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

Weekly Waffle – 9th December 2018

Whenever I think I’ve summed up the best weekend another one comes along to challenge it for the top spot.  This weekend was amongst those!

High winds and on, off torrential rain didn’t dampen the parkrun spirit and the Phoenix were out in force yet again to get their 5k in at 9am.  On the sea front we were belted with the wind on the way out, and while helped by it on the way back we were also soaked!

Our other home was also well attended with some impressive performances.  The usual tourists also found new haunts to visit.  An unusual little route for three members with a unique spiral in and out part way round the looped course. 

It’s weekends like this, when the parkrun weather fairy fails to protect us from mothers natures worst, that we particularly pay tribute to those of our number who give up their time voluntarily to make sure these events take place.  Standing out in the cold wind and rain to make sure we get to experience our constitutional despite the conditions.  We thank you.  We salute you.

One headed up to mid Wales to represent the region in a cross country event which delivered copious quantities of mud in testing conditions.

Saturday night arrives.  A moment we’ve waited for for a long time.

The Ogmore Phoenix Christmas Party brought our family together for Christmas dinner.  

With surprises, prizes, fun and food we met in front of the Christmas tree bedecked with unique handmade Phoenix baubles.  One for everyone to take home.  Our family members who opened their envelopes to see a golden hue from their ticket enjoyed being treated as VIP’s for the night.  A plethora of prizes were won.  Milestone t-shirts were awarded.  Good food was consumed before we danced and sang the night away together.  It’s true that we run and that’s what brought us together but it’s something stronger that binds us and Saturday night we proved that.

Family Phoenix.  

Family Christmas.

Sunday was always going to be hard for those who partied the night away…

Some stayed very local.  Thankfully a slight improvement in the weather meant only wet conditions underfoot greeted those who ran for a pudding on mud, grass, tarmac, sand and water.  Lots of water.  But the sun even made an appearance as we crossed the beach! 

Puddings were won by all but notably a 2nd place was picked up by one of our regular speedies.

The capital drew others to a race wearing festive outfits with all enjoying immensely.

Another one draws to a close.

It’s been a good ‘un.

A damn good ‘un.

Phoenix bind together.

Stronger.

Closer.

Don’t change.

Keep doing what you’re doing.

Oh, and one more thing…

Merry Christmas.

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by a chairman very proud of everyone who volunteers their time to help make weekends like this happen as well as every single runner that heads out of the door to further their running and pursue their dreams!  Keep dreaming.  

Weekly Waffle – 2nd December 2018

“Say hello, wave goodbye”

It came.  It went.

It’s 2018 and week 48 is over.

The weather changes constantly as the end of year draws near…  

Will it be fine?  Will it be windy? Will it be cold?

More chance of predicting the lottery than predicting what Mother Nature will throw at us?

Should we care? 

No!

Skin is waterproof and we have more than enough layers to put on to keep the elements from affecting us.  

As the storms struck we still made training and the recent restructuring saw numbers remain high throughout!

Saturday arrives and the 9am ritual begins…

But where I ask you?

Everywhere is the reply!!

With more events on the calendar than usual we show our love for travelling afar. 

Scandinavia, Australia, England and Wales.  

Wherever we laid our hat, that’s our parkrun home!

Good times from all – whether that’s in terms of performance or in terms of enjoyment!!

Never forget our ethos – run to enjoy the experience as much as the outcome!

A new day dawns with our heroes continuing their path to super stardom…

Our trail lovers tackled our toughest local route in less than perfect conditions but as is the won’t of those who covet the trails they all braved the experience with valour!  We all loves a hill or two!

As we see the inevitable worsening of conditions, to even take a step out of the door in running gear is admirable and so to see consistent training levels in spite of this is heart warming.  You’re a hardy bunch alright!

We bond.  

We bind together.  

We share experiences and when the going gets tough we lean on each other.  

Our bond is stronger than just the running.

I’ve said it before…

Friends.

Running Friends.

A mutual love for something that has touched us all.  

Whether in competition with others, competition with ourselves or not in competition at all, we all respect that we are fortunate to continue our running journeys.  As melodramatic as it may sound, please spare of thought for those of our number who are currently struggling.  Injury dogs many runners during their “career” and when it prevents them from enjoying the same experiences we are it can have a serious impact on their well being.  We extend love to those within our community in such a position.  It will come back.  You will recover.  When you do it will be stronger and fitter.  We look forward to welcoming you back when you are ready.

So as we enter a new month we look forward to the festive season…

A week from club celebrations we are getting excited to enjoying the party together… en masse!

In the meantime keep heading out of the door and keeping those legs ticking over!

Run.  

Enjoy. 

Fly Phoenix.  Fly.

As always, it goes without saying…

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

Weekly waffle – 25 November 2018

And the sun sets on another week…
The weekend started with a takeover. We have two favoured home locations to parkrun. (How long will it be before that word is committed to the english dictionary? I digress) If some are not by the seaside then it’s likely they’ve headed up the Llynfi Valley to complete their weekly 5k ritual. This week the Phoenix assumed the roles necessary to run the event allowing those who regularly give up their time to make sure the magic happens could themselves enjoy the event from the other side by running it. A great time was had by all even if they weren’t running.  
Those who headed to the seafront took advantage of the still and mild conditions to run well and swell the numbers in attendance.  
There’s always some who find themselves in foreign climes and end up notching up another one on their total elsewhere. This week was no exception. Some visiting old friends and one on the other side of the world avoiding snakes – not a problem we see often at home!
A few headed west to familiar territory for a night race. 10k. In the woods. In the dark. The Nobbler strikes again and was enjoyed by those who dared to face it in these conditions!!  
Sunday arrives and…. no races?  
What?
Did I hear you correctly?
NO RACES!!
Oh well, we still got out there and did our runs. With impressive numbers in Pandy and some heading down to sample what the Pudding Run will be putting us through in a couple of weeks, with a sunny beach section may I add, we managed to still get some miles in!!
A selfish addition to this weeks waffle I’ll add some personal notes.
As is the way with a busy lifestyle, training sessions have been elusive of late. Two days this week presented themselves as opportunities. The valley sessions are still highly attractive and a Thursday will always have a special appeal and this week was no exception with conversation flowing all the way round the challenging valley loop.  
Sunday trail this week ended up on the beach. Emerging from the dunes onto the beach with the sun breaking through the clouds was breathtaking. Peaceful. Running sometimes takes us to places we rarely go. When the conditions are just right these moments are cause for taking a moment. Taking it all in and realising exactly how luck we are. Lucky to be fit and healthy enough to enjoy this wonderful pass-time and lucky enough to share this with wonderful friends.  
We love our races but we also love training. Especially training together!
Keep up the good work guys!
#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

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)

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

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!!

WOW!!
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…

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

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!

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

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!

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub

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!
#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

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…

#lovethisclub

#loveourclub