February 2023 review

parkruns

The first Saturday of the month saw 69 members running at 10 different parkrun locations. Only 34 of those were at their home parkruns making it the first time that Porthcawl and Maesteg have gone ahead but we’ve had more runners elsewhere. This was largely due to 19 members running at Minehead parkrun where a load of our female members were staying for an 80’s weekend. There were also 9 at Llanishen parkrun whilst further afield Chris Roberts was at Upton Court and Abbie Lumsden reached UK parkrun tourism status by running her 20th different venue at Clumber Park alongside Jay Howells who recently ran his 50th different venue.

The second Saturday of the month saw 53 members running at 12 different venues. A slight reduction on recent weeks mainly due to some other events that day including the Winter Warmer events, Hoka 10K/Half and a Gwent League fixture. Jay Howells continued his series of milestones with it being his 100th parkrun. I volunteered as a tail walker just an hour or so after finishing a 24 event. Jamie Verran was in Victoria Park in Glasgow where he ran a PB of 18:56 becoming the 13th current member to run under 19 minutes for a 5K. Other tourism included David and Bev Sheard at Pontefract. Claire Goldsworthy ran her 200th parkrun, all of which have been at Porthcawl, whilst Nick Harris became only the second member to run 400 parkruns. Toby Kearns was first finisher at Maesteg having been pipped at the line by Nicky Bennett a week previous by 1 second.

The third weekend saw 67 members across a massive 15 different parkrun venues. The largest attendance was at Maesteg for their 200th event which was also Rhodri Thomas 100th parkrun. Jacob Tasker was back finishing almost 3 minutes ahead of the second placed finisher with a 16:51. Our parkrun tourists included Gwyneth Steddy at Omagh, Jamie Verran at Pontefract.

The final weekend of the month saw 70 members across 15 different parkrun venues. It was a weekend of tourism goals with me achieving my ‘Cowell’ (100th different parkrun event) at Woodgate Valley Country Park, Karl getting his ‘Q’ at Queen Elizabeth parkrun and a group of 6 heading over to Belfast for their ‘Q’ at Queens parkrun. Closer to home there were the usual large contingents at Porthcawl and Maesteg where Aled Hughes was celebrating his 300th parkrun. Jacob added another first finish at Maesteg.

Races

The first weekend of the month saw a clash between the latest West Glamorgan XC fixture and a trail championship event at the Reverse 10 miler. At the XC we had our best turnout in quite a while with 22 in attendance although ladies, I do need to point out that it was 17-5 on the male/female split. Nicky Bennett finished 6th overall whilst our first lady was Carys Cronin. Special shout out to Arwen Rees who became our youngest female runner at a cross country event.

At the Reverse 10, Jacob Tasker won in a club record time of 54:49 knocking nearly 7 minutes off the previous club record. It was also Jacobs 4th win in as many weekends. Gareth Richards broke his own over 50’s age category record with a 4 minute PB in 1:04:13. Jade Bazylkiewicz ran a PB of 1:19:39. There were also PB’s for Katie Plimmer and Marianne Patterson who were both close to age category records as well.

The second weekend of the month saw Gareth Richards, Neil Ridley, Ian Lewis and Shelley Evans at the Cardiff Winter Warmer Half Marathon. At the Tough Runner 10K, new member Alex Steddy was first across the line in the 10K followed by another new member, Gavin Howe. Claire Dunbar-Bowen was our first female at the event in which we had 6 OPR member running. In the Half Marathon, Rhodri Thomas ran an outstanding 1:46:46 on a hilly course whilst Emma Loyns was our first female finisher with 5 OPR members running the Half.

Lisa King ran at the Cardiff 10 miler organised by Cardiff Running Events and finished in a speedy 1:17:20. It means in the same month, we’ve seen the 2nd and 3rd fastest ever 10 mile times set by female members of the club with Lisa and Jade. Lisa’s was also a new age category record and less than a minute off the overall club record.

Carol Bartle ran 1:55:46 at the ‘Lets Run Rhyl’ Half Marathon finishing first in her age category.

On the final weekend of the month, Nicky Bennett, Adam Kearns and Toby Kearns represented the club at the Welsh National XC Championships with great performances by all 3.

Ultra Running

There were a couple of big ultra running events during the month. The first was the 5K24 Challenge which was set up by some local lads connected to Bryncethin Rugby / Community Centre. Past challenges have included a marathon and a 24 hour walk to Carmarthen. OPR member Chris Wonka Williams was also one of the main organisers of the event. The challenge was to run 5K on the hour, every hour, for 24 hours starting at 8am on Friday morning (10th Feb), although you could choose you’re own challenge if you wanted to do less, or just turn up and run one hour or several hours. As for how our members got on – our January Male Runner of the Month, David Thomas decided to run 4.2 miles each hour and lasted for 10 hours before having to unfortunately drop out with injury after just over 40 miles. Luke Denholm ran 13 hours of 5K per hour to notch up around 40 miles. Kris Denholm ran one more hour after Luke at 5K per hour before calling it a day/night. Denise Bradley, who turned up saying she was aiming to do the 14 miles that was on her training plan ended up staying for the entire 24 hours, running in 21 of them, and notched up 50 miles. I set my own challenge of run/walking/generally moving forward in some state for 50 minutes of each hour which resulted in doing up to 5.6 miles in the first couple of hours before that reduced more and more and more to the point I finished with 2 miles on the final run. My final total was 88.3 miles…. and then I tail walked at Maesteg parkrun where Kris was also in attendance. Jo Jenkins and Sian Jenkins also popped over on a couple of occasions throughout the 24 hours to do a few runs with Sian doing 15 miles and Jo doing 12 miles. A number of other OPR members also came along to support.

Brecon to Cardiff saw 6 members take on the 43 mile Ultra. Gareth Richards was our first runner across the line in an incredible 6 hours 24 minutes which is well under a 9 minute mile average! He finished in 11th overall. Carl Walsh, Emma Loyns and Ken Salvatore ran the course together finishing in 9 hours 8 minutes. Then came arguably the best story of all – after having to drop out over 30 miles into the race last year, Leanne Parsons was back and completed the course in 10 hours 37 minutes with one of the clubs ultra running legends Elizabeth Sim alongside her. Fantastic efforts by all.

Chairman’s Runners of the month

Lots of amazing running taking place and all worthy of celebration.  

The first person to catch my eye this month has been on a long and measured journey.  A carefully planned approach to a defined goal.  Seeking a path that was both sensible and optimistic.  Showing a resolve that was unswerving.  A determination that wasn’t going to falter.  I’ve said before how much I hold that in high esteem.  The dream doesn’t have to be big.   Pursuance of it is key.  We’ve seen it here.  Setting a dream.  Believing it’s possible and pursuing the right path to achieve it.  Fitting increasingly long runs into a busy life.  Working to the guidance of a coached plan and sticking to it.  Heeding advice.  Sharing the journey along the way and inspiring others with her efforts.  I’ve certainly been inspired.  The final completion of her epic goal ultra marathon was the victory lap of a process worthy of accolade. I am delighted to honour Leanne Parsons as my Chairman’s female runner of the month for February.   Well done Leanne. 

With no need for introductions my next choice has had a place on the podium before.  Admiration for running prowess can be derived from many parameters.  Including, but not limited to, speed, distance, endeavour, effort.  Sometimes all of the above.  Admirable times over long distance.  Endeavour – daring to push boundaries and test where they flex.  Finding that point and going beyond it.  This can be measured over any of the former two.  For our Zero To Hero this might be running constantly for 5 minutes – an achievement worthy of high praise.  For some it’s much further.   They’ve had a longer journey to get there but once faced those same boundaries along the way.  One such person keeps doing it.  Admirable in all regards.  Where will it end is the thought that comes to mind.  Distances many baulk at driving, never mind running.  A recent event, as described in the accolades for my previous choice, saw a record time being set once again.  A significant placing.  A great training regime with a sensible build up often leads to success and is the key to it.  Incredibly impressive and I’m still wondering what the next challenge will be.   A true before and after story of incredible transformation has produced an athlete of significant pedigree.  Huge congratulations to Gareth Richards, my Chairman’s male runner of the month for February.  Well done Gareth.  Keep pushing!!

OPR at Maesteg parkrun – celebrating 200 events

Since the inaugural in July 2017, we’ve had 226 runners registered under OPR that have completed 2,419 runs at Maesteg parkrun. Just to note that these figures do include some juniors and some former members. At that inaugural, we had 35 runners who were members at the time – 30 of which are still members.

Most parkruns at Maesteg

  1. Aled Hughes 100
  2. Niki Puleio 96
  3. Nicky Bennett 76
  4. Kris Denholm 75
  5. Tom Mahoney 69
  6. Toby Kearns 66
  7. Dai Kembery 59
  8. Peter Walsh 57
  9. Denise Bradley 53
  10. Adam Kearns 51

 Keith Coleman could run his 50th Maesteg parkrun at the 200th event to become the 11th member of the club to run at Maesteg on 50 occasions. 

Highest percentage of total parkruns at Maesteg (for those with over 25 runs there) 

  1. Ben Batchelor (26/27) 96.3%
  2. Tom Mahoney (69/73) 94.5%
  3. Emyr Bissmire (41/46) 89.1%
  4. Jacob Tasker (32/36) 88.8%
  5. Carys Cronin (31/35) 88.5%
  6. Nicky Bennett (76/86) 88.4%
  7. Adam Kearns (51/58) 87.9%

 There’s quite a big drop off after that so it’s mainly these 7 that are the ‘Maesteg or nothing’ runners. 

Maesteg first finishers

  1. Jacob Tasker 32
  2. Niki Puleio 9
  3. Josh Parry 6
  4. Nicky Bennett 5
  5. Gareth Richards 2
  6. Toby Kearns 2
  7. Rhys Williams 2
  8. Kyle Blackmore / Steve Holloway / Kris Denholm / James Littlewood / Gareth Battle / Tom Mahoney / Aled Hughes / Adam Kearns / Jamie Verran

 We also had Neil Jones and Adrian Pearce as first finishers when they were members of the club meaning there’s been around 70 times that there’s been an OPR member first across the line at Maesteg. Most of those have been since parkrun returned after the covid pause with 56 out of the last 69 parkruns having an OPR member first across the line.

Female first finishers

  1. Claire Dunbar-Bowen 4
  2. Carys Cronin 3
  3. Sarah Davies 2
  4. Sarah Wilkes 2
  5. Sian Price / Sarah Littlewood / Juliet Amner 1

 Fastest Maesteg PB’s (Male)

  1. Jacob Tasker 16:12
  2. Nicky Bennett 17:53
  3. Josh Parry 18:27
  4. Niki Puleio 18:30
  5. Gareth Richards 18:57
  6. Rhys Williams 18:59
  7. Toby Kearns 19:07
  8. Gareth Battle 19:13
  9. Aled Hughes 19:16
  10. John Burridge 19:20

 We have another 5 current members who have run sub 20 at Maesteg – Neil Price, Jamie Verran, James Littlewood, Adam Kearns and Wayne Hayhurst. 

Fastest Maesteg PB’s (Female) 

  1. Sarah Wilkes 21:23
  2. Claire Dunbar-Bowen 23:04
  3. Sarah Littlewood 23:29
  4. Carys Cronin 23:36
  5. Sian Price 24:18
  6. Kate Lee 24:37
  7. Dawn Hopkins 24:37
  8. Sarah Davies 24:43
  9. Denise Bradley 24:50
  10. Jo Jenkins 24:52

 Top age grade percentages 

  1. Jacob Tasker 79.63%
  2. Gareth Richards 77.22%
  3. Niki Puleio 75.02%
  4. Kris Denholm 75.02%
  5. Aled Hughes 74.13%
  6. Gareth Battle 74.10%
  7. Denise Bradley 73.78%
  8. Jason Griffiths 73.20%
  9. Keith Coleman 72.15%
  10. Nicky Bennett 72.13%

 Judith Jeeves, Claire Dunbar-Bowen and Sarah Davies would be the next ladies. 

Age Category Records at Maesteg (noting any in the top 5) 

SM20-24 – 1st – Jacob Tasker 16:36

SM25-29 – 1st – Jacob Tasker 16:12 / 3rd – Nicky Bennett 17:53

VM50-54 – 2nd – Gareth Richards 19:13

VM55-59 – 4th – Kris Denholm 20:29 

SW20-24 – 3rd – Sarah Wilkes 22:06

SW25-29 – 5th – Sarah Wilkes 21:23

VW55-59 – 4th – Denise Bradley 24:50

VW60-64 – 4th – Denise Bradley 25:56 

Biggest OPR attendances at Maesteg 

  1. 11th September 2021 – 45 (Dai Kembery’s 250th parkrun)
  2. 24th December 2022 – 43 (multiple club milestones / Christmas theme)
  3. 3rd August 2019 – 41 (I think this was the morning before a Beer Mile and everyone was dressed up – not sure what the occasion was though)

Volunteering at Maesteg parkrun

  1. Emma Marshall 179
  2. Stephne Puddy 163
  3. Sian Jenkins 51
  4. Nicky Bennett 35
  5. Kris Denholm 31
  6. Jay Howells 26

Over the years there’s been several OPR takeovers where 20+ volunteer roles have been filled by our members so it’s easily the parkrun that has had the most different number of OPR members that have volunteered there at least once.

If you haven’t been to Maesteg parkrun before, then come along for the 200th celebrations or sometime soon. It’s one of the most friendliest, welcoming parkruns around and you’ll be sure to see a Phoenix or two along the way.

January 2023 review

parkruns

14 members took advantage of the extra parkrun on New Years Day but despite relatively small numbers, we had runners in Wales, England and at two different parkruns in Australia. Our leader in parkrun tourisms coming into this year, Karl Johnson, ran at Marine Parade parkrun (Weston Super-Mare) whilst David Sheard and Chris Roberts added another Australian parkrun to their resumes having been out there on seperate trips for the past couple of weeks.

The first Saturday of the year saw a bumper turnout of 35 at Maesteg for triple celebrations – Claire Dunbar-Bowen was celebrating an official milestone of 50 parkruns, Aled Hughes was running his 100th Maesteg parkrun, whilst it was my 400th parkrun. We had 71 runners across 14 parkruns with Wales, England and Australia seeing OPR members at one or more of their parkruns again.

The second Saturday saw an even bigger turnout at Porthcawl with 40 in attendance – largely down to the BCRL presentation being in the Hi-Tide afterwards which I’ll come back to later. That weekend saw 65 runners across 10 parkruns and whilst Dave and Chris were back from Australia, we did add another country to Wales and England tourism with Kris and Luke Denholm running at parkrun Zielony Jar in Poland.

Icy conditions meant that finding a parkrun going ahead on the 3rd Saturday of the month proved challenging but 48 OPR members did just that and across 9 different parkruns. Most were at Porthcawl where we had 36 runners where Nicky Bennett added himself to the list of first finishers joining the likes of Jacob Tasker and Neil Price.

The final Saturday saw 64 of our members run across 12 different parkrun venues. Jay Howells and Toni Howells both ran their 50th different parkrun venue at Groe with Jay also running his second parkrun/5K PB this month whilst Toni bagged himself a PB in a very successful day for them both. Karl Johnson ran his 200th parkrun which was a milestone Bev Sheard achieved a week previous. Toby Kearns was first finisher at Maesteg where OPR members made up the first seven runners. We had a huge tourism turnout of 14 at Llyn Llech Owain which was part of the trail championship.

Races

New Years Day saw a couple of events with the Kenfig Prince of Wales race where 17 of our runners braved cold, windy conditions on the tough sand dune course. Josh Parry was 3rd overall with Jules Esmond being our first female finisher across the line. Later that day we had 5 runners at the Old Father Time 5 miler. A super flat, fast course around Pontcanna Fields where Aled Hughes was our first runner back followed by Chris Collin, Fiona Drysdale, Nick Harris and Linda Harris.

We had 3 runners at the Rogue Runs Off Road Night Race – a trail race over some tricky terrain with apparently some sharp drops to the side of the path – all whilst running in the dark. Well done to Aled, Melanie Thomas and Dawn Hopkins for getting through that one unscathed.

Nine of our runners took on the Lliswerry 8 where new member Kyle Blackmore was our first finisher just ahead of Niki Puleio. Lisa King was our first female across the line. On the same day we also had 14 runners at the popular Riverbank Rollick for roughly 10 miles of mud, mud and more mud before a run through a river at the end. Jacob Tasker won the event in just a few seconds over the hour mark. Jade Bazylkiewicz was our first female OPR member across the finish line with many of our runners running the course together and enjoying the experience – it’s not for everyone that race.

A week later saw Jacob pick up yet another win at the CF64 trail race where we had 6 runners in attendance.

The final event of the month was a West Glamorgan XC fixture at Pembrey Country Park. We had 15 runners in attendance with 12 men and 3 women. Results still to be published at the time of writing. Well done to all those that represented the club.

Finally, on the other side of world, Carl Walsh ran in the First Light Marathon in New Zealand. It’s the 5th different continent that Carl has run a marathon with plans for the 6th and 7th over the next couple of years. The marathon in New Zealand had over 6,400 feet of elevation. To put that in perspective for those that have done Snowdonia Marathon, that’s almost 3 times as much elevation! Good work Carl.

Other Club Activities

This month saw the BCRL presentations at the Hi-Tide after Porthcawl parkrun where 11 of our members collected age category awards – well done to Luke Davis, Kevin Raymond, Gareth Jenkins, Jo Jenkins, Sarah Davies, Claire Dunbar-Bowen, Carl Price, Jacob Tasker, Jade B, Josh Parry and Gareth Richards. Unfortunately Porthcawl were announced as the team winners by mistake (rather than OPR) but this has been rectified on the presentation that has been shared afterwards. Keep an eye out for the 2023 fixtures which are due to be released soon.

The last Sunday of the month saw myself, Chris Pratt and Melanie Thomas attend the Leader in Running Fitness course where OPR member and Welsh Athletics coach Emma Loyns was on hand to share her expertise. Once all the relevant checks have been done then you should see us at training sessions in the near future.

On the final day of the month there was the long awaited return of Zero to Hero with an excellent turnout for the first session and lots of current club members going along to welcome those who took their first steps towards 5K or back towards 5K.

Presentation Night tickets are now on sale for Saturday 4th March. It promises to be a significant night of celebrations with the club celebrating 10 years since it was first formed, our first BCRL win, plus the usual host of awards. Please check your e-mails or our social media pages to find out more about where to purchase tickets.

Chair’s Runners of the Month

Great to be back celebrating the achievements of our members on a monthly basis!  Sorry for the outage!

In true tradition, I’ll choose a female and male runner each month who has done something to merit mention.  It can be absolutely anything – and I’ve said on many occasions it can change month on month.  It’s not all about long miles or speed – although they could be celebrated also.  Anything and everything in between.  First and second choice are not ranked – they are merely the order in which they’ve been written.

My first choice from January is a relative newcomer to the club.  As soon as he showed up at training he had a focus that was unswerving.  Sometimes that’s costly.  Sometimes too much focus in the early stages of a running journey can lead to troubles.  Injuries often strike as the temptation to overtrain overwhelms.  There have been incidents along the road, but now is running on an even keel, so to speak.  Miles increasing with big plans afoot.  Regularly appearing in training sessions photos with a big smile.  Always a warm welcome when you see him.  As the miles increase, the focus seems to as well.  January has been a good month for his running.  Consistent miles, regular training attendance and a determination that is infectious.  Fabulous to see.  I am honoured to award the Chair’s Male Runner of the Month for January 2023 to David Dean Thomas.

My second choice isn’t a stranger to the runner of the month accolade and it was exactly 12 months ago that she was awarded the honour.  I’m always impressed with people who start the year well.  Determination is a powerful attribute.  When it remains and fuels consistency its power is increased.  Life will always make demands on our time and energy.  We so often have to work in parallel with them to get our activities in.  Balance is key.  Mileage and consistency can suffer.  I’m always impressed when that balance is struck and good, quality miles are covered and finished for the month with a beaming smile – something you will so often see here.  Smiling and running consistently towards set goals while balancing real life – what’s not to celebrate. Perhaps also qualifying as a Leader in Running Fitness for the club!  Looking forward to seeing what the year brings for my Chair’s Female Runner of the Month for February 2023, Melanie Thomas!  

2022 Review

parkrun

2022 saw 2,683 parkrun finishes across 671 events. Our members visited 192 different parkruns around the world including Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, USA and Poland.

2022 saw our parkrun tourism obsession grow with 25 of our members running at 12 different parkruns or more (therefore averaging at least one new venue per month). A few years ago, this would have only been a handful of members. David Sheard’s ran in both Sweden and Australia during 2022 whilst Chris Roberts also finished his year off in Australia with 4 different venues.

Of course, it’s not all about tourism and we continued to have big numbers at our home parkruns of Porthcawl and Maesteg. Our biggest attendance at Porthcawl was 47 members running on 16th July, whilst we had 43 at Maesteg on Christmas Eve.

Maesteg parkrun has become a bit of a recruitment hub for our club just as Porthcawl was in the early days with multiple new members being signed up after seeing our runners or being approached at one of the events.

Number of parkruns completed in 2022

  1. Kris Denholm – 54
  2. Nick Harris – 52
  3. Aled Hughes – 47
  4. Dawn Hopkins – 46
  5. Gareth Jenkins – 46
  6. Sarah Davies – 44
  7. David Sheard – 44
  8. Sally Pensom – 43
  9. Melanie Thomas – 42
  10. Chris Roberts – 42

Kris Denholm didn’t miss a single UK parkrunday in 2022 joining Aled Hughes (in 2019) as the only member to have achieved this. It means Kris is also after Aled’s record of 80 parkruns without missing one. Also worth a mention for Jamie Verran who since his first parkrun in April, has not missed a single Saturday since. Others who ran 40 parkruns which gets them a ‘silver obsessive badge’ on the parkrun challenges include Dai Kembery, Linda Harris and Gareth Davies.

This year we’ve seen plenty of milestones…

  • 250 – Aled Hughes
  • 250 – Peter Harrop
  • 100 – Sharon Pritchard
  • 100 – Ben Davies
  • 100 – Gary Loo
  • 100 – Gareth Richards
  • 100 – Melanie Thomas
  • 100 – Sarah Davies
  • 100 – Ashley Howells
  • 100 – Sara Davies
  • 100 – Keith Coleman
  • 100 – Alun Wylde
  • 100 – Alexis Barrett
  • 100 – Toby Kearns
  • 100 – Sally Pensom
  • 100 – Tammie Clemett
  • 50 – Linda Harris
  • 50 – Sian Jenkins
  • 50 – Toni Howells
  • 50 – Paul Barrett
  • 50 – Melinda Thomas
  • 50 – Stephanie Dyke
  • 50 – Tom Mahoney
  • 50 – Kaye Pedler
  • 50 – Darija Keenor
  • 50 – Phill Iveson
  • 50 – Judith Jeeves
  • 50 – Karen Green
  • 50 – Adam Pohl
  • 50 – Leanne Parsons
  • 50 – Rebecca Newton
  • 50 – Sara Johns
  • 50 – Rob Loyns
  • 50 – Adam Kearns
  • 50 – Karen Dando

An honorable mention to Brett Bonell who finished the year on 99 and Claire Dunbar-Bowen who was due to run her 50th on New Years Eve only for her chosen parkrun to be cancelled at short notice.

parkrun tourism

Chris Roberts became the 4th member to achieve ‘Cowell Club’ status by running at his 100th different event. Dawn Hopkins then became the 5th member later in the year. Dawn was also our most prolific tourist this year as per the stats below. Sarah Davies, Alexis Barrett, Paul Barrett and Jay Howells all ran their 50th different parkrun events this year. Alexis and Paul also completed the alphabet challenge by running at parkruns starting with each letter of the alphabet (expect ‘x’ as that doesn’t exist).

Number of new parkrun venues visited in 2022

  1. Dawn Hopkins – 27
  2. Sarah Davies – 25
  3. Toni Howells – 25
  4. Paul Barrett – 24
  5. Melanie Thomas – 21
  6. Chris Roberts – 21
  7. Jay Howells – 20
  8. Sally Pensom – 20
  9. Alexis Barrett – 20
  10. Phill Iveson / Karen Dando / Melinda Thomas / Darija Keenor – 17

Most parkrun tourisms overall as at the end of 2022

  1. Karl Johnson – 115
  2. Chris Roberts – 113
  3. Julie Ransom – 108
  4. Shawn Cullen – 105
  5. Dawn Hopkins – 104
  6. Gareth Jenkins – 96
  7. Kris Denholm – 79
  8. Chris Stanlake – 74
  9. Sarah Davies – 74
  10. Jo Jenkins – 67

Looking at the two lists above really shows the influx of new parkrun tourists as only 2 of the top 10 overall made the list for most new parkruns for 2022.

Top 10 parkrun times

Jacob Tasker – 16:12, 16:22, 16:36, 16:36, 16:46, 16:50, 16:59, 17:05, 17:08, 17:09, 17:16, 17:18, 17:19, 17:33, 17:38, 17:44 – Jacob actually has the top 16 times this year out of his 17 parkruns. Gareth Richards is the next fastest with a 17:51 and Niki Puleio our third fastest with 18:01. Jacob has finished first in all 17 of his parkruns this year and now has 33 first finishes at parkrun from 34 parkruns in total.

For the ladies, Sarah Wilkes had the ten fastest times ranging from 20:40 to 21:38. Sian Price was next up with 21:45 whilst Claire Dunbar-Bowen is third on the ladies parkrun rankings for the club with a 22:46.

Volunteering

Stephne Puddy continues to lead the way with the highest number of parkrun volunteer days in the club passing 200 recently. Karl Johnson continued as co-Event Director for Pontypridd parkrun and joined the volunteer 100 club early in 2022 and is now on more than 150. Sian Jenkins continued her role in the core volunteer team at Maesteg as one of the Run Directors. Whilst we await the long anticipated new local parkrun (I have to keep it vague as the blog is public), Jay Howells and a number of others from the club who will be involved in the core team of that event have been regularly volunteering in various roles at our local parkruns to get experience. Dozens of other members have volunteered at our local parkruns with an increase in the number also volunteering at Bridgend junior parkrun whilst Judith Howells has continued to do some volunteer tourism. A huge thank you to all the volunteers.

5K races

What seems to have become the race to do for a PB attempt, the Race for Victory 5K in Whitchurch saw some astonishing times with Nicky Bennett running 16:46, Niki Puleio 17:21 (PB) and Gareth Richards 17:37 (PB) for the 3 of the fastest times of the year. 2022 saw the return of the Aberavon, Swansea and SSAFA 5K series adding 9 midweek 5K options during the summer. Jacob Tasker ran a PB of 15:37 at Aberavon finishing second overall before beating that time a few weeks later with another club record of 15:27 at the SSAFA 5K in Cardiff. Our biggest 5K of the year was actually the hardest, slowest 5K of the year at Kenfig Sands where we had 98 runners.

Top 10 fastest men (measured 5K races only excluding parkrun)

  1. Jacob Tasker – 15:27
  2. Nicky Bennett  – 16:16
  3. Niki Puleio – 17:03
  4. Josh Parry – 17:16
  5. Gareth Richards – 17:37
  6. Aled Hughes – 18:22
  7. Mark Teesdale – 18:39
  8. Neil Price – 18:53
  9. Rhys Williams – 18:53
  10. Carl Price – 18:55

In total, we had 24 men run a 5K or parkrun under 20 minutes this year. In our last ‘normal’ full year of events (2019), this figure was 9. Toby Kearns would be 7th on this list if parkruns were included with a time of 18:36 which he ran twice at two different venues.

Top 10 fastest women (measured 5K races only – excluding parkrun)

  1. Sarah Wilkes – 21:09
  2. Kate Lee – 22:09
  3. Jade Bazylkiewicz – 22:26
  4. Carys Cronin – 22:29
  5. Lisa King – 22:30
  6. Claire Dunbar-Bowen – 22:32
  7. Sarah Davies – 23:25
  8. Jo Jenkins – 24:20
  9. Melanie Thomas – 24:43
  10. Katie Plimmer – 24:57

Honorable mention for Rosie Salvatore who ran 24:18 in her final parkrun of the year which would have made the top 10 with parkrun times included.

10K

OPR members ran in 44 different 10K events this year with 320 finishes and 42 PB’s. Sharon Pritchard our most prolific 10K-er with 10 events to her name. Our biggest attended 10K events of the year were Porthcawl (65) and Richard Burton (49).

Top 10 fastest males

  1. Jacob Tasker – 32:17
  2. Niki Puleio – 34:40
  3. Gareth Richards – 37:09
  4. Geraint Lewis – 37:18
  5. Steve Holloway – 37:24
  6. Aled Hughes – 37:28
  7. Nicky Bennett – 37:29
  8. Scott Gray – 39:13
  9. Mark Teesdale – 39:50
  10. Toby Kearns – 39:54

Top 10 fastest female

  1. Sian Price – 42:38
  2. Emma Morris – 42:44
  3. Sarah Wilkes – 43:41
  4. Carys Cronin – 45:56
  5. Claire Dunbar-Bowen – 47:34
  6. Sarah Davies – 48:06
  7. Rosie Salvatore – 48:47
  8. Jade Bazyliewicz – 51:13
  9. Carol Bartle – 53:19
  10. Kaye Pedler – 54:24

Half Marathon

OPR members ran in 30 different Half Marathon events this year with 289 finishes and 55 PB’s. Jade Bazylkiewicz was 3rd in the Afan Forest Half Marathon earlier in the year. Emma Loyns paced at several Half Marathon events whilst Emma Morris paced 1:45 at the Great Welsh Half which would have put her as the 5th fastest female of the year. This year was mostly dominated by having two Cardiff Half Marathons, The March edition saw 78 OPR runners whilst the October race saw 76. Other highly attended Half Marathons this year included Swansea and Port Tablot. In terms of official half marathons, Kris Denholm and Dawn Hopkins ran 8 each, however, Kris also completed his own personal challenge of running a Half Marathon every week of the year alongside his challenge of completing doing 54 parkruns.

Top 10 Fastest Male

  1. Jacob Tasker – 1:14:03
  2. Nicky Bennett – 1:15:52
  3. Steve Holloway – 1:21:00
  4. Niki Puleio – 1:22:22
  5. Gareth Richards – 1:22:22
  6. Scott Gray – 1:27:27
  7. Paul Smith – 1:27:27
  8. Mark Teesdale – 1:27:55
  9. Aled Hughes – 1:27:58
  10. Ryan Evans – 1:28:28

Top 10 fastest female

  1. Sian Price – 1:34:34
  2. Emma Morris – 1:38:02
  3. Lisa King – 1:40:09
  4. Claire Dunbar-Bowen – 1:41:56
  5. Jade Bazyliewicz – 1:47:47
  6. Kate Lee – 1:48:43
  7. Carys Cronin – 1:50:50
  8. Sarah Davies – 1:55:55
  9. Rosie Salvatore – 1:56:40
  10. Denise Bradley – 1:57:22

Marathon

OPR members ran in 16 different marathons this year with 78 finishes and 23 PB’s. We also had marathon finishes in 5 different countries. Some highlights include Steve Holloway running 2:53:38 at Manchester whilst Sarah Davies knocked 40 minutes off her PB at the same event despite recovering from COVID just a week before. Rosie Salvatore and Rob Loyns take the title for slowest debut marathon and then subsequently the biggest marathon PBs having run 8:58 in the Snowdonia Trail Marathon and then knocking over 3 and half hours each off that time in Snowdonia Marathon 3 months later. Gareth Richards ran an outstanding 3:26 at Snowdonia Marathon which is our 3rd fastest ever time on that course where we had 44 runners this year. Emma Loyns ran the most official marathons this year with 5 which we’ll come back to later.

Jacob Tasker helped a fellow runner down the Mall to the finish line in London in his debut marathon where he clocked 3:12 despite being injured himself. There were another 11 OPR runners at London this year with myself (3:44), Emma Loyns (4:00), Jo Jenkins (4:22) and Steph Iveson-Holmes (6:01) all getting PB’s.

Niki Puleio smashed his marathon PB with a 2:48 at Chicago Marathon. There were outstanding performances at Abingdon Marathon where Neil Price and Mark Teesdale ran huge PB’s of 3:10 and 3:11 respectively.

Top 10 fastest Male

  1. Niki Puleio – 2:48:21
  2. Steve Holloway – 2:53:38
  3. Neil Price – 3:10:29
  4. Mark Teesdale – 3:11:18
  5. Jacob Tasker – 3:12:33
  6. Gareth Richards – 3:26:00
  7. Aled Hughes- 3:39:58
  8. Gareth Jenkins – 3:44:01
  9. Daniel Jenkins – 3:53:40
  10. Kris Denholm – 3:59:44

Top 10 fastest Female

  1. Emma Loyns – 4:00:56
  2. Sarah Davies – 4:19:01
  3. Jo Jenkins – 4:22:40
  4. Fiona Drysdale – 4:28:33
  5. Liz Sim – 4:38:57
  6. Rebecca Newton – 4:43:23
  7. Kirsty Evans – 4:46:10
  8. Claire Dunbar-Bowen – 4:47:29
  9. Denise Bradley – 5:14:21

Ultras / Challenges / Crazy Feats of Endurance

From 26.2 miles to 100 miles – there were some exceptional feats of endurance this year with many taking on multiple long distance challenges.

In June, I became only the fifth member in the clubs history to run 100 miles. My time of 26 hours and 42 minutes at the Centaur 100 mile event was a club record for 100 miles (which lasted a month). Since that event, I’ve gone on to run 50 miles at a charity ‘Loop-a-thon’ around Roath Park Lake when temperatures hit 36 degrees in Cardiff back in August. I then ran London and Snowdonia Marathons in October with a PB at London and a 12 minute course best at Snowdon before finishing the year with a 77 mile run at ‘Escape from Meriden’. I’ve now run 50 miles or more on 8 occasions which is the most of anyone in the club.

Gareth Richards ran the Brecon to Cardiff 44 mile Ultra in horrendous conditions back in February in an outstanding time of 6:26 before running the Vale 32 in 5:00 in May which are both amongst the fastest times we’ve seen from an OPR member on those courses. In July he ran his first 100 miler with the Dragon 100 from Rhosilli to Cardiff Bay where he smashed my 100 mile club record finishing in 24 hours and 20 minutes. Gareth later went on to run the Gower 50 in another outstanding time before running Snowdonia Marathon just a week later in 3:26. He then finished the year finishing in the top 10 (as he did in all of his ultras this year) in the Celtic Trail Ultra on an ice and snow covered course.

Our most prolific female endurance runner was Emma Loyns who set herself a target of running 10 marathons or ultras in 2022 for charity. In January Emma ran a marathon at one of the Infinity Running events before taking on Ras Dewi Sant Marathon in March. The first ultra of the year came at the Vale 32 miler in April before a hilly trail marathon in Brecon in May. The VOGUM 40 mile ultra followed in June with the Snowdonia Trail Ultra 38 miler in July. Emma’s first ever 50 miler came in the shape of the EDDUM in August before the 32 mile RIDUM in September. October saw Emma do both London Marathon where she ran a PB of 4:00 before running Snowdonia Marathon for her 10th event to complete her huge challenge.

After a significant amount of time of the sidelines, the king of notching up marathons and ultras, Carl Walsh, was back in September with the Berlin Marathon. Incredibly, he has since run Chicago, Snowdonia and Machen Trail Marathons as well an Ultra in the Brecon Beacons in the few months since.

Other highlights this year included Steph Iveson Holmes and Leanne Parsons getting their first Ultra finish at the Vale after agonisingly having to drop out of the Brecon to Cardiff Ultra a couple of months earlier after over 35 miles due to injury and weather conditions. Denise Bradley notched up another couple of Ultras including the 52 mile Race to the Tower. Rosie Salvatore and Chris Richards were the latest member to add an Ultra finish to their running CV at the Celtic Trail Ultra. Also a mention for long time ultra runner Nick Harris who ran Snowdonia Marathon just a week after the Gower 50 Ultra. We also welcomed Liz Sim back to the club not long after she had done a 200 – yes, two hundred – mile event called the Wildhorse 200 earlier this year.

16 runners at the Vale Ultra actually made it one of our biggest races this year with several members completing their first Ultra distance.

Longest distances achieved in virtual / race ultra’s in 2022

1. Gareth Jenkins / Gareth Richards- 100 miles – Centaur 100 / Dragon 100

3. Gareth Jenkins – 77 miles – Escape from Meriden

4. Denise Bradley 52 miles – Race to the Tower

5. Gareth Jenkins / Emma Loyns / Gareth Richards / Nick Harris / Mark Worrall 50 miles – Loop-a-thon / EDDUM / Gower 50

10. Gareth Richards / Jay Howells / Wayne Hayhurst 44 miles – Brecon to Cardiff

Race and overall totals

Total number of events in 2022 (parkruns plus races)

  1. Dawn Hopkins 95
  2. Aled Hughes 94
  3. Sarah Davies 89
  4. Gareth Jenkins 80
  5. Nick Harris 80
  6. Sharon Pritchard 74
  7. Kris Denholm 73
  8. Melanie Thomas 71
  9. Gareth Richards 71
  10. Debbie Bennion 70

Dawn sets a new female club record for most events in a year beating her own record from 2019 which was 89.

Most Races (not including parkruns)

  1. Dawn Hopkins 49
  2. Aled Hughes 47
  3. Sarah Davies 45
  4. Gareth Richards 40
  5. Sharon Pritchard 38
  6. Debbie Bennion 37
  7. Mark Worrall 36
  8. Gareth Jenkins 33
  9. Laura Worrall 30
  10. Melanie Thomas 29

A huge increase in events for Gareth Richards, Mark Worrall and Laura Worrall compared to previous years with the rest being regulars in the top 10 over the past few years.

Overall most events

  1. Gareth Jenkins 707
  2. Nick Harris 652
  3. Chris Pratt 505
  4. Aled Hughes 491
  5. David Kembery 426
  6. David Sheard 390
  7. Kris Denholm 360
  8. Dawn Hopkins 355
  9. Chris Roberts 350
  10. Denise Bradley 316

This year saw Dawn overtake Denise for most overall events by a female member. Our third highest female total is 305 by Jo Jenkins who is 11th overall. Our top 10 have run 4,547 events between them.

Overall most races (not including parkruns)

  1. Gareth Jenkins 309
  2. Nick Harris 260
  3. Aled Hughes 198
  4. Chris Pratt 192
  5. Dawn Hopkins 178
  6. Denise Bradley 161
  7. Mark Worrall 137
  8. Sharon Pritchard 129
  9. Gareth Richards 129
  10. Niki Puleio 127

I became the first member to qualify for the 300 club milestone t-shirt whilst Nick is due to receive the yellow 250 t-shirt. Aled is on the brink of becoming the third person to reach 200 having overtaken Chris this year who isn’t too far off himself. Dawn and Denise become the first female members to qualify for the 150 t-shirt. We also have 9 members who have run their 100th race for the club this year – Mark Worrall, Sharon Pritchard, Gareth Richards, Debbie Bennion, Emma Loyns, Fiona Drysdale, Kris Denholm, Sarah Davies, Wayne Hayhurst and Helen Griffiths. Whilst we have a further 8 members who ran their 50th race for the club – Wayne Randall, Steph Dyke, Kaye Pedler, Sian Jenkins, Ashley Howells, Paul Barrett, Rosie Salvatore and Steph Puddy.

Cross Country

Earlier in the year saw the conclusion of the 21/22 West Glam season where our men’s team finished top of division 2 to get promoted to the top division. Jacob Tasker was also the joint winner of the individual prize for the season. The cancellation of the Singleton fixture has meant we’ve only had one West Glamorgan XC event in the 22/23 season with a strong showing from both our men and women’s team. In the Gwent XC league, we’ve had participants in each of the 3 fixtures to date with the biggest participation being at the Llandaff event where we had a full scoring ladies team for one of the first times.

Nicky Bennett, Denise Bradley and Luke Davis also took up opportunities to run for the South Wales region at the Welsh Inter-Regional XC Championships in Monmouth where Steph Iveson-Holmes took on the role as one of the team managers for the region.

Bridgend County Running League (BCRL)

2022 saw the return of the BCRL. 158 different members ran at least one BCRL event. We had 627 finishes across the 7 events averaging just short of 90 per fixture. 26 members ran every fixture with a few more only missing one because they volunteered at our own event.

The first event at Rest Bay saw the BCRL returns almost 1,000 days after the last fixture in September 2019. We had 78 runners in attendance but for the first time in BCRL history, we were outnumbered with Porthcawl having 91. With a few of our top runners missing, Porthcawl also took a surprising win by 93 points. Our very own Jake Tasker won the event.

At the second event in Kenfig Sands, we were out in force with our highest attendance of any race in 2022 with a massive 98 runners. Porthcawl beat us again, but by just 5 points.  Jacob made it 2 wins out of 2 and annihilated the field winning by over 2 minutes.

Event 3 was our turn to hold an event. Plans changed from it being our old route of the Beast of Blackmill to looking at the Maesteg Miners route before finally settling on the Planka for a cross country style course. A massive well done to the race committee in getting this set up at short notice and to the 30-40 volunteers from the club that helped make the event happen. Despite needing a lot of people in non running volunteer roles, we still had 93 runners meaning we had around 120 members either volunteering, running or supporting on the day. Jacob won again – this time by over a minute and a half. We had 15 runners in the top 49 overall and ended up winning by 182 points over Porthcawl to take the lead in the team standings for the first time in BCRL history.

Event 4 took us to Pencoed for another cross country style course. This race is where we took on a new level with our top 15 finishing in the top 39 places overall. It was now getting to the point where people who would have been in our top 15 back in 2019 were now finishing about 30th out of the OPR runners. Combined with our 90 runners in attendance as well, it meant we won the event by 203 points.

Event 5 took us to Ogmore Castle. 92 OPR runners. Jake made it 5 out of 5 and had a bit more competition with Bridgend bringing out some of their big boys for their home event. He still won by nearly a minute though. We had 15 runners in the top 35 overall and ended up winning by 179 points over Bridgend despite them putting out a strong team.

Event 6 was Sandy Bowl. I think the fact we ended up with 90 runners for this is pretty impressive considering we were only told where the race was going to be with less than a weeks notice. We won by a BCRL record margin of 268 points. The top 3 overall were Jacob Tasker, Geraint Lewis (who since that event has joined our club) and Niki Puleio.

The final event took place at Merthyr Mawr Lane with 86 of our runners in attendance. Some absolutely astonishing times with our top 16 runners finishing in sub 20 including several getting their first sub 20’s. We won the final fixture to make it 5 wins in a row. Jacob won to become the first person in BCRL history to win all 7 events.

An incredible season.  I know I’ve mentioned the top 15 a lot in that summary but every single person made a difference whether our first finisher or our final finisher.

We also had 11 age category winners who will receive their trophies soon at a post Porthcawl parkrun gathering on January 14th 2023 and we also plan to have a big celebration of our BCRL win at the club presentation night.

This was a record breaking year – Five wins in a row – A record winning margin in a single event – The lowest points total for a single event – A record winning margin overall

A huge thank you to everyone who ran, volunteered, organised and supported in our championship winning year. And here’s to breaking even more records next year!

Age Category Records and serial PB-ers

2022 saw more age category records broken than ever before.

In our under 30’s category, Jacob Tasker lowered his own 5K and 10K records whilst Toby Kearns took the 5 mile record. In the male 40-44 category Niki Puleio set new club age category records at 5K, 10K and 10 miles. The 10 mile time was also an overall club record. Niki moved into the 45-49 category part way through the year and then got the Marathon record in that category. It was a similar story with Gareth Richards who started the year in the 45-49 category and broke the 5K and Half Marathons before tearing apart the 50-54 records getting the 5K, 5 mile, 10K, 10 mile and Half Marathon records all within 3 months. Kris Denholm claimed the 55-59 Half Marathon record whilst Kevin Raymond claimed the 60+ 5K record.

On the ladies side, Sarah Wilkes claimed the under 30’s 5K and 10K records. Emma Morris got the 35-39 Half Marathon record. Sian Price dominated the 40-44 category despite only completing a few events and claimed the 5K, 10K and Half Marathon records. Judith Jeeves claimed the 60+ 5K record.

Of course, you don’t have to be a record breaker to have a fantastic year of running and several of our runners claimed PB’s at multiple distances. Huge kudos to Aled Hughes – anyone who has been running regularly for 10+ years will know that it gets harder and harder to get PB’s but this year Aled smashed his times at 5K, 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles and Half Marathon. Chris Richards claimed PB’s at 5K, 10K, 10 miles and Half Marathon. Gareth Richards was another long time runner who reached another level of running performance this year already mentioned in the age category records with PBs from 5K up to Half Marathon. Mark Teesdale got regular PB’s throughout the year at 5K, 10K, Half Marathon plus a superb 3:11 Marathon PB improving significantly on an already speedy debut marathon time of 3:29 earlier in the year. Niki Puleio claimed PB’s from 5K right through to Marathon. Wayne Randall claimed PB’s at 5K, 10K, 10 miles and Half Marathon whilst he also helped pace Rosie Salvatore in the Vale 18 miler.

On the ladies side, Sarah Davies claimed PB’s at 5K, 10K, 10 miles, Half Marathon and Marathon. Rosie Salvatore matched that feat and finished the year with her first Ultra finish. Carys Cronin had an impressive year with huge PB’s at 5K, 10K and Half Marathons which all featured amongst the fastest in the club. Kate Plimmer also had PB’s at those distances in an impressive first year with the club. Kaye Pedler claimed PB’s at 5K, 10K and Half Marathon and was agonisingly close to adding a Marathon PB to that at Snowdonia.

Apologies I can’t mention everyone as there’s more than a dozen others who have had new PB’s at two or three distances this years as well. There were over 100 new PB’s achieved by our members this year whilst dozens of others ran their furthest distance ever whether than was 5K or 100 miles. Amazing effort by all.

Club Trail Championship

This year saw the return of the club trail championship with a mixture of local parkruns, BCRL races, XC fixtures and a variety of distances ranging at local events including the Rabbit Run, Beast of Bryn and Vale races. Some great competition throughout the series with the final showdown at the Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run. I won’t spoil the surprise and put the final standings as these will be presented at the presentation night.

Club Training in 2022

A steady return to normality has seen consistent sessions throughout the year. Emma Loyns continued her strength classes on a Monday which has regularly been one of the biggest attended sessions of the week. Tuesdays have continued with a mixture of effort and mile sessions. Wednesdays now consist of a Power Plodders session as well as Flyers and other club sessions. We also have Track twice a month where many of the sessions have come together. Thursdays have continued back at our original home in the Ogmore Valley where several themed / celebratory runs have taken place this year. Then there’s been trial Sundays as well the social Sunday run. Also not forgetting our junior section which meet on Mondays. We’ve had a number of new Lirfs this year as well as Liz Davis, Vickie Blake and Jayne Bissmire joining Emma Loyns, David Kembery, Kevin Raymond and Aled Hughes as coaches for the club. A huge thank you to our Lirfs and coaches for their dedication and time.

Other club activities in 2022

Back in April we returned to having an in person presentation night with Jacob walking away with four awards including the top prize of Runners Runner. There were several standing ovations for winners including Mark Worrall as a popular choice as runners up in the Runners Runner voting, Dai Kembery who finished 3rd and was awarded the Outstanding Achievement award for his return from being hopsitalised to running London Marathon. The loudest applause had to be for a non-running achievement which was the first ever Phoenix Hero award being given to Carl Walsh for his volunteer work on the Polish border with Ukraine supplying crucial items to those leaving Ukraine.

The Phoenix gazebo returned to Ogmore by Sea to welcome in the Vale runners. In October we saw the return of the Snowdonia Marathon weekend with over 60 OPR members and supporters travelling up to the event. Phoenix corner was bigger and better than ever with loads staying until the final runners came through – unfortunately the gazebo didn’t quite make it to the end – after being held down by multiple people for hours on end it snapped but will hopefully be repaired and sorted in time for its next outing at the Vale next year.

The Phantom Phoenix continues to keep us guessing. Our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages also continue to keep members up to date whilst earlier in the year we also had the captains log e-mails. There have also been a few blog posts during the year but look out for the return of more regular review blogs in 2023. Pippa and I have posted over 4,000 individual results throughout the year with the master excel file I keep now having over 27,000 results. We celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the club in August with a huge cake at the end of a training session and will be looking to celebrate the milestone further at the presentation night. There was also a monthly photography competition with the winning photos being used for the 2023 Ogmore Phoenix calendar. We have also seen some changes in personnel with long standing ladies captain Pippa Clark stepping down and Dawn Hopkins taking over with Steph Iveson Holmes as vice-captain.

A huge well done to every member who has participated in training, races, volunteered or simply encouraged others this year.

10 years of our club – the stats report

On Monday 20th August 2012, around a dozen of us met in the Berwyn Centre in Nantymoel to discuss setting up a club in the Ogmore Valley and our club was formed.

To celebrate our 10 year anniversary I thought we’d have a look at the incredible stats that we have accumulated over that time.

26,067 results have been recorded from 550 different members (past and present) from 3.817 events. In total the club has been represented at 986 different events.

Longest Standing Members

Aled Hughes, John Burridge Helen Griffiths and I attended that first meeting and are the only four ‘founding members’ who are still currently members of the club.

Other long standing members who have all been heavily involved in the club since the early days include Nick Harris, Denise Bradley, Liz Davis, David Kembery, Richard Lowcock James, Kevin Raymond, Fiona Evans and Chris Pratt who all joined within the first 2 years.

Most Events Records

Total events top 10 (races and parkruns combined)

  1. Gareth Jenkins 674
  2. Nick Harris 621
  3. Chris Pratt 484
  4. Aled Hughes 458
  5. David Kembery 405
  6. David Sheard 368
  7. Kris Denholm 335
  8. Chris Roberts 332
  9. Dawn Hopkins 329
  10. Denise Bradley 297

After Dawn and Denise, our top females for number of events are Jo Jenkins who is 11th overall with 285, Liz Davis in 14th overall with 265 and Bev Sheard in 16th overall with 248.

Total events top 10 (races only)

  1. Gareth Jenkins 293
  2. Nick Harris 247
  3. Aled Hughes 183
  4. Chris Pratt 183
  5. Dawn Hopkins 166
  6. Denise Bradley 150
  7. Mark Worrall 123
  8. Niki Puleio 123
  9. David Kembery 122
  10. David Sheard 121

After Dawn and Denise, our next top females for number of races are Sharon Pritchard (118), Debbie Bennion (113), Jo Jenkins (110) and Fiona Drysdale (106). If races before joining the club were included the I would be on 308 and Chris Pratt would be close to 220, however, Carl Walsh would probably beat that with his races for his previous club.

Most events in a single year (parkruns plus races)

  1. Nick Harris 125 in 2019 – also set the record for most races that year with 73
  2. Aled Hughes 116 in 2019 – became the first member to run all 55 available parkruns
  3. Christie Coleman 108 in 2016
  4. Gareth Jenkins 101 in 2015
  5. Gareth Jenkins 100 in 2019
  6. Gareth Jenkins 93 in 2016
  7. Dawn Hopkins 89 in 2019
  8. Jo Jenkins 88 in 2019
  9. Sharon Pritchard 86 in 2019
  10. Debbie Bennion 85 in 2019

Dawn Hopkins and Aled Hughes are battling it out for top spot this year and likely to feature in the top 10 when these stats are refreshed next year.

Longest race distances run

  1. Nick Harris 100 miles – Pembrokeshire Coastal Ultra – May 2017
  2. Jamie Vanstone 100 miles – Pembrokeshire Coastal Ultra – May 2017
  3. Nick Harris 100 miles – Dragon 100 – May 2019
  4. Steven James 100 miles – London to Battle 1066 Ultra – July 2019
  5. Steven James 100 miles – Dragon 100 – September 2019
  6. Elizabeth Sim 100 miles – Dragon 100 – September 2019
  7. Gareth Jenkins 100 miles – Centaur 100 – June 2022
  8. Gareth Richards 100 miles – Dragon 100 – July 2022
  9. Gareth Jenkins 80 miles – Conquer24 – June 2021
  10. Wayne Hayhurst 62 miles – London to Brighton 100K – May 2017

Incredibly not making the list we have a further 69 finishes ranging from 40 miles to 52 miles as well as Denise Bradley and Fiona Evans who ran 100K (62.2 miles) split over 2 days. Including the Vale Ultra and all other Ultra distance finishes, the number of Ultra finishes is 173 from 64 different past and present members. If virtual events were counted then Steven James would make the list again with 84 miles for the Last Runner Standing event with Kris Denholm and myself completing 72 miles.

Most number of Ultra’s completed (official events only)

  1. Kris Denholm 20
  2. Gareth Richards 16
  3. Steven James 13
  4. Nick Harris 11
  5. Emma Loyns 9
  6. Wayne Hayhurst 8
  7. Jamie Vanstone / Simon Harrions / Chris Pratt / Elizabeth Sim / Gareth Jenkins 7

43 current members have run an Ultra with 20 of those doing more than 1.

Most number of Marathons completed (official events only)

  1. Chris Pratt 36
  2. Nick Harris 16
  3. Kris Denholm 15
  4. Gareth Richards 14
  5. David Kembery 13
  6. Wayne Hayhurst 13
  7. Niki Puleio 10
  8. Carl Walsh 10
  9. Emma Loyns 9
  10. Fiona Evans 9
  11. Aled Hughes 8

86 current members have run a marathon with the club meaning around 30% of our current total membership have run a marathon. 67 of those have run more than 1 marathon.

Most number of Half Marathons completed (official events only)

  1. Gareth Jenkins 66
  2. Nick Harris 30
  3. Chris Pratt 30
  4. Mark Worrall 25
  5. Denise Bradley 25
  6. David Kembery 24
  7. Dawn Hopkins 23
  8. Karl Johnson 22
  9. Liz Davis 22
  10. Wayne Hayhurst 21

165 current members (around two-thirds of our total membership) have run a Half Marathon with the club. 141 of those have run more than one, and incredibly 54 members have run 10 Half Marathons or more with the club.

Most number of 10Ks completed (official events only)

  1. Gareth Jenkins 48
  2. Dawn Hopkins 46
  3. Sharon Pritchard 41
  4. Debbie Bennion 39
  5. Nick Harris 33
  6. Aled Hughes 31
  7. Emma Morris 31
  8. Denise Bradley 29
  9. Shawn Cullen 28
  10. Helen Griffiths 26

187 current members have completed a 10K with the club which is around 72% of our membership.

Number of event finishes by distance

  1. 5K / parkrun – 16,160
  2. Other distances – 4,587
  3. 10K – 2,499
  4. Half Marathon – 1,959
  5. Marathon – 529
  6. 5 mile – 372
  7. Ultra – 223
  8. 10 mile – 222

Biggest events by number of members finishing

  1. Cardiff Half Marathon 2019 – 116 finishers
  2. Ogmore Castle BCRL 2019 – 114
  3. Kenfig Sands BCRL 2022 – 98
  4. Porthcawl 10K 2019 – 97
  5. Planka BCRL 2022 – 93
  6. Merthyr Mawr Lane 5K BCRL race 2017 – 92
  7. Cardiff Half Marathon 2016 – 92
  8. Llanilid Loop BRCL race 2019 – 92
  9. Ogmore Castle BCRL race 2022 – 92
  10. Cardiff Half Marathon 2018 – 91
  11. Cardiff Half Marathon 2017 – 90
  12. Pencoed BCRL 2022 – 90
  13. Sandy Bowl BCRL 2022 – 90
  14. Ogmore Castle BCRL race 2018 – 86
  15. Newbridge Fields BCRL race 2019 – 85

In total there have been 44 races where we’ve had 50 or more members finishing. 27 of those are BCRL races with Cardiff Half also making a frequent appearance. Our biggest Marathon attendance was at Snowdonia in 2019 when we had 45 finishers. I believe we have very close to that number again this year.

We’ve also had 65 finishers at Porthcawl parkrun on 2 occasions – way back on Christmas Eve 2016, and then again in September 2019 which coincided with a Zero to Hero graduation. On the latter date, we also had a record 85 members finishing a parkrun on the same morning and more than 100 members attending a parkrun when including those that volunteered or supported.

Most popular races by number of times club has been represented (excluding parkruns)

  1. Aberavon / Run4All 5K series – 12*
  2. SSAFA 5K (Cardiff) series – 12
  3. Cardiff Half Marathon (including World Half) – 9*
  4. Cardiff 10K – 8*
  5. Llanelli Half Marathon – 8*
  6. Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run – 8*
  7. Swansea Bay 5K series – 8
  8. Swansea 10K – 8*
  9. Caerphilly 10K – 7*
  10. London Marathon – 7*

*club has been represented in every one of these events since we formed or the series stared. Aberavon / R4A series could arguably be 18 as we’ve also done all 6 Santa 5K’s there as well.

Club record progression

Male records

5K / parkrun

First 5K / parkrun result: Ross Jones – Cardiff parkrun – September 2012 – 26:31.

First sub 20: John Burridge – Porthcawl pakrun – May 2013 – 19:59

First sub 19: Neil Jones – Pontypridd parkrun – October 2015 – 18:58

First sub 18: Neil Jones – Cardiff parkrun – May 2016 – 17:41

First sub 17: Neil Jones – Pontypridd parkrun – December 2017 – 16:55

Current club record: Jacob Tasker – SSAFA 5K – June 2022 – 15:27

10K

First 10K result: Gareth Jenkins – Cardiff 10K – September 2012 – 48:25

First sub 45: Gareth Jenkins – Cardiff 10K – September 2013 – 44:17

First sub 40: Neil Jones – Caerphilly 10K – June 2015 – 39:31

Current club record: Jacob Tasker – Cardiff Bay 10K – September 2021 – 33:07

Half Marathon

First Half Marathon result: Matthew Jones – Great North Run – September 2012 – 1:48:26

First sub 1:40: Matthew Jones – Cardiff Half Marathon – October 2012 – 1:39:05

First sub 1:30: John Burridge – Cardiff Half Marathon – October 2013 – 1:29:31

First sub 1:20: Neil Jones – Swansea Half Marathon – June 2016 – 1:18:51

Current Club Record – Neil Jones – Cardiff Half Marathon – October 2018 – 1:18:33

Fastest current member: Jacob Tasker – Swansea Half Marathon – October 2021 – 1:11:14

Marathon

First Marathon result: Phil Lewis – Budapest Marathon – October 2012 – 4:14:49

First sub 4 hour: Chris Mogg – London Marathon – April 2013 – 3:59:04

First sub 3:30: Aled Hughes – Manchester Marathon – April 2015 – 3:28:27

First sub 3:20: Kevin Raymond – Great Welsh Marathon – April 2015 – 3:18:46

First sub 3 hour: Neil Jones – Great Welsh Marathon – April 2016 – 2:57:43

Club Record: Neil Jones – Newport Marathon – April 2019 – 2:43:07

Fastest current member: Steve Holloway – Manchester Marathon – April 2022 – 2:53:38

Female records

5K / parkrun

First 5K / parkrun result: Elinor Marsh – Cardiff parkrun – March 2013 – 32:52

First sub 24: Helen Davies – Porthcawl pakrun – April 2013 – 23:16

First sub 22: Sian Price – Porthcawl parkrun – November 2016 – 21:14

First sub 21: Anneliese Loveluck – Porthcawl parkrun – October 2018 – 20:41

Current club record*: Emma Morris – Swansea parkrun – September 2021 – 19:52

10K

First sub 50: Helen Davies – Cardiff 10K – September 2013 – 48:31

First sub 48: Heather Garratt – Swansea 10K – September 2015 – 47:51

First sub 47: Josie Bishop – Cardiff Bay 10K – April 2017 – 46:29

Club Record: Anneliese Loveluck – Magor 10K – July 2018 – 41:26

Fastest current member: Emma Morris – Swansea 10K – September 2021 – 42:19

Half Marathon

First Half Marathon result: Helen Davies – Cardiff Half Marathon – October 2012 – 1:48:40

First sub 1:45: Julie Webster – Llanelli Half Marathon – March 2016 – 1:44:43

First sub 1:42: Sian Price – Cardiff Half Marathon – October 2017 – 1:41:44

Current Club Record – Anneliese Loveluck – Merthyr Half Marathon – March 2019 – 1:32:33

Fastest current member: Emma Morris – Tewksbury Half Marathon 2022 – 1:38:02

Marathon

First Marathon result: Fiona Evans – London Marathon – April 2014 – 4:23:02

First sub 4:15: Lorna Domachowski – Manchester Marathon – April 2015 – 4:12:06

First sub 4 hours: Julie Webster – Manchester Marathon – April 2016 – 3:48:55

Club Record: Anneliese Loveluck – Great Welsh Marathon – April 2019 – 3:13:56

Fastest time from a current member: Claire Dunbar-Bowen – Newport 2018 – 3:46:32

Presentation Nights

Runners Runner Winners Roll of Honour

  1. 2013 – Gareth Jenkins
  2. 2014 – Nick Harris
  3. 2015 – Chris Pratt
  4. 2016 – Christie Coleman
  5. 2017 – Niki Puleio
  6. 2018 – Tammie Baker
  7. 2019 – Nick Harris
  8. 2020 – Kris Denholm
  9. 2021 – Jacob Tasker

Most main awards won

This includes Runners Runner, Best in age category, Club Championship winners, Most Improved, Best Newcomer, Zero to Hero, Spirit of the Phoenix and Outstanding Achievement. The number represents the number of times they have won in total and in brackets are the years they won one or more prizes.

  1. Denise Bradley 9 (2014, 2016, 2019, 2021)
  2. Neil Jones 6 (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  3. Claire Dunbar-Bowen 5 (2016, 2017, 2019, 2020)
  4. Niki Puleio 5 (2017, 2019, 2021)
  5. Gareth Richards 5 (2017, 2020)
  6. Nick Harris 5 (2013, 2014, 2015, 2019)
  7. Emma Loyns 4 (2018, 2019)
  8. Jacob Tasker 4 (2021)
  9. Adrian Pearce / Aled Hughes / Anneliese Loveluck / Chris Pratt / Christie Coleman / Gareth Jenkins / Juliet Amner / Kevin Raymond – all received 3

71 different members have received awards over the 9 presentation nights.

parkrun specific stats

Like it, loathe it, or just indifferent to it, parkrun is a huge part of our club with over 50% of all results recorded to date being parkrun finishes. We also have a significant amount of parkrun tourists so I thought I’d share some of the crazy stats and challenges below.

Most popular parkruns (number of parkrundays with at least one club finisher)

  1. Porthcawl 400
  2. Maesteg 130
  3. Pontypridd 108
  4. Cardiff 91
  5. Swansea Bay 87
  6. Barry Island 63
  7. Newport 57
  8. Gnoll 55
  9. Grangemoor 53
  10. Llanelli Coast 50

There have been 404 events at Porthcawl meaning there have only been 4 parkruns at Porthcawl with no members of the club finishing – all of these were in 2013 and the last time we had no recorded results at Porthcawl was 12th October 2012. Niki Puleio, Chris Pratt and David Sheard were all in attendance that day but weren’t members at that point. I’ll take the blame as I was our only member who was parkrunning that day but went to Pontypridd. Nevertheless, it does mean we’ve been represented at the last 376 Porthcawl parkruns that have gone ahead. At Maesteg we have 100% record with at least 1 member at every one of their 176 parkruns so far – Tom Mahoney saved that record recently when he was the only finisher from the club although we did have a few others volunteering.

Total number of parkruns Top 10 (12) – numbers in brackets are total parkruns run including those before joining the club

  1. Gareth Jenkins 380 (380)
  2. Nick Harris 374 (374)
  3. Chris Pratt 301 (370)
  4. David Kembery 283 (283)
  5. Aled Hughes 275 (275)
  6. Chris Roberts 266 (291)
  7. David Sheard 247 (336)
  8. Kris Denholm 230 (308)
  9. Bev Sheard 184 (184)
  10. Peter Harrop 174 (237)
  11. Jo Jenkins 173 (210) & Liz Davis 173 (173)

Top 10 volunteers (number of different days volunteering – includes volunteering at both the 5K and junior parkruns)

  1. Stephne Puddy 184
  2. Karl Johnson 136
  3. Rhiannon Whitely 104
  4. Richard Lowcock James 88
  5. Angela Parry 80
  6. Sharon Pritchard 61
  7. Chris Roberts 60
  8. Kris Denholm 60
  9. Chris Stanlake 59
  10. Peter Harrop 57

This information isn’t as easy to find so apologies to anyone I’ve missed who would make this list. Also have to mention some former members – Maria Lalic has now done almost 300 different days of volunteering, Emma Marshall who is on 205, Michael Brain who is on over 100 as well as Dave H Evans with a significant proportion of each of these being whilst a member of the club.

Top 10 parkrun tourists (number of different venues)

  1. Karl Johnson 107
  2. Shawn Cullen and Julie Ransom 104
  3. Chris Roberts 104
  4. Dawn Hopkins 98
  5. Gareth Jenkins 89
  6. Kris Denholm 78
  7. Chris Stanlake 75
  8. Sarah Davies 69
  9. Aled Hughes 63
  10. Jo Jenkins 60

I was the early leader for parkrun tourism and was the first to complete 20 different parkruns back in 2015 and led the way until mid 2017 when Shawn and Julie took over and have remained in joint top spot for over 4 years and became the first to reach 100 different parkruns. Karl Johnson has since took the lead with Chris Roberts also joining the ‘Cowell’ club of running 100 different parkrun venues. Chris Pratt was also one of our early regular tourists and set himself a challenge of running all the Welsh parkruns in 2015 when I believe there were around 15 or 16. Shawn and Julie have by far the highest ‘tourist percentage’ in the club having run 104 different venues in just 137 parkruns overall. Sarah Davies isn’t far behind with 69 different venues in 101 parkruns.

Most new parkrun venues visited in a calendar year

  1. Karl Johnson 35 in 2019
  2. Dawn Hopkins 30 in 2019
  3. Shawn and Julie 26 in 2019
  4. Karl Johnson 25 in 2017
  5. Sarah Davies 24 in 2019
  6. Shawn and Julie 24 in 2018
  7. Chris Stanlake / Alexis Barrett / Chris Roberts 23 – all in 2019
  8. Paul Barrett 22 in 2019
  9. Shawn and Julie 21 in 2017 and Karl 21 in 2018
  10. Shawn and Julie 20 in 2016

Dawn Hopkins, Melanie Thomas, Sarah Davies, Alexis Barrett and Paul Barrett are all on their way into this top 10 with between 16-21 new venues each this year.

parkrun Alphabeteers (members who have run a parkrun starting with every letter of the alphabet)

Dawn Hopkins was the first to achieve this followed by Sarah Davies. Alexis and Paul Barrett recently joined them in becoming alphabeteers with Paul completing it in just 68 parkruns overall.

Dawn is now on course to complete it for the second time!

Aled Hughes, Shawn Cullen, Julie Ransom, Chris Stanlake, Gareth Jenkins and Karl Johnson are all just a few letters away from completing the challenge.

‘Gold Obsessive’ parkrunners (members who have run 50 or more parkruns in a calendar year)

  1. Gareth Jenkins – on 4 separate years
  2. Aled Hughes – on 3 separate years – also the only person to have done all 55 possible in a calendar year
  3. Nick Harris – on 1 occasion

Surprisingly despite being on more than 300 parkruns each, Chris Pratt, David Sheard and Kris Denholm don’t make the list, although all have been just one or two off on a couple of occasions.

Stopwatch Bingo (collecting finishing times ending in all possible numbers from 00 to 59 seconds)

  1. Chris Roberts – completed in 202 parkruns
  2. Aled Hughes – completed in 203 parkruns
  3. Richard Lowcock James – completed in 210 parkruns
  4. David Sheard – completed in 214 parkruns
  5. Nick Harris – completed in 222 parkruns
  6. David Kembery – completed in 256 parkruns
  7. Chris Pratt – completed in 258 parkruns
  8. Gareth Jenkins – completed in 286 parkruns

Kris Denholm has the most parkruns without completing this challenge and is on 308 parkruns and still has 1 more to tick off (number 9). Jo Jenkins has 1 more to get after 210 parkruns. Karl Johnson could threaten top spot as he is on 188 parkruns with just 2 to tick off. Peter Harrop has one number left (44) after 237 parkruns.

Some other random parkrun stats

Earliest parkrunner (former member) – Ann Davies – 23rd February 2008 at Cardiff parkrun – Ann was in the first 13,000 to sign up for parkrun and there are now over 7 million registered worldwide.

Earliest parkrunner (current member) – Jo Jenkins – 14th February 2009 at Cardiff parkrun – Jo was in the first 27,000 in the world to sign up for parkrun

Fastest to reach 100 parkruns – Nick Harris – 107 weeks from 1st to 100th

Fastest to reach 250 parkruns – Nick Harris – 274 weeks from 1st to 250th

Longest to reach 100 parkruns – Ann Davies – 564 weeks from 1st to 100th

Most International Tourisms – Chris Roberts – 7 – Chris ran 5 parkruns in Australia whilst there over Christmas / New Year and has also run parkruns in Denmark and Poland.

Number of different parkruns visited by all members past and present – 386

Number of different parkrun countries visited by all members past and present – 11 (UK, Ireland, Poland, Denmark, Canada, France, USA, Austrialia, Russia, Netherlands, Italy, New Zealand)

Longest parkrun streak – Aled Hughes – 74 parkruns which included not missing the additional ones on Christmas Day and New Years Day. I managed 61 Saturdays in a row before Aled took the record.

Number of current members to have reached 50 parkruns – 81

Number of current members to have reached 100 parkruns – 42

Number of current members to have reached 250 parkruns – 9

Most runs at Maesteg parkrun – Aled Hughes 85

Most runs at Porthcawl parkrun – Nick Harris 311

Most parkruns only at one venue (no touring) – Claire Goldsworthy – all 181 parkruns at Porthcawl

Other stats

Longest standing coach – Aled Hughes

Longest standing committee member – Liz Davis (secretary / general committee)

Longest standing captain – Gareth Jenkins

Most age category records – Kevin Raymond

Most club records – Anneliese Loveluck

Number of members to have run 100 events (parkruns plus races for the club) – 63

Highest number of events without doing a parkrun – Simon Harrison – 74

Number of people to have recorded a result with the club – 550

And finally….

Number of hours spend collecting these stats over the past 10 years: I don’t want to even think about it but it’s something I enjoy and will continue to do. Hopefully if you’ve got this far then you’ve enjoyed reading the stats. I’ll do a refresh of all the numbers for the 11 year anniversary – until then, happy running.

Presentation Night Review – 2021 awards

Best Senior Female / Most Improved Female – Emma Morris 

Those that have been in the club a while might remember Emma being a member back in 2017 until the start of 2019. Emma took some time out of the club after the birth of her first child before getting back into running soon after. A quick message around this time last year to ask if she fancied re-joining and pointing her in the direction of our fabulous membership secretary, and within a couple of days Emma was back in the club. Her times prior to her break were pretty quick – a 23:32 5K, a 49:30 10K, a 1:48:58 Half Marathon. During her break from the club these had improved significantly with a 5K of 22:30 and a 10K of around 46:00. However, the past year has seen Emma step up another level and go from one of our fastest female runners to our fastest current female member across multiple distances. Emma became the first female member in the clubs history to run a sub 20 with 19:52 at Swansea Bay parkrun. There was also a 42:19 at Swansea 10K and a 1:38:28 at Swansea Half. Despite limited events, Emma paced 5 times at 10K events and for me, one of the most amazing facts is that she now paces 45 minutes for 10K – a time that only the top 10% of our male runners would feel comfortable to pace. I think there’s even more to come from this super speedy lady so look forward to seeing what’s next. 

Contenders: After winning Best Senior Female for both 2017 and 2020, Sian Price is always one of the main contenders for this award. Sian got agonisingly close to being the first female member to run a sub 20 when she ran 20:01 as a ‘go for it training run’ when events still hadn’t returned in Wales. Unfortunately injuries heavily impacted her chances this year but she remains one to watch – particularly as she moves to the Veteran category from next year. Carys Cronin and Deborah Edwards notched up PB’s at both 5K and 10K during the year with Steph Iveson-Holmes getting a 5K and 5 mile double. Rebecca Newton focussed on the longer distances with huge PB’s at both Half Marathon and Marathon. In fact, Rebecca was our only senior female (under 40) to run an official marathon in 2021. Looking ahead to this year and it could be one of the most competitive years yet for Best Senior Female will all the girls I’ve already mentioned plus new member Sarah Wilkes (sub 21 5K), plus Kirsty Evans, Jo Jenkins and Kate Plimmer who are all part of our Rack Raid teams. 

Best Veteran Male – Niki Puleio

 This was Niki’s sixth award in his time with the club. He won the top prize of Runners Runner in 2017 along with Most Improved Male that year. In 2019 he was again a double award winner picking up Best Veteran Male and Best Photo which captured his epic pure elation running towards the finish of the London Marathon in what was his first sub 3 marathon finish. In 2020 he won the Outstanding Achievement award for setting another sub 3 marathon time which actually put him in the top 10 overall marathon times for Welsh runners in that year. In this years presentation night (for the 2021 awards) he won back the Best Veteran award with a clean sweep of the fastest veteran times across all distances. At 5K he ran 17:47 at the Welsh 5K series in Pembrey as well as setting a new parkrun PB of 18:05 at Cardiff parkrun. At 10K, he ran 38:00 on the undulating Richard Burton course. At Half Marathon distance he ran a 1:25:00 at Dorney Lake despite challenging weather conditions on the day. Just to cap it off, Niki ran two sub 3 hour marathons on consecutive weekends in October 2021 with a 2:55:57 at Berlin Marathon followed up with a 2:58:37 just one week later at the London Marathon. 

Contenders: Last years Veteran Male winner Gareth Richards was close to retaining his title with his 5K and 10K bests during 2021 being just seconds behind Niki whilst his Half Marathon time (which was also a huge PB) was just 62 seconds off Niki. Gareth also ran a marathon PB of 3:18 as well as multiple other long distance achievements with ultra’s, running 26 marathons in 26 weeks around the Bridgend area and smashing PB’s across all distances. It was a similar story for Neil Price at the shorter distances with PB’s at 5K, 10K and Half Marathon. In his final year as a Veteran rather than a super vet, it was hard to count out Carl Walsh who as well as posting some impressive times across all distances, also ran a crazy amount of official marathons and ultras during the year. There was also Paul Smith who became only the third member in the clubs history to run a sub 3 hour marathon which was achieved at Newport Marathon just a week after a ‘pace-testing’ 1:28:02 at Swansea Half. 

Best Super-Veteran Male: Keith Coleman

 A huge cheer went up when Keith was announced as the winner for this award. Sometimes the ones that don’t post on the club pages or quietly go about their running can go unnoticed in their efforts, but fortunately the extensive stats and results we keep can help towards recognising the work that has gone in. Anyone who follows Keith on Strava would have seen throughout 2021 a committed, structured, determined and consistent approach towards his training. Huge runs around the Garw valley and mountains, tempo runs and speed sessions. The hard work paid off. At 5K and 10K, Keith ranked in the top 3 in the veteran category with times of 20:24 and a 10K PB of 42:12 at Terforest 10K. At Half Marathon he actually ran his best time of the year for the virtual club championship with a 1:36:59 and followed that up with an official 1:38:24 at Llanelli Half. He also smashed his PB to clock the fastest Super-Vet time of the year with a 3:43:14 at Newport Marathon. 

Contenders: The super-vet male category might actually be the most stacked and competitive age category in the club. It includes two former Runners Runner winners with Kris Denholm and Chris Pratt, whilst we also have the likes of Jason Griffiths, Kevin Raymond, Ken Salvatore, Gareth Davies, Wayne Randall, Simon Harrison, Phill Iveson, Chris ‘Wonka’ Williams, Chris Roberts, Simon Harrison – plus multi award winners Dai Kembo and Mark Worrall just to name a few. To get in the top 5 times would require a sub 21 at 5K, sub 46 at 10K, sub 1:47 at Half Marathon and a sub 4 at Marathon. I’ll be over the moon if I’m anywhere near those times aged 50+. Just to add to the competitiveness of this category, another double award winner, Carl Walsh, joins the list from this year and Gareth Richards will join next year. Going back to 2021 contenders and there were all of those listed plus more. A special mention has to go to Wayne Randall and Ken Salvatore who both ran PB’s at 5K ,10K, Half Marathon and Marathon featuring in the top 10 times in this category at every distance.  

Best Super-Veteran Female – Denise Bradley 

Our most winningest (yes, that is a word) member notched up her ninth(!) presentation night award with the Best Super-Veteran Female which she also won in 2016 and 2019. Denise won her first award way back in 2014 as Most Improved Female and has since won Club Runner of the Year, three club championship awards and was third in the Runners Runner voting in 2018. As for the most recent accolade, Denise spent much of 2021 focussing on her goal of running her first ultra… or should I say ultras? The race in question was the Race to the Stones 100K which Denise chose the two day option meaning it was an ultra marathon distance of 50K on the Saturday and then do it all again on the Sunday. Whilst Denise wasn’t the fastest at any distance in her category, she was still amongst the top 3 at 5K, 10K and Half Marathon. Denise was also the only one in her age category to run a distance of marathon or above. Denise also continued her love of off roading running with races including the Rabbit Run, Sodbury Slog and Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run placing well in all. Denise also ran more races than any other female member in 2021. 

Contenders: Fiona Drysdale posted some great times during the year as she mainly concentrated on the shorter distances of 5K and 10K. Last years winner of this award, Carol Bartle was arguably the fastest in this category with multiple sub 2 hour Half Marathon finishes including a 1:52 a Swansea. This category is also full of enthusiastic and fantastic runners like Judith Jeeves, Heather Morgan, Stephanie Dyke, Sharon Pritchard, Debbie Bennion, Denise’s fellow ultra finisher Fiona Evans, plus parkrun regulars Claire Goldsworthy and Bev Sheard and former Runners Runner second place award winner Sian Jenkins. Apologies that I’ve just outed you all as being 50+. 

Best Veteran Female – Lisa King 

Lisa joined the club during the Winter 20/21 lockdown and was one of the first in the club to do official events when they restarted (initially in England only). It was a bit of a surprise to say the least when this previously unknown runner to me suddenly posted times of 45:10 at Gloucester 10K and 1:39:39 at Sheppardine Half Marathon for not only two of the fastest times of the year, but two of the fastest female members times we’ve seen in the history of the club. Unfortunately injury and illness heavily impacted Lisa’s year but she did return in December with a 22:19 at Tremorfa parkrun which was the fastest female veteran time of 2021. Lisa was a regular at Flyers sessions throughout the year including some super tough sessions like Golf Club Hill which anyone who’s done the Ogmore Castle BCRL race will be familiar with. 

Contenders: Aside from the ‘Anneliese years’, Claire Dunbar-Bowen has dominated this age category and picked up the award in 3 of the 5 previous years so was again one of the main contenders. This is another category where there could be so many winners. Emma Loyns ran multiple marathons and ultras, Sarah Davies ran her first ultra and ran the most events during the year of any member, Melanie Thomas had a breakthrough year with great times across all distances including a virtual marathon. Rosie Salvatore smashed her PB’s at 5K, 5 miles and 10K and won 2 club championship events. Melinda Thomas and Kaye Pedler battled it out for the club championship putting in great performances event after event and even getting virtual PB’s in the process. This category also includes past award winners Sian Thomas, Liz Davis and the 2018 Runners Runner winner Tammie Clemett. 

Most Improved Male – Nicky Bennett 

Nicky followed up his Best Senior Male award from the 2020 awards with Most Improved Male this time round. This is an extremely tough category to win, but arguably even more so for someone like Nicky who had already posted some of the fastest times in the club before the year started. How much more was there to come when you’ve already run 17:20 (5K), 37:34 (10K) and 1:36:25 (HM)? Well if we ignore Mr Tasker, how about beating all the previous club records which had stood for over 4 years with a 16:26 (5K), 34:18 (10K) and a 1:17:59 (HM). A phenomenal year of running from Nicky and it was pretty clear how much receiving this award meant to him when he was announced as the winner. Whilst I might be able to tell you all the stats and can look at what people are doing on Strava, it’s only the individual themselves that know how much hard work and dedication has gone in to achieving those times and improvements. A monumental effort. 

Contenders: Basically anyone who achieved a PB during 2021 was in contention but those with PB’s across multiple distances included Wayne Randall, Ken Salvatore, Gareth Richards, Anthony Kavanagh and Keith Coleman. Each achieved a PB at 3 or 4 different distances. 

Best Newcomer Male / Phoenix Hero – Carl Walsh 

Starting with Best Newcomer – having known Carl before he joined the club, I knew what we were in for. If there’s a running event happening – he will be at it. Whether it’s a 1 mile relay event or 40 mile Ultra over the some of the toughest mountains in the Brecon Beacons, you’ll often see Carl on the start line. In 2021 he notched up 26 races – 10 of which were marathons and 4 of which were ultras. That total alone of 14 is more than races than any other club member completed last year. Not to mention he was injured for the best part of the last 2 months of the year so the totals would have been considerably higher. Carl has thrown himself into being a Phoenix Runner wearing his kit proudly at all these different events, attending Flyers sessions, running ultras with other members of the club, tail walking at events, and always supportive of others. 

The Phoenix Hero award was a new award that really could only go to one person after his recent decision to book a one-way flight to Ukraine to fight in the war. Although things didn’t work out in terms of Carl joining the foreign legion, he spent several weeks on the Ukraine/Poland border helping thousands of refugees. Carl quite rightly received a standing ovation from everyone present on the night as he went up to collect his award. I haven’t forgiven Chris for inviting me up to present the club championship awards straight after the very emotional moment. 

Club Championship Winner / Club Championship Cup Winner / Best Female Newcomer – Melinda Thomas 

Melinda Thomas became first person in the clubs history to win 3 awards in their first full year with the club. The virtual club championship is designed to give everyone a chance of winning but I will let you in on a secret… ultimately the winner ends up being the person who has consistently improved throughout the championship, getting better with every event. This was the case for Melinda who ended up winning both the main ‘points’ / ‘league’ competition and the cup competition by producing excellence results right until the end of the championship. This was also a huge factor in Melinda being considered for and winning the Best Female Newcomer for her enthusiasm to get involved and keep producing ever more impressive results. 

Club Championship 2nd place – Kaye Pedler 

Interestingly Kaye didn’t win any of the 8 fixtures, however, her consistency across all fixtures paid dividends and resulted in her finishing second overall with a last event showdown against her running-buddy Melinda. Kaye even achieved a PB in the final event to give herself the best chance of winning but Melinda’s lead was too much and she also achieved a PB to ensure she held on for the overall win. 

Chairman’s Award – Pippa Clark 

This was a new award in which the Chair nominated someone for dedication and commitment to the club. Pippa has been a member since 2016 and I believe has been in the captaincy team now for around 5 years having put herself forward for the role within a year of joining the club. Throughout that time Pippa has been an integral part of putting teams together for cross country fixtures, Bridgend League fixtures and Rack Raid as well as numerous other events. Pippa is also one half of the stats team along with myself and trawls through the results pages keeping tabs on 200-300 members and where and when they are running at events so we can record and publish the results. 

Spirit of the Phoenix – Fiona Evans 

Fiona is one of our longest serving members having been part of the club for 8 years. A significant proportion of that time has been spent on the committee helping with all sorts of things in the background to ensure the smooth running of the club. Fiona also stepped in to help Dai Kembo with our ever expanding range of kit and merchandise which include a complete re-branding from the old club name and logo to the current Ogmore Phoenix name and logo. With membership hitting a high of around 350 members at one point, being in charge of all those requests and orders is no small task. More recently, as well as continuing her multiple roles, Fiona came up with the idea of the Phoenix Calendar and photo competition that has encouraged members to take photos on their training runs and capture some of the incredible scenery we witness on our running adventures in all weathers and across all terrains. 

Runners Runner 2nd place – Mark Worrall 

Another hugely popular choice which is maybe an obvious statement given the award is voted for by the members. One of the most likeable members of the club with an enthusiasm and manner that makes everyone smile. Known to some in the club as ‘Dad’, and I don’t just mean by his daughter Laura. Mark had a testing time with some health issues but like Dai who I’ll come onto later, never gave up. If he couldn’t run, he cycled for dozens of miles. When he could run, he’d be out in the Garw valley notching up the miles. His renewed dedication and commitment to training was rewarded with an incredible finish at the Brecon to Cardiff 44 mile Ultra marathon last August. Not only did he finish – he beat his time from the previous year by over an hour! An incredible comeback and yet another member proving that age is just a number and you can achieve whatever you set out to do. 

Outstanding Achievement / Runners Runner 3rd place – Dai Kembery 

You are in the form of your life, knocking on the door of a sub 20 parkrun, first finishes in the bag, multiple marathons across the UK and Ireland, an ultra marathon finisher and next thing you know, you’re waking up in hospital after suffering a heart attack. This was December 2019. Months of recovery are to follow. Most would consider their running days are over. Not Dai. It started with walking. Progressed to including a minute or two of running. Then 1 mile without stopping, 2 miles without stopping, a 5K without stopping. Progress. Slow progress. It must have been frustrating at times and many of us would have got inpatient and thrown in the towel and asked ourselves ‘what’s the point’. Not Dai. Many of us are guilty of rushing things in running – wanting to achieve that next goal, that next milestone when we’ve only just achieved the last one and are not ready for the next. Not Dai. His slow and steady approach meant that he’s been able to return not only to parkruns and shorter distances, but to train and complete the London Marathon in October 2021. He has lead the Flyers to the most successful period in the clubs history with almost every member who come to those sessions regularly achieving one or more PB’s in the past year and/or achieved new distances. Dai continues to be an integral part of the committee, has continued his role to put an OPR logo on absolutely everything that club members could ask for, volunteers at junior and 5K parkruns as well as the now infamous ‘lead car’ volunteer role at Newport 10K / Marathon. The comeback of the year – the outstanding achievement of the year.  

Best Senior Male / Club Runner / Runners Runner overall winner – Jacob Tasker 

An incredible year for Jacob who burst onto the scene at a Planka training session when sessions returned after the 20/21 Winter lockdown. I wasn’t at the session but it soon got back to me that we possibly had someone just sign up as a member who was something quite special. Once there was an opportunities to do races, Jacob was one of the first to sign up and the times were mind blowing. His first event for the club was in June 2021 at the Cheltenham Half Marathon. Despite it being one of the hottest days of 2021, he ran 1:25:33. In early July 2021, he showed his dedication to wanting to race and represent the club as our only member willing to do the hour plus journey to the Welsh 5K series in Pembrey. He exceeded pretty much all of our expectations with a time of 16:52 with Jacob becoming our first runner in 4 years to run sub 17. Then he returned later the same month and smashed the long standing club record with a 16:18 and finished amongst some of the top runners in Wales at the event. The unfathomable times continued at other distances with a club record 34:17 at the Cardiff Sunset 10K and then 33:07 at the Cardiff Bay 10K. Then came possibly the highlight of a stunning set of results with a 1:11:14 Half Marathon at Swansea where he finished 4th overall. The list of achievements continued with Jacob notching up 16 first finishes at parkrun and becoming the first club member to ever go sub 16 with another club record of 15:54 at Swansea Bay parkrun. He also won the Singleton XC fixture. It’s not just about how quick he is though – Jacob has thrown himself into the club and is one of the nicest, approachable, supportive members of the club. He’s represented the club at XC, is a regular at Flyers training sessions and track, and didn’t hesitate to re-join our club despite what I expect is a lot of interest from clubs around South Wales. A very deserving multi-award winner. 

Contenders (for Best Senior Male): No surprises here that Jacob’s main contender for the Best Senior crown was the previous year’s winner Nicky Bennett (see write up for Most Improved Male). A name many members may not be familiar with yet is Josh Parry who ran 17:21 at Swansea Bay parkrun and could be a future contender if he progresses onto running multiple distances with the club. Rhodri Thomas and Carl Price notched up new 5K PB’s whilst Emyr Bissmire chalked up PB’s at multiple distances. There were also some excellent performances by Peter Walsh who knocked a huge amount off his marathon PB, Jay Howells who ran multiple marathons within a few weeks including a couple of PB’s and another runner in the club who shall remain nameless who ran a 24 hour event, a Backyard Ultra as well as several long distance virtual challenges.

Runners Runner nominations

The following list is of members of recieved one or more nominations for the top prize of Runners Runner

  1. Tammie Baker
  2. Alexis Barrett
  3. Nicky Bennett
  4. Jamie Bevan
  5. Denise Bradley
  6. Keith Coleman
  7. Karen Dando
  8. Sarah Davies
  9. Liz Davis
  10. Kris Denholm
  11. Claire Dunbar-Bowen
  12. Fiona Evans
  13. Leigh Forman
  14. Jay Rhys Howells
  15. Aled Hughes
  16. Steph Iveson-Holmes
  17. Siân Jenkins
  18. Gareth John Jenkins
  19. Jo Jenkins
  20. Anthony Kavanagh
  21. Dai Kembo
  22. Emma Loyns
  23. Emma-Jane Morris
  24. Leanne Parsons
  25. Kaye Pedler
  26. Niki Puleio
  27. Wayne Randall
  28. Gareth Richards
  29. Chris Richards
  30. Ken Salvatore
  31. Rosaleen Lian
  32. Jacob Tasker
  33. Melanie Thomas
  34. Melinda Thomas
  35. Carl Walsh
  36. Rhiannon Whiteley
  37. Mark Worrall

2021 review

parkrun

The year started with the continuation of virtual parkruns. Numbers fluctuated and dropped slightly as we passed a full year of virtual parkrun in late March. We ended up reaching 70 weeks before parkrun returned in England but carried on until week 74 before parkruns returned in Wales. Alun Wylde, myself, Jo Jenkins, Sara Davies, Nick Harris and Sarah Davies were amongst those that ran every single week or only missed one or two. Over the 74 weeks, we recorded around 3,600 virtual parkruns between us averaging just under 50 per week.

On 24/07/21 parkrun finally returned (in England at least) with 7 members popping over the border to get their parkrun fix. In total there were 18 members who ended up going to England before the Wales return with some going on each of the 5 parkrundays that separated the England and Wales start dates. On 21/08/21 parkrun finally returned in Wales and we saw an incredible turnout of 65 runners with 58 of those at our local parkruns of Porthcawl and Maesteg.

Number of parkruns completed in 2021

  1. Sarah Davies 21
  2. Dawn Hopkins 21
  3. Nick Harris 20
  4. Chris Roberts 19
  5. Aled Hughes 18
  6. Kris Denholm 18
  7. Sharon Pritchard 18
  8. Chris Pratt 18
  9. Jacob Tasker 17
  10. Peter Walsh 17

Since the return we’ve seen a much more even split between members going to Porthcawl and Maesteg. Maesteg has also been a popular venue for milestone celebrations with 45 members running at Maesteg for Dai Kembery’s 250th parkrun and a higher club attendance at Maesteg than Porthcawl for Jayne Bissmire’s 50th parkrun / Halloween. Jo and I chose Porthcawl for our wedding themed parkrun with 47 members completing the course.

Considering we’ve only had 19 parkrun days (in Wales) this year, we’ve seen plenty of milestones…

  • 250 – Chris Roberts (after being on 249 when parkrun ’paused’ in March 2020)
  • 250 – David Kembery
  • 100 – Debbie Bennion
  • 100 – Gareth Davies
  • 100 – Nige Rees (after being on 99 when parkrun ‘paused’ in March 2020)
  • 50 – Nicky Bennett
  • 50 – Emma Loyns
  • 50 – Jay Howells
  • 50 – Jayne Bissmire
  • 50 – Rhiannon Whiteley
  • 50 – Samantha Thompson
  • 50 – Huw Jenkins
  • 50 – Nigel Hitchings
  • 50 – Neil Price

parkrun tourism

Dawn Hopkins became the first person in the club to complete the parkrun alphabet by completing a parkrun starting with each letter of the alphabet and therefore achieving ‘alphabeteer’ status. Sarah Davies followed a few months later in completing the challenge after numerous lengthy journeys to tick off the final few letters. Karl Johnson became the third member to run at 100 different parkrun events and therefore achieve ‘Cowell’ status – named after the first person to do it. A week later Karl ended Shawn and Julie’s 5 year reign as the clubs top tourists by running his 101st different parkrun venue. Dawn and Sarah were easily our most prolific tourists this year as per the stats below.

Number of new parkrun venues visited

  1. Dawn Hopkins – 17
  2. Sarah Davies – 16
  3. Chris Roberts – 14
  4. Aled Hughes – 7
  5. Melinda Thomas – 7

Most parkrun tourisms overall as at the end of 2021

  1. Karl Johnson – 101
  2. Shawn Cullen – 100
  3. Julie Ransom – 100
  4. Chris Roberts – 92
  5. Gareth Jenkins – 80
  6. Dawn Hopkins – 77
  7. Chris Stanlake – 71
  8. Kris Denholm – 67
  9. Aled Hughes – 61
  10. Jo Gamba – 53

Top 10 parkrun times

Jacob Tasker – 15:54, 16:21, 16:36, 16:48, 16:52, 16:56, 16:57, 17:00, 17:04, 17:09 – Jacob actually has the top 16 times this year out of his 17 parkruns. Nicky Bennett is the next fastest with a 17:41. Jacob has finished first in 16 out of his 17 parkruns with his PB of 15:54 at Swansea being the only blip in his 100% first finisher record which was frustratingly to an ‘unknown runner’ who must not have presented their barcode! Due to ‘unknown runners’ not automatically being classed as male (which used to be the case), Jacobs records show him as first male finisher in all his 17 parkruns which include 15 at Maesteg, 1 at Porthcawl and 1 at Swansea Bay.

For the ladies, Emma Morris has the two fastest times by some margin with a 19:52 and 20:06 which were both run at Swansea Bay parkrun. Lisa King is next up with 22:19 whilst Kate Lee is third on the ladies parkrun rankings for the club with a 23:59.

Volunteering

The return of parkrun has seen a few members step into core volunteer teams whilst the likes of Stephne Puddy and Emma Marshall continue their regularly weekly volunteering roles and have both now exceeded well over 100 volunteer credits each. Karl Johnson started as co-Event Director for Pontypridd parkrun and is now well on his way to joining the volunteer 100 club whilst Sian Jenkins has joined the core volunteer team at Maesteg as one of the Run Directors. Dozens of other members have volunteered at our local parkruns whilst Judith Howells even did some volunteer tourism earlier in the year. A huge thank you to all the volunteers.

5K races

There were only 3 events at this distance that OPR runners attended this year with some spectacular performances. Jacob Tasker set a then club record of 16:18 at the Welsh 5K series in Pembrey with Niki Puleio setting a new PB of 17:47 in the same event. Nicky Bennett set a huge new PB and what would have been a club record prior to this year with a 16:26 at the Whitchurch Race for Victory 5K with Emma Morris setting a then PB of 20:43 in the same event.

Top 5 fastest

  1. Jacob Tasker – 16:18
  2. Nicky Bennett  – 16:26
  3. Niki Puleio – 17:47
  4. Neil Price – 18:57
  5. Emma Morris – 20:43

10K

OPR members ran in 24 different 10K events this year with 132 finishes and 34 PB’s. Emma Morris our most prolific 10K-er with 6 events to her name. In England, some races were permitted from late March / early April, so Lisa King was one of the first members to run at an official race when she ran the Gloucester 10K at the start of May. The Richard Burton 10K saw our biggest attendance with 29 finishers closely followed by Cardiff Bay 10K with 26 and Newport with 24.

Top 5 fastest males

  1. Jacob Tasker – 33:07 – new overall club record
  2. Nicky Bennett – 34:18 – also inside the club record going into this year
  3. Gareth Richards – 38:48
  4. Neil Price – 39:49
  5. Neil Ridley – 40:28

Top 5 fastest female

  1. Emma Morris – 42:19  (new age category club record and also ran 44:31 whilst pacing 45 minutes at an event)
  2. Lisa King – 45:10
  3. Carys Cronin – 47:17
  4. Claire Dunbar-Bowen – 47:20
  5. Fiona Drysdale – 51:36

Half Marathon

OPR members somehow managed to squeeze in 31 different half marathons in this year with 108 finishes and 21 PB’s. Lisa King again being the one to start us off at Sheppardine HM back in April. Llanelli Half Marathon had the biggest attendance with 17 followed by Swansea with 16. Jacob finished 4th at the Swansea Half Marathon to further cement his place as the clubs fastest runner.

Top 5 Fastest Male

  1. Jacob Tasker – 1:11:14 (club record by over 7 minutes)
  2. Nicky Bennett – 1:17:59 (inside the old club record)
  3. Niki Puleio – 1:25:00
  4. Gareth Richards – 1:26:02
  5. Neil Price – 1:26:36

Top 5 fastest female

  1. Emma Morris – 1:38:28 (new age category club record)
  2. Lisa King – 1:39:39 (new age category club record)
  3. Claire Dunbar-Bowen – 1:46:52
  4. Carol Bartle – 1:52:08
  5. Rebecca Newton – 1:56:12

Marathon

OPR members ran in 20 different marathons this year with 51 finishes and 18 PB’s. Incredibly Carl Walsh ran in 10 of these events including marathons in Denmark and Iceland and would have run more had it not been for a injury in the latter part of the year. Interestingly, despite the pandemic, we actually had marathon finishes in 6 different countries. Some incredible performances this year with Wayne Randall knocking over an hour off his previous best marathon time with Peter Walsh and Rebecca Newton not far off having one hour improvements as well. Ken Salvatore reduced his time from 4:35 to 3:58, Anthony Kavanagh from 4:44 to 4:12, Keith Coleman from 4:01 to 3:43 and Gareth Richards from 3:30 to 3:18. Jay Howells ran 3 marathons during October with PB’s in two of them. Niki Puleio ran two sub 3 hour marathons on consecutive weeks in different countries (Berlin, Germany and then London, England).

Top 5 fastest Male

  1. Niki Puleio – 2:55:57 (followed by a 2:58:37 a week later)
  2. Paul Smith – 2:58:38 (only the third runner in clubs history to run a sub 3 marathon)
  3. Dai James – 3:06:17 (new age category record)
  4. Gareth Richards – 3:18:07
  5. Carl Walsh – 3:33:24

Top 5 fastest Female

  1. Rebecca Newton 4:21:33
  2. Melanie Thomas 4:28:11
  3. Emma Loyns 4:30:31
  4. Leigh Francis-Richards 5:39:10
  5. Karen Green 5:48:35

Ultras / Challenges / Crazy Feats of Endurance

In February, Infinity Running put on a ‘live’ virtual event with a challenge of running 4 miles on the hour, every hour until you either run out of time, or simply stop. The event started at 8am on the Saturday morning and at 2am the next morning, 18 hours later, Kris Denholm and I dropped out having completed 72 miles to finish in joint 3rd place. Kris also went on to complete the Run Walk Crawl virtual challenge of running 10 miles, 18.5 miles and 32 miles all the space of a week. He also entered the virtual ‘Route 66’ challenge which involved covering almost 2,300 miles during 2021 which he achieved with running and cycling included. Then in official races he did the Brecon to Cardiff 44 miler and Vale 32 miler as well as more than 30 miles of the Gower 50 before having to call it a day.

In April I took on another Infinity virtual event running 53.7 miles from Rhossili in the Gower to Rest Bay as part of their 12 hour event. In June, I took on my first ever 24 hour event – Conquer 24 – completing 16 laps of a hilly mostly off road 5 mile course to finish on 80 miles and 14th overall. In August I ran 33 miles in one of the Infinity Running 6 hour events. In October I then took on the Narberth Backyard Ultra completing 40 miles in awful conditions on a basically cross country style course. Including training runs for these ultra’s I ended up running over marathon distance and therefore running an Ultra 12 times between January and October.

Another Ultra-crazy member was Carl Walsh who ran the 53 mile Race to the King, the 32 mile Celtic Ultra and the Off The Tarmac Brecon Ultra. That’s on top of his 10 marathons and all this was between April and November.

Gareth Richards long distance exploits are hard to beat. He ran a marathon every week for 26 weeks at the start of the year. Since the return of races he’s ran a huge marathon PB at Worcester and completed marathon distance at an Infinity Running Event. Back in April, Run Walk Crawl did the Vale Ultra virtual challenge where Gareth took it to the absolute extreme deciding to run the three distances (10 miles, 18.5 miles and 32 miles) all in one go, completing just over 60 miles in a single day. Gareth has since gone on to be our first male finisher in the Brecon to Cardiff and Vale Ultras as well as completing the Gower 50 miler and Celtic Trail Ultra.

Our most prolific female Ultra Runner was Emma Loyns who also completed the Vale Ultra challenge back in April over the course of a week. Then when races returned Emma was our first female finisher at the 32 mile Vale Ultra, completed 46.2 miles at the Narberth Backyard Ultra (actually recorded over 50 miles on her watch), and joined Carl Walsh for the Off The Tarmac Brecon Ultra as well as running the Newport Marathon in between these Ultra challenges.

Not content with just doing their first Ultra this year, Sian Thomas and Sarah Davies did both the Brecon to Cardiff and Vale Ultra’s this year. Fiona Evans and Denise Bradley pushed their first ultra to the extreme by doing 2 in 2 days to complete the Race to the Stones 100K with 50K completed on each day. Wayne Randall ran his first Ultra at Brecon to Cardiff accompanied by Simon Harrison, and in the same event Mark Worrall knocked over an hour off the time he’d achieved the year before. Wayne also went on to run the Celtic Trail Ultra which was Jay Howells first Ultra.

16 runners at the Vale Ultra actually made it one of our biggest races this year with several members completing their first Ultra distance.

Longest distances achieved in virtual / race ultra’s in 2021

  1. Gareth Jenkins – 80 miles – Conquer24
  2. Gareth Jenkins – 72 miles – Infinity Last Runner Standing (75 miles by watch)
  3. Kris Denholm – 72 miles – Infinity Last Runner Standing
  4. Denise Bradley 62.2 miles – Race to the Stones (over 2 days)
  5. Fiona Evans 62.2 miles – Race to the Stones (over 2 days)
  6. Gareth Richards – 60 miles – Run, Walk, Crawl virtual challenge
  7. Gareth Jenkins – 53 miles – Infinity 12 hour challenge
  8. Carl Walsh – 53 miles – Race to the King
  9. Gareth Richards – 50 miles – Gower 50
  10. Emma Loyns – 46.2 miles – West Wales Backyard Ultra (50 miles by watch)

Race and overall totals

Total number of events in 2021 (parkruns plus races)

  1. Sarah Davies 32
  2. Chris Pratt 30
  3. Carl Walsh 29
  4. Nicky Bennett 27
  5. Jay Howells 26
  6. Dawn Hopkins 25
  7. Jacob Tasker 25
  8. Nick Harris 25
  9. Melanie Thomas 25
  10. Gareth Jenkins / Kris Denholm / Sharon Pritchard 24

Sarah becomes the first female member to ever top the annual most events table.

Most Races (not including parkruns)

  1. Carl Walsh 26
  2. Neil Ridley 14
  3. Wayne Randall 13
  4. Jay Howells 13
  5. Chris Pratt 12
  6. Denise Bradley 12
  7. Sarah Davies / Nicky Bennett / Fiona Drysdale / Gareth Richards 11

Dominated by two newer members of the club who I have no doubt will be claiming milestone t-shirts every year from now on.

Overall most events

  1. Gareth Jenkins 626
  2. Nick Harris 573
  3. Chris Pratt 449
  4. Aled Hughes 397
  5. David Kembery 378
  6. David Sheard 329
  7. Chris Roberts 306
  8. Kris Denholm 287
  9. Denise Bradley 268
  10. Dawn Hopkins 260

Overall most races (not including parkruns)

  1. Gareth Jenkins 274
  2. Nick Harris 232
  3. Chris Pratt 172
  4. Aled Hughes 151
  5. Denise Bradley 132
  6. Dawn Hopkins 129
  7. David Kembery 117
  8. Shawn Cullen 111
  9. David Sheard 108
  10. Niki Puleio 107

Jo Jenkins, Alun Wylde and Mark Worrall also ran their 100th race for the club this year and claimed their milestone t-shirts at the club Christmas party.

Club Championship

With uncertainty about races again this year, I set up another virtual club championship with handicap scoring allowing everyone a chance of winning. Distances ranged from just 1 kilometre to Half Marathon.

Dai Kembery took an early lead with the best score in round 1 (5K time trial) before Huw Jenkins top overall top spot with a win in round 2 (1 mile time trial). Huw maintained top spot in round 3 (1K time trial) which was won by Jonathan Tidball. Round 4 saw Melinda Thomas win the 10K time trial and leap to the top of the standings. Neil Ridley won round 5 (2 mile TT) and Nicky Bennett won round 6 (Half Marathon TT). Melinda maintained her top spot improving her chances of winning with consistent top 10 finishes in each of those rounds. Rosie Salvatore won the final two rounds which were the 5 mile TT before ending as we started with a 5K time trial which catapulted her from 46th to 14th overall.

The final standings saw Melinda win with an incredible 490 points out of a possible 500. With the best 5 scores counting, hers were made up of a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place. Kaye Pedler was second and despite not winning any rounds outright, she scored top 10 finished 8th or higher in 5 of the rounds. On the final event, Jacob Tasker took third from Huw Jenkins who had been in contention throughout. Jacob posted some absolutely crazy times and unsurprisingly would have won every round had it just been based on quickest times. His times in order of distance are listed below…

  • 1K – 2:57
  • 1 mile – 4:42
  • 2 miles – 10:25
  • 5K – 15:54
  • 5 miles – 27:28
  • 10K – 34:17
  • Half Marathon – 1:11:44

Club Training in 2021

This year has seen the club provide more sessions than ever. Emma Loyns continued her strength classes on a Monday which have grown in numbers to sometimes being the biggest attended session of the week. Touring Tuesdays have continued with a mixture of effort and mile sessions. Wednesdays now consist of a new Power Plodders session as well as Flyers and other club sessions. More recently we’ve seen the return of track twice a month as well where many of the sessions have come together. Thursdays have continued back at our original home in the Ogmore Valley. Then there’s been trial Sundays as well the social Sunday run as well. Also not forgetting our junior section which meet on Mondays. We’ve had a number of new Lirfs this year as well as Liz Davis and Vickie Blake moving onto their coaching qualifications. A huge thank you to our Lirfs and coaches for their dedication and time.

Other club activities in 2021

Whilst restrictions meant this presentation night had to go ahead online only, we did get to celebrate in style at the end of the year with the Christmas Party. A massive thank you to the social committee for putting on a brilliant evening.

The Phantom Phoenix continues to keep us guessing. Our Insta queen, Jayne Bissmire celebrated our 1,000th post on Instragram by creating a spectular OPR logo made up of hundreds of photos chosen by members. Our Twitter and Facebook pages also continue to keep members up to date. The first ‘captains log’ update was sent towards the end of the year which is set to be a regular feature in the coming months. There was also a monthly photography competition with the winning photos being used for the 2022 Ogmore Phoenix calendar.

A huge well done to every member who has participated in training, races, virtual challenges, volunteered or simply encouraged others this year.

Our Running Club – the stats – 2012-present

On Monday 20th August 2012, around a dozen of us met in the Berwyn Centre in Nantymoel to discuss setting up a club in the Ogmore Valley and our club was formed.

To celebrate our 9 year anniversary I thought we’d have a look at the incredible stats that we have accumulated over that time.

21,825 results have been recorded from 550 different members (past and present) from 3,194 events. In total the club has been represented at 915 different events.

Longest Standing Members

Aled Hughes, Helen Griffiths and I attended that first meeting and are the only three ‘founding members’ remaining in the club.

Other long standing members who have all been heavily involved in the club since the early days include Nick Harris, Denise Bradley, Liz Davis, David Kembery, Richard Lowcock James, Kevin Raymond, Fiona Evans and Chris Pratt who all joined within the first 2 years.

Most Events Records

Total events top 10 (races and parkruns combined)

  1. Gareth Jenkins 608
  2. Nick Harris 550
  3. Chris Pratt 425
  4. Aled Hughes 375
  5. David Kembery 360
  6. David Sheard 314
  7. Chris Roberts 289
  8. Kris Denholm 268
  9. Denise Bradley 248
  10. Richard Lowcock James 245

After Denise, our top females for number of events are Dawn Hopkins (241), Jo Gamba (236), Liz Davis (224) and Bev Sheard (215).

Total events top 10 (races only)

  1. Gareth Jenkins 271
  2. Nick Harris 227
  3. Chris Pratt 164
  4. Aled Hughes 147
  5. Dawn Hopkins 126
  6. Denise Bradley 122
  7. David Kembery 114
  8. Shawn Cullen 111
  9. David Sheard 106
  10. Niki Puleio 103

After Dawn and Denise, our next top female for number of races are Jo Gamba (98), Fiona Drysdale (85), Sharon Pritchard (84) and Helen Griffiths (84). If races before joining the club were included the I would be on 286 and Chris Pratt would be close to 200, however, Carl Walsh would probably beat that with his races for his previous club.

Most events in a single year (parkruns plus races)

  1. Nick Harris 125 in 2019 – also set the record for most races that year with 73
  2. Aled Hughes 116 in 2019 – became the first member to run all 55 available parkruns
  3. Christie Coleman 108 in 2016
  4. Gareth Jenkins 101 in 2015
  5. Gareth Jenkins 100 in 2019
  6. Gareth Jenkins 93 in 2016
  7. Dawn Hopkins 89 in 2019
  8. Jo Gamba 88 in 2019
  9. Sharon Pritchard 86 in 2019
  10. Debbie Bennion 85 in 2019

Carl Walsh is way ahead of the rest for this year and will no doubt be featuring in many of these top 10’s in a few years.

Longest race distances run

  1. Steven James 106 miles – London to Battle 1066 Ultra – July 2019
  2. Nick Harris 100 miles – Pembrokeshire Coastal Ultra – May 2017
  3. Jamie Vanstone 100 miles – Pembrokeshire Coastal Ultra – May 2017
  4. Nick Harris 100 miles – Dragon 100 – May 2019
  5. Steven James 100 miles – Dragon 100 – September 2019
  6. Elizabeth Sim 100 miles – Dragon 100 – September 2019
  7. Gareth Jenkins 80 miles – Conquer24 – June 2021
  8. Wayne Hayhurst 62 miles – London to Brighton 100K – May 2017
  9. Anneliese Loveluck 60 miles – Dare Valley 12 hour – September 2019
  10. Carl Walsh 53 miles – Race to the Kings – June 2021

Incredibly not making the list we have a further 67 finishes ranging from 40 miles to 52 miles as well as Denise Bradley and Fiona Evans who ran 100K (62.2 miles) split over 2 days recently. Including the Vale Ultra and all other Ultra distance finishes, the number of Ultra finishes is 171 from 62 different past and present members. If virtual events were counted then Steven James would make the list again with 84 miles for the Last Runner Standing event with Kris Denholm and myself completing 72 miles.

Most number of Ultra’s completed (official events only)

  1. Kris Denholm 18
  2. Steven James 13
  3. Gareth Richards 10
  4. Nick Harris 10
  5. Elizabeth Sim 9
  6. Jamie Vanstone 7
  7. Simon Harrison 7
  8. Wayne Hayhurst 7
  9. Chris Pratt 6
  10. Brian Cotton / Dan Clark / Gareth Jenkins 4

32 current members have run an Ultra with 13 of those doing more than 1.

Most number of Marathons completed (official events only)

  1. Chris Pratt 34
  2. Nick Harris 15
  3. Gareth Richards 13
  4. Kris Denholm 12
  5. David Kembery 12
  6. Wayne Hayhurst 12
  7. Carl Walsh 9
  8. Fiona Evans 9
  9. Niki Puleio 8
  10. Denise Bradley / Aled Hughes / Simon Harrion / Kirsty Evans 7

86 current members have run a marathon with the club meaning around 30% of our current total membership have run a marathon. 62 of those have run more than 1 marathon.

Most number of Half Marathons completed (official events only)

  1. Gareth Jenkins 63
  2. Nick Harris 29
  3. Chris Pratt 29
  4. David Kembery 23
  5. Karl Johnson 22
  6. Liz Davis 22
  7. Mark Worrall 22
  8. Denise Bradley 20
  9. Dawn Hopkins 20
  10. Shaun Cullen 19

144 current members (around half of the total members) have run a Half Marathon with the club. 127 of those have run more than one, and incredibly 41 members have run 10 Half Marathons or more with the club.

Most number of 10Ks completed (official events only)

  1. Gareth Jenkins 46
  2. Dawn Hopkins 39
  3. Nick Harris 33
  4. Sharon Pritchard 30
  5. Aled Hughes 29
  6. Debbie Bennion 29
  7. Shawn Cullen 28
  8. Denise Bradley 25
  9. Helen Griffiths 23
  10. David Kembery 23

164 members have completed a 10K with the club. This actually appears quite low but looking at the ones that haven’t done a 10K yet, it’s mostly newer members who haven’t had the opportunity due to lack of races over the past 16 months.

Number of event finishes by distance

  1. 5K / parkrun – 13,286
  2. Other distances – 3,388
  3. 10K – 2,159
  4. Half Marathon – 1,696
  5. Marathon – 482
  6. 5 mile – 344
  7. 10 mile – 295
  8. Ultra – 171

Biggest events by number of members finishing

  1. Cardiff Half Marathon 2019 – 116 finishers
  2. Ogmore Castle BCRL race 2019 – 114
  3. Porthcawl 10K 2019 – 97
  4. Merthyr Mawr Lane 5K BCRL race 2017 – 92
  5. Cardiff Half Marathon 2016 – 92
  6. Llanilid Loop BRCL race 2019 – 92
  7. Cardiff Half Marathon 2018 – 91
  8. Cardiff Half Marathon 2017 – 90
  9. Ogmore Castle BCRL race 2018 – 86
  10. Newbridge Fields BCRL race 2019 – 85

In total there have been 37 races where we’ve had 50 or more members finishing. 21 of those are BCRL races and as per the top 10 list, Cardiff Half Marathon has had 90 or more finishers for the last 4 years in a row that it’s gone ahead. Our biggests Marathon attendance was at Snowdonia in 2019 when we had 45 finishers.

We’ve also had 65 finishers at Porthcawl parkrun on 2 occasions – way back on Christmas Eve 2016, and then again in September 2019 which coincided with a Zero to Hero graduation. On the latter date, we also had a record 85 members finishing a parkrun on the same morning and more than 100 members attending a parkrun when including those that volunteered or supported.

Most popular races by number of times club has been represented (excluding parkruns)

  1. Aberavon / Run4All 5K series – 12*
  2. SSAFA 5K (Cardiff) series – 12
  3. Cardiff Half Marathon (including World Half) – 9*
  4. Cardiff 10K – 8*
  5. Llanelli Half Marathon – 8*
  6. Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run – 8*
  7. Swansea Bay 5K series – 8
  8. Swansea 10K – 8*
  9. Caerphilly 10K – 7*
  10. London Marathon – 7*

*club has been represented in every one of these events since we formed or the series stared. Aberavon / R4A series could arguably be 18 as we’ve also done all 6 Santa 5K’s there as well.

Club record progression

Male records

5K / parkrun

First 5K / parkrun result: Ross Jones – Cardiff parkrun – September 2012 – 26:31.

First sub 20: John Burridge – Porthcawl pakrun – May 2013 – 19:59

First sub 19: Neil Jones – Pontypridd parkrun – October 2015 – 18:58

First sub 18: Neil Jones – Cardiff parkrun – May 2016 – 17:41

First sub 17: Neil Jones – Pontypridd parkrun – December 2017 – 16:55

Current club record: Jacob Tasker – Pembrey 5K – July 2021 – 16:18

10K

First 10K result: Gareth Jenkins – Cardiff 10K – September 2012 – 48:25

First sub 45: Gareth Jenkins – Cardiff 10K – September 2013 – 44:17

First sub 40: Neil Jones – Caerphilly 10K – June 2015 – 39:31

First sub 35 / current club record: Jacob Tasker – Cardiff Sunset 10K – August 2021 – 34:17

Half Marathon

First Half Marathon result: Matthew Jones – Great North Run – September 2012 – 1:48:26

First sub 1:40: Matthew Jones – Cardiff Half Marathon – October 2012 – 1:39:05

First sub 1:30: John Burridge – Cardiff Half Marathon – October 2013 – 1:29:31

First sub 1:20: Neil Jones – Swansea Half Marathon – June 2016 – 1:18:51

Current Club Record – Neil Jones – Cardiff Half Marathon – October 2018 – 1:18:33

Fastest current member: Dai James – Llanelli Half Marathon – March 2020 – 1:21:36

Marathon

First Marathon result: Phil Lewis – Budapest Marathon – October 2012 – 4:14:49

First sub 4 hour: Chris Mogg – London Marathon – April 2013 – 3:59:04

First sub 3:30: Aled Hughes – Manchester Marathon – April 2015 – 3:28:27

First sub 3:20: Kevin Raymond – Great Welsh Marathon – April 2015 – 3:18:46

First sub 3 hour: Neil Jones – Great Welsh Marathon – April 2016 – 2:57:43

Club Record: Neil Jones – Newport Marathon – April 2019 – 2:43:07

Fastest current member: Niki Puleio – Goodwood Marathon – December 2020 – 2:55:01

Female records

5K / parkrun

First 5K / parkrun result: Elinor Marsh – Cardiff parkrun – March 2013 – 32:52

First sub 24: Helen Davies – Porthcawl pakrun – April 2013 – 23:16

First sub 22: Sian Price – Porthcawl parkrun – November 2016 – 21:14

First sub 21: Anneliese Loveluck – Porthcawl parkrun – October 2018 – 20:41

Current club record*: Anneliese Loveluck – Bakewell parkrun – October 2019 – 20:34

*Sian Price has run a faster time (20:01) as part of a virtual event

10K

First sub 50: Helen Davies – Cardiff 10K – September 2013 – 48:31

First sub 48: Heather Garratt – Swansea 10K – September 2015 – 47:51

First sub 47: Josie Bishop – Cardiff Bay 10K – April 2017 – 46:29

Club Record: Anneliese Loveluck – Magor 10K – July 2018 – 41:26

Fastest current member: Sian Price – Cardiff 10K – September 2017 – 44:42

Half Marathon

First Half Marathon result: Helen Davies – Cardiff Half Marathon – October 2012 – 1:48:40

First sub 1:45: Julie Webster – Llanelli Half Marathon – March 2016 – 1:44:43

First sub 1:42: Sian Price – Cardiff Half Marathon – October 2017 – 1:41:44

Current Club Record – Anneliese Loveluck – Merthyr Half Marathon – March 2019 – 1:32:33

Fastest current member: Lisa King – Sheppardine Half Marathon – April 2021 – 1:39:39

Marathon

First Marathon result: Fiona Evans – London Marathon – April 2014 – 4:23:02

First sub 4:15: Lorna Domachowski – Manchester Marathon – April 2015 – 4:12:06

First sub 4 hours: Julie Webster – Manchester Marathon – April 2016 – 3:48:55

Club Record: Anneliese Loveluck – Great Welsh Marathon – April 2019 – 3:13:56

Fastest time from a current member: Claire Dunbar-Bowen – Newport 2018 – 3:46:32

Presentation Nights

Runners Runner Winners Roll of Honour

  1. 2013 – Gareth Jenkins
  2. 2014 – Nick Harris
  3. 2015 – Chris Pratt
  4. 2016 – Christie Coleman
  5. 2017 – Niki Puleio
  6. 2018 – Tammie Baker
  7. 2019 – Nick Harris
  8. 2020 – Kris Denholm

Most main awards won

This includes Runners Runner, Best in age category, Club Championship winners, Most Improved, Best Newcomer, Zero to Hero, Spirit of the Phoenix and Outstanding Achievement. The number represents the number of times they have won in total and in brackets are the years they won one or more prizes.

  1. Denise Bradley 8 (2014, 2016, 2019)
  2. Neil Jones 6 (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  3. Claire Dunbar-Bowen 5 (2016, 2017, 2019, 2020)
  4. Gareth Richards 5 (2017, 2020)
  5. Nick Harris 5 (2013, 2014, 2015, 2019)
  6. Emma Loyns 4 (2018, 2019)
  7. Niki Puleio 4 (2017, 2019)
  8. Adrian Pearce / Aled Hughes / Anneliese Loveluck / Chris Pratt / Christie Coleman / Gareth Jenkins / Juliet Amner / Kevin Raymond – all recieved 3

67 different members have recieved awards over the 8 presentation nights.

parkrun specific stats

Like it, loathe it, or just indifferent to it, parkrun is a huge part of our club with over 50% of all results recorded to date being parkrun finishes. We also have a significant amount of parkrun tourists so I thought I’d share some of the crazy stats and challenges below.

Most popular parkruns (number of parkrundays with at least one club finisher)

  1. Porthcawl 353
  2. Maesteg 130
  3. Pontypridd 108
  4. Cardiff 91
  5. Swansea Bay 87
  6. Barry Island 63
  7. Newport 57
  8. Gnoll 55
  9. Grangemoor 53
  10. Llanelli Coast 50

There have been 357 events at Porthcawl meaning there have only been 4 parkruns at Porthcawl with no members of the club finishing – all of these were in 2013 and the last time we had no recorded results at Porthcawl was 12th October 2012. Niki Puleio, Chris Pratt and David Sheard were all in attendance that day but weren’t members at that point. I’ll take the blame as I was our only member who was parkrunning that day but went to Pontypridd. Nevertheless, it does mean we’ve been represented at the last 329 Porthcawl parkruns that have gone ahead. At Maesteg we have 100% record with at least 1 member at every one of their 130 parkruns so far.

Total number of parkruns Top 10 – numbers in brackets are total parkruns run including those before joining the club

  1. Gareth Jenkins 337 (337)
  2. Nick Harris 323 (323)
  3. Chris Pratt 261 (330)
  4. David Kembery 246 (246)
  5. Aled Hughes 228 (228)
  6. Chris Roberts 226 (251)
  7. David Sheard 208 (297)
  8. Kris Denholm 182 (259)
  9. Bev Sheard 155 (155)
  10. Karl Johnson 152 (152)

After Bev the top ladies are Liz Davis 142 (142), Jo Gamba 138 (173) and Julie Ransom 136 (136).

Top 10 volunteers (number of different days volunteering – includes volunteering at both the 5K and junior parkruns)

  1. Emma Marshall 140
  2. Stephne Puddy 110
  3. Karl Johnson 68
  4. Richard Lowcock James 63
  5. Chris Stanlake 56
  6. Rhiannon Whitely 54
  7. Peter Harrop 53
  8. Kris Denholm 51
  9. Chris Roberts 49
  10. Gareth Jenkins 44

This information isn’t as easy to find so apologies to anyone I’ve missed who would make this list. Also have to mention some former members – Maria Lalic has now done 242 different days of volunteering, Maesteg regular, Michael Brain is on 120, and regular Porthcawl pacer, Dave H Evans is on 96 with a significant proporation of each of these being whilst a member of the club.

Top 10 parkrun tourists (number of different venues)

  1. Shawn Cullen and Julie Ransom 100
  2. Karl Johnson 98
  3. Chris Roberts 79
  4. Gareth Jenkins 75
  5. Chris Stanlake 69
  6. Dawn Hopkins 64
  7. Kris Denholm 63
  8. Aled Hughes 53
  9. Jo Gamba 48
  10. Jayne Powney 46

I was the early leader for parkrun tourism and was the first to complete 20 different parkruns back in 2015 and led the way until mid 2017 when Shawn and Julie took over and have remained in joint top spot ever since. Chris Pratt was also one of our early regular tourists and set himself a challenge of running all the Welsh parkruns in 2015 when I believe there were around 15 or 16. Shawn and Julie have by far the highest ‘tourist percentage’ in the club having run 100 different venues in just 136 parkruns overall. Sarah Davies could challenge that as she is currently on 37 different venues in just 57 parkruns.

Most new parkrun venues visited in a calendar year

  1. Karl Johnson 35 in 2019
  2. Dawn Hopkins 30 in 2019
  3. Shawn and Julie 26 in 2019
  4. Karl Johnson 25 in 2017
  5. Sarah Davies 24 in 2019
  6. Shawn and Julie 24 in 2018
  7. Chris Stanlake / Alexis Barrett / Chris Roberts 23 – all in 2019
  8. Paul Barrett 22 in 2019
  9. Shawn and Julie 21 in 2017 and Karl 21 in 2018
  10. Shawn and Julie 20 in 2016

A special mention to Callum Denholm (son of Kris Denholm) who ran at 12 different venues in 2020 before the parkrun pause and therefore could have been on course to feature in those top few.

parkrun Alphabeteers (members who have run a parkrun starting with every letter of the alphabet)

  1. Dawn Hopkins – 1 required – U – which she aims to tick off this weekend
  2. Sarah Davies / Gareth Jenkins / Karl Johnson / Shawn Cullen / Julie Ransom / Chris Stanlake – 5 required

‘Gold Obsessive’ parkrunners (members who have run 50 or more parkruns in a calendar year)

  1. Gareth Jenkins – on 4 seperate years
  2. Aled Hughes – on 3 seperate years – also the only person to have done all 55 possible in a calendar year
  3. Nick Harris – on 1 occasion

Suprisingly a few parkrun regulars like Chris Pratt, Chris Roberts and Kris Denholm don’t make the list, although all have been just one or two off on a couple of occasions.

Stopwatch Bingo (collecting finishing times ending in all possible numbers from 00 to 59 seconds)

  1. Chris Roberts – completed in 202 parkruns
  2. Aled Hughes – completed in 203 parkruns
  3. Richard Lowcock James – completed in 210 parkruns
  4. David Sheard – completed in 214 parkruns
  5. Nick Harris – completed in 222 parkruns
  6. Chris Pratt – completed in 258 parkruns
  7. Gareth Jenkins – completed in 286 parkruns

Kris Denholm could threaten my longest time to achieve it as he is on 259 parkruns and still has 3 more to tick off, whilst Jo Gamba and Karl Johnson could threaten top spot as they are on 173 and 168 parkruns respectively with 3 to tick off. Dai Kembery has one number left (35) after 246 parkruns.

Some other random parkrun stats

Earliest parkrunner (former member) – Ann Davies – 23rd February 2008 at Cardiff parkrun – Ann was in the first 13,000 to sign up for parkrun and there are now over 7 million registered worldwide.

Earliest parkrunner (current member) – Jo Gamba – 14th February 2009 at Cardiff parkrun – Jo was in the first 27,000 in the world to sign up for parkrun

Fastest to reach 100 parkruns – Nick Harris – 107 weeks from 1st to 100th

Fastest to reach 250 parkruns – Nick Harris – 274 weeks from 1st to 250th

Longest to reach 100 parkruns – Ann Davies – 564 weeks from 1st to 100th

Name Badge Challenge – running parkruns starting with each letter of your name – Jo Gamba and Dawn Hopkins are the only ones to complete this so far.

Most International Tourisms – Chris Roberts – 7 – Chris ran 5 parkruns in Australia whilst there over Christmas / New Year and has also run parkruns in Denmark and Poland.

Number of different parkruns visited by all members past and present – 354

Number of different parkrun countries visited by all members past and present – 11 (UK, Ireland, Poland, Denmark, Canada, France, USA, Austrialia, Russia, Netherlands, Italy, New Zealand)

Longest parkrun streak – Aled Hughes – 74 parkruns which included not missing the additional ones on Christmas Day and New Years Day. I managed 61 Saturdays in a row before Aled took the record.

Number of current members to have reached 50 parkruns – 68

Number of current members to have reached 100 parkruns – 31

Number of current members to have reached 250 parkruns – 7

Most runs at Maesteg parkrun – Aled Hughes 59

Most runs at Porthcawl parkrun – Nick Harris 279

Most parkruns only at one venue (no touring) – Claire Goldsworthy – all 148 parkruns at Porthcawl

Other stats

Longest standing coach – Aled Hughes

Longest standing committee member – Liz Davis (secretary / general committee)

Longest standing captain – Pippa Clark

Most age category records – Kevin Raymond

Most club records – Anneliese Loveluck

Number of members to have run 100 events (parkruns plus races for the club) – 50

Highest number of events without doing a parkrun – Simon Harrison – 70

Number of people to have recorded a result with the club – 550

And finally….

Number of hours spend collecting these stats over the past 9 years: I don’t want to even think about it but it’s something I enjoy and will continue to do. Hopefully if you’ve got this far then you’ve enjoyed reading the stats. I’ll do a refresh of all the numbers for the 10 year anniversary and hopefully we’ll be able to celebrate the big milestone together next year.

July 2021 review

parkruns

parkruns are back! Well…. in England anyway. Saturday 24th July saw a small group of members travel across the border to get their parkrun fix for the first time since early March 2020. Kris Denholm visited Stonehouse, Sarah Davies and Dawn Hopkins were at Queen Elizabeth in their quest to be the first in the club to complete the ‘parkrun alphabet’, Jay Howells was at the widely regarded ‘toughest’ parkrun in the UK in Woolacombe, Sally Pensom was at Elsemere Port and Toni Howells at Berkeley Green. Chris Roberts finally ran his 250th parkrun after a 71 week wait on a visit to Newent parkrun.

On week 2 of parkruns return in England it was many of the same names travelling again plus a few additions. Jo Gamba was at Milton Keynes parkrun – a parkrun she first ran over 11 years ago and last ran on Christmas Day 2019. Darija Keenor visited Lydney parkrun whilst Fiona Drysdale was at Penrith. Jay Howells and Karl Johnson were at Berkeley Green, Kris was at Thornbury, Dawn Hopkins bagged her ‘O’ parkrun at Osterley and Chris Roberts was at Wolverhampton. We had 8 runners at Ross on Wye with Jason Griffiths running his first ever parkrun and joined for the event by Sarah Davies, Alexis and Paul Barrett, Kaye Pedler, Melinda Thomas, Sian Jenkins and Huw Jenkins.

Virtual parkruns have continued with between 30 and 40 submissions in each of the first 3 Saturdays before the parkrun in England return. Gareth Davies, Fiona Drysdale, Jacob Tasker, Sally Littlehales, Neil Price and Melanie Thomas were our fastest male and female times during the month.

Races

5K

Jacob Tasker took on some of Wales’ best athletes at the Welsh Athletics 5K series in Pembrey. Jacob ran 16;52 in his first official 5K for the club making him the fastest current member as well as closing in on the long standing club record. It’s also the fastest 5K debut in the history of the club.

The next 5K in the series took place just 3 weeks later and after his performance in the previous event, Jacob was entered into the ‘Elite Race’ and obliterated the club record that had stood for over 4 and a half years with a stunning 16:18 finish. In the second race, which was still packed with quality (34 of the 40 finishers ran under 20 minutes), Nicky Bennett finished second overall in 17:23. Niki Puleio smashed his long standing 5K PB by more than 30 seconds with a 17:47 – an improvement almost unheard of by an experienced runner at that level. Neil Price ran 18:57 making it by far the fastest four results the club has ever seen in a single event.

10K

A few headed over the border to partipate in 10K event this month with Martin Beard and Dawn Hopkins running the Bristol Epic 10K and Judith Jeeves at the Otter River Run 10K. Closer to home, Fiona Drysdale at the Chepstow Racecourse 10K. Chris Pratt took part in the Asics 10K in London – one of the largest running events to go ahead since the pandemic began with just under 8,000 finishers.

Half Marathon

Claire Dunbar Bowen, Phill Iveson and Steph Iveson-Holmes in the first running event to take in place in Cardiff this year which was part of a variety of distances on a lapped course. Claire ran 1:47 to clock the second fastest female time this year. Whilst not a member due to her age, a big shout out to Katy Griffiths who completed her first official half marathon.

At the Chepstow Racecourse Half, Nicky Bennett and Neil Ridley bagged themselves new PBs of 1:33 and 1:38 respectively. Carl Walsh followed up a ultra the day before with a 1:50 whilst Chris ‘Wonka’ Williams came in at 1:53.

Rosie Salvatore ran the Bath Trail Half Marathon in 3:28 on a hilly, multi terrain course.

Marathon

Apart from the Infinity event which I’ll come onto later, it was an unusually queit month for marathons. Emma Loyns did however complete the Bath Trail Marathon in 5:37. The course included over 3,000 feet of elevation and ended up being nearer to 28 miles.

Ultras

The big one this month was Race to the Stones. For those not familiar, this is one of (if not) the biggest ultras in the UK. The event takes place over a weekend with a choice of running a non-stop 100K or splitting the 100K over 2 days with 50K each day. Denise Bradley and Fiona Evans decided to not only sign up for their first ultra… but do it twice with the 50K per day option. They completed the 100K in a total time of 15:14:14 after the times from both days were added together. An incredible achievement.

Carl Walsh ran yet another ultra with crazy elevation with the 32 mile Run Walk Crawl Celtic Ultra.

Infinity Running – First Contact

The local events company and friends of the club were finally back in action at Resolven with the usual choice of distances from ‘5K’ up to ultra distance depending on how many laps completed. Temperatures reached almost 30 degrees resulting in it being the hottest temperatures many of us had every run in.

An early slip meant that Debbie Griffin had to settle for 1 lap (5K) and did well to hobble round for that given it happened within the first 1 mile. Leigh Richards-Francis joined her in sticking to 1 lap. Jay Howells and Judith Jeeves completed 2 laps to claim 10K.

The most popular distance was Half Marathon which I completed along with Phill, Steph and Katy who were all running their second official half marathon in 3 weekends. David Sheard and Wayne Randall carried on for an extra lap to clock around 15 miles. Simon Harrison went one further completing around 18 miles in total.

Carl Walsh and Chris Pratt bravely continued to their goal of marathon distance in the blistering heat.

Other races

David Sheard and Ken Salvatore took on Fan y Big trail race around Pen y Fan and the Brecon Beacons. Leanne Parsons, Sara Johns and Cath Robinson ran 3 laps at the Conquer Cardiff event to complete 15K. Gary Piper and Leanne Parsons took on the Off The Tarmac Brecon Challenge 5 miler whilst Neil Ridley was in the top 10 in the Half Marathon distance.

Club Championship

Better late than never, but this month I started the 2021 Club Championship. The first event was the classic 5K. The scoring again being handicapped and based on each individual against their best time from the last 6-12 months. This year there is also a cup competition for an extra incentive to submit times for each event. The first fixture was won by David Kembery who came out on top of the 76 entries submitted. All 76 were given a place in the second round of the cup.

The second event was a 1 mile time trail which is due to finish on August 1st so an update will be in the next blog review.

Chairman’s Runners of the Month

My choices for the accolades will always change throughout the year.  Reasons for selection change from month to month.  That’s something I’ve said before and it will continue.  

Often new runners join the club and catch our eye straight away.  The choice is whether to wait to see what amazing things are achieved down the line or shine a light from the word go.  We’re all about all abilities.  It doesn’t have to be quick and it doesn’t have to be far.  Outstanding can be used to describe effort as much as achievement.  But sometimes the achievement is such that we must celebrate it.  Club records get more and more difficult to break and they have been known to stand for many years, but times they are a tumbling.  We are seeing significant chunks being knocked off at the sharp end.  When this circumstance arises we always wait with bated breath to see what other records will fall as other distances are notched up at official events.  My first experience of this runner was seeing him fly past me at Cheltenham Racecourse at one of the first events of the year, and his first for the club.  I knew then they were quick feet and I’m sure there’s more to come in the near future!  The 5k club record has now fallen.  What will be next?  I’m sure it won’t be long before another one bites the dust!  Maybe even before this gets published…  I am delighted to announce my Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month for July as Jacob Tasker.  Well done Jacob and welcome to the club – we look forward to what you will achieve as a Phoenix in the coming months.

I’m breaking with tradition for my second choice.  I always celebrate one male and one female, but there’s two I can’t separate this month.  We celebrate lots of things, and endeavour outshines everything else.  No matter how big, it’s the effort – and, as you’ll always hear me say, it’s all relative.   Endeavour can be just heading out of the door for the first time.  It can be tackling a first mile, or the first mile back after a hiatus.  It can be graduating to a 5k or taking that next bold step and completing a 10k.  It is different for everyone and every single one is worthy of celebration.  Sometimes people go further.  Further than they’ve ever gone before.  Pushing boundaries.  Testing the limits to see how far they will flex.  When boundaries are the target, proper preparation is the order of the day.  Time on feet.  Practicing the rituals to get through.  When the distance is very long there are additional factors.  Often necessary to carry quipment to ensure safety.  Some usie handheld assistance to ease the burden on feet and legs.  Amazing what difference can be to stability and endurance just sharing the load across the limbs.  That requires practice.  Fuelling is key to sustainance along such an arduous journey.  Routine practiced over and over to make sure the stomach and the body will endure the distance.  Not one distance, but two.  Over two days.  Not one runner, but two.  Sharing the training miles.  Sharing the hills.  Sharing the laughs throughout the journey but both trusting in their own processes to get them to the end.  Admirable to observe.  The right way to do it.  An example, if ever there was one, of dedication to achieve their goal.  To cross both finish lines in one piece, smiling and having enjoyed the experience as best you can trecking 100km over two days.  Nerves gave way to excitement and we all waited to hear the news at the end of both days.  Both gave it their all and came away victorious having made it to The Stones.  A journey, months in the making.  A story of great training, cameraderie, grit and determination.  One that we applaud and will celebrate for some time.  Full of admiration, I name my Chairman’s Female Runners of the Month for July as Denise Bradley and Fiona Evans.  Well done both.  A huge achievement and one that demonstrated to us all how the process is as valuable as the execution.

Club Championship 2021

Due to continuing uncertainty around races, we will starting another virtual club championship this year.

The championship will consist of 8 events with the best 5 scores counting towards the total. You need to run 5 events in order to qualify for the final standings but you are more than welcome to partipate even if you end up only doing one or two of the events. Anyone who does complete 5 or more will have their names up in lights when presenting the club championship awards in next years presentation night.

I will allow a minimum of 10 days (which will include 2 weekends) for each event to give everyone plenty of opportunity to submit a time. As we’re starting quite late in the year, the events will be run back-to-back between now and finish before the end of October to avoid the winter months / dark evenings.

This year we are also introducing the ‘Club Championship Cup Competition’ which will run alongside the usual points / league table format. More details on the Cup Competition can be found further down this post.

We’re looking into small momentos for anyone who submits times for all 8 events to reward their commitment. The top 3 in the Club Championship will recieve trophies at next years presentation night whilst there will also be a trophy for the Cup winner, so plenty up for grabs.

As per last years championship, the scoring will be handicapped which should result in everyone having a equal chance of winning. More details on the scoring can be found at the bottom of this post.

Event 1 – 5K Time Trial

Event 1 will be a virtual 5K as per the details below

Submit a 5K run/walk which can be run anytime between Tuesday 6th July up to and including Sunday 18th July 2021.

The run must start and finish at the same point to avoid an advantage being gained from finishing at a lower point than you started. Starting and finishing at the same point will result in a net elevation of zero therefore making it fair for everyone.

‘Elapsed time’ will be used rather than ‘moving time’ so I will need access to your Strava / Garmin to check this or a screenshot evidencing this.

The run should be submitted to me as one activity of 5K or 3.1 miles by posting on the Members Only Facebook page or by e-mailling me at garethjohnjenkins@hotmail.co.uk

You may have multiple attempts as long as the quickest is submitted by the deadline.

There are strictly no exceptions to these rules.

Fixture List

Event 2 – 1 mile Time Trial – Monday 19th July to Sunday 1st August

Event 3 – 1K Time Trial – Monday 2nd August to Sunday 15th August

Event 4 – 10K Time Trial – Monday 16th August to Sunday 29th August

Event 5 – 2 mile Time Trial – Monday 30th August to Sunday 12th September

These events will be run under the same rules as Event 1. Remaining fixtures to be announced asap.

Club Championship Cup Competition

This year we are introducing an additional ‘cup competition’ to run alongside the league format.

Round 1 will include every single member of the club (unless anyone opts out). To add a bit of mystery and an extra tactical element, the draw will be made in secret so no one will know who they are up against until the results are revealed. The first round will be Event 1 which is the virtual 5K which runs from Tuesday 6th July to Sunday 18th July.

Therefore it’s crucial that to be in with a chance of progressing, you need to submit a time for the 5K. Submit it even if it’s a walk as there are 128 places up for grabs in round 2 so you are likely to progress whatever time you submit.

There will be 8 rounds in total with some challenges involved in the final rounds giving everyone a fair chance of winning.

The winner will be presented with their trophy at the next presentation night.

Scoring

To avoid the championship being just about the top 2 or 3 runners in the club battling it out, we are running a handicap scoring system which gives everyone a chance of winning. It involves a lot of research, formulas and calculations which I’ll try and explain below for those interested. If you’re not interested then I’ll let you in on a secret – it’s a simple as this -run as fast as you can and you’ll be in with a good chance.

The technical bit – to start off, I’ve allocate each member a 5K time. To come up with this, I’ve gathered members times from the club championship last year, Strava times and virtual (not)parkrun times. Once this baseline time is established then your time for the first event will be compared against this.

Examples

Joe Bloggs is allocated a 5K baseline time of 30:00 based on all the information I have. In event 1, he runs 29:30. Converting it into seconds, his percentage improvement on his baseline time is ((1-(1770/1800))x100 = 1.67%. Results are then based on each members percentage from highest to lowest.

For the second round, each member will have a new 5K time to compare too. If they ran faster than their baseline time like Joe Bloggs did in the example, then this will be their new time to compare too. In this case, 29:30. If Joe had run slower than 30:00 in event 1, then his time to compare to for event 2 would still be 30:00.

The winner of each event scores 100 points, second place 99 and so on. There is no seperate male and female compeition as the handicap scoring means that everyone should have an equal chance so there’s no need to have seperate gender or age categories.

Disclaimers – event 1 will be a bit of a tester for the scoring system as with 230 members, there’ll be a few where the allocated times might not be perfect for a number of reasons – they may not have set a fast 5K time (by their own standards) over the past year or so, they may be new and therefore I have limited information on their capabilities etc. However, this should be ironed out by the next event. It’s a complex system but one which tries to level the playing field to give everyone an opportunity if they give it their all.

Final thoughts

It would be great to see as many members as possible participating. Good luck to everyone who gets involved. The final fixture list is open to suggestions so feel free to let me know if you have any ideas.