2016 review

How do I sum up 2016 for Cwm Ogwr Running Club? Amazing.. awesome… phenomenal… record breaking! I wondered how we could beat 2015 which seen the club grow from around 50 members to 100 but this year has seen us almost double again with upwards of 190 at the time of writing.

Back in the early part of the year, we had an influx of new runners to our Zero to Hero group who also started provided beginners / improvers sessions on a Wednesday. Some Sunday’s seen upwards of 50 runners. It’s incredible to think that there will be dozens of members who will read this who weren’t part of our club at the start of the year, and many that didn’t run at all just a few months ago.

parkrunning in 2016

January seen an average of 24 runners each Saturday doing a parkrun. By November we were regularly exceeding 50 parkrunners each Saturday including a record 63 on 26/11/16. We’ve also seen a huge amount of milestone parkruns in 2016 including

50th parkruns

Angela Walsh, Jayne Kembery, Liz Davis, Victoria and Graham Hillman, Brian Cotton, Denise Bradley, Neil Harris, Fiona Drysdale, Aled Hughes, Helen LJ, Steve Riddler, Neil Jones, Christie Coleman

100th parkruns

Dai Power, Sian Tossell, Mervyn Beckwith, Chris Roberts, Pat Stanley, Kris Denholm, Peter Harrop, Dai Kembery, Natalie Griffiths

150th parkruns

David Sheard, Nick Harris, Gareth Jenkins, Chris Pratt, Jackie Lewis

200th parkruns

Richard LJ (if he runs on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve), Dave Evans

However, the biggest milestones have to be those who ran their first parkrun and this year has seen more than 50 members complete their first parkrun. Many of which then becoming regulars and improving their times dramatically over the weeks and months since. Some of our biggest parkrun improvers are listed below..

1. Rhiannon Whitely 44:13 to 33:40

2. Kirsty Evans 31:48 to 23:07

3. Diana Purnell 34:04 to 26:03

4. Shawn Cullen 35:06 to 27:17

5. Bev Sheard 33:54 to 27:25

6. Bethan Cross 31:48 to 25:39

7. Sarah Littlewood 30:43 to 25:15

8. Claire Dunbar-Bowen 29:21 to 24:02

We’ve also seen a big uptake in parkrun tourism with many of our runners now checking to see where the nearest parkrun is if they are elsewhere on a Saturday morning. Shawn Cullen and Julie Ransom are due to run at their 20th different parkrun venue despite only starting this year. This year we’ve had Martin Beard run a parkrun in Australia, Fiona Drysdale run in Poland, Kelly and Denise have run in America, whilst more than a dozen have run at other events in England and Scotland. More than a third of our runners have run at more than one parkrun venue.

Volunteering has also been on the increase. Maria has continued to be there almost every week and recently volunteered for the 100th time at Porthcawl parkrun. Myself, Aled Hughes, Kris Denholm, Dave Evans, Chris Roberts, and Bethan Cross amongst others have volunteered on 10 or more occasions during 2016.

Our parkrun total at Porthcawl now stands at 190 different runners who have run the event a total of 4199 times making us the biggest club at Porthcawl parkrun in both cases.

Top 10 most frequent parkrunners in 2016 (assuming all the below with run Christmas Eve and New Years Eve)

1. Dave Evans 53 (only missed 02/04/16 due to Vale Ultra)

2. Gareth Jenkins 52 (also not missed one since 02/04/16)

3. Natalie Griffiths 51 (also not missed one since 02/04//16)

4. Jackie Lewis and Aled Hughes 50

6. Pat Stanley 49

7. Chris Pratt, Christie Coleman and Nick Harris 48

10. David Sheard 46

Top 10 fastest male parkrunners of 2016

1. Neil Jones 17:12 (also holds the top 18 times of the year)

2. Niki Puleio 18:39

3. Nick Harris 19:16

4. Neil Harris 19:36

5. Chris Pratt 19:39

6. Chris Williams 19:40

7. Brian Cotton 19:43

8. Aled Hughes 19:43 (did get 19:28 at Merthyr Mawr 5K)

9. Jamie Vanstone 19:44

10. Dave Evans 19:45

Top 10 fastest female parkrunners of 2016

1. Sian Price 21:14

2. Amy Roberts 21:53

3. Shelley Smithson 22:34

4. Josie Bishop 23:05

5. Kirsty Evans 23:07

6. Victoria Hillman 23:51

7. Kelly Owen 23:59

8. Claire Dunbar-Bowen 24:02

9. Fiona Drysdale 24:39

10. Julie Webster 24:55

Race participation

Top 10 biggest events

1. Cardiff Half Marathon 92

2. Parc Slip 3.5 miler 83

3. Cardiff 10K 78

4. Kenfig Sands 5K 74

5. Merthyr Mawr Lane 5K 68

6. Cottrell Park Relays 61

7. Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run 61

8. Porthcawl parkrun (26/11/16) 57

9. Porthcawl Time Trial 4K 56

10. Tuska Beach 5K 49

2012, 17 runners, 38 events, 319 miles

2013, 34 runners, 284 events, 1,829 miles

2014, 42 runners, 560 events, 2,886 miles

2015, 101 runners, 1,658 events, 8,109 miles

2016, 185 runners, 3,508 events, 18,691 miles

Most Events

This record has been broken each year to date as per below…

2012: Kelly Owen 5 (we only started in September)

2013: Gareth Jenkins 45

2014: Nick Harris 82

2015: Gareth Jenkins 101

2016: Christie Coleman 108(?)

After setting the record at 101 last year, I have to admit I didn’t think it would be broken for many years to come. However, if anyone was going to challenge it, it was going to be Christie who after running his first parkrun on 11/04/15 managed to total 61 events in less than 8 months last year with most of those in the final 6 months.

If Christie completes his intended races to the end of the year (Christmas Eve parkrun, Boxing Day 7K, New Years Eve parkrun and Nos Galan 5K) then he’ll have racked up a record 108 events for the year. This will be made up of…

5K x 56

5 miles x 2

10K x 14

10 miles x 2

Half Marathon x 7

Marathon x 2

Other distances x 25

Total event mileage = 591.4

Likely final most events table for 2016…

1. Christie Coleman 108

2. Gareth Jenkins 93

3. Aled Hughes 83

4. Nick Harris 78

5. Chris Pratt 77

Likely Female Most Events table

1. Natalie Griffiths 71

2. Jackie Lewis 70

3. Pat Stanley 63

4. Denise Bradley 50

5. Kelly Owen 50

The amount of regular participants in events has increased exponentially over the years. The number of runners to do more than 40 events in a year is as follows..

2012: 0

2013: 1

2014: 4

2015: 14

2016: 30

Whist I may have lost the record, there’s still some way to go to catch me on the overall events since joining Cwm Ogwr (although I admittedly had a good head start by being the amongst the first group to join)…

1. Gareth Jenkins 309

2. Nick Harris 262

3. Chris Pratt 172

4. Christie Coleman 165

5. David Kembery 162

Top 5 females

1. Kelly Owen 154 (6th overall)

2. Jackie Lewis 129 (8th overall)

3. Natalie Griffiths 117 (11th overall)

4. Pat Stanley 102 (14th overall)

5. Heather Garratt 97 (15th overall)

The rise and rise of Trail Running

This has been the first full year of Richard LJ’s Sunday morning trail runs which have seen dozens of members put on some trail shoes to go off road. The success of the sessions has led to huge increases in participation of off road events as well as venturing into the world of fell running and cross country.

January seen 16 of our members take on the Riverbank Rollick (last year it was just Richard and I). It’s by far the muddiest race most of us have ever done and there’s 9 miles of it! February seen the clubs first off road race with Beast 10K and later in the year we followed that up with the return of the Drovers 10K. 28 members took on the Hoka One Trail ‘Half’ in February with more than two-thirds of them taking on their first trail half… it’s just a shame it wasn’t a half in the end. There’s been off road ultras which I’ll come onto later, the Preseli Beast races, Merthyr Mawr Trail Festival events and the Roman Run. The Bridgend League provided some off road with the Tuska Beach 5K and Kenfig Sands 5K – both of which featured in our top 10 most attended races.

One of my goals for the year was to do a ‘A Category Fell Race’. This is the toughest off road category and for a race to meet this classification it must meet the following criteria…

Category A

•Should average not less than 50 metres climb per kilometre.

•Should not have more than 20% of the race distance on road.

•Should be at least 1.5 kilometres in length

These types of races tend not to follow standard paths and the one I chose – the Pen Y Fan 3.5 miler only had 2 marshals on the whole course who were really only there to time the ascent. It started the opposite side of Pen y Fan to the standard Storey Arms route and included almost 2000 feet of elevation in 3 and a half miles! Most of that actually being in the first 2 miles as it’s downhill after that… quite extreme downhill at 40% descent at some points.Chris Pratt and I also took on the Snowdonia Trail Half Marathon with 4000 feet of elevation. The race included running pretty much to the summit of Snowdon. The elevation profile showed another climb towards the end which looked like a little bump compared to Snowdon mountain… it turned out that ‘little bump’ was the equivalent of doing the Beast climb.This year seen the club accepted into the West Glamorgan Cross Country League where we’ve seen growing attendances at each fixture to date. 20 attended the Llanmadoc fixture, 29 attended the Gnoll and then 31 attended the Kenfig fixture.

The Marathon boom

20 members run a marathon which increased to 38 this year including 23 first timers! Chris Pratt kicked off the marathons for the year with the Ras Dewi Sant Marathon. A tough off road marathon in Pembrokeshire with over 3500 feet of elevation. Next up was Julie Webster at the Manchester Marathon where she annihilated the club female record with a 3:48:55 which also got her the Good For Age qualifying time for next years London Marathon.

10 of the Blue Wave ran at the Great Welsh (Llanelli) Marathon where Chris Williams, Christie Coleman and Denise Bradley all made very successful marathon debuts. Neil Jones ran a phenomenal 2:57:43 which also gave him a GFA qualifying time for London 2017. Nick Harris smashed his PB with a 3:19:41 whilst Chris Pratt also knocked a huge amount off his with a 3:41:34. On the same day Dai Kembery and Richie Pett beat their PB’s at Brighton Marathon where Alica Thomas made her marathon debut. A week later seen Kevin Raymond, Richard LJ and an incredible debut from Natasha Kerr at the London Marathon.

In May, just around the time of joining us from Brackla Harriers, Kris Denholm ran the Milton Keynes Marathon whilst Richie Pett completed an Ironman in Lanzarote, Antony Lewis ran the Edinburgh Marathon and Dai Power completed the Liverpool Marathon. Chris Pratt was back in action at the hilly Huddersfield Marathon in June, whilst July seen 10 members at the Wales Marathon. This was part of the Long Course Weekend with Lorna Domachowski completing all three Ironman distances over three days. Shelley Smithson made her marathon debut with a 4:09:39 to put her second in the female club marathon rankings despite the tough hilly course. Keith Coleman also made his marathon debut for the club having last a run a marathon several years previous.

August seen Wayne Hayhurst and Jamie Vanstone run their debut marathons with the club. September seen the Loch Ness Marathon with superb debuts from Melanie Thomas and Niki Puleio. Niki’s time of 3:17:35 being the second fastest marathon time by anyone in the club. Dai Kembery smashed his PB with a 3:30:48 with Nick Harris just ahead. Martin Beard and Joey Howland ticked off another marathon at the end of Ironman Wales.

The start of October seen Chris Pratt get a PB at the hilly Keilder Marathon with a 3:39:14 whilst Kirsty Evans ran a phenomenal 4:15:30 at Bournemouth Marathon. Kirsty only signed up for the race a couple of weeks before the date and with 3 weeks to go hadn’t run much further than half marathon distance.The end of October seen the biggest marathon of the year for the club – Snowdonia. 24 runners including marathon debuts for Neil Morgan, Rob Pritchard, Caerwyn Lewis, Gary Piper (well after a 30 year gap), Mark Worrall and Helen Griffiths. Neil Jones ran an amazing 3:00:24 whilst Chris Pratt in his 7th official marathon (or further) of the year knocked a massive 24 minutes off his course best from 2015. Kelly, Heather and Richard all knocked significant amounts off their 2015 time on the same course as well.

To finish off the year, Fiona Drysdale made her marathon debut in sunny Valencia whilst Nicola Symmonds and Simon Harrison made their club marathon debuts with the ‘Might Contain Nuts’ Brecon Marathon.Last year seen 3 members complete an ultra which increased to 16 members this year!

The Ultra boom

The first ultra distance event of the year was the Vale Ultra where Chris Pratt, Nick Harris, Aled Hughes, Heather and Richard Garratt and myself lined up for our first Ultra whilst Dave Evans and Dai Cappell returned for the second year in a row. All of us completed in the 32 mile course. Just 5 weeks later Aled and Nick were joined by ultra newbies Dai Kembery and Brian Cotton (whose longest race distance had been the Vale 18 miler) where they completed the Brecon to Cardiff 44 miler. They honored Army Captain David Seath in the final miles who had died whilst running the London Marathon a couple of weeks earlier which made the local press    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/config/config_topic/config_topic_news/config_topic_news_Bridgend/runners-complete-final-32-miles-11272482

A week later Kevin Raymond got a last minute place for the Preseli UltraBeasT 33 miler with over 5000 feet of elevation. In June Maria Lalic and Nicola Symmonds took on the Race to the Stones race. Maria completed the first day of 50K whilst Nicola completed a further 50K on day two to complete the course. Then in October Aled and Nick were back in action for their 3rd Ultra of the year, joined by Brian doing his 2nd along with ultra newbies Kris Denholm, Neil Jones and Tim Phillips for the Gower 50 miler. Nick, Kris and Neil were all bonkers enough to do Cardiff Half Marathon the day after!

A special mention for Jamie Vanstone who before joining the club ran the 69 mile ‘Wall’ Ultra and since joining the club ran the Vale Ultra course in its entirety “just for fun” and completed the Black Mountains 36 mile Ultra which included an eye-watering 7500 feet of elevation. Jamie and Nick Harris are going one step (or actually a few thousand steps) further next year as they are signed up for the Pembrokeshire 100 miler!

Bridgend League

2016 seen the introduction of the Bridgend County Running League. After the success of the one-off Kenfig 5K in August 2015, I suggested to some of the other club contacts through e-mail that we could start a league competition. Steve Brace was keen to take forward the idea and with the help of Jamie Clode, Dan Morgan, Louise Hogan and several others, the fixtures were announced. The league was a massive success with 4 of the 5 fixtures featuring in our top 10 attendances of the year. The scoring system where every runner counts was a huge factor in runners of all abilities wanting to participate and contribute to their teams total.

The numbers put together by Steve Brace speak for themselves in terms of how successful the inaugural year was

Date & Race finisher numbers

o   15 May               Cwm Ogwr 5 Mile           101

o   1 June                 Merthyr Mawr 5km        220

o   20 July                 Kenfig 5km                   194

o   30 August           Parkslip 4 Mile               213

o   7 September      Beach Run                     148

o   23 October         Seafront 4km TT            154

Total number of different runners that competed from the 6 clubs – 375

Number of Runners per club that competed in 1 or more races

·       Brackla Harriers              67

·       Bridgend AC                   51

·       Cornelly Striders             69

·       Cwm Ogwr                      131

·       Pencoed Tri                    15

·       Porthcawl Runners         46

As for final standings, we finished 3rd behind Brackla and Bridgend. We won the Kenfig Sands fixtures. In terms of individual successes, Neil Jones won the Tuska Beach event and was 3rd in the overall individual standings which were based on age grade percentage. Denise Bradley was 8th in the female overall standings.

Chairman’s Runners of the Month

The increase in numbers meant that from June this year I decided to start awarding a male and female runner of the month rather than just one overall winner. Below is the list of winners from this year

January: Helen Lowcock James

February: Niki Puleio

March: Nicola Haxton

April: Neil Jones

May: David Sheard

June: Aled Hughes and Claire Dunbar-Bowen

July: Gareth Richards and Pippa Clark

August: Jamie Vanstone and Juliet Amner

September: Dai Kembery and Dawn Hopkins

October: Neil Jones and Kirsty Ellen

November: Lloyd West and Emma Loyns

Chairman’s Runners of the Year – Neil Jones and Shelley Smithson

Both Neil and Shelley have showed remarkable improvements this year despite smashing PB’s last year as well. Neil became the first Cwm Ogwr event winner with 3 first finishes at Porthcawl parkruns, plus first places at Grangemoor and Barry Island parkruns. He also took first place at the Tuska Beach fixture of the Bridgend League and has over a dozen top 3 place finishes this year. His times have blown us away improving from 18:20 to 17:21 at 5K, 39:31 to 35:26 at 10K and 1:33:51 to 1:18:51 at Half Marathon. However, I think the Marathon times have been the most remarkable of all. A PB of 2:57:43 at Llanelli (Great Welsh) Marathon and a top 10 finish, then a 3:00:26 at Snowdonia Marathon. Neil has also run the Gower 50 mile Ultra this year and finished 3rd overall in the individual age grade rankings for the Bridgend League. Neil has also won both the overall position based scoring Club Championship and the Level Playing Field competition.

Shelley’s improvements have also been nothing short of remarkable. A 5K improvement of 24:45 to 22:34 including a couple of top 3 female placed finishes at both Porthcawl and Swansea. A 10K improvement of 51:26 to 48:03 but most impressively a 20 minute half marathon improvement going from 2:07:28 to 1:47:24. Shelley ran her first marathon this year with a fantastic 4:09:39 on the tough Tenby course. Shelley has also been responsible for bringing over a dozen new runners to club. She has won the female club championship and has attended 14 club championship events, 8 of which she was first club female. Such was her improvement this year, she has also finished in the top 3 in the Level Playing Field competition as well.


An incredible year for the club and so much I haven’t mentioned that I’m going to try and wrap up here. I’ve only briefly mentioned our events which were a huge success with the 5 miler selling out and great numbers at the inaugural Beast and Drovers 10K event which I’m sure will continue to grow. Kelly Owen was awarded a Bridge FM Local Hero Award earlier this year for her work with the club. The club has been involved in several events supporting the team Evsy charity with proceeds from the Drovers run being donated as well as the Corntown Kicker and an Ironman distance challenge which several of our members completed over a 9 day period.

Many of our members also completed the 5×50 challenge earlier this year where participants aim to run, cycle or walk 5K for 50 consecutive days. Chris Pratt helped promote the challenge and was a huge encouragement to all that took on the challenge. In August / September of this year, a few members took the opportunity to run with Ben Smith who was attempting to run 401 marathons in 401 days. Chris Pratt and Sian Tossell ran parts of the Neath route whilst myself and Dai Power ran the Reverse 10 in Penallta were he was running a couple of days later. Ben couldn’t escape the Blue Wave as the next day Chris Pratt ran the whole marathon distance with him in Cardiff. Ben completed the challenge raising over quarter of a million pound for two anti bullying charities and was recently awarded the Helen Rollason award at the Sports Personality of the Year awards.

The formation of the social committee has been fantastic for the club with a Halloween Party, Christmas drinks and Children’s Christmas Party all organised in the last couple of months. Earlier in the year there was also a Bowling night and an evening at Jump Jam. This year has also seen several members become Leaders in Running Fitness and Aled Hughes and David Kembery are on the verge of becoming fully qualified UK athletics coaches joining Kelly Owen and Kevin Raymond.

I wish I could mention every member and every running achievement from 2016 but I think I’d be writing this until the end of next year! A massive thank you to everyone from our members, to supporters, sponsors of our events and Lirfs / coaches. An amazing year for an amazing club.

2015 Review

Where to start with a incredible year for Cwm Ogwr Running Club. It’s hard to believe that in January we ‘only’ had around 50 members and realistically only around 30 of those were regularly attending training and the odd event. Now we have over 100 members with pretty much every one of them doing at least one event. We started the year with 2 training sessions per week and due to popular demand we now have 5 to choose from starting at 3 different locations.


The Coaches and Zero to Hero effect


I don’t think anyone could argue the main contributor to this years success has been having coaches and the setting up of the Zero to Hero sessions. The Z2H sessions started with the intention of getting a few people from 0-5K and that would be it. However, it was decided the 5K ‘graduates’ would continue to attend as ‘improvers’ with the aim of getting to 10K as well as giving them the option of joining other club sessions. Dozens have signed up since the sessions started back in February with many more members joining through the club being recommended to them by those who were attending the sessions. I’d estimate around 40 of the new members this year are as a result of either attending Zero to Hero sessions or the attendees encouraging friends who were already regular runners to join. A massive thank you to Kevin and Dai K who run the sessions every Sunday as well as many other members who have contributed.


Kevin and Kelly officially became British Athletics qualified coaches this year whilst Dai and Aled are due to join them soon. Richard LJ completed the ‘Leadership in Running Fitness’ course and the club is looking at more members doing the same. Kevin also won a coaching award at a national level at the Welsh Athletics awards which is an incredible achievement considering he only qualified this year and is a huge asset to our club. The club also won a ‘highly commended volunteer award’ at the BAVO awards which recognised the time and effort put in by all our coaches.


The parkrun effect


Well we can go back to January 1st for this one. Chris Roberts joined Chris Pratt and I for a double parkrun having been a regular parkrunner at Porthcawl but not affiliated to any club. Of course, by the time we’d finished the parkruns we’d convinced him to join. His wife and daughter would also end up becoming members during the year. Steve Riddler, David Sheard, Peter Harrop, Dai Power, Alica Thomas, Dai Evans and Caerwyn Lewis just to name a few have all joined having seen the blue wave at parkrun and being ‘gently encouraged’ to join. Last year our record attendance at parkrun was around 15 and it was rare to have members at two or more parkruns… on the 19th December this year we had 37 members across 7 different parkruns.


In 2014, Cwm Ogwr members ran a combined total of 322 parkruns… this year that total was 1002 with 83 different members contributing to that total.


Record breakers


The male club records have been torn apart this year with Nick, Neil J and Kevin getting the times tumbling. The 5K record has gone from 19:28 to 18:33, and the 10K record from 42:19 to 39:31 – both being Neil Jones. The marathon record has fallen from 3:50 to 3:18 with Kevin’s time at Llanelli. His time was good enough to qualify him for a ‘Good For Age’ entry at next years London Marathon.


As for the female club records, Amy Roberts smashed the 5K record in her first run with the club with a 22:26 which is almost a minute ahead of the next best female time this year. Heather Garratt broke the long standing 10K record with a 47:51 at Swansea 10K, whilst Lorna took the top marathon time with a 4:12 at Manchester Marathon.


PB setters


After a great start with the club in 2013 and an amazing 2014, the PB’s kept coming for Nick Harris in 2015. Along with myself, Chris Pratt, Kevin, Antony and Liz Davis we’ve all set PB’s at all the ‘regular distances’ (5K, 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles, Half Marathon and Marathon) throughout the year. Christie Coleman and Chris Roberts have set an incredible number of 5K PB’s as well as knocking huge amounts of distances up to Half Marathon. Jayne, Alica, Denise and Fiona have also notched up several PB’s this year.


Club Championship


Myself and Kelly won the inaugural club championship in 2014 and were both in contention for much of the year but in the end there were two new winners. So massive congratulations to Nick Harris and Liz Davis. There’d been much discussion whether the club championship could only be won by the ‘fastest runners’ and whilst this is true if it was only based on running results, the club championship also included points for volunteering which in the end would be the pivotal decider. In the women’s championship Liz maximised her volunteer points with months to spare, so along with a second female across the line at Brecon 10 mile and a good finish at the Richard Burton 10K, she went into the Pudding Run needing to finish in the top 10 women to take top spot off Kelly which she did. Kelly could have volunteered to retake the lead and win the championship in the final couple of weeks but choose not too.


The mens competition was tight throughout the year. Richard LJ held top spot for a large part of the year due to volunteering plus being the only male runner at the Dragon 10K and being first of the two Cwm Ogwr runners at Whitford Point. However, I took top spot in from September having also maxed out on volunteer points and having second placed finishes at Brecon 10 mile and Richard Burton 10K with a third place at Margam XC. It meant at the Pembrey Multi Terrain 10 miler, Richard needed a top 6 finish to regain top spot. In the end, he missed out by a few seconds. However, there was another twist in the tale. Nick or Kevin could still overtake me by volunteering in the final weeks. Kevin would only need to volunteer twice whilst Nick would have to end his 58 week parkrunning streak and volunteer at the final 4 parkruns of the year… which he did. All well within the rules and a deserving winner, especially when you consider the maximum possible points total is 190 and he scored 189.


The Blue Wave


As I’ve already mentioned, the attendances at parkrun have grown tremendously this year and we regularly get members of other clubs commenting on the number of Cwm Ogwr shirts on show but this year has also seen some amazing numbers at races. The biggest of which are listed below with the 2014 numbers in brackets…


Cardiff 10K: 46 (20)

Cardiff HM: 41 (15)

Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run: 37 (15)

Kenfig 5K: 31 (N/A)

Pembrey 10 miler: 25 (4)

Swansea HM: 24 (6)

Hilly 4: 24 (6)

Swansea 10K: 19 (6)

Pudding Run: 18 (9)


Off Road sessions


Earlier this year, club captain and new leader in running fitness Richard LJ started a Sunday morning trail session. It started with just a couple of miles nearby Bryngarw Park and is now regularly around 10K with all abilities welcome to join. Feedback has been excellent with everyone who has attended one or more the sessions really enjoying the off road experience. Prior to this year, probably less than 10 members owned a pair of trail shoes – now most members have either bought some or are considering a purchase. The sessions also helped contribute to huge attendances at the Kenfig 5K, Pembrey Multi Terrain 10 mile and Pudding run. Big thanks to Richard and also Fiona Evans who has helped out with a couple of new routes.


Challenges and new distances

Chris Pratt ran a record 13 different half marathons plus Snowdonia Marathon this year to achieve his target of 15 Half Marathons whilst also running at all the Welsh parkruns that existed at the start of the year. I achieved all my targets for 2015 which includes PB’s at all distances, running over 2015K and running in 101 events which is a club record. Kevin and Antony not only ran their first marathons this year but followed it up with a second and third within the space of 7 months. There were several more marathon debuts including the Garratts who went into the year having not done a race over 10K and had originally intended to do a Half Marathon as their longest run of the year.


Shelley Smithson went from doing her first 5K to completing the Cardiff Half Marathon within just a few months of joining the club. Dozens have graduated from Zero to Hero by running their first 5K at Porthcawl parkrun whilst many more went on to run their first 10K’s at Cardiff 10K. Over 20 members made their half marathon debuts this year, and 3 members ran their first Ultra Marathon. Over 50 members have run at least 10 events this year with that number expected to increase in 2016 considering many of those 50 only joined part way through the year.


The club total for 2014 was 542 individual results across 124 events, this year it’s 1581 across 255 events and counting!


Chairman’s Runner of the Year – Chris Pratt


A really difficult choice this year. Last year’s winner Nick Harris has continued to improve with PB’s at every distance whilst still racking up loads of events. Liz Davis was also in consideration having also PB’d at every distance from 5K to marathon. Kevin achieved a Good For Age qualifying time for London Marathon as well as improving his times at all distances and ran 3 marathons. I’d probably say the closest to Chris’s achievements this year is Christie who since joining back in May has set several PB’s at 5K, 10K and knocked huge amounts off his half marathon time whilst reaching 50 runs with the club in just 28 weeks.


Back to my choice for the winner – Chris has run 85 events this year including distances from 5K to Marathon and all types of races from road to multi terrain to cross country. In May this year he set 6 PB’s in the space of 24 days with three 5K PB’s, a 5 mile PB, a 10K PB and a half marathon PB. He was also parkrunner of the month and my choice for runner of the month in May. He has set 20 PB’s between May and December at all distances from 5K to Marathon knocking huge amounts off each. All this whilst also achieving two huge challenges of running every Welsh parkrun that existed at the start of the year, and running 15 half marathons in 2015.




Plans are already in place for many of our members and it looks like we’ll have a great turnout on day 1 with the New Years Day Kenfig 4 miler. Lots of members are planning first 10K’s, first half marathons, first marathons and first ultras. A new club championship format which creates a ‘level playing field’ will give every member a chance of winning and hopefully encourage members to enter even more races. The Zero to Hero team are looking to get more people starting from scratch to parkrun and beyond whilst ensuring the current crop continue to improve and achieve their goals. Our coaching team is likely to grow and we look forward to seeing big attendances at all club sessions with members looking forward to them and reaping the benefits from attending. It’s going to be another amazing year and it’s a privilege to be part of such an awesome club.