Weekly Waffle – 17 February 2019

Every week is different…

We never see one where there isn’t at least one event on… 

This weekend was always going to be a big…

Not least because it was a chance for us all to get together and celebrate the amazing achievements by our members – whether that be through excellent running performance or endeavour!

Of course, Saturday morning was ritual.  parkrun.  All one word, all lower case for the pedants.  5k.  Free, and that’s something you don’t hear very often.  Everyone welcome.   As usual we were dotted around the country.  Some intentional trips.  Some opportune while away from home.  Some more opportune than others with a long run planned that passed a parkrun setting up and not the intended destination.  Friendly conversation with those involved caused a change of plan.  The magic of parkrun. 

Evening arrived.  The Phoenix descended on a centre named in memory of an 18th century philosopher.  A community club using a community facility to house an evening of celebration for its athletes, recognising impressive running through inspiration, ability and endeavour.  

Reminiscing on a great year of growth and optimism.

Rewarding those who have achieved.

Rarely writing these reviews in the first person, there’s always an opportunity to break convention… 

Last night will be a very long lasting memory for me personally.  

At one point in the night for me the world stood still…  

After the awards were done I stopped to take stock…  

People surrounded me…

One walked around with her trophy offering sweets from it that she’d filled it with earlier, beaming from ear to ear at the accolade she’d very unexpectedly received.  Tables full of people discussing the events of the evening or their upcoming plans.  Others showing off their awards, receiving well deserved praise for their impressive endeavours.  Some let their hair down.  An opportunity to let go.  A dance floor full.  Scenes reminiscent of school disco.  Smiles.  Laughter.  The smiles and laughter were infectious.  A huge amount of this is nothing to do with running.  This is to do with relationship.  We’ve been brought together by a crazy habit that has pushed some of us to the limit.  That limit doesn’t have to be huge but when an experience pushes limits and it is shared the bond is strong.  

I smiled.  From ear to ear.

If you could stop time and bottle that moment it would be worth a million pounds.

The family had a party and it was a damned good one.  

Phoenix family, thank you, it was a blast!

Let’s all do it again soon!

Despite a late one, members still rose this morning to encourage our heroes on their continued journey, cover the trails and even race on a route that was slightly longer than expected in the Welsh capital. Another, also present for the festivities, headed to mid-west Wales for an undulating half marathon while another headed across the border to complete a 10k on a route usually circumnavigated by powered vehicles.

Time might have stopped briefly for me to take stock last night but life still goes on…

Just keep doing what you’re doing…

Yes, there’s a lot involved in doing this job – but being a family man I know that enormous sacrifice in exchange for seeing that single moment of sheer joy on a face from having achieved something that was previously out of reach is absolutely worth it!

Simply…

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 10th February 2019

Sometimes you have to take a step back to see everything clearly…

To see and take in everything that’s occurred this weekend we’d need to walk a few miles back, not just a step!

Numbers at training again on the increase despite it being the build up to a plethora of racing activities over the weekend!

As the nights start to get lighter the opportunities for night races diminish so a few managed to slot one in, while they still appear on the calendar, before the weekend arrived!

Saturday saw Storm Eric batter the coast but it takes an awful lot to cause Porthcawl to cancel the 9am gathering on the upper promenade and large club numbers braved the high tide and high winds to complete the course, some having made the journey down on foot.  

Our other home location saw a small group make their way around the multi-loop course.

The usual suspects travelled to locations far and wide for their tourism fix.

Some fled spritely from their 9am run to join others on the trails for a hilly half marathon with impressive running by all!

A new day dawns… 

Some were up super early to head all the way to Brecon to navigate the 40+ miles back down to Nantgarw in a race that tests both mentally and physically.  Valiant efforts from the few that made the epic journey!  It takes a huge amount of courage to stand on the start line of these races and a belly full of grit and determination to make it to the finish!   Epic!

Five brave members trekked around a dozen miles with significant ascent to make their mark in the first tough event in the trail championship!

Almost 50 runners travelled down the coast to the west for a half marathon starting at the home of Llanelli rugby on an out and back course skirting the coast.  First timers joined seasoned runners to complete the course with almost half recording a personal best!  Amazing stuff!

Not only that but the Phoenix turned out in a voluntary capacity providing support at one of the water stations!  One went above and beyond the call of duty to lay down with an exhausted runner to protect them from the extreme elements.  True Phoenix spirit in action!

A lone runner headed to the English capital to run another half around the Olympic Park!

A handful of lucky souls headed a long way South to the Catalonian capitol to complete another half marathon in rather sunnier climes that we were experiencing back at home!

What an amazing weekend!

Over 80 club members involved in events, not including parkrun.  A wonderful effort by the runners themselves but also by those back at base collating the results for us all to see.  A massive thanks to them too.

Posts all over the weekend started with stories full of nerves for what lay ahead.  

Trepidation at the unknown.

Valuable lessons were learnt.  

Training is invaluable.

With sufficient prior investment in miles it will be a much more enjoyable experience.  

Sufficient training or not, enjoyable or not, everyone who stood on a start line crossed the finish line with stories to tell and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading them.

When weekends like this happen we burst with pride!

Brave endeavours, abundant supporting and volunteering while great achievements abound!

The Phoenix spreads it’s wings and rises higher and higher!

Keep it up you brave souls!

Sometimes there’s a little more conviction in the words…

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 03/02/2019

The clocks tick by and Sunday night arrives once again.  

Time to reflect.

Extreme weather conditions put pay to a training session during the week and hung around to the weekend to do its damage to parkrun plans.  Many events cancelled but the salt in the sea air cleared virtually all evidence of ice on the seafront meaning a big club turnout in Porthcawl.  Bitterly cold but sunny conditions made for a glorious morning with many making their way down on foot.  Long runs fitted in before parkrun leave the rest of the day free – and help to justify the bacon sandwich in the cafe afterwards!

The disruption of the weather wasn’t over!  Races cancelled meant some had to find their planned miles elsewhere.  Many headed out for the their long runs on their path to long races in the spring.  Our heroes continued their journeys in significant numbers.

One headed over the border to the English capital to return to racing over the 10k distance.

A small valiant bunch drove down to the Gower and took on a challenging 10k through challenging terrain as a result of the recent extreme conditions.

Yet another busy weekend for the Phoenix defying the elements and still getting out and getting the job done!!

I’ve got this far reviewing the weekend and there’s something nagging in the back of my mind that I might have missed something and I can’t for the life of me think what it is…  

If only people were a bit more vocal about the things they got up to it would make it a lot easier for me to review…

Hang on a minute, it’s coming back to me now…

Something about a group of Phoenix taking an early morning flight from Gatwick across the channel to a small island just off the coast of France… Yes, it’s coming back to me now…  Landing less than half an hour before the whistle blows they made it to the start line of parkrun on Jersey.  Out and back within 24 hours.  Nutters!  Love it – a great adventure!  The Phoenix spirit shining through!   Just next time I wish they’d make more noise about having done it!!

Keep on doing what you’re doing guys!!

It’s brilliant to watch the valiant efforts being made throughout the club.

For those unable to run we send out a heap of positive vibes for a speedy recovery.  We’re here for you.

As we say goodbye to one week, we welcome another… 

I can’t wait to see what it brings for you all…

Whatever it is, keep shouting about it!

As ever,

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 27th January 2019

Sunday fades and leaves us with memories of a busy week…

Still seeing big numbers at training filling everyones week with preparations for races coming up or just continuing their journey to their first parkrun as it looms closer…

Training on Thursday was combined with celebrations of a significant birthday of our wonderful secretary with flowers and, most importantly, cake!!  We do love our cake!

Friday saw a huge club contingent get together to support one of our own on his quest to secure funds for his London Marathon charity place.  Fun and frolics enjoyed by many with many Phoenix dancing the night away…

parkrun was a challenge for several as a result….  

A milestone reached up the valley was supported by Phoenix friends.  Some got up early to run to our other local event and cleared heads in the process.  For some, it was their first parkrun, the start of something big as we know the bug takes hold very quickly!  Others added another location to their ever expanding list.  One almost found himself at Her Majesty’s pleasure but managed to remain outside the walls to complete his Saturday morning constitutional.

One made his way to Worcester to impressively self-navigate his way over 40 miles of trails as part of his bid to secure a place in something bigger.  Yes, that’s right, something bigger!  

Long training runs are now starting to fill the calendar as spring halves and marathons loom closer and several put their daps on and headed out to get the miles in.

Sunday comes round and while our heroes turn out in number yet again to further their journeys a big club contingent travel east along the M4 to a very popular event hosted by our very good friends at Lliswerry.  Flat and fast it always attracts good numbers.  And there’s cake – and to avoid repeating myself I won’t add any more detail to that one!  Cold conditions and high winds did their best to try and dampen the spirit but it would take a lot more than that to keep the Phoenix down and impressive results were seen all round.

Back down west the conditions were reportedly worse with hail being added to the mix!  A notoriously tough course saw members tested in this league fixture.  Gritty performances all round in the conditions.

Still in Winter but the temperature seems to be fluctuating erratically.  The cold days don’t seem to be deterring everyone from hitting the streets.  Impressive commitment all round!!  Fingers crossed that snow stays away and allows us to continue plodding the streets!

Keep up the good work everyone!

It goes without saying, but I will anyway…

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 20th January 2019

Week 3 of the year in the Ogmore Phoenix house…

A special occasion at one of our local parkrun locations celebrating 300 events! 

Several members were present at that first running of the event and 54 of the club returned to celebrate with just over 400 other runners on the seafront.  Once the running was complete it was back to the Hi Tide to review achievements in the local summer running league and the series that kept us all focused over the festive season.  Significant placings resulted in awards being picked up by several Phoenix!  Wonderful stuff!!

Other parkruns were also completed resulting in a record turnout for the club with volunteers included hitting the magic 100 in total!!  Amazing!

Sunday came round and while huge numbers continued their journey in Pandy Park others hit the trails along the coast preparing for their long race in April.

Some headed further east to loop around very picturesque surroundings for a (slightly longer than) 10k race around the trails.  With volunteers and runners alike great fun was had by all.

One tackled a new event consisting of multiple loops which can be completed as many times as can be achieved within 6 hours.  It resulted in a quick half marathon time and a 2nd place finish.

Another headed north to run full marathon distance around a city and bashed out 20 miles and then battled through the last 6 tough miles to finish another marathon and the first one of the year!

High numbers at training still outstripping any week of last year as motivation levels remain high following the new year!  Great to see!

Great running all round, yet again.

Keep doing what you’re doing guys…

Let’s see what week 4 brings…

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 13th January 2019

It’s been a busy affair this week!

Not even half way through the first month of the year and we experience a big increase in running activity!

Milestones were celebrated at parkrun at one of our home locations attracting good numbers again just coming short of last weeks record on the sea front.  The usual tourists scattered up and down the country to complete their 5k.  High numbers again falling only slightly short of last weeks club parkrun record!  Brilliant to see!

While we were getting our 5k fix some returned to tackle a tough trail route with double the distance.  It’s a great route with a sting in the tail testing weary legs as it climbs steeply to the finish.  This didn’t defeat our hardy runners and two came away with significant prizes once again starting their prize hoard for the year early!  Great running all round.

Sunday saw the arrival of an event that’s become a bit of a club favourite.  Mud, glorious mud greets those who head over the border to run alongside the Severn.  Great performances all round.

Another fixture in the West Glamorgan Cross Country League attracted those not Rollicking in England to run twice around the outside of a reservoir with a decent turnout and brilliant performances all round earning valuable points for the teams.

As our huge contingent of heroes continue their running journeys, club members heard the call for help!  A large number of those not racing came along to assist as the long line of runners built on their week one performance to go slightly longer and slightly further.  One step closer to their target!  Runners in the making!

What a week!  

Record training attendance at one session.  

Record weekly training attendance.  

Phoenix out in force enjoying what they love!

Winter is typically a tough time for running… 

Dark nights.  

Dark mornings.  

Cold and often wet.  

It takes a lot to motivate ourselves out of the door when it’s like this.  

Wonderful to see that none of this is deterring you!

Many are doing RED January…  Exercising every day during the month.  Once we get so far in to a challenge like this we can’t break the cycle.  It teaches us that when ordinarily we might say “not today” – in fact we actually can get something done.  For those running it all it teaches us that we can always find a few minutes to get a mile or so in – when we often would normally just stay indoors in the warm!  Great to see the commitment from those tackling the challenge!

Great club cameraderie demonstrated in the pictures shared of training and racing this week that warm the heart!

The family bonds grow stronger.

Continue to fly high… and don’t forget, if you feel your wings failing you just turn left or right to one of your Phoenix family and ask for help… we’re always here for you!  

Never, ever be afraid to do so!

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 6th January 2019

The first week of the new year always brings a renewed vigour…

A sense of positivity courses through everyones veins as we say goodbye to the old and celebrate the arrival of the new…

What’s done is done…

New memories to be made… together!

The week started by seeing out the old and a few travelled to the capital for their New Years Eve running fix before the evening arrived representing the club in a veterans only race.

A huge club contingent travelled to the top of the valleys to do battle on the streets of Mountain Ash.  Elite and fun runners had their turn.  The Phoenix made their mark and calls were heard over the speakers celebrating our abundant presence.  A significant placing warranted an award that will take pride of place on one Phoenix mantelpiece in 2019!

What a farewell to what’s gone before!

Happy New Year!

Many woke early, some bleary eyed, to head out for their unique double parkrun fix.  The one day of the year where it’s possible to “do the double”.  Some stayed local.  Some travelled far.  Dedication.  Record numbers made the effort.  Some did just one and headed back home to tackle a local event run by our friends from Cornelly.  With Phoenix in large numbers they ploughed through fields and country lanes in the final compulsory event of the festive competition which has had a number of us focussed in spite of the excesses of the season.

Great running resulted in significant placings for a couple with one prize on the table!

A great way to start the new year!

Saturday arrives and the second parkrun outing of the week saw numbers out in force up and down the country. Significant milestones were celebrated at home events and huge Phoenix numbers down on the seafront helped towards a record attendance!

Training numbers were swelled by the renewed enthusiasm…

A new intake of our heroes starting their journey saw a record high attendance in one location…

Coupled with high numbers on the trails we saw the highest training attendance on record for one day!

A positive start to a new and exciting year!

Long may it continue…

Start as you mean to go on…

Use that positivity to drive forward…

I smiled today.  Smiled a lot.  Seeing those starting their journey.  Nervous faces.  Pensive moments not quite knowing what was to come.  Replaced later by happy smiling faces.  The biggest step is turning up.  The start of a journey that knows no limits.  There are no boundaries to what you can achieve if you just stick with it.  Small steps now lead to giant leaps as time moves on.  I remember when it all started for me.  Those first weeks of the journey.  So excited to see what it leads on to for all our heroes!!

Keep it up you lovely people!

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 30th December 2018

As we say goodbye to the last weekend of the year we look back on what has been a busy week for most….

Despite the festivities many of you still got out there and ran!

When the dinner is eaten and all have enjoyed the big day, Boxing Day comes round and the event calendar opens up once again.

Familiar territory along the seafront drew the Phoenix in numbers.  Despite a road traffic accident blocking the path the slightly shorter than expected event was enjoyed by all in perfect running conditions.

Some headed further afield for their running fix with a significant presence down west enjoying a flat-ish course with impressive times and awards collected for significant placings.  

Some clearly didn’t overdo the celebrations!

Training moved to the morning up the valley with a few heading round the keyhole (not through it) to the top of The Bwlch, some for the first time, to sit on top of the mist covered valley with its spectacular views.  Great to get out and enjoy the cool morning air on a very sociable run!

Saturday most were ready for their fix of parkrun and record numbers attended all around the country and further afield.  The drizzly conditions didn’t put people off  and a huge attendance on the seafront swelled numbers there to a new record for the event almost reaching 500!

Sunday’s trail extravaganza enjoyed large numbers with an innovative prize bonanza twist to the end of year session.  Much fun was had by all on the “Tour d’Dunes”!

A few headed to the capital to run with the old timers around Bute Park, enjoying snacks on the way home having earned the calories on the run!

The last weekend of the year.

Everyone is in a reflective mood, sharing running totals and speculating on the year ahead.

Exciting plans are forming…

Heart warming as well to hear this week stories of the friendships formed and subsequently strengthened within the club that bring the Phoenix family closer together.

The next weekly waffle will be the first weekend of 2019…

Let’s make it a great start!

Signing off 2018 with a big, proud smile on my face…

Well done Ogmore Phoenix – you’re pretty damn awesome!

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 24th December 2018

Only slightly delayed…  

It’s time for the weekly waffle…

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Christmas time.  

Elves have been naughty on their shelves for a while now, but one in particular has been causing havoc at one of our local hotels!!  He broke away from his daily mischief to bring joy to the Ogmore Phoenix Juniors at their Christmas celebrations.  Being the Naughty Elf he had to play a trick when introducing the real Santa who had heard of the exploits of the Phoenix and decided to pay us a visit during his busy build up to the big day!!  Lots of singing and dancing followed and much fun was had by all!  Seeing the happy faces of children enjoying the celebrations surrounding Christmas is a wonderful thing.  They feel the magic in the air and to be a part of lifting their hearts and helping to continue that Christmas spirit is incredible.  Well done to all involved!

Training throughout the week has involved festive celebrations with many finding their way to sit down for refreshments after their runs and spread some joy!

The weekend arrives and the festive parkrun fairy calls all to a start line somewhere.  It is common at this time of year for there to be many on their travels.  Visiting friends or family or simply getting away to enjoy this time of rest together somewhere different.  As a result a large number of tourists completed their runs at new locations sharing their experiences and pictures for us to admire. 

Our two home parkruns attracted big numbers as lots shared the joy of running in festive attire.  The weather was much kinder this week, which helped, and celebrations were certainly not dampened in either location.  parkrun is a wonderful institution and has been a cornerstone in bringing a lot of us together.  It was wonderful on Saturday to share happy times like these with many friends who have become so through parkrun.  Not only in the Phoenix but far and wide within the running community.  Back to the cafe with fellow club members sharing the exciting build up to the big day with hugs aplenty on parting wishing each other joy for the remainder of the festive period.  Heart warming stuff.  

On Sunday a lone ranger headed down to the south coast to get another marathon completed before Christmas is upon us.  This little lady has notched up significant event miles this year and looks likely to not be slowing down anytime soon.  Much kudos for doing so while most of us are overdoing the food at home!

Training numbers were lower this week but still some turned up to keep the legs ticking over on the trails and at Zero 2 Hero.  Well done all!

So.  

As we close on another weekend we are on the eve of Noel.

Running takes a back seat to family, friends and festivities… usually!  

Some will venture out and get another parkrun in on Christmas Day.  If you do, let us know and share the pictures – because you know we all really want to be joining you!

Some will be venturing to the beach to dip in the sea… One year I will have a go!!

Whatever you are doing over Yuletide, keep us updated on your antics.

With much love I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!  

#loveourclub

#lovethisclub

Weekly Waffle – 16th December 2018

A week on from our wonderful Christmas knees up we’re back to what binds us… running!

Weather again is our nemesis.  Numbers heading out of the door to training improve slightly but the darker, colder nights still keep some indoors. 

Christmas is coming.

Responsibilities shift.
Families are so important at this time of year and demands at home keep some from training.  We know you’re there in spirit but some things are more important and quite rightly so.  We’ll all still be here when demands change again.

The weekend arrived and the weather worsened.  Cold.  Wet.  Windy.  Undeterred, The Phoenix still had to meet their constitutional requirements and parkruns abound.  Home and away.  Battling the elements was the order of the day but despite that for the very first time in our history we saw a first, second and third Ogmore Phoenix placing at a home event.  A unique and impressive outcome that is worthy of celebration.  Although parkrun, fundamental to it’s ethos, is not about winning or losing, an opportunity to register a significant placing is one that most of us would covet.  We are proud of this achievement at the same time as celebrating all those who stood on the start line at 9am on Saturday.  No matter how long it takes we salute all our runners for just stepping out of the door in their trainers.

Some went the extra mile on Saturday and donned Santa outfits to brave the extreme elements hitting the coast to the west.  With smiles aplenty mother natures worst didn’t deter maximum effort from those who took on the challenge.

Overnight it calmed.

Brighter skies.  

Elevated temperatures.  

OK, it’s worth saying it’s not tropical but a few degrees make a lot of difference at this time of year.  

Numbers travelled east down the A48.  Not to play golf but to run where the sport is played.  Significant numbers dressed in festive attire headed off road to circumnavigate the greens in this Cracker that proves to be increasingly popular year on year.

Others found a route which is familiar as one of our home parkruns for a fun run dressed in festive gear and enjoyed it immensely.

While all of this goes on our volunteers continue to support our recently graduated heroes continuing their running journey.

All the while collections take place within our midst to provide much needed supplies for those within our community who found themselves without shelter during the festive season.  Providing things for those who haven’t from those of us who have.

Another weekend draws to a close and despite the demands of family and home-life most still manage to fit their runs in.  For those who can’t we reach out and remind them that we know that life demands a great deal and often takes them away from the sport that we love.  It should go without saying that when the demands of life outside club ease we are always here and will welcome all back with welcome arms when time allows.

We enter the final week in the build up to the big day. 

The man in red with the white beard prepares for his annual journey.

No matter what you wished for we hope that all enjoy a happy build up to the big day.

The Phoenix continues to spread its wings and spread joy wherever it flies.

Fly high my friends.

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub