Weekly Waffle – 18th November 2018

It’s Sunday and that time once again…

As we move further into the cold season we see a very pleasing increase in training numbers.  As new methods are tried to meet the needs of our ever growing membership, amazing feedback suggests it’s been a success!  Continuously striving to be better!  

What is really pleasing is that our heroes continue their journeys and consistency in numbers shows they have resilience to the falling temperatures too!!

Pleasant weather attracted many down to parkrun…

Home, the usual high numbers.  Away, many continue their quest to increase the number of locations and we all celebrate them as we see the pictures sent back – attracting us there in future weeks to follow in their wake.

Saturday also saw an opportunity to tell our club story and share the passion of the Phoenix with other clubs around Wales. 

Sunday.  Always a race day somewhere.  Cold.  Sunny.  Unique conditions for the time of year.  We’ll take that!  

It’s common to see events to the east and the west.  Today was no exception.  

Pembrey.  Just a week on from a previous visit for a league appearance, a crowd headed west again to tackle 10 miles of mixed terrain.  With a section on the beach with the sun beating down, air temperature cool, it makes a run become something rather special.  Some push themselves to the limit and race to win.  Some just run to enjoy the experience.  How can you not when this set of circumstances are presented to you!

Others headed east to tackle a hilly route organised by a local club.  With 1,000ft of climbing it wasn’t an easy 10k but all finished virtually together having enjoyed the whole experience.  One to be repeated.  

Meeting up with friends from other clubs is always a pleasure and races regularly present these opportunities.  Being a member of the running community brings with it a wide circle of friends with a shared passion and we don’t all run for the same clubs.  Always nice to catch up and pass the time of day!

It’s always the case that events decrease in number as we approach the end of the year but the passion doesn’t wane.  Keep getting out there and getting some miles in and, most importantly, meeting up with friends to run.  We love to run, but it’s always better with a few friends.

Keep up the good work lads and lasses!

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add (without tears, but an immense sense of pride Daniel Clark)



Weekly waffle – 11th November 2018

Well, well, well…

And I thought it would be difficult to get close to the epic Snowdonia Weekend, but we had a good try!!

Saturdays are usually all about the 5k!  You know the one… that free thing that always starts at 9am.  I’m sure you’ve heard about it…  

Well, indeed, there were a few of them enjoyed by many.

The usual big attendance on the seafront.  We were lulled into a false sense of security by the weather fairy!  Cold, tick.  Windy, tick.  Raining?  No!!  Winner…  However, setting off from the house the sky threatened and, right on cue, at 9am, it started.  Drizzle turned to rain turned to hail.  Temperatures dropped and we all got cold and soaked to the skin while being stung by the hailstones.  Sure enough as the last runners finished it stopped.  The clouds parted and the sun shone down.  Thanks parkrun weather fairy.  We love you, honest!  Despite the conditions, all completed their runs with some more of our amazing new starters graduating in style to hero status!  Character building start!

With our other local venue attracting several to Welfare Park we also saw a number of tourists getting their fix at various locations not only around the UK but also further afield combining a stag do in Poland with a bit of running!  That never hurts – we’ll combine anything with a bit of running!

A gang headed to another seafront location for a special 50 celebration resulting in a fantastic new personal best!  Always good to mark a milestone in style!

But Saturday wasn’t all about parkrun…

Some headed West to fly the Phoenix Flag on a Cross Country course around a Country Park.  Young and old (and I say that in the nicest sense – partly because I’m one of them) proudly sporting their colours in a strong running field!

Some headed further West and once again picked up prizes for fantastic running on a tough coastal course.  Making the Phoenix proud once again!

A good number travelled a few miles east for an event created to mark the centenary of the armistice that signified the end of the “war to end all wars”.  An interesting staggered start saw admirable performances all round.  Accidents happen.  One on his quest to complete a challenge came tumbling to the ground with a fear this would see it come to an abrupt end.  Members have rallied support in true Phoenix style!!

As if that wasn’t enough – a bunch travelled to the capital, adorned with fake moustaches and fancy dress to run in events organised to raise awareness of mens health issues.  A good cause, a great race, decent medal and that “oh so cool” coveted headband!! 

What a Saturday!!  More than most weekends in one day!

Time ticked by.  

Sunday arrived.

There are an ever increasing number of running events on the calendar.  

It is inevitable some would clash with significant events. 

The second fixture of another cross country league drew several of the Phoenix to a local nature reserve to run on sand, grass and a little bit of tarmac to stake their claim for points.  

But, despite the event, as the clock reached 11am runners were called to silence on the start line on armistice day.

A minutes silence that was observed by all with impeccable respect.

A haunting silence that invited all to remember those lost to war.  Those who never returned.

With those thoughts in minds and hearts runners gave their all with pride.  

Even a late downpour didn’t dampen spirits.

An intrepid group slogged their way through mud and waist high water in pursuit of a new medal and rather smart t-shirt! Despite some tumbles they all ended up victorious!

While those at home did the Phoenix proud, a lone ranger headed to the country where the marathon gained its name and, despite shoes falling apart, romped home in an admirable time!!

Happy to report our intrepid challenger from Saturdays race is sensing an improvement after his fall and the challenge could well still be on – our Phoenix are made of solid stuff!!

AND – despite all these races our new heroes still continued their journeys!!

What a weekend!!

You couldn’t be more proud after antics like these!!

Continue to do what you’re doing guys and gals!

Let’s continue to show the world what it means to fly like a Phoenix!

It goes without saying…



Weekly Waffle – 4th November 2018

Weekends come, weekends go…

Saturday this week saw a large attendance at parkruns dotted all over the country.  Local venues  hosted a large club contingent for two significant club milestones…  Torn, members headed to the sea while others headed up the Llynfi Valley.  The former a 250 celebration.  The latter a 100 celebration with halloween themed attire on the menu.  Both were attended and celebrated in style.

Sunday brought about a local memorial event which always attracts our members in great number and today was no exception.  Our “hills are friends” mantra is one which gets replayed many times during this event – although the last 3k, all downhill, is always a great end to a race!

A week on from almost a fifth of our membership heading north for a tough marathon we saw a significant racing presence once again.  And, once again, we are proud.

That pride swells as we see another increase in the attendance of our heroes on their running journeys, still committed to turning up every week to improve on last weeks endeavours.

An impressive set of weekend running achievements!

May I take this opportunity to remind all that the club is entirely run by volunteers.  Wonderful people who give up their time week in, week out to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.  For their time and commitment we are eternally grateful.  We also understand that sometimes life situations change and the levels of commitment they can provide change accordingly.  

As the club grows and develops we always welcome members offering their time, however much that may be, to help make things run smoothly.  However small the contribution it is very much appreciated by all who benefit from it.

As the evenings get darker and the temperatures drop the Phoenix remains resilient.  

Running, supporting, training and volunteering!

Let’s see what next week brings!



Weekly Waffle – 29th October 2018

Well.  What can I say?

Bursting with pride this weekend!

Holding the position of Chair comes with it many responsibilities.  It’s stressful at times.  It’s consuming in many regards.  But one thing this responsibility earns is the honour of being proud of everyone’s achievements. 

This weekend has shown off some brave performances on a course that tests people to their extreme.  But always remember that we don’t measure people by how hard the course is or how far the distance is.  Just lacing up your trainers and heading out of the door is equally worthy of our praise.  Never forget this.

During the week two had made the journey to the capital to navigate a 5 mile route in the dark with others dressed in appropriate attire for the season in an unusual midweek event at this time of year.

As the weekend arrived, despite the biggest club road trip of the year taking place on Saturday, numbers at parkrun were unaffected.  Large numbers still made their way to local venues swelling numbers at one to record levels with a plethora of best times noted.  Training sessions are working!

More tourism notched up for a few.  New milestones being reached. 

The constitutional 5k on a Saturday morning continues to woo many of our midst to a start line at 9am and they all continue to do the club proud.

It was impossible not to notice that the north drew many away from their regular Saturday morning activities.  

A long Friday drive for all, at different times of the day, brought everyone to the vicinity of the mountain steeped in myth and legend.  

A peak that commands respect from all those who come near.

The area, Eryri.  Snowdonia.

Beautiful, majestic, formidable.  

Demanding, unforgiving, unpredictable.

At its centre, Yr Wyddfa, casting a shadow over all that happens within it’s gaze.

Nervous newcomers to marathon running joined seasoned runners for the 26.2 mile challenging route around the base of the highest peak in Wales.

43 members in total tackling the full marathon distance – the highest membership participation at such a long distance to date.  And a tough one at that.

The journey north lashed those involved with rain, hail and high winds.  Many worried at what the mountain would command the following day!  The North Walian weather gods were kind and after depositing snow on the peak the clouds thinned to allow the suns energy to penetrate.  The wind continued to blow and took its toll in the latter stages of the race.

Many race outcomes were experienced but all battled with the challenges that the tough course threw at them admirably.  Did I say tough course?  I meant really tough course!!  Don’t respect it and it will teach you a lesson!!  26.2 miles of running is tough enough but add hills, long ones, in places where they just suck all your energy away and it quickly becomes a real battle!  

As important as those who tested their legs were those who waited for the runners to finish.  Some made their way around the course to offer cheer for runners when the journey was tough.  Some remained relatively static setting up and guarding what is quickly being established as Phoenix Corner to guide runners round the final bend to the finish line. 

A celebration of tough running where record numbers completed the full marathon distance at a single event with huge support crew in tow.  A weekend away where the social aspect of running was as important as the running itself.

The Phoenix was tested this weekend.  

We showed resolve.

We showed determination.

We showed strength.

We were victorious.

We will return to run again.

What’s next?  

After a weekend like that does it matter?  

Bring it on!



Weekly Waffle – 21 October 2018

Sunday evening arrives again and an opportunity to reflect on another great weekend…

A huge Ogmore Phoenix gathering on the seafront at Porthcawl to celebrate our new heroes reaching the end of a journey with emotional scenes as they crossed the parkrun finish line for the first time. Not the end really though… it signifies the start of a whole new journey – the end of which is yet to be discovered! I, for one, am looking forward to the next steps as they discover that the sky really is the limit!!

One of our favourites found his shift patterns change some time ago regularly getting in the way of his fix of Saturday morning 5k. A parkrun initiative to proliferate into places of detention has found it’s way into Wales for the first time granting him unique access to an event most of us (hopefully) will never have the chance to participate in. A first place finish and a course record ensued immortalising his name on a global list that will attract the green eyed monster from many of our parkrun fanatics!  

As always we had our fair share of tourists dotted around the country getting their constitutional wherever they happened to be.

Our current runners runner headed to warmer climes on the continent to tackle a marathon at night. Despite a lonely second half and a course which measured long he still crossed the line in a time we’d all be delighted with! Taking it easy and enjoying the course I heard him say before he went but we still saw a formidable performance!

Sunday morning was a relatively quiet one for the Phoenix…

Two headed west to tackle a tough, hilly “epic trail” 10k and beat the hills in the glorious morning sunshine!

Another crossed the border to the east to complete yet another half marathon in his tough challenge on a week when he’s had the wonderful pleasure of welcoming a new member to their family with the birth of their beautiful baby boy!  15 out of 18 halves and one baby and still going strong!

All of this on a week with the second highest attendance at training this year!  
It’s truly wonderful seeing new runners experience the thrill of their first recorded time over 5k and the excitement this brings making them wonder what is possible…  

The answer is simple – anything is possible when you set your mind to it. Dare to dream!

New experiences.
New additions.
New dreams.
Fly Phoenix. Fly!

Weekly Waffle – 14th October

The conclusion of another wonderful weekend of Phoenix running…

As Storm Callum whipped it’s way in, all eyes were peeled on forecasts for Saturday morning.  The infamous parkrun weather fair failed to beat mother nature despite there being significant milestones on the cards within our midst.  The weather had already played a part in pushing back a club social event and it was set to put pay to most runners Saturday morning ritual. 

The highly attended Porthcawl had already been cancelled as high tides coincided with the high winds and heavy rainfall.  Pontypridd was on the cards for some but high rainfall further up the valley swelled the river and left puddles the size of lakes on the paths around the park.  Not going to happen.  

Plans remade to head for Maesteg to join others for another club milestone attempt ironically Spanish themed on a day with very atypical weather conditions.  High ground – surely safe!?  At 7:30am it’s a yes.  At 8:30 it’s a no, as drains overflowed and scenes reminiscent of Niagara Falls befell Welfare Park.  Spotting the news at the 11th hour some managed to reach a start line in the Welsh capital.  One milestone celebrated with a few for support.

Tourists were the lucky ones getting their constitutional in without any significant hindrance.  Two fo our prolific tourists went back to where it all began and experienced the thrill of Bushy Park.  A parkrun pilgrimage.

As the club moves forward and we become members of a new league some headed up the M4 to fly the Phoenix flag at an event boasting runners from all over Europe.  Our youngsters the first to represent their club performing admirably despite the threatening clouds overhead.  With our captain overseeing the days proceedings the seniors look their turn and completed their tough laps just before the rain could spoil the day.

Sunday morning saw little improvement in conditions.  

Our heroes near the end of their journey and still turned out in force to prepare for their impending graduation.  

A trip to London saw a return to the race that started a journey.  A journey that has led to a significant improvements and whole new love for running producing admirable results.  A homecoming of sorts.  An emotional return.  Joined by another club member in the English capital also ticking off another half.

A few continued with the next fixture in the club trail championship and headed up to Ponty for 11 off road miles.   Pontypool not Pontypridd.  Worth making that clear in case any think it’s in a completely different place.  I’m not saying anything.  Great results and efforts all round in character building conditions with supporters there in numbers to cheer the brave souls on.

A funny weekend where mother nature had some strong ideas about controlling our regular running antics and in some cases won through.  

It didn’t dampen the Phoenix spirit and maximum effort was still made by all.

On to the next one.

As always…



Weekly Waffle – 7th October

Yet another epic weekend comes and goes…

It’s been an odd one for me with a trip north consuming the whole weekend while a lot of significant events were happening back at home, not helped by my race on Sunday being in the back of beyond in a place where radio waves don’t quite reach!

Saturday saw two significant parkrun milestones celebrated by two and supported by many at the top of the Llynfi Valley with large numbers in attendance dominated by Phoenix!  Running and cake – what more could anyone ask?  A breakfast after at Wetherspoons maybe…. that will do nicely! 

Back down on the sea front two of our midst more comfortable with the fells set new club records in their first ever parkrun attendance and in the process admitted they enjoyed it more than expected!  To be repeated I’m sure with more records to come…

A couple had away days but this weekend most stayed close to home!

While these regular Saturday antics took place a few long distance heroes headed west to complete a route circumnavigating Penrhyn Gŵyr.  50 miles. 80km.  It’s a really long way on the flat but the coastal terrain makes it an extremely tough day out!!  In spite of that all who took it on completed it majestically!!  There’s a lot to be said for the people who stand on the start line of these races.  They are taken to places that not only test the legs but their character and strength of mind.  We all admire the endeavour of this special bunch!  

On to Sunday and 91 Phoenix from the club made their way to the Welsh capital for one of the highest attended events of the year with the ladies comfortably dominating the field!  With a huge array of PB’s achieved it’s a bumper year for improvement.  Some chose to support others on their journey to improvement around the well supported route, wile others completed their first running of the distance setting new goals for the future.  Some were just happy to get round the course battling against difficult circumstances – but in doing so earn themselves extra respect for digging deep and showing the courage to reach the finish line.  With the event caught on TV and it being so local it was always set to be a special event and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  The day was rounded off with many heading back for refreshments after the racing was complete – socialising in style as Phoenix always do!

One ventured north to an area of outstanding beauty but contrasting solitude when compared to proceedings down in Wales.  A tough course around the edge of the lake proved a challenge on its second running but the miles were completed and the spoils of racing were earned with maximum effort. 

An epic weekend for sure and one that will remain in the minds of many who took part as well as those at home watching the story unfold on social media and their TV screens.  

Well done to everyone who ran and a huge thank you to those who supported this weekend.  It is wonderful to see the pictures and hear the stories from all on occasions like these.

Keep up the good work you lot.

On to the next one!



Weekly Waffle – 30th September 2018

Well what a weekend that was!!

I won’t be forgetting this one in a hurry – and I don’t want to!!

Saturday morning saw an interesting array of the obligatory parkruns.  Elvis was “in the building” down in Porthcawl for the annual international festival that draws people from far and wide!  The BBC, parkrun HQ and runners in fancy dress turned up in abundance to join in the fun.  Prizes were dished out to those who made the effort.  Roads were closed giving us a unique experience on the seafront this week and it was enjoyed by all!

For some Elvis didn’t appeal resulting in increased numbers at our other “home” event up the valley with impressive performances all round.
The usual tourism for varying reasons drew some to distant climes reporting back their experiences with pictures to whet our appetites to do the same in future weeks.

Saturday racing once more added another to the tally of one who valiantly battles on to fulfil a challenge set at the beginning of the year!

Saturday evening some some us journey to the Welsh capital to mix with the elite of now and yesteryear to celebrate sporting success throughout the nation.  Impartiality aside, It was personally a night I will never forget receiving an honour in recognition of work spent helping to develop our wonderful club.  A team effort.  Something that was wonderful to share with other members who also dedicate their time to make this club go from strength to strength.

Sunday morning attracted the usual array of events.  Half marathons aplenty.

Many travelled across the border to cover 13.1 miles around the beautiful surroundings of the forest.  With an elevation to test any pair of legs it was a challenge for all.  First timers and seasoned athletes met the challenge head on and all finished in admirable style.  Emotions ran high but we saw spectacular achievements all round.

A lone quest, also across the border, elsewhere was tackled head on and completed with style.

A small, compact and bijou group remained relatively local to hit the mixed terrain route around one of our neighbouring villages to cover 6.2 of our recognised imperial units and all finished victorious with t-shirts and medals to show off for their efforts.

While one continues his challenge, today was a sobering experience in that journey and we send a whole heap of positive vibes in his direction towards completing it.  One thing we are good at and renowned for is rallying for the troops.  When one is fallen, we hear the call and make sure that they keep their chin up and soldier on.  You know what to do… a message will help massively here…

Today was a reflective day.  After last nights experience I took a step back.  On not much sleep and a few “drinkies” I was picked up by club friends to join them for a saunter around the forest.  While I did so I reflected on the last 18 months.  Despite the challenges we’ve faced it has been a wonderfully uplifting experience, the like of which I never expected.  Suffice to say I wouldn’t change a thing and long may it continue!

Today I watched someone that we all love dearly reach the end of a really hard race and met with the view of her daughter, wearing her own Ogmore Phoenix Juniors hoody, waiting to cheer mum down the final straight she filled with emotion and we saw a flurry of tears.  They ran the final straight together and on crossing the line was met by dad, another member of the club and another committed volunteer, for a family hug filled with emotion.  My heart strings were pulled to their extreme.  These were complete non runners only a short time ago and now their lives revolve around their passion for the sport that we all love.  I smiled.  Welling up with emotion it epitomised what we have built here.  A family.  A family of like minded individuals who share a common goal.

Families look out for each other – let’s not forget those within our number who are currently struggling with injury and unable to join us in our weekly runs.  If you know someone who is in that boat then please reach out to them and make sure they are OK.  It only takes a quick message to do so.

On a very reflective note we see another week come to a close and feeling extremely proud to add the inevitable hashtags…