Weekly Waffle – 8th December 2019

Again, It’s been a while since the last update.  

The “weekly waffle” is swiftly becoming monthly and that defeats the object!  

The idea was always to review the weeks antics while still fresh in the mind!

Without any further ado…

We’ve parkrunned (if that’s actually a word).  Here, there and everywhere!  Home and, as always, away.  Tourism always on the increase.  We’ve seen the Big Community Relay golden baton, now nicknamed BattyMcBatonface, be collected from afar and returned to Porthcawl for it’s final official week and now being chaperoned around all the local parkruns.  We’ve seen epic PB’s and huge turnouts and gritty performances.  The beauty of parkrun is there’s no pressure.  Whatever your goal, it is accommodated.  It fits perfectly with our ethos and hence we turn out on Saturday morning in our droves.

A big group headed east to cross the Bridge over the River Severn.  Donning face paint and bright colours they enjoyed a race with a fantastic atmosphere that typifies the kind of event we all enjoy.

A couple headed to trails in the capital to complete a half marathon.

Our event count record breaker notched up another event and despite the name he he wasn’t terrified by what Twmbarlwn threw at him.  

The annual event series, again in the Welsh capital, that raises awareness of mens health issues drew a number to take part in the 10k race around Bute Park.

Another ultra around the Gower resulted in an incredible result for one half of a couple while the other recorded an equally impressive result in a 10k at the same location supported by a canine friend.  The variety of events we take part in continues to grow!

A slog around Sodbury saw trail enthusiasts clock up an impressive set of results to further their standings in the annual championships.

Another ultra attracted two of our number to the Beacons as they went OTT and got a bit lost causing much hilarity and added extra interest to a race that saw both recalling their stories and photos of a great day with enthusiasm.  It doesn’t have to be about racing to reap the rewards of an event!

Another local event in a series that our members have come to love saw record numbers stand on the start line ahead of multiple loops of the course with multiple distances covered.  A great deal of fun was had by all.  Another event clocked up on a challenge for one.

One raced 10k to the moon and clocked up a fantastic result.

A double marathon for one, back to back, and joined on the second day by another member, saw a challenge target almost reached!

A popular club 10 miler drew significant numbers down west to Pembrey with mightily impressive results recorded.

A small group travelled north to tackle a hilly half and came away with stories to tell.


Cross Country league fixtures saw very impressive team effort from the Phoenix.

Some of our number were selected to represent South Wales in a fixture in Brecon.  Another reason for the club to stand proud.

Just one headed east for the second running of the race to cross the River Severn in the same month.

Gloucester was the destination for a trio to complete a 10k.

As the end of the month arrived another marathon marked the end of a challenge to complete 19 in 2019.  An enjoyable event that heralded the start of a well earned rest!

A 10k under dark skies was the target for one notching another event on his impressive tally.

Overseas events are something we see on occasion and this time Valencia was the destination for a couple with both setting significant PB’s over two distances.  

And then to today.  With the festive season finally upon us we saw a big crowd head down to our local beauty spot in Merthyr Mawr for the annual Pudding Run.  Always a great race.  Always a great atmosphere and a lot of fun.  With the Big Dipper climb to start it’s a toughie with a huge mixture of terrain and always loved by those who take it on.  Stories of mulled wine and mince pies accompanied those of the run itself.  Mutual support between clubs crowning the enjoyment of the day!

For a month where the nights draw in and moods can dip we saw a great deal of running!  Excellent running too.

A huge well done to all.

We are approaching the season of good will.  As I like to do on many occasions I ask you to please remember those in our midst who are unable to run with us at the moment.  At this time of year they should be foremost in our minds.  If there’s someone you haven’t seen at training, a race or parkrun for a while please drop them a message and check all is OK.  Reach out.  

We are a week away from our annual celebration of the festive season and the party preparation is almost done.  A time for us to sit down together as the Phoenix Family for our Christmas Dinner and share in an evening of entertainment and fun.  An evening not involving running – even though  it is running that brought us together.

Keep running.  Keep smiling.  Keep looking out for each other.

Laters.

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 3rd November 2019

It’s a month since I last reviewed the week…

Time and tide wait for no man and busy weekends have prevented it being completed.

A lot has happened in that time so I’ll try and catch up quickly…

(and hopefully won’t miss anything out!)

As per usual we’ve done our usual plethora of parkruns!  Here there and everywhere.  parkrun celebrated it’s 15th birthday!!  We’ve had milestones.  We’ve had extreme tourism.  We’ve had lots remaining local to enjoy the comfort of their home runs.  We’ve heard the stories and we’ve seen the pictures.  We’ve had some who followed major events to support and snook off to add an extra one to their parkrun totals.  The obsession continues and grows!

We’ve seen consistent training numbers despite variable and deteriorating weather.  We’ve not been deterred from getting the miles in.  Zeroes became heroes and continue to become legends.  We are all filled with pride as we observe and nurture their journeys while developing our own.

We’ve had races by the bucketload covering a multitude of distances.

Cross country season has kicked off and great numbers have attended the first fixtures placing the club well for a good season of racing.

We’ve had ultras with a particularly popular one drawing several west to complete once again.  The addition of other distances attracted others to join in the “fun”.  All came back with great stories to tell.

Of note, we’ve had marathons aplenty with a trip north crossing two borders for some to follow the banks of a loch steeped in myth and legend.  A monster may hide under the surface but that didn’t deter our intrepid runners from completing the tough miles to the finish in the ancient cathedral city.  The miles were completed far away but the Phoenix spirit transcends distance and carried far from everyone at home to wish them well.   Another northern destination drew one in for a picturesque setting around a remote lake.  A walled city on the River Dee was the destination for two others covering the 26.2 miles.  

Multi-loop courses were circumnavigated by many once again!  A number of distances covered and all with great commitment and determination.

A half in North Wales was completed by one on the same day that the second biggest half marathon in the UK came to the Welsh capital.  It’s a race in which we’re always represented in significant numbers with this year being no exception.  116 made their way around the course while many joined them for the journey.  Caerdydd never disappoints.  An amazing atmosphere draws the Phoenix out every year.  Not only running but volunteering also.  Cameraderie and support on the route.  Nerves turning to excitement and through hard work to elation on the finish line.  

Some headed to warmer climes to tackle two distances alongside some of our neighbouring clubs on their annual tours and came back full of great stories of running under the sun – something we all miss at this time of year!

One plodded around Ponty.  Others tackled hilly events to clock up their event tally with impressive results.  Margam saw one tackle a 10k and a memorial half was completed elsewhere by another.  An undulating route – as named – was completed with a significant placing by the one who took it on.  

Across the Severn, a 10k in Bristol was the target for two family members running together whilst another 10k in National Botanical Gardens was the destination for two others.

We’ve won and collected significant national awards.  Two for their individual contribution to our development as a club and as athletes and one significant award from our national governing body recognising the significant hard work we have done to move the club forward as a whole.  An incredibly proud moment for the club and an accolade the Phoenix Spirit that courses through our veins.

46 runners and a heap of supporters made the annual pilgrimage north to tackle the might of Eryri.  A marathon that always strikes fear into those who take on the challenges it poses.  Tales of endeavour filled the air on Saturday.  Every single one cheered home by the ever present supporters around the course and at Phoenix Corner.  An amazing weekend away for all who made the journey!

Halloween found it’s way into training and some took on events with a ghoulish theme to mark the occasion as well.

This weekend was no exception for racing and 47 Phoenix went down to Cwmavon to tackle a notoriously hilly 10k named after a world famous actor who was born and grew up in the village.  A challenging route that tested the legs of those who took it on, as it always does.  

Lots going on.
Lots to be proud of.

Running, supporting and volunteering.

It’s been a very busy time of late and time is precious.  Fitting in running and all that the club brings is tricky at times.  It’s a case of juggling.  Spirits are always lifted by sharing good times with fellow Phoenix and observing antics through stories, results and pictures when it’s not possible to be there.

Sparing a thought for those in our midst who are injured.  We’ve seen a lot of them at our walking groups during sessions as well as supporting and volunteering at events.  It’s imperative we keep them involved and making sure they remain part of the Phoenix Family.  If you know someone who is injured, reach out and make sure they are OK.  Look out for each other.

Keep doing what you’re doing guys because it’s working.

A very proud time for us all, but not resting on our laurels it’s time to knuckle down, making sure we continue to thrive as we are and that the Phoenix continues to soar.

On that note I’ll bid you good night and look forward to seeing what the week ahead brings…

As always

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

September 2019 review

parkruns

September saw 268 parkrun finishes across 50 parkruns and 37 different parkrun venues. Some newly visited parkrun venues included Blyth Links, Brynaman, Bushy (Dublin), Dunfermline (Scotland), Omagh (Northern Ireland), Varsity Lakes (Australia), Milford Waterfront and Windy Nook.

Some parkrun highlights in month included Karl Johnson rounding up another 9 Phoenix Runners for a day trip to Bushy parkrun in Dublin. There was a massive turnout of 63 members running at the latest Zero to Hero graduation at Porthcawl despite testing weather conditions.

There were too many PB’s to list as we had dozens of first timer PB’s from our Z2H graduates plus a whole host from improvers and long standing members. Neil Price became the latest runner to run under 19 minutes with a 18:44 at Porthcawl. Denise Bradley got a new PB of 24:10 and set a new club age category record in the process. Claire Dunbar-Bowen ran the fastest time of any female in the club, smashing her own PB with a 22:20 whilst Sarah Littlewood also got a PB of 23:21. The Iveson’s, Phill and Stephanie both scored PB’s on the same day whilst the Salvatores. Rosie and Ken both got PB’s this month.

Well done to all the other runners who set PB’s this month whether it was your first or hundred-and-first run.

Races

10K’s

We had 134 finishers in 10K races during the month with the most popular being Cardiff 10K with 76. Niki Puleio lead our runners home in a PB of 37:59 with Ryan Evans next in 38:39 and then Neil Price setting PB of 39:23. Aled Hughes made it 4 Phoenix Runners under 40 minutes.

The PB list was huge and was as follows… Carl Price, Paul Barrett, Phill Iveson, Chris Richards, Ken Salvatore, Hannah Knight, Rosie Salvatore, Kaye Pedler, Nicola Veasey, Leanne Puleio, Cath Robinson, Jamie Puddy, Megan Apsee, Jane Collins, Sara Johns, Paul Jones, Ann Rice, Frances Hughes, Claire Williams, Joanne Cottingham, Andrea Fry, Sarah Richards and Laura Worrall. Well done to several who were running their first 10K race as well.

Swansea 10K saw 30 Phoenix Runners complete the course and lead back by Ryan Evans and Paul Smith who were under 40 minutes. PB’s included Wayne Hayhurst, Keith Coleman, Chris Bimson, Tyler Howells, Judith Jeeves, Toni Howells, Cath Griffiths, Julie Gale and Annemarie Morgan.

A huge well done to Ken Salvatore, Rosie Salvatore, Leanne Puleio and Laura Worrall who all got their second 10K PB’s of the month having achieved new personal bests in both Cardiff and Swansea.

8 Phoenix ran the ‘Beat the Black Dog’ 10K trail race which started at Ogmore Life Centre which has been a training meeting point for the club since we started in 2012. The event was to raise awareness of Mental Health issues and get people talking.

Several members also volunteered for the event. Cowbridge 10K saw 20 members run the course whilst a further 3 did the 6K option. Unfortunately a missing marshal resulted in most of the participants doing an extra 3K which was a bit frustrating for some but just think of it as extra training and bonus miles / value for money.

Half Marathons

A quite month for half marathons with the two major 10K’s being most runners focus. However, we did have Brett Bonell, Nige Rees and Great North Half Marathon regular Dawn Hopkins took on the 13.1 mile course in Newcastle this year with Brett setting a new PB. We also had Luke Jones, Sarah Davies and Liz Sim taking on the hilly Cotswold Trail Half Marathon.

Infinity Running Events

A double whammy of the increasingly popular Infiinity Running events in month with the ‘Random Run’ on the 8th and the ‘Autumn Run’ on the 22nd. Chris Pratt notched up another 2 marathons whilst Nick Harris and David Sheard ran the marathon distance in the second event. Kris Denholm ran another Ultra, managing 12 laps for 36.3 miles.

At the Random Run there were plenty using it for Snowdonia Marathon training with Karl Johnson managing 10 miles, Fiona Evans ran 16.5 miles and Denise Bradley did 19.8 miles.

At the Autumn Run, it was a welcome return for ladies captain, Pippa Clark who ran 3.3 miles, Liz Davis and Sally Pensom ran Half Marathon distance, whilst there was plenty more Snowdon training being done with Sian Jenkins managing 10 miles, Alexis 16.5 miles, Claire Taylor, Jamie Puddy, Sharon Pritchard, Deb Griffin, Bev Sheard and Paul Barrett running 19.8 miles and Gary Loo running 23.1 miles.

BCRL

The final event of the Bridgend County Running League took place on Rest Bay Beach with a 2.2 mile two lapped course. Niki Puleio lead our club members back closely followed by Paul Smith, Ryan Evans and Neil Price. With some excellent scoring from our top 15 plus 79 members completing the course, we finished second on the night to further secure our second place in the league.

I did a lengthy post on the clubs Facebook page regarding some of the stats from this season which included record attendances at 5 out of the 6 fixtures, by far our strongest top 15 performances in every event and substantially better overall scores for each event.

Other Races

Adrian Pearce, Paul Smith and Aled Hughes teamed up for the Welsh Road Relays. Adam Rowe ran the ‘Beat the Bore’ 8 mile event. 13 members ran the 16 mile Roman Run. Karl Johnson, Tyler Howells, Toni Howells and Jay Howells ran the inaugural Newport 5 miler. Steve Loveluck ran a 6 hour looped ultra and clocked up 36 miles. Anneliese Loveluck was first female overall in the Dare Valley Ultra. A 12 hour event where she managed around 60 miles.

Although it pains me to mention a triathlon in a running club blog, I will make an exception for an Ironman event. Helen Griffiths became an Ironman finisher for the first time whilst Kirsty Evans and Steven Clatworthy completed the crazy feat of endurance for the second time on the challenging course around Tenby and the surrounding area.

Yet another month of huge participation in events and everything from Zero to Hero graduates running 5K to 12 hour Ultra marathons. Over to Chris to Chairmans Runners of the Month.

Chairman’s Runners of the Month

As the weather starts to turn slightly and we start looking towards the end of the year our spirits are not dampened.  Still out in force at events and still training well.  

Although we are not all about running fast, we still celebrate it.  We have many runners who continue to push themselves to make improvements in performance.  Many of these are runners who have run for many years and start to wonder whether times will continue to fall or holding on to seasons bests will be the way of the future.  When improvements of significance start to come after consistent running for several years it is often a measure of hard work in the background.  A renewed vigour for improvement.  Gaining an understanding of what might have led to times not falling in the past.  I have run with this guy many times and we’ve deliberated the plan of attack in races.  He has known for some time that he often goes out too fast and has learnt to bring that under control and measure the whole distance.  A new thinking.  A renewed understanding of pacing a race.  A desire to beat himself.  With PB’s resulting in dipping under 19 minutes for a 5k and 40 minutes for a 10k this month he is a worthy recipient of this accolade.  You will rarely see a man with such a determined face as he pushes his body to the finish line of a race (even if the expressions often result in a great deal of hilarity from his wife).  I am absolutely delighted to award my September Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month to Neil Price.  Keep up the good work Neil.

As for the ladies, I agonised over this months achievements.  So many worthy potential winners.  I try and avoid repeating people if at all necessary but one event brought me into a dilemma of choice.  I’ll be chastised again by some for recognition of multi-discipline achievements but it still involves running on the back of a significant build up.  Such worthy possibilities and split two ways with very little place to separate so I chose to give it to someone who I haven’t acknowledged before.   For many reasons this athlete is incredible.  An exception to the rule I would say.  It’s not often you find someone who can avoid training until almost the 11th hour and then absolutely smash it!  It’s not the route that would be advocated by our coaches and, indeed, by our very worthy winner either.  With a young family and other commitments, it’s the age old tale of life dictates training patterns and priority always falls with the family and Ironman is an event that requires substantial training in every discipline throughout the year.  One of the toughest Ironman courses in the world it commands respect from everyone who takes it on.  Her second tackling of the event and another successful completion!  Absolutely outstanding.  A huge well done to my very worthy winner of September Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month, Kirsty Evans.  Well done Kirsty, looking forward to seeing what comes next!

Weekly Waffle – 30th September 2019

It’s been three weeks since I last wrote and you know what that means… it’s going to be a long one! 

Bear with…

What a week we started with…

Yet again, there’s no rest for the Phoenix!

New training sessions appear as club development continues and our heroes continue their journeys getting closer to their goals!  

Nerves were bubbling under as the week progressed leading to a big weekend for some…

9am on Saturday brought the usual crowds to our two local venues.  One being hosted by the members of the local constabulary attracting an admirable representation of the club.  Club championships continue to draw large numbers down to the seafront for their regular 5k. Others went further afield this week with three countries of the home nations covered.

Nerves continued to build…

The sun set on a warm sunny day and rose to a cool but still Sunday morning…

Facing the dragon.  A term that’s used to refer to the notoriously tough Ironman Wales.  

2.4 mile swim.
112 mile cycle.
26.2 mile run.
All in one day.

Nerves turned into adrenaline for three of our number who headed out on their quest from Tenby’s North Beach…

While they took on their mammoth journey a group of five headed across the border to take on a half marathon.  For two of them it was their first and, meeting the challenge head on, came out of the experience holding their heads high, proud of their fantastic achievement!

Three others headed in the opposite direction to take part in a relay event giving their all and securing a significant placing and representing the club with pride!

While that was happening the water was replaced by two wheels as the trio in Tenby took to their bikes…

Up north a 6 hour event saw one of our runners reach an epic distance on a tough, hilly course in Yorkshire to scoop a second place finish and all the accolades that come with it!

As that was finishing our group down west were transitioning, two of them almost at the same time, from two wheels to two feet to make their way around the marathon route to complete their epic journey. 

As day turned to night they were still going and many sat on the edge of their seats at home following updates to hear of their heroic completion of what is considered worldwide as one of the toughest!  One coming back after completing Ironman several times, one cementing her double and one completing her first ever!  Absolutely amazing and worthy of high praise not only for the completion but also for the many months of hard training that go into crossing that finish line within the cut-off!

We went to sleep proud in the knowledge that they had all smashed their goals and were celebrating their amazing achievements.

Another week dawned and the weather remained pleasant.

With the successes of our fellow Phoenix still filling our thoughts training numbers were on the rise once again.  

The weekend saw the usual parkrun frenzy with celebrations at one of our home events as they obtained their defibrillator and one of our midst celebrated an unofficial milestone.  The usual tourists made their way elsewhere with one stealing the crown for a run down under.

Sunday brought with it mixed weather as the clouds massed overhead.  Events to the west drew many to their start lines.  Another multi-loop event attracted many with it’s friendly, low-key atmosphere.  All thoroughly enjoyed and provided mutual support for each other as they looped round for a varying number of times.  Cameraderie and support in abundance.

Further west another substantial group took to the flat and fast 10k on the seafront setting a plethora of personal bests and all enjoying the experience.

Our heroes moved one step closer to completing their course as they prepared for their final week leading up to graduation.

Another busy week – as is always the case when it comes to the Phoenix.

As we said goodbye to the week, the words of weather forecasters were ringing in our ears… rain was on it’s way…  Character building conditions!

Despite the conditions people turned up to train.  “If it’s raining, we’re training!” 

A successful midweek recce of the parkrun route on the seafront gave confidence to our heroes approaching graduation day.  

It was during the week that we received notice of a number of significant awards.  The club recognised for all the hard work done by everyone involved with a national accolade.  Not stopping their two of our number picked up further awards for their huge individual contributions to the club.  Phoenix flying high and everyone proud of it!

On Saturday, before many of us woke, a group were making their way to the airport to make a very special trip across to the Emerald Isle to complete a run that shares it’s name with the location of the very first time trial that gave rise to parkrun.  A great time was had by all on a trip that started in the middle of the night and ended right at the end of the day. 

Others, still earlier than a parkrun start, made their way to complete another multi-discipline event, some sharing the load to get the job done in admirable style with one celebrating a birthday at the same time! 

Back to Porthcawl and our heroes inaugural coincided with an international festival in the seaside town celebrating the life of the “King of Rock and Roll”.  Closed roads meant it was a unique course.  All battled the elements in less than perfect conditions to complete their goal with all runners at the finish to cheer and support them on their journey.   The festival had drawn special guests from parkrun HQ who stuck around at the end to cheer all runners home and joined in the group photo to assist with celebrations!

We move on to the last day of the week and several head to a village not too far away for a trail 10k that promised to be something of a mudfest.  Torrential rain on Saturday had done it’s job.  Confusion on the course led to some interesting stories but great fun was had by all!

While all of this was happening one of our award winners spent her first days with our national governing body coaching others to become leaders.  Growing the sport.

Yet again, stories abound.  

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s often the story leading up to the moment of glory that tells the tale.  

The months of anguish.  
The hours put in to get the body ready.  
The hours put in to get the mind ready.  
The failures.  
Picking themselves back up again and getting back into it.  
The doubts.  
The fears.  
We all have them.
The grit and determination that win through to put them on the start line and drive them on to the finish.  
This goes whatever the distance. 
It doesn’t have to be long to have a story to tell.  
Whatever the story, everybody loves to share in it.  
Providing support and guidance to make it a smoother ride.  
Phoenix family mutual support doing it’s thing.
Phoenix pride for many reasons.
As someone said to me recently, “keep on keeping on”.
You know what follow…
#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 8th September 2019

The waffle is quickly becoming bi-weekly as Sunday’s become busy – but after a couple of weeks like we’ve had that means reviewing a lot more activity!

We’ve had a wide range of training sessions… We’ve taken runners onto the beach for a very important strength and conditioning session as well as stretching the legs along one of our favourite bits of coastline from Ogmore to Southerndown and back.  Downhill sessions on the dunes for trail mean lots of sand over the last couple of weeks.  All of this as well as the regular tempo and track sessions.   

Our heroes continued their journeys and are homing in on their graduation as they move forward through the programme and wow us with their amazing efforts to achieve their goals!  

In two weeks…

We’ve parkrunned.  A lot.  

Home is Porthcawl and Maesteg and at both locations we’ve turned up in our droves for our free 5k Saturday morning constitutional.  But many, and not just the usual suspects, jumped in a car well before 9am and headed off to add a new parkrun location to their ever expanding list.  We’ve had milestones.  We’ve seen PB’s.  Most important – we’ve seen big numbers. parkrun is something different to everyone.  It is whatever you want it to be.  Some weeks we go for it.  Some weeks we help someone else to a time or to get round.  Sometimes we just purely run for fun.  Sometimes, when injured, we walk it.  Staying connected.  Sharing the experience even if we can’t push it.  So important.  Maintaining sanity. 

We’ve raced.  A lot.

Last weekend one sacrificed a parkrun to chase The Bore along the banks of the Severn.  For the uninitiated The Bore is a tidal wave that happens once a year and travels up the Severn River. While he didn’t quite beat it, it was close and he enjoyed the experience.

A huge contingent made their way to the Welsh capital to cover a flat 6.2 mile route around the streets and parks of the city.  It wasn’t just running though. Some gave up their time to support the event by volunteering and handed out medals to reward the many thousands who were running.  75 club members tackled the distance.  Great effort and spirit was shown by all with fantastic performances and tales of endeavour!  It’s always a good excuse for a bit of a social afterwards too!  A great day and one that will leave lasting memories.

Two headed over the border to tackle a 10 mile route around an “old” English town and came back to tell the tale!

A few headed even further afield to tackle a half marathon event organised by a company that suggested it would be a “tough” event.  It tested them but they all made it to the end recording decent times for their effort!

Midweek races are slowing now that the nights are drawing in but the final race in our local league encouraged another record breaking turnout for this particular feature which involves two loops around a course on the beach while the tide is out.  Cementing our strong second position in the league there were incredible performances and valiant efforts from all those who ran.  As the sun slowly set on the beach, on what proved to be a stunning evening, every single runner dug deep to proudly deliver another amazing Phoenix result.

Leading into this weekend we saw one solitary runner tackle a 12 hour event on a tough looped course, recording another amazing result.  Significant positioning in the event and an incredible distance covered resulted in extra spoils for the hard work!  Inspiring stuff! 

A trio headed north to tackle the biggest half marathon in the UK on a day where the sun beat down and record spectators turned out to support.  A great experience for all with stories to tell on their return!

A collection of members headed up the valley to our spiritual home to an event supporting a charity that is working towards a world where people understand and talk openly about depression.  Some volunteered and some ran.  A tough trail route tested the legs but they all completed it admirably.  A very worthwhile day for many reasons.

Others headed down West to tackle various distances over a looped course in pleasant surroundings.  A well stocked checkpoint replenished fuel lost through running.  All picked up their medals as reward for their endeavour.

A group took on another charity challenge that followed a route from one castle to another.  A very worthy cause drew them there but the challenge itself wasn’t enough for some who opted to make the return journey on foot clocking up significant mileage in preparation for longer distances on the calendar in the future.

Two weeks done and they’ve been busy.  

Lots of training. Lots of running.  

Lots of Phoenix spirit on display.

There were a lot of stories.  All special in their own right.  Some were of long distance, some were of fast times.  But just as important are the ones of simply lacing up the trainers and heading out of the door.  Equally important are the ones of those who, unable or not wishing to run, gave up their precious time so others could.  We had stories of mutual support – the Phoenix way.  Supporting each other – often leading to discovery of abilities that some never even thought they possessed.  Being pushed out of their comfort zone.  Reminds us of those three words… Dream.  Believe.  Achieve.

Our ears are filled with pride of everyones endeavour. 

Just keep on doing what you’ve been doing.

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

August 2019 review

parkruns

This month saw our members accumulate 270 parkrun finishes over 60 different parkruns across a record 41 different parkrun venues.

Amongst many others, tourism included Medina (Isle of Wight), Westpark (Germany) and Aviemore (Scotland). We also had members at Barry Island and Billericay parkruns on the same day for all you Gavin and Stacey fans.

The month kicked off with a huge turnout of 41 members running at Maesteg for their 2nd year anniversary run. Adrian Pearce also bagged himself a first place at the same venue later in the month.

There were PB’s in the month for Annemarie Morgan, Tyler Howells, Rosaleen Salvatore, Julie Lewis, Toni Howells, Mike Bright, Chris Collin, Jonathan Loo and Gary Loo.

Chris Pratt became only the second member of the club to reach 300 parkruns whilst James Beynon, Martin Beard, Saul Harris and Fiona Drysdale all joined the 100 club.

We also had members at Barry Island and Billericay parkruns on the same day for all you Gavin and Stacey fans. The month kicked off with a huge turnout of 41 members running at Maesteg for their 2nd year anniversary run. Adrian Pearce also bagged himself a first place at the same venue later in the month. There were PB’s in the month for Annemarie Morgan, Tyler Howells, Rosaleen Salvatore, Julie Lewis, Toni Howells, Mike Bright, Chris Collin, Jonathan Loo and Gary Loo. Chris Pratt became only the second member of the club to reach 300 parkruns whilst James Beynon, Martin Beard, Saul Harris and Fiona Drysdale all joined the 100 club.

5K races

Aled, Nick and I ran the Cardiff Running Events Summer Sizzler 5K whilst the day after Nick and Aled were in action again with 3 others at the Versus Arthritis Swansea 5K.

10K races

The first weekend saw 32 runners at the Barry 10K. Understandably the attendance was a bit lower than the other 10K’s in the series (Cardiff, Newport and Porthcawl) largely due to the Beer Mile being the evening before. There were 6 of us who did both. Other reasons for lower attendance is that the Barry course isn’t the flattest 10K and just like last year, it was incredibly hot and humid.

Despite the conditions, Niki smashed it with a sub 40 time of 39:14 followed by Chris Wonka Williams in 43:57 whilst I can claim first out of the Beer Mile entrants with a 45:50. Our first lady was Claire DB in 48:04 followed by Emma Loyns and Jo Gamba. Elsewhere, Ken Salvatore ran an impressive 56:20 PB.

There were several other smaller 10K’s in month with Sharon Pritchard and Debbie Bennion took on the Llandegfedd Reservior 10K, Chris Richards and Steve Nelson completed the Tough Runner Brechfa 10K and Chris was in action again later in the month at the Narbeth Nobbler 10K.

10 milers

The Brecon 10 miler saw 6 members in action with Adrian Pearce first back in a club age category record of 1:05:55 which means he know has all the records in his age category bar the marathon. David Kembery was next up followed by Brian Cotton. The final 3 all came through with PB’s – Liz Sim, Dawn Hopkins and Jayne Bissmire.

Half Marathons

42 members completed the Port Talbot Half Marathon with Adrian Pearce back first in another age category club record of 1:25:58. Our first female Phoenix was Claire DB in 1:49:29. The PB list included Jay Howells, Anthony Kavanagh, Tim Rees, Chris Richards, Kaye Pedler, Jamie Puddy, Stephne Puddy, Helen Griffiths and Sian Jenkins.

The Narberth Nobbler saw Denise Bradley, Fiona Evans and Melissa Humphreys complete the tricky course whilst we had 12 runners at the Severn Bridge Half Marathon on a very warm morning led back by Luke Jones in 1:47:57 with Sarah Davies the first Phoenix lady in 02:09:45.

Marathons

Bath Two Tunnels Marathon saw Steven James, Liz Sim, Chris Pratt and Jo Kendall complete the course with Liz getting a new marathon PB. Chris was back in action a week later for the Narberth Nobbler Marathon with Mike Bright and Angharad Hinam also completing the course.

Other races

The month kicked off in unusual fashion with 2 very different mile events. First up was the ‘murder mile’ which Aled and Nick took on. A single mile with almost 700 feet of elevation and a constant incline until the last 100 meters or so. The second one was the increasingly popular ‘beer mile’.

The ‘beer mile’ attracted 29 members this year to take on the challenge of a 100 meter run – drink a 330ml can of cider or beer (or new for this year, a 175ml glass of Prosecco) – run 600 meters – drink again – run 300 meters – drink another – run 300 meters – drink a forth time – then a final 300 meters to finish. Aled Hughes clocked a crazy time of 7 minutes and 12 seconds whilst 10-11 minutes was around the average. It certainly doesn’t end up in the familiar order of results we normally see.

Later in the month we would also see a ‘normal’ mile race with Aled and Niki taking on a flat road mile in Butetown.  Niki finished in 5:08 with Aled in 5:40.

Adrian Pearce and Aled Hughes took on the Machen Mountain Race on Bank Holiday Monday which included an eye watering 1000 feet of ascent in the first 2 miles before coming back down.

Multi-events

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, Nick Harris, Jo Gamba and I took on the CPR (Cardiff Pentath Running) challenge. This involved running Cardiff parkrun, followed by a 10K in Pontcanna Fields at 12.30pm, a 4.5K Cross Country race on Llandaff Fields at 4.30pm all on the Saturday, and then on the Sunday a Half Marathon at 9am and finishing off with a 1 mile time trial at 1pm. The 5 events add up to exactly 26.2 miles and whilst you get results for all the individual events, it’s the cumulative time that matters. Conditions were very hot all weekend which made the challenge even tougher and there were many hours spent in Tesco café on Western Avenue between events to refuel and hydrate.

On the same weekend, Liz Sim was taking on a very similar challenge in Portishead. The team behind Ben Smith’s 401 marathons in 401 days (worth Googling if you don’t know about this) had set up a series of 4 races adding up to 26.2 miles. This involved a 5K run at 2.30pm on Saturday followed by a Half Marathon at 4.30pm. Then a 10K at 10am on the Sunday followed by 6.2K at 12.30pm to make it up to 26.2 miles.

BCRL

We had 85 members complete the 5th fixture of the Bridgend League at Newbridge Fields. A 3.6 mile race starting and finishing on the running track which was great for supporting at the end and some amazing sprint finishes. Gareth Battle was our first finisher closely followed by 5 other Phoenix all within 13 seconds of each other. Another strong performance by our top 15 and a massive turnout meant we finished as second team on the night and pretty much secured our second place in the league overall.

Over to Chris for Chairmans Runner of the Month.

Chairman’s Runners of the Month

Members out in force at training, August being the second highest monthly attendance of the year.   The warm weather not putting people off for sure.  Warm weather training is always popular!

Lots of events and lots of great performances as well as impressive stories of endeavour making it very difficult to choose from the midst of all the achievements.  As I’ve said before, it’s not always about pure achievement…

Sometimes a story will capture the attention.  We know that running fills a void for many people.  It’s a distraction from the rigours of life.  After a long passage of being away from running, often it’s signing up for an event that brings people back to it.  Training doesn’t always go well but sometimes the event still needs to be done to exorcise some demons.  Guts and determination are something I always admire.  Facing the adversity of the situation and pushing through it.  It doesn’t have to be a long way and it doesn’t have to be quick.  It’s all about meeting the challenge and seeing it through.  One such person took on a challenge against the odds.  Things hadn’t gone quite to plan but it was necessary to stand on the start line and face it head on.   Despite suffering blisters that would scare the more hardy of our bunch and finding it extremely tough, one of our midst dug in and pushed on to the bitter end.  Crossing the finish line not only indicated the end of a tough half marathon but also put pay to many doubts and fears about returning to running and began a positive push forward in life.  I am honoured to award my Chairman’s August Female Runner of the Month to Melissa Humphreys.  Well done Melissa.  Stick with it!  We are very proud of you.

My next choice is someone who has caught my eye on a number of occasions.  Also with a story to tell, my male choice for the accolade is someone who dedicates an incredible amount of time to family.   With a particular reason for doing so, time is incredibly precious.  Taking time out is very difficult but he manages it.  Running is often an aid to dealing with the rigours of daily life.  Not only that but events he does get to we are seeing improvements with two 10k’s completed during August and a new half marathon PB in Port Talbot.  We harbour many members who have stories to tell and it is often those stories that help to shape them into the person that they are.  Caring, thoughtful, dedicated and determined come to mind here.  Not only inspiring with his outlook on life and the commitment he makes to his family but also to the pastime which gives him respite.  I am incredibly proud to announce my Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month for August to Chris Richards.  Well done Chris. I’m sure there’s much more to come.  Keep on inspiring us.

Weekly Waffle – 27th August 2019

Again it’s been two weeks and a great deal has happened…

Not two weeks since the last one and we find ourselves gathering for another fixture of the BCRL.  Out in numbers once again topping the charts for participation.  Combined with that and excellent running around the Newbridge Fields course and back through the woods for two laps produced another fantastic second place finish!   Phoenix out in force and maintaining their reputation of flying high!

Warm weather training appealed to many and numbers were good despite the racing leading up to the weekend which invariably starts with a favourite 5k event.  It happens every Saturday, without fail.  An unofficial milestone was celebrated locally at one of our home runs.  Large numbers in attendance everywhere with the usual glut of tourists spreading their wings and finding locations far and wide.

The warm weather continued into Sunday as races appeared on the calendar.  A couple travelled west to tackle another Tough Runner event, taming the hills in style.  

Another couple headed to a reservoir to complete another tough 10k route running together to share the load.

A few crossed the border to a historic city to run through converted railway tunnels and circumnavigate the city on canal toe paths to reach their goals.  

A great weekend of running that saw Phoenix rallying together to get the job done in adverse running conditions.  While spectators relish the warmth of the sun, runners tear it.  Energy sapping it can easily turn a race of comfortable distance into a real challenge.  All met the challenge head on and completed the job in hand admirably!

A week done and into the new.

Inspired by the weekends running numbers increased at training with loops around Parc Slip leading into track sessions and combined with our heroes continuing their journey to reach their goal.  As time progresses they get ever closer to their goal.  Leaders and experienced runners turn out in force to support our runners who are making excellent progress.

Friday saw the inaugural event to mark the start of the Pride Cymru Big weekend.  A run that attracted over 100 runners.  A weekend to recognise and celebrate the importance of inclusion and diversity within society.  Something that fits perfectly with our ethos of being all-inclusive.  A few members were in attendance to share in the amazing atmosphere building in to the weekend of celebration.

parkrunday arrived.  Numbers were good but slightly dwindled by the presence of a local and popular 10k race taking in a section of local coastline that we’re all very familiar with.  Many tourists found new locations alongside our usual home runners. For some the parkrun was a part of a two day challenge combining different events to make a total marathon distance.

For one other Saturday saw the start of another two day multi-event challenge across the border organised to raise funds for a very worthy foundation. 

Popular Saturday races sometimes mean quiet Sundays.  Not the case here.  

Early rise for some who headed way down west to tackle a nobbling route of various distances.  All completed the course with stories of hardship to tell.  

Our band of merry men (and a lady) continued their collection of events in the capital to reach their goal and earn the spoils.  

A larger contingent travelled east to target an event that crossed borders.  Two distances.  Two countries.  High above the water they ran.  Looping round and tackling “the hill” they made their way back to cross the finish line to collect their medals and t-shirts.  The sun tested their metal but they all battled through to regale their stories.

Our solitary runner continued her challenge over the border to collect a multitude of medals for her effects presented for display in a unique wooden cube design.  Always nice to receive something different to mark a special occasion!

Two dropped their regular distances to chase a one mile time and both finished with fantastic results.

A bank holiday weekend always attracts extras and as the extra day off arrived two souls travelled to tackle a fell race with impressive vert in the heat and lived to tell the tale with impressive times.

Our muti-discipline contingent were out again to rack up more results at a seafront event.

While all of this is going on our hard working beginners are progressing further through their programme reminding us of how hard work and determination will produce results.  Heroes without doubt.

It never fails to amaze me the diversity of events that we do.  It also fills me with immense pride when we turn up to events and wow others with our huge turnout.  The Phoenix continues to impress wherever we go.  We are noticed and remembered.  This is largely down to our great heart and spirit.  it exudes from us all and is something that people we meet absorb and recall when they see us again.  An experience I have had a couple of times this week.  A positive lasting impression.

Fantastic performances throughout the club with many stories of endeavour.  Hard work and determination seeing many through to cross the finish line despite testing circumstances.

Positivity courses throughout, but when things are good we must take a moment to remember those who are struggling with injury.  The ones who are unable to join us on start lines.  The effect on their well-being can be severely affected by this and we must continue to rally round and remind them that we are here for them.  When they come to mind drop them a line.  A text.  A message.  A phone call.  Just to say you’re thinking of them.

Keep up the good work guys.  

You are all superstars!

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 11th August 2019

Again it’s been a fortnight…

Life got in the way and prevented another weekly review so it’s time to catch up…

Rewind a little and memories will return of sand.  Lots of sand.  It was a Wednesday night and another edition of the Bridgend County Running League.  A fixture that’s loved and hated at the same time drew the Phoenix in significant quantity.  Runners, supporters and volunteers.  Another significant result was achieved with all those who ran being rewarded with copious quantities of cake!

While all this took place our new batch of heroes took the next steps on their journey in significant numbers.  A delight to see.  Between training and racing 130 of the club keeping active on one night!

High numbers up the valley in our spiritual home saw out the week of training but two rounded the week off with a trip to the east to tackle a tough climb very aptly named The Murder Mile and were rewarded at the top with beer!  This led us on to parkrunday where a new club record attendance was set.  Phoenix out in their droves at 12 locations in 3 different countries.  Maesteg, a home run for many, celebrated it’s second birthday with a huge Phoenix contingent taking part in one way or another.  The famous duo fancy dress theme temped several into the party spirit for the morning. 

The afternoon was an annual pilgrimage for many as the ever popular Beer mile drew many to don fancy dress once again for an event that continues to appeal every year.  4 beers, one mile.  More of a challenge than it sounds.  A great deal of fun was had by all as the party continued into the night…

The sun rose on a warm Sunday morning.  

A compact and bijou group followed the A470 north to Brecon.  Starting and ending on a track, 10  scenic miles were the order of the day and impressive results were obtained in the process.

The home of Gavin and Stacey drew large numbers onto the Island for the next 10k in a very popular local series.  Great numbers, great results and great fun was enjoyed by all.

And all the while our heroes continued to push their boundaries discovering new potential they never knew existed.

Saying goodbye to the week and saying hello to another.

The forecast changed.  The heatwave was disappearing giving way to more typical conditions.  Rain.

Training in the week saw a trip to Merthyr Mawr and back and a tough track session that always tests those who take part but, suitable for all, it’s these sessions that make us better.  Meanwhile our heroes continued to develop.  A huge group made their way to Ogmore to tackle the popular and tough climb to Bwlch Y Clawdd and back down.

Midweek events still abound and this week was no exception.  A 5k event in the capital saw a few line up on the start line to record some more events in their calendar.  The following night some also took to the seafront in Swansea once again to complete the same distance event in aid of a very worthy charity.

The weather finally turned and storms lashed the area.  Saturday morning saw a plethora of parkrun cancellations in the locale.  Some managed to find locations that were still running while many were already planning tourism that allowed them to get their 5k fix in.

One completed a tough looped course marathon to increase the total on a personal challenge.  A unique medal was the reward for a successful day.

Despite the weather continuing to test we saw large numbers head down to the local half marathon that always attracts us in large numbers.  Despite the conditions and the hilly profile it produced significant results for those who took it on.  

The weather didn’t defeat our heroes continuing their quests as they bravely fought the conditions to battle towards their eventual goal with guts and determination.  True Phoenix spirit already growing within!

What an amazing two weeks!  

Brilliant to see numbers at training on the rise as well as numbers taking part in events of all distances.  Phoenix spirit shining through in every case.

It’s simple – keep doing what you’re doing and if you need any support then just turn one way or another and you can be assured there will be a Phoenix by your side to guide you through.

You lot are simply awesome!

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

July 2019 review

parkruns

This month saw our members accumulate 210 parkrun finishes across 39 parkruns and 25 different parkruns

As well as the usual parkruns across South Wales we had tourists at Gloucester City, Burnham and Highbridge, Malborough Common, Hanley, Reading, Ashton Court, Kingstone, Stonehouse, Somerdale Pavillion, Tamar Trails, Nonsuch and a Canadian parkrun with Kayley Griffiths at Whistler.

Milestones this month included Fiona Drysdales 100th parkrun and my 300th parkrun. Maesteg parkrun also celebrated their 100th parkrun.

PB’s in the month included Brownwen Apsee, Clifford Searle, Brett Bonell, and Sally Pensom. A special mention for Wayne Hayhurst who smashed his PB to not just dip under 20 minutes for the first time but absolutely smash it with a 19:16.

5K races

Julie Ransom was our only entrant in the 5K event of the Long Course Weekend and finished in 29:30.

We had 13 runners at Swansea Bay 5K which included another sub 20 for Aled.

Nick Harris was our only entrant in The Chase 5K in Cardiff which involves runners setting off at different times depending on seasons best times with the aim of catching other runners (the fastest going off last).

Nick was joined by Aled and Chris for the final race in the SSAFA 5K series.

10K races

On the first Sunday of the month, we had a record breaking 103 members run an official race 10K including 4 taking on the 10K in Tenby and 2 at the Gloucester 10K.

The majority were at Porthcawl 10K where we had 97 runners which is second only to the Ogmore Castle BCRL event earlier this year for biggest attendance. Despite very warm conditions and a half hour delay at the start, there were PB’s aplenty including our first two finishers Paul Smith (38:29) and Adrian Pearce (38:40). Aled Hughes got his first sub 40 with a (39:37). Aled and Adrian earned Welsh Athletics Bronze Medals in their respective age categories whilst they are also due a second bronze medal along with Paul and Ryan for being the 3rd best combined team.

Claire Dunbar-Bowen ran a PB of 47:15 with Jonathan Tidball coming in at 47:25. The PB’s continued with Brett Bonell, Gary Loo, Dean Soles, Ian Lewis, Liam Cattell, Ken Salvatore, Brownwen Apsee, Kaye Pedler, Tanya Lacey, Beverley Soles and Fran Collins all improving their previous bests in the 50-59 minute range.

An even bigger list of post 1 hour PB’s followed including a number of them taking on their first 10K’s with the club. Well done to Lowri Howells, Jamie Bevan, Heather Morgan, Claire Taylor, Kate Atkin, Megan Apsee, Jane Collins, Kathy Watkins, Emma Bowen, Anna Clough, Rhian Miller, Claire Williams, Ruth Thomas, Paul James, Iona Gregory and Laura Worrall.

The next 10K saw James Beynon and Liz Sim complete the Thornbury 10K. Jay Howells took on the Ammanford 10K, and we had 4 members at the Pontypridd Roadents ‘Loop’ event.

10 members also ran the Mick Morris 10K which is almost entirely downhill and therefore doesn’t count for PB purposes and saw some ridiculously fast times. Wayne Hayhurst was our first finisher in 37:56 whilst Luke Jones ran sub 40 with a 39:43.

We had 6 runners at the Tough Runner 10K with Jade Bazylkiewicz our first runner home in an impressive 52:58 on the hilly off road course.

Half Marathons

We had 14 runners complete the Half Marathon at the Long Course Weekend in Tenby in sweltering conditions. First back were Sarah and James Littlewood clocking an impressive sub 2 hour time on the hilly course. Lisa Pinney, Andrew Hughes, Helen Griffiths, Kayley Griffiths, Jamie Puddy and Mark Burgess who had all completed swim and / or bike events in the previous days all added additional medals to their total.

4 members took on the Tough Runner Half Marathon with Wayne Randall finishing just ahead of Samantha Thomas in 2:39:32 with the two of them followed home by Jamie Puddy and Vickie Blake.

Marathons

Wayne Hayhurst ran an impressive sub 4 hour time and was one of 8 members who completed the Long Course Weekend Marathon. Kirsty Evans and Hannah Bartle completed the marathon to tick off full distances in the swim, bike and run.

The Lovelucks took on the Tough Runner Marathon with Anneliese finishing first lady overall by a huge margin in 3:35:47 whilst Steve clocked an impressive 3:39:38.

Infinity Running event

These events are now getting a separate section rather than including the various distances under all the different headings. This month saw the latest in the series head to Cardiff for the first time with the 6 hour event being a 3.3 mile out and back along the Taff Trail.  9 members heading down this time round on another warm morning to tackle as many laps as we wished.

Laura Worrall completed 2 laps for the ’10K’ and was accompanied by Mark Worrall and Chris Richards who carried on to complete 4 laps for the Half Marathon. I also ran the Half Marathon and was first finisher out of those that chose to do that distance. Denise Bradley and Liz ran together and also chose 4 laps to complete the Half.

Running just behind Denise and Liz and occasionally with them were Jo Gamba and Chris Pratt. Jo set out to do 4 laps but enjoyed it so much she ended up doing a 5th to get some early Snowdonia Marathon training in and clocking up 16.5 miles.

Chris carried on to do 8 laps and tick off yet another marathon – his  7th in just 19 weeks. Meanwhile, Kris Denholm carried on to do 11 laps and around 33 miles with only 2 other runners clocking further.

Ultra Marathon races

Just the one this month but our second 100(+) miler of the year. This time it was Steven James’s turn. Steven’s training had been impressive with 6 ultras ranging in the 33-40 mile range just this year leading up to this event. The 1066 Ultra runs from London to Battle and was advertised as 106 miles although Steven eventually clocked 109.5. It’s also worth mentioning it was very hot. What an incredible achievement.

BCRL races

A rare month where we had 2 Bridgend League events with the first being a brand new one starting in Pencoed in the showground of the annual Bridgend Show. The first Friday evening fixture ever for the league saw an amazing 92 members complete the course which was mainly on undulating roads. 92 is the joint 3rd highest attendance we’ve had at any race with all of our top 3 attendances now being in the last 3 months. 

Paul Smith was our first runner back just ahead of Adrian Pearce, Niki Puleio, Gareth Battle, James Littlewood and Aled Hughes. Our first ladies back were Sian Price, Claire DB, Sarah Littlewood, Sarah Davies, Denise Bradley and Jo Gamba. Another very strong performance from our top 15 scorers coupled with the high attendance meant we finished as runners up on the night to Bridgend and further increased the gap to the rest of our competition.

The second event came on the final day of the month with the Kenfig Sands fixture. With 84 finishers it also ranks in our top 10 attendances at any event and a record for that particular fixture. It’s also worth noting on the same evening, we had more than 40 at the Zero to Hero session making it probably the most Phoenix Runners running on the same evening.

Back to the race and this time the order was Adrian, Gareth, Ryan, Paul, Dai James and Aled all finishing within 77 seconds of each other. Our top ladies were Sian Price, Jade, Sarah Davies, Emma Loyns, Denise Bradley and Jo Gamba. As with the previous fixture a strong 15 coupled with high numbers bagged us runners up on the night to Bridgend and dare I say a almost insurmountable lead over the other clubs in our quest to finish 2nd overall for the 2nd year.

Other races

Not too many ‘other distance’ events in July although clearly there were a huge amount in the categories above. Brett Bonnell and Karl Johnson took on the Tintern Trot, Aled and Nick ran the Summer Series 4 miler plus we had 2 teams at the Cosmeston Relays.

With 366 race finishes it’s our second highest monthly total ever after 381 in May. No doubt that with the Barry 10K, Newbridge Fields BCRL event and a whole host of races over the bank holiday weekend, I’ll have plenty to write about in August. Over to Chris for Chairman’s Runner of the Month.

Chairman’s Runners of the Month

I try and chop and change the mechanism for choosing runners of the month.  Different things catch the attention.  Sometimes it’s times, sometimes distance, sometimes grit and determination, sometimes helping others and sometimes endeavour.   Sometimes there are events that cannot be ignored.  Super long distance means pushing the body to extremes that only one or two of our midst will experience.  The second current member of the club to achieve this distance.  A slightly different approach to this challenge with a slightly different motivation for completing it.  When is running 100 miles a pre-cursor to something bigger?  Well this one is.  Proper prior preparation prevents poor performance.  The 6 p’s.  Lots of training miles.  A focused approach.  Events thrown in with sensible pacing.  Striding the hills.  Running the flat and downhills and learning to just keep going even when everything tells you to stop!  It worked.  The course followed Harolds Way from the English capital down to Battle Abbey near Hastings in Kent.  Tracing the steps of a historic journey.  100 miles.  Rest assured he dug very deep and completed the task in hand.  Broken legs were the reward for his troubles but huge kudos and rest followed the huge achievement.  Running 100 miles is totally amazing and worthy of huge accolade.  It shows not only running prowess but also a strength of character.  Mind games take hold during crazy distances like that and so many other things other than running get you to the end of your goal.  I am in awe as I award my Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month for July as Steven James.  Massive well done Steven.  On to the next challenge now!

Every now and again I see a spark.  A glint in an eye.  The indication that things have clicked.  The magic has worked.  Attendance at training for one is noticeably on the rise.  Posts on social media indicate an enthusiasm for getting out and banking miles.  Not only that but new personal bests start to appear.  Smiles crossing finish lines with hands held aloft.  Running experiences shared with others and the evidence shared with excitement.  Times improving as a result.  Training runs and races in increasing frequency.  It’s a joy to see.  We merely provide a platform – it is the individual that takes advantage of that and makes their own way to achieve something more.  That doesn’t have to be better times, it doesn’t have to be longer distance, it could just be stepping out of the door, enjoying the experience and sharing with friends.  Here we have a combination of better times, longer distances and increased enjoyment!   Truly inspiring stuff!  I am absolutely delighted to award my Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month for July to Laura Worrall.  Keep on doing what you’re doing Laura and continue to inspire us all into the future!

Weekly Waffle – 28th July 2019

Temperatures soar.  

Record levels reached.  

We are so lucky to have the beach within our reach where strength training sessions were held.

Midweek drew a trio to Caerdydd for the last in a series.  Attempts to break records failed battling against the heat and humidity of the evening despite it being a birthday celebration for one.

A recce of an upcoming fixture saw a number tackle a sandy route a week ahead of it’s official running while a huge group continued their running development.

More efforts on the Planka gave way to a rest day as we built up to the weekend and parkrunday.

9am start lines were filled with Phoenix.  Some got there by foot as training for big races on the horizon continued.  Pirates lined the seafront on one of our home locations while our other home enjoyed a centenary celebration.  Two on a mission clocked up a significant number of locations as tourism fever takes hold.  We had Phoenix penning run reports as others ventured further afield with two finding themselves in Canada to complete their 5k ritual.  

It wasn’t parkrunday for all though as a handful headed west down the M4 to a mixture of distances around trails in the Afan Valley.  Great performances all round in the heat with one picking up another accolade for crossing the finish line first!  Another trophy for the mantelpiece!

Our junior members got an opportunity for some track activities down in Swansea ending with fun on the beach in the warm weather.

Wonderful stuff!

The sun eventually went down.  

Before it even thought about waking from it’s slumber a group met in the dark to drive to the base of the highest peak in South Wales and made their way to the top on foot to watch the sun rise.  The weather was against them seeing the true glory of the moment but the experience was enjoyed by all with photos at the summit as confirmation.

Back at home our intrepid new runners took the next steps on their journey.  Heroes they are already for taking those first steps last week but this takes them one step closer to reaching their goal.  

More wonderful stuff!

It’s always difficult in the heat.  As temperatures rise we need to stay hydrated and protect our skin from the direct affect of sunlight.  Despite the extremes this week we saw good numbers at training as well as finish lines crossed.

More reasons to be proud.

Well done to all who stepped out of the door.

Spare a thought for those who aren’t able for one reason or another.  There are several amongst us currently unable to put any miles in and to them we send huge positive vibes for a speedy recovery.  The Phoenix family is bound by strong bonds.  We look out for each other.  If you know of someone who is struggling just reach out a hand of support.  Send a message.  Pop round.  Share a cuppa.  Just check they are OK.

Keep doing what you’re doing guys!

You’re all amazing!

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub