

Another huge month ahead. Rose Inn Relays next Monday followed by the 5th fixture in the Bridgend League on Wednesday and 80+ members signed up for the Cardiff 10K on the Sunday. The following week will see another huge blue wave descend on Swansea for the 10K whilst the end of the month sees Cwm Ogwr compete in the first of the West Glam Cross Country League fixtures. It’s going to be another amazing month for the Blue Wave.

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