Weekly Waffle – 16th June 2019

A busy week ahead…

Once again, training is affected by other responsibilities.  

The impending fielding of a fixture in the local league that brings all the clubs in the Bridgend area together was the focus.  Preparations build in the final days up to the midweek event.  A huge commitment for those devoting a great deal of time to organise.  A huge commitment for those giving their time during the day and on the night to make sure things run smoothly.  A huge commitment from the captains to organise a team from those who remain.  A huge commitment from the runners to perform for the club and gain crucial points after an admiral performance in the first fixture.

Mother natures was on our side despite the forecast.  The old adage “Proper prior preparation prevents poor performance” was observed to great effect.  261 runners started and 261 runners finished.  Despite our commitments to organising and volunteering, the runners did us proud with incredible individual performances for a fantastic team score!

A very worthy hashtag for a job well done.

#proudPhoenix

Training resumes as a calmness descends.  Smaller numbers attend as The Beast of Blackmill takes a toll on legs.

This doesn’t stop some attending other races as a couple travel to the capital to complete the next event in an increasingly popular series.

The pride from an incredible week is heightened by one of our number receiving another Welsh Athletics medal through the post for an admiral performance.  Phoenix flying very high, again!

Friday night. 

Lights out.

Saturday morning. 

Wakey, wakey.  

Alarms not required as body clocks detect the impending trip to a parkrun.

Home or away?  That is the question…

Home for many.  On the seafront and up the valley we get to start lines in numbers.  Milestones were clocked up in number with celebrations all round.

Away locations attract others.  Within our borders and “across the pond”.  

All getting their 5k completed.

Clouds part and the sun pokes through to appropriately reflect the season.

Phoenix in numbers head down to the local country estate to chase Rabbits.  Bunnies and toddlers took to the stage before their parents joined others on the start line to tackle a trail event with a multitude of different terrain.  Many Phoenix flew the flag on the tough course with many fantastic performances and club cameraderie worthy of note.  Sand dune descents that led many to “release the inner 8 year old” as they “helter skeltered” to the bottom.  Mud, grass, tarmac and sand in varying quantities challenged all, culminating in a river crossing that saw some fall foul of an uneven river bed producing spectacular photos as a result!  Smiling faces from all told the story of a job well done!

As the light fades and a new day dawns a few head down the coast to the west to complete a number of distances.  Wether 10k, marathon or more, all completed their target with admirable endeavour.  Medals earned.

And while all this happens our heroes still turn up to continue their journey!

It’s been a busy one.

It’s been a tiring one.

But The Phoenix endured.

Resilience.  
Endeavour.  
Commitment.  
Grit.  
Determination.  
Pride.  
Phoenix pride.

Continue to fly!

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 9th June 2019

With the furore of last weekends preparation for our race on Wednesday night this review didn’t get completed.  Not one to forget our amazing runners if I can help it – the story will be told…

Sunday, Sunday…

The end of the week.

Again we contemplate what has been…

Midweek races battled with track session for numbers.  High numbers at both.  Local and distant 5k events drew many away.  Seafront miles produced many smiles.  Pleasant conditions led to decent times amongst the large numbers.  Away from home one didn’t want to miss out and booked in a race to complete the same distance.

Thursday saw a number head up the Bwlch for a testing session that always results in praise from those who dare to tackle the inclines!

Give me a ‘p’, give me an ‘a’, give me an ‘r’… you know where I’m going with this.  It’s Saturday morning and it wouldn’t be the same without it.  Home and away the Phoenix collected their tokens and were scanned.  Some came back with inspirational stories, not uncommon with the wide range of ages and abilities taking part.

One took on the challenge of racing equine opponents and whilst not victorious recorded impressive results on a notoriously tough course.

Goodbye Saturday, hello Sunday.

The traverse from North Wales to South Wales broken into stages drew a couple of our midst away from home to represent a local squad with admirable results.

One headed north to run, ride and row around a multi-discipline course with incredible results worthy of accolade.

Several teams headed to the golf course, working together to represent the Phoenix on a tough little course.  Bunker Hill failed to claim any victims with admirable results from all, yet again!

One cycled long distance locally coming back with the rewards for their efforts.

With high numbers on the trails and epic performances from our Zero to Hero improvers completing their full 10k, training sessions enjoyed large numbers once again!

What a week!

Everyone keeping busy with their running…

Everyone sharing experiences as we continue to turn up to events in significant numbers!
Well done guys – stick with it!

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 2nd June 2019

What a week – yet again!

Training numbers were affected this week by a huge Phoenix contingent heading down the lanes through Merthyr Mawr for a local 5k that always attracts big numbers.  Impressive times and gutsy performances were in plentiful supply on the night in this regional championship event!

A trio headed to the capital once again to record swift times over 2 miles at the next in a series of events.  Events completed on the rise!

parkrunday or as it’s alternatively known, Saturday.

A new month.  

High numbers spread all around the country.  

One of our home runs saw a takeover where members give up their runs to provide the core roles required for the event to take place while those do it week in, week out get to run.  Huge numbers headed up the Llynfi Valley to volunteer and run!  An excellent morning was had by all with a few enjoying the hospitality of Wetherspoons after for some much needed recovery! 

Still high numbers at our other home while many got their fix wherever they found themselves for the weekend.

Missing their parkrun constitutional were a brave few taking on the might of Carten.  100 miles of cycling from Cardiff to Tenby – amazing stuff!

One lone runner started early to navigate the Wales Coastal Path between Porthcawl and Penarth.  The 40 mile journey was completed in style and finish line photos with a happy smiling face tell us it was a great day out!  Inspirational stuff!

The sun set and rose on a historic day for the club…

Rack Raid.
Participation by invitation only.
Captains and Vice Captains past and present worked hard to deliver a plan for qualification.
13 members set impressive qualifying times to gain selection.
100 miles.  
13 stages.
A very early start took them east to tackle each stage in turn.
Nerves abound as each section carried cut-off times.
Mutual support within the team strengthened the determination to succeed.
Every runner put in incredible performances.
News filtered back through the wonder of social media and we all revelled in the excitement of the day.
A great day for the Phoenix with an impressive finishing position cementing our future in the event.
We asked them to fly high and they rose with valour!  

Immensely proud.

At home we had numbers heading back up the Llynfi Valley to take on the Keeper of the Colliery and despite the rain they all completed in style.

Others wore pink to show their support for Cancer Research UK on a 5k route around familiar surroundings.

We saw newbie triathletes smash their first events as they challenge themselves to new things.

What an incredible weekend yet again…

A weekend that yet again demonstrates that being a Phoenix is all about being together – sharing experiences.  If you run super quick or super long, we salute you.  If you’ve just completed your first Zero to Hero session, we salute you.  If you’ve just run 5k for the first time, we salute you.  It doesn’t even matter if you run.  To walk, run, support or volunteer, we salute you.  What we do, we do together.  

Team photos from all over the country appear with any number from one to over a hundred.  

It’s that team spirit that pulls us together.

One big team.
One big family.
Family Phoenix.
We salute you all.

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 28th May 2019

The warmer weather continues…

Training early in the week attracts a record number up the valley to recce Blackmill’s Beast on a warm summers eve…

Events appear on the calendar in abundance as the year progresses.

A few took a mid week trip to the Welsh capital to cover 5km in the evening sun to raise a few pennies for a respected armed forces charity while clocking up decent times.

Training continued to attract good numbers.

A couple rounded off the week with an impressive round trip clocking up even more events to their “Talley”.

parkrunday arrives.  It never fails to draw many out in numbers.  Many locations.  Many runners. All doing their thing, whether it’s running faster or just getting it done.  

Tick tock.  Sunday comes round.

The Liver Birds oversee half and full marathoners battle tough conditions to record admirable results.

The rain plagued all and a hilly tour of Treforest didn’t escape it’s fair share but all who tackled came away victorious.

5 hilly miles attracted a good club contingent to brave the elements with significant placings as a result.

Bank Holiday weekends never end there and as we said goodbye to the weekend we welcomed one more effort in the English capital to add to the weeks endeavours.

Temperatures remain high but the conditions swing, but none of it dampens the spirit as high numbers yet again make training as well as taking part in events.

The Phoenix spirit present in abundance.

On a week where we welcomed new leaders into our midst and we continue to develop.  

We build and bond.

Keep walking.

Keep running.
Keep socialising.

Keep looking out for each other!

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 19th May 2019

As the year progresses and the weather improves, events appear in their droves.

Our numbers now swelling, there isn’t a single event that goes by without seeing at least one Phoenix taking the plunge!

Midweek events are commonplace…

Before the weekend even arrived a few headed way down West to tackle a multi-terrain course.  Others headed way up north to fly around a 1 mile course around the side of a lake.

Events being clocked up…

Before the weekend arrived the Phoenix descended on our favourite curry house to occupy the whole restaurant for an evening of great food and great company!

Saturday.  parkrunday.  While some got their regular fix with personal bests aplenty, others had made their way to mid Wales to tackle a Royal 10k course on the trails some of whom still snook in their constitutional on the way. 

A few more had made their way further north, parkrun included, to climb a significant peak in Snowdonia and all completed the task with honours.

The sun set on a glorious day and rose again, despite the forecast…

A half in Chester was tackled with guts while another in Manchester led to a PB.

There was safety in numbers as a 10k with hills was completed in style in the home of cheese.

Another brave couple headed back to Snowdonia to tackle a seriously hilly half and came back victorious with their spoils.

A local event drew a few away to tackle a variety of distances from extreme half to ultra marathon.

Four of our midst stepped up to the plate and spent the day learning.  Committing time to the club to learn how to lead training sessions and help to develop us all into becoming better runners.

And all the while we saw our 4th highest attendance of the year at training and not least our heroes continuing their running journeys.

What a fantastic week to be a Phoenix!

Great numbers at events.

Great numbers at training.

Great experiences had by all.

Continuing to do what we love and share the experiences of doing so.

Keep it up guys, you’re doing great!

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 12th May 2019

We’re in a period where events come along in a flurry…

Multiple Summer Series are appearing on the calendar…

Wednesday saw the first fixture of the Bridgend County Running League and saw the highest turnout in the clubs history with 114 runners taking part.  Mother nature decided to make the circumstances of the evening a little bit more difficult with a few downpours creating havoc with parking and creating a little more mud than was initially anticipated.  It takes a lot more than that to keep the Phoenix down and huge numbers turned up to be involved in a significant result for the club!  

The Phoenix definitely flew very high over Ogmore Castle!

Thursday saw smaller numbers head up the valley to train – to be expected after such huge numbers racing the night before.  It didn’t, however, stop a few heading west to tackle a 5k summer series event on the seafront with significant placings and personal bests achieved.

Friday saw another event completed.  One of the attendees was our intrepid 100 mile finisher of only a week ago who clearly wasn’t going to sit back and rest his weary legs having completed all three races on the calendar during the week!

Already an eventful week before arriving at the weekend.

parkrun on the cards for many.  A change in weather saw the sun rise early and raise our spirits once again.  Long runs to the start line were witnessed in abundance.  A wide variety of locations, as ever, were completed.

One lone runner faced the Beast in a race where the profile would be enough to put fear into a lot of runners.  Suffice to say The Beast was tamed!

Ultra marathons often occur on Saturdays.  As a result they give adequate respite before heading back to “normal” life on Monday.  Any race that takes place in the Brecon Beacons will bring with it a serious elevation profile.  One of our own took on the challenge and completed such an event in a very admirable time in the warm conditions.  Another event in the build up to something even bigger.

The sun went down on a hot day and rose to reveal similar conditions…

Numbers headed to a Park near Barry to complete a 5 mile course with a couple of testing hills thrown in.  Admirable performances all round.

Another band headed in the opposite direction to cover a Toughrunner 10k course sending photos back with big beaming smiles from a job well done!

Some ventured across the border to run admirable times in a history city half marathon that makes full use of converted railway tunnels, one over a mile in length, which provide lighting and music to serenade you on your way.

Others also headed far afield to an event that provided financial help for a wildlife trust.

While all of this was taking place our improving group saw big numbers turn up to progress their running.  Admirable stuff.

Lots of events on the calendar now and with our increasing numbers we see many being completed every single weekend.  

It truly is great to see!

Keep up the good work you lovely lot!

Laters…

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 5th May 2019

Some weekends will always stand out as special…

Not long ago we celebrated a huge club turnout for the coastal race to Ogmore by Sea…

Last week we saw incredible performances in London – an event we can all share in the excitement by tracking and following TV coverage.  

This week many events have occupied our attention…

Tuesday saw some attend training while a brave few headed to a tough hill race.  Admirable performances all round with one achieving an accolade at regional level for excelling.

Wednesday saw decent numbers on the track and improving down in Pandy Park as well as a significant contingent heading down west to the increasingly popular 5k on the seafront.

Good numbers turned up on Thursday night for a pleasant evening climb up the mast in Lewistown.  Lighter nights make these hilly sessions more accessible and it’s great to be doing them again.

Friday drew a couple up to Cardiff for a one mile event as part of an annual series.

Even before the weekend arrived we already had a huge number of events in the bag and decent training attendance!

Saturday brought the usual flurry of parkrun visits.  On the seafront, up the valley and beyond.  “May the 4th”, when it falls on a Saturday, always attracts Star Wars themed attire (as you might expect) and parkruns up and down the country share in the initiative.  Home locations were no exception but a few in our midst went the extra mile and travelled to Tredegar House where there was an abundance celebrating the occasion!

One of these parkrunners was set to take a much longer journey later the same day.  The equivalent of 33 parkruns back to back. 100 miles, plus 2.5 for good measure just to be sure!

I’ll set the scene… 

6pm.  Rhossili Beach car park.  A collection of brave souls prepared themselves for an epic journey along the coast to Cardiff Bay.  As if that wasn’t enough it would also wander up into the Afan Forest, at night, just to add some elevation and make up the distance to the scheduled 100 miles!  Nerves, excitement and wonder at what would be their fate!

As our esteemed captain said, while we’re having our tea – he was starting his run.  As we went to bed he was running.  When we woke he was still running…  

As the sun rose many were up from their slumber to head to Newport for the second running of the dual distance event.  The Phoenix were out in their numbers with the lions share doing 6.2 and the balance covering 26.2.  Great conditions made for an amazing event with great times and big smiles across the board.  First timers also earned their stripes at the event.  Phoenix volunteers aplenty gave up their time to line the outlying roads around Newport to support those taking on the challenge of the day.  Without doubt, a great day out for the Phoenix.

Two intrepid souls had taken a trip across country to the home of the Dons and tackled a double distance event there.  Great performances at both 5 and 21 metric units!

And while all that was happening, he was still running.  

Fellow Phoenix met him along his route.  60 miles as he entered Porthcawl he had support and all the way through the stepping stones at Ogmore Village to the car park where he gained more support with some running short stages with him to boost morale and keep him going.  79 miles in at Llantwit he received some cheers and was sent on his way after some well earned refreshments.  More supporters joined the trek at Porthkerry, 88 miles.  Shoes hurting so changed to continue with odd shoes.  Hot dogs and drinks consumed he went on his merry way.  Joined for some of the run from Barry to Sully where more had joined the support crew as he hit 95 miles.  Off he went at a jog and a run back from the finish to Penarth Pier gave him company for the last few miles to record an amazing finish of his second (and last I am told) 100 mile event, this time as a solo effort!  Almost 10,000ft of climbing and a distance of over 104 miles in the end!  A superhuman effort.

With all good intentions a 50th birthday party within the club was missed by those who followed and supported but in true Phoenix spirit the sentiments of those present was sent via the wonder of technology to will him on as he made his last few steps.

And while all this was taking place, almost lost in the excitement, were two lonely souls who represented the club admirably at the Race for Victory 5k in the Welsh capital. An event that slipped under the rader with all the activity taking place elsewhere, but not to be overlooked!

It’s weeks like this that rally the troops.  That put that Phoenix fire in the belly.  

As much as we love to run we love to support.  When events have tracking everyone can get involved.  Some of the excitement of London was recreated at the weekend as attention switched from following finishing times in Newport to tracking one heroic runner on his epic solo journey.  An amazing feat of both physical and mental endurance.

I say this a lot to people when they gasp in awe at these “crazy distance” events.  It’s all relative.  We all started somewhere and the journey to standing on the start line of a 100 mile run is long and arduous but with a huge amount of dedication and commitment it is amazing what becomes possible.  

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Always remember that you don’t have to have these huge goals in mind.  Your dream may be just to be consistently doing parkrun and if it is, that is fine.  We salute you for just lacing up your trainers and heading out of the door.  

If you do have aspirations to go further or faster, draw on the inspiration of our incredible members who push the boundaries and challenge themselves to discover exactly what they are capable of. 

Dream.
Believe.
Achieve.

Those words again ringing in our ears as the efforts turn into memories and we turn our attention to what next week will bring…

Whatever it is we shall meet it head on and continue to support each other through it.

As you were.

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

April 2019 review

parkruns

This month saw 206 parkrun finishes by 106 different members across 35 different parkrun venues.

As well as the usual South Wales parkruns, tourism included Ashton Court, Bedford, Brighouse, Buckingham, Burgess, California Country, Cirencester, Dartford Heath, Exmouth, Great Dunmow, Greenwich, Groe, Highbury Fields, Parke, Rushcliffe, Seaton, South Sheilds, Victoria Dock, Woking and Woodhouse Moor.

This month saw Aled Hughes reach his ‘Cow’ or ‘Half Cowell’ meaning he has now run at 50 different parkrun venues. Chris Stanlake ran his 100th parkrun whilst Sara Davies ran her 50th.

There were 26 PB’s in the month with Gareth Davies, Julie Ransom and Megan Apsee all notching up 2 each. The other PB hero’s this month are Andrew Hughes, Chris Bimson, Dawn Apsee, Deborah Dong, Deborah Edwards, Fiona Randall, Frances Hughes, Laura Worrall, Leanne Puleio, Maria George, Michelle Alexander, Paul Iskander, Paul James, Phill Iveson, Rachel Jones, Ruth Thomas, Sharon Pritchard, Sian Thomas and Stephanie Iveson-Holmes.

10K’s

Just one 10K race with only 1 club entrant this month with Julie Ransom completing the Margam Pursuit 10K in 1:06:14.

10 miles

The rearranged Reverse 10 saw Neil Price lead the club home in 1:09:31 with Lisa Pinney next up in 1:32:40 and Kayley Griffiths in 1:41:19.

Half Marathons

Chris Richards took on the Pendine Half Marathon which is entirely run on the beach. Martin Beard, Sharon Pritchard and Debbie Bennion completed the inaugural Kite Trail Half Marathon – a hilly trail race starting in Llanharen.

The biggest Half Marathon of the month was at the Great Welsh Half where myself and Denise were official pacers running 2 hours and 2:30 respectively. Liz Davis bagged herself a new PB with a 2:02:09 whilst Jamie Puddy continued his excellent run of form with a 2:18 PB despite a tough headwind from mile 5 through to 11. Rebecca Newton finished just ahead of Jamie in 2:17.

Marathons

Incredibly, we had more Marathon finishers than 10K, 10 miles and Half Marathons put together this month.

Starting with a not so normal marathon, Steven James took on the Beacons Marathon which included almost 5000 feet of ascent. To put that in perspective, Snowdonia Marathon is 2800 feet. The terrain was also very tricky resulting in a 5:50 finish that I’m sure is still very respectable.

We had 6 runners at the Great Welsh Marathon with more official pacers from the club. Chris Pratt paced 4:15 and Kris Denholm paced 5 hours.

Anneliese Loveluck was running her first road marathon and obliterated the female club record finishing in 3:13:56 to finish in 4th place overall. What is even more incredible is that the London Good For Age qualifying time for her age category is 3:53 so she has qualified by almost 40 minutes. Some other stats I later found out included that Anneliese set the fastest marathon time by any Welsh Female in her age category this year, and no other Welsh female in her age category has run a faster marathon time in the past 18 months. At the time of her result, she was also ranked in the top 100 female marathon times in Britain for any age category this year.

The amazing running continued at the Great Welsh Marathon with Wayne Hayhurst knocking an incredible 40 minutes off his Marathon PB with a 3:25. Dai James ran just outside of his marathon PB with a 3:38 whilst Hannah Knight completed her first ever Marathon in 5:51.

Anticipation for the London Marathon had been building for weeks, but quietly (not usually a word associated with this person), Sarah Littlewood was plotting her own marathon on the same day in the much quieter and more beautiful setting of Stratford upon Avon. Sarah finished in 3:57:33 to become only our 5th female to ran under 4 hours in the history of the club, and only the 3rd to run a sub 4 on her debut marathon. The time also meant she set a new club age category record in the Female 35-39 category.

Onto the big one. The London Marathon. Normally I start a tracking post on the morning of the marathon, but such was the excitement in the build up, I started it on Friday evening and screenshot good luck messages from all over Facebook and photos of our runners at the expo to create a London Marathon memories post that they could all look back on. Jayne Bissmire had heavily contributed to the exciting build up with ‘Featured Phoenix’ write up’s on each of our 17 runners. Despite 40,000 runners, plenty of our runners were spotted on the live coverage and finish live coverage once the main coverage had ended.

As for the race itself, Niki Puleio led the club home in an outstanding 2:59:51 becoming only the second member in the history of the club to break 3 hours. Kris Denholm was next up and smashed his marathon PB with a 3:45.

Sian Price became the 6th female member of the club to break 4 hours with a 3:55:47 and in the process, took the age category for female 35-39 within an hour of Sarah Littlewood claiming it. It also means that Sian is the first member ever in the history of the club to have a complete sweep of all the distances within an age category with records at 5K, 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles, Half Marathon and Marathon.

Brett Bonell completed his first marathon in 4:51 with another marathon debutant, Natalie Aryal finishing just behind in 4:52. Shawn Cullen got inside the 5 mark on his first marathon with a 4:56 whilst Sara Bayliss finished in 4:57. Another marathon debut PB was claimed with Ashely Howells finishing in 5:01.

Helen Griffiths, accompanied by Denise Bradley, smashed her marathon PB by 44 minutes with a 5:04. Rebecca Newton continued the PB’s with a 5:10 whilst Rhiannon Sian smashed her marathon PB by 11 minutes with a 5:12. Gary Piper bowed out from marathon races with a brave 5:48 after multiple injury issues heavily hampered his training resulting in Gary confirming this would be his last marathon more than 30 years after his first.

The final four were yet more first time marathoner with Lisa Jenkins finishing in 5:49, Claire Taylor 6:02, Vickie Blake 6:08 and Lousie Bennett 7:17.

We also had more than a dozen club members supporting in London including some that travelled up that morning. The ones at home followed on the tracker and my tracking post which ended up accumulating over 1000 comments. Thanks to Jo Gamba for helping me keep up with everyone’s progress so I could post updates as soon as they appeared.

Other races

April was certain a month of long distance runs with 37 members running the Vale 18 (nearer to 19) miler. Dan Clark was our first finisher in 3:27 which saw more than a dozen members complete either their longest run to date, or longest trail run. Almost everyone who had run the course before beat their previous best times with weather conditions perfect for most runners with the wind behind the runners and cool conditions… although it did get a bit warm at points and some runners still got sunburn.

We had a further 14 runners in the Ultra with Steve Loveluck leading the runners home. More than half of the runners were completing their first ultra including Steve, Adrian Pearce, Emma Loyns, Sara Vowles, Louise Foster, Emma Williams, Nige Rees and Adam Rowe.

The support on the course and particularly at the end was bigger and better than ever. Runners plus supporters must have exceeded 80 members of the club on the day with many joining the party at the finish line where there was enough food to last us all a week.

Other races in the month included 9 members taking on the Gilwern Grunt. A tough multi-terrain course with a very interesting finish that is so steeply downhill that runners are resigned to sliding down most of it. On the final day of the month, we had 5 runners at the Pentyrch Hill Race. Another tough, fell classified race with 7 miles of constant hills. Adrian Pearce was followed by Aled Hughes in both of these events whilst Sarah Davies and Fiona Drysdale were our first ladies home in the respective races.

What a month. 76 finishes in races of 18 miles or more and barely any races under Half Marathon distance albeit still huge attendances at our home parkruns and plenty of parkrun tourism. Well done to everyone who represented OPR this month and good luck to Chairman, Chris Pratt on another tricky choice for his runners of the month below.

Chairman’s Runners of the Month

Just like last month this has been a very arduous task.  So many amazing achievements throughout the month. First time marathons and PB’s left, right and centre. Incredible that we had 76 finishers at races of 18 miles or more in length!

I’ve always maintained that these choices will depend on entirely different criteria, but sometimes fast running outshines everything else and I have to turn to it for my choices.

In terms of female achievements I have chosen this person before but even when I scribbled down all the names from this months accolades I couldn’t avoid choosing one.  It has been over a year since she was last honoured, however.  It will be difficult to conceal the person concerned as soon as I start listing the reasons.  Top 100 female marathon time in Britain for any age category this year.  The fastest marathon time by any Welsh female in her age category in the last 18 months!  She has exceeded her good for age qualification time for the London Marathon by almost 40 minutes.  There are very few words I can add to that.  It is quite simply an amazing achievement.  She finished the marathon in 3:13:56.  I was running the same event and pacing other runners to 4:15 and every time I passed her she was totally focused but making it look like it was a walk in the park!!  Absolutely outstanding.  I have no hesitation awarding my Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month to Anneliese Loveluck.  All I want to know is, what’s next?

Again for fantastic running performance this is for someone that I have never actually awarded anything to in the past.  He has been credited by our statto for his achievements however.  There’s always been a target in his mind.  He ran a formidable run at Snowdonia Marathon Eryri last year hitting 3:15 on a tough course.  But that was never going to be enough.  He trains with conviction and has a dogged determination that always sees him relentlessly pursue his goal.  Heading up to London he had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve.  Tracking him he went out clearly targeting the objective from the off and it all fit into place.  That photograph of him 600 yards from the line knowing that the goal was in the bag was one of sheer delight.  To experience that feeling of knowing you have achieved something so significant, whether it be completing a 5k or smashing your sub 3 hour target for a marathon is euphoric.  The picture captured it all in one instant.  A very humble and supportive runner who admires everyone of all abilities while targeting his own phenomenal targets and smashing them.  2:59:51.  Those numbers will be etched on his brain…  until the next goal is set!!  Again no hesitation in awarding my Chairman’s male runner of the month to Niki Puleio and again I have to ask, what’s next?

Weekly Waffle – 28th April 2019

Another epic weekend draws to a close and we are all still reeling from the excitement and the emotion of it all…

The week building up to it saw the weather change slightly… 

The infamous British weather!

Storm Hannah loomed on the horizon as we built up to the weekend.

The prospect of gale force winds didn’t blow away the growing excitement…

Despite that, parkruns were cancelled.

Runners headed elsewhere to get their Saturday morning fix swelling numbers at one of our home locations and creating a uniquely high location to runner ratio.  Whilst the wind still blew, runners ignored it’s might and got their miles in.

While some did parkrun some took on a new local challenge and at two distances on hilly terrain they defied the conditions to finish victorious.

Excitement grew throughout the rest of the day as runners made their way to the English capital for that prestigious event that draws runners from all over the world to it’s unique blend of elite competition and mass participation that ends up as one big street party!

Runners on a quest to complete 26.2 miles for the first time joined others running their first London.  For some it was a return visit.  Some chasing a time down while others just wanted to get round.  A whole manner of reasons for running and most running to raise awareness or money for great causes close to their heart!

With supporters in tow many Phoenix got together to prepare for the big day ahead sharing their nervous tension over their last supper…

While all of this was happening, one flew under the radar targeting a race of the same distance up north.

All went quiet early on Saturday night as those putting serious miles in on Sunday had an early night…

Early to bed, early to rise…

As we rose it was evident the wind had died down.  Perfect conditions for running.

Some jumped on a very early bus and headed up to London to provide support for their fellow Phoenix.

Runners already there made their journeys across London to Greenwich and Blackheath to their start lines.

As is always the way, the excitement of this race touches many more than those who run.

The presence of the cameras heightens the atmosphere and brings that experience to those who remain at home.

Supporters positioned themselves around the route.

17 Phoenix stood on the start line.

17 Phoenix valiantly made their way around the streets of London, all with different aspirations..

17 Phoenix made their way to the finish in their own way and…

17 Phoenix crossed the finish line and duly collected their medals and t-shirts bursting with pride.

Nerves and worried expressions turned to smiles and tears of joy.

Bodies were pushed to the limit.

Mental battles were faced on the way round and they got through, learning exactly what they are capable of.

Epic times were set by those who chased them.

Experiences were shared by some with friends from our neighbouring clubs.

While all the excitement of London was being followed by all, a race of the same magnitude was taking place up north.  Not to be outdone an epic time was also set there to cap off a magnificent day!

No more words need to be said. No more than those of praise that have been said by many throughout the day.

An absolutely wonderful day to be a Phoenix!

Continue to run.  
Continue to support.  
Continue to dream.

Dream.
Believe.
Achieve.

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 22nd April 2019

Spring turns to Summer and all at once!

The temperature rises.

Skies clear.

The sun warms our skin.

High numbers at training despite a large number negotiating the taper.

London is on the horizon with nervous and excited conversations taking place on the build up to the big day!

Saturday saw a record number of parkrun locations attended by club members.  High temperatures resulted in huge numbers across the country, not least at one of our home locations.

Some headed West to tackle inflatable obstacles and foam to earn their prize!

The day was long but the sun did eventually fade leading into another spectacular day…

Club members got together to enjoy the tropical conditions but races were thin on the ground…

The first bank holiday of the year gave most of us an extra day to run without the constraints of work…

Some took advantage and headed north to Gilwern to tackle the infamous tough trail race with the almost vertical descent just before the finish.

As we end the long weekend and start the short week we celebrate those in our midst who will be heading to the English capital next Sunday for the event that draws plaudits from all over the world.

London Marathon is almost here again and the excitement is building…

New and seasoned runners will be joining the ranks and supporting each other on their journeys!

Let’s share in their excitement and enjoy the build up together…

Keep up the good work guys!

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub