The first Saturday of the month saw 56 of our members complete parkruns across 14 different parkrun locations. An impressive total considering I don’t think many of us escaped getting absolutely drenched. At Maesteg, OPR made up 3 of the top 5 overall with Claire Dunbar-Bowen the first female finisher and 10th overall. At Porthcawl, new member Angelo (Nico) Doria was first finisher overall in an outstanding 17:48. On the parkrun tourism front, Sally Pensom was in Bangor, Northern Ireland, Jamie Verran was 2nd overall at Aberdare parkrun, whilst Shawn Cullen and Julie Ransom ticked off a ‘U’ at University Parks in Oxford.
The second weekend of the month saw 68 runners across 14 different parkrun locations. Angelo Doria was our fastest runner of the day with a PB of 17:15 as he notched up another first finish at Porthcawl. Plenty of targeted tourism this week with Nick and Linda Harris at Oaklands, Kaye, Melinda an Huw at Jersey Farm, and Karl at Upton Court which I’m sure were all parkrun alphabet related trips. Sarah, Melanie, Dawn and Darija were at Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve which is the newest Welsh parkrun to come online.
The third weekend was a momentous occasion. After first being considered pre-lockdown several years ago and seemingly being ‘any day now’ for the last 18 months, it was finally the inaugural Aberfields parkrun. The heavy downpours before the start and unseasonably cool temperatures for the middle of August didn’t put off 180 runners turning up to run with 57 of those being from our club. It felt a bit like a BCRL event with our runners making up 12 of the first 20 runners across the line including Jake as the first finisher, setting the course record at a hard-to-beat 16:28. Claire Dunbar-Bowen can claim the club ladies course record with 24:23. We actually the first two and final two finishers with Angelo the second finisher whilst Karen Dando and Rhiannon Whiteley came in as the tail walkers. There was a huge cake to celebrate at the end before a load of parkrunners headed over to a packed Wyndham pub for breakfast. A huge well done and congratulations to event director Jay Howells and a whole host of people that have volunteered as Run Directors and regular volunteers in the future.
On that third weekend, we actually had 31 runners elsewhere making it 88 runners across 7 parkruns. Karl ticked off an ‘I’ at Isabel Trail whilst everyone else was at local or South Wales parkruns.
August Bank Holiday weekend we had 83 runners across 15 different parkruns. We saw a sign of things to come with a relatively even split of members across Aberfields (23), Porthcawl (19) and Maesteg (17) with 24 tourists heading elsewhere. Johnson’s tours took 7 members to University Parks in Oxford with many chasing that ‘U’ for the parkrun alphabet.
The final Aberavon 5K of the 2023 series took place on the first Wednesday of the month. Gareth Battle was our first finisher in 18:53 with Aled finishing in 19:04, Mark Teesdale in 19:08 and a new PB for Wayne Hayhurst with 19:12. Aled finished third in the veterans category for the series but unfortunately only first place received a prize. Jo Jenkins ran her best time in almost a year with a 24:31 which also meant she finished 3rd in her age category for the series. We had 24 members at the event with 12 completing all 3 races in the series.
The Podium 5K is probably the closest we get as a club to an ‘elite’ only event. Jacob was the men’s race which was only for sub 16 runners! The first 4 runners finished in under 14 minutes. Jake smashed his 5K club record again with a 15:01. Incredibly he was ‘only’ around 50th out the 60 finishers going to show just how crazy fast the runners in that race were. There were also A and B races – you know – for those slow coaches that can only run sub 17/18/19 – I am of course joking and would love to be able to run these times myself. Nicky Bennett ran 16:11 whilst there were PB’s for Dylan Panting, Connor Panting, Scott Gray and Adam Kearns on a very successful night for some of our Flyers.
The Sunday before the Aberfields parkrun inaugural there was a trial run with OPR members making up 27 of the 66 runners and made up most of the volunteers.
The final 5K of the month was a new event in Swansea by Tri Hard Harriers which 7 of our members completed including a sub 40 a for our reigning Runners Runner Laura Worrall.
We had 26 runners at the Barry 10K with Dylan Panting our first runner across the line in 40:37 followed by Tom Mahoney and Wayne Hayhurst. Jamie Verran bagged himself a PB of 43:27 in his first 10K for the club. Our first female finisher was Dragon 100 finisher Angharad Hinam.
Bank Holiday weekend saw 4 of our member take on the Narberth Nobbler 10K whilst we had 5 at the Severn Bridge 10K event.
Three members took on the ‘Murder Mile’ race with Jacob Tasker smashing the course record.
Angelo Doria proved he has the speed over the longer distances as well with a 1:18:29 Half Marathon which is the fastest debut Half Marathon in the history of the club. Danny Ridley, David Sheard and Gregg Harris also completed the event.
Carl Walsh notched up another marathon with the Menddips Hill Marathon and also completed the Beast of Llangattock 32 mile ultra as he continues he quest to reach his 100th marathon/ultra at Snowdonia / Eryri Marathon at the end of October.
The penultimate BCRL event saw 76 runners take on a tough course at Heol y Mynydd. The course had been changed to previous years which included a brutal incline that apparently only a handful of runners actually managed to run, as well as various terrain but also will some fast downhill sections. Jacob picked up his 12th BCRL win and 5th of this year which almost certainly means he’s won more BCRL fixtures than any other runner in the history of the BCRL. Our 18 year old superstar Angelo Doria was second overall and we again had a really strong top 10 in the men’s category. Our ladies were equally if not more impressive with another excellent top 10 backed up by big numbers picking up minus points to help the cause. Our club won the event putting us in a really strong position going into the final fixture as we attempt to retain our team title from last year.
Another incredible month and it’s over to Chris for the Chairman’s Runners of the Month.
To set markers in the sand and show improvement over them and then keep beating times is mightily impressive. When this just keeps running on and on over an extended period it’s worthy of celebration. It’s not just event times – it’s the consistent and persistent attitude to the training. The dedication to getting out there and not resting on laurels. Making improvements takes some focus. When there’s consistency to training the improvements come. More PB’s and regular sharing of progress. Positivity abounds and it’s infectious. Others feed off it and it inspires people to head out themselves. Something I’ve lauded previously with others. Sharing the whole story too – the highs and the lows can help others to understand their own peaks and troughs. I’m sure we’re going to see a continued journey along the same path for some time. Keep the focus going Laura Worrall – my first Chair’s Runner of the Month for August.
It’s happened before, and I’m sure it will happen again. A new member joins and bursts onto the scene with some gusto. Taking many of us by surprise and causing us all to sit up and take notice. It can be for many reasons – not always speed. There can be many reasons for having an impact. When first (or thereabouts) finish positions become the norm and prizes are collected for podium finish in competition, heads are turned. Whether running for free in non-competetive events good times are recorded and directly transpose to events that scoop rewards. Snapping at the heels of our fastest runners and with youth on his side, it’s no doubt we’re going to see progression here. A marker has been set at a number of distances and I’m sure we’re going to see those times tumbling over the coming months. Although we are saying a temporary farewell while academia beckons, I’m sure we’re going to see much more from this young man for years to come. My second Chair’s Runner of the Month for August is Angelo Nico Dorio. Well done Nico – keep up the excellent work!