December 2016 review

Saturday 3rd – parkruns, Aberavon Santa 5K, Might Contain Nuts Brecon 10 miler and Christmas drinks

The month kicked off with 43 runners across 5 parkruns. 38 of which were at Porthcawl where Brian lead the Blue Wave home with his first sub 20 at Porthcawl. There were overall PB’s for Wayne Hayhurst, Bethan Cross, Matt Murray and Jayne Kembery. Away from Porthcawl, Fiona D ran at Penallta, Ellen Wyn Evans at Penryhn, Simon M at Newport whilst Nick Harris and Mark Gabb warmed up for the Santa run by doing the Gnoll parkrun beforehand.

Later that morning, 40 of the Blue Wave got into their Santa Suits for the Aberavon Santa Run 5K. A dozen had already run a parkrun but we totaled 73 different runners for the morning. Brian led us home for the second time in two hours and despite wearing Santa Suits, Lloyd West and Rhiannon Buckley managed to bag themselves 5K PB’s.

Meanwhile, in Brecon, Gary Piper and Mark Worrall were taking on the ‘Might Contain Nuts’ Brecon 10 miler. A very hilly off road race with technical ascents and descents.

Later that day around 40 members met at the Wyndham Arms in Bridgend for the annual Christmas drinks with a few going onto the Wicked Lady and a small hardcore group carrying on until the early hours. A great night had by all.

Sunday 4th – Childrens Christmas Party

Our social committee are evil and decided to organise the clubs first childrens Christmas Party for the morning after the Christmas drinks. The chairman was in attendance and a little worse for wear and this was a theme for a few adults in attendance. Another fantastic event set up by the new committee and a massive thank you to everyone involved… even if they did insist on me getting involved in the party games!

Saturday 10th – parkruns

43 across across 5 parkruns with 36 at Porthcawl. Neil Price clocked his second sub 20 and improved his PB by a further 2 seconds. Jamie Bevan, Kim Thomas, Amy Williams, Louise Bennett and Joanne Rowling all got PB’s as well. Away from Porthcawl, Neil Harris ran a PB of 19:36 at Cardiff putting him up to 6th fastest on the Cwm Ogwr rankings. Julie and Shawn ran at Perry Hall, Chris Pratt ran at Huddersfield and Karl ran at Cheltenham.

Sunday 11th – Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run

An amazing turnout with 61 runners making the Blue Wave by far the biggest represented club at the event. Our top 5 runners were seperated by just 51 seconds with Aled, myself, Nick, Dai K and Graham H. Kelly was our first lady in with a course best. A special mention for Rhiannon Buckley who ran the event last year having only started running a few weeks before and on her return this year, beat her time by over 18 minutes. Plenty of the Blue Wave ran in fancy dress so it was a mixture of fun running and competitiveness with the race also being a club championship fixture which ended up confirming several winners which I’ll post about in the final review of the year. The race also marked the 102nd event of the year for Christie Coleman, setting a new record which again, I’ll write more about in the final blog of the year.

Saturday 17th – parkruns, Cottrell Park Christmas Cracker 10K and Christmas Party

40 runners across 8 parkruns with one of our lowest Porthcawl attendances in a while at 29. Neil Price set a PB for the second week in a row knocking another 8 seconds off his time for a 19:49 with Graham Mackleworth up next also beating his PB. David Kembery shaved a second off his PB whilst Jo Betty smashed her first parkrun with a 27:38 after apparently telling others she’d be happy with sneaking under the 30 mark. PB of the day has to go to Jayne Kembery who on her 50th parkrun beat her PB by 26 seconds and in the process got her first sub 30 with a 29:42. Oh, and did I mention we were all wearing Christmas jumpers as well!

Away from Porthcawl, Aled, Karl, Christie and Brian ran at Grangemoor before heading to the Cottrell Park 10K which started by 30-40 minutes after they’d finished their parkrun. Aled ran a super-speedy 19:43 making it the 3rd different parkrun he has achieved sub 20. Neil J and Niki are the only others to achieve this. Neil Harris followed up his overall parkrun PB last week with a 19:51 at Pontypridd. Bethan Cross was first in her age category at Bognor Regis. The Hillmans ran at the Gnoll, Chris R at Harlow and Fiona D at Linford Woods. Martin Beard ran the Rhodes parkrun in Australia – his 3rd different Australian parkrun and despite a slightly earlier start time, the temperature was around 28 degrees.

14 of the Blue Wave headed to Cottrell Park for the Winter version of their 10K that just myself, Brian and Christie ran the year before. Neil Jones finished 6th overall and would have finished higher had it not been for a fall around the halfway mark. Jayne Powney was first Cwm Ogwr female whilst Llinos Humphreys won a prize for being the final runner.

That evening around 20 odd of the Blue Wave descended on the Hi Tide in Porthcawl where the local Bridgend clubs got together for a joint Christmas Party. A great night had by all with the highlight being the secretly new formed band ‘Caution Runners’ which included our very own Chris Pratt as well as representatives from Bridgend AC, Porthcawl Runners and Cornelly Striders.

Still to come in December

The Festive Four competition is due to get underway with parkruns on both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, an option of either the Porthcawl Lions 7K on Boxing Day or a 5 miler in Glynneath, plus the New Years Day 4 miler in Kenfig. Nos Galan 5K can also be used as one of the options. Rhiannon Buckley won the most improved category last year having beaten her previous bests by more than anyone else and is back to defend her title.

My next blog is likely to be after Christmas, so a Happy Christmas to everyone. Hope Santa brings you lots of running related gifts!

Christmas Drinks – part 3 and 4

 The week leading up to Christmas seen the club take the usual quick stop at a local pub a bit further. Tuesdays session involved more than 20 members running to the Wyndham pub with most staying for at least an hour and some (Kirsty Evans and Claire Dunbar Bowen) staying considerably longer. Then Wednesday’s session also decided to do a more swift pub stop at Tondu Railway club. No doubt this will now be an annual fixture with potentially more focus on the drinking than the running!

Christmas Eve – parkruns

Surely people got other things to do on a Christmas Eve morning? Apparently not… a staggering 70 runners across 5 different parkruns setting a new parkrun participation club record and a record at Porthcawl with 65 of the runners there. It was a triple celebration with Dai Power, Sian Tossell and Mervyn Beckwith all carefully timing their 100th parkruns for the occasion. Many dressed up and the less said about my outfit the better. As for the running bit, Stephen Davies got himself into the sub 20 club despite starting towards the back of a record 425 strong crowd at Porthcawl with a 19:53 and was first Cwm Ogwr across the line. Richard Lowcock James set a late season PB whilst Jo Betty and Matt Murray got PB’s – both for the second time in December. Bethan Cross helped pace Kimberley Thomas to a PB whilst Amy Williams had the unfortunate sight of my outfit for the entire run as I paced her to PB exactly one minute faster than her previous time – she may have been trying to run away from me which might have helped. Nicola Allen completed the set of Porthcawl parkrun PB’s for the morning.

Away from Porthcawl, Neil Jones notched up another sub 18 run at Cardiff whilst Neil Harris ran another sub 20. Karl Johnson ran at Pontypridd, Simon Melksham at Newport and Brett Bonnell at the Gnoll.

Christmas Day – parkrun

 Yes – this is a thing… Cardiff and Newport have both done Christmas Day parkruns for a number of years with Richard LJ, Dai Power and Sian Tossell attending in previous years. Sian was back again, along with Fiona Drysdale, Gavin Lewis and Juliet Amner.

Boxing Day – Porthcawl Lions 7K and Glynneath 5 miler

35 runners in attendance for the Porthcawl Lions 7K which starts at the Hi Tide and takes in the entirety of the parkrun course plus a bit extra at either end. Neil Jones finished 3rd overall with a time of 25:36 for the 4.5 mile course (roughly 7K). Several members including Aled, Brian and myself improved on our times from the previous year in what was also the final club championship event of the year. There was an unfortunate incident with Tammie falling at Rest Bay which resulted in a broken finger and hospital admission. A massive thanks to several of our club members who stopped to help and others that ran back to assist.

5 members attended the Glynneath 5 miler where Shelley Smithson smashed her PB and was agonisingly just 4 seconds short of the female club record. Carole Bartle set a PB with a superb sub 40 time. A PB for Helen Griffiths meant she joined a select group of runners to have achieved the ‘Grand Slam of PB’s’ in a calendar year which includes 5K, 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles, Half Marathon and Marathon distances. Joanne Rowling also set a PB with it being her first 5 miler and was encouraged around the course by Keith Coleman.

New Years Eve – parkruns and Nos Galan 5K races

 55 runners across 4 parkruns. 49 at Porthcawl where we had yet another new member of the sub 20 club with Joey Howland clocking 19:51. Mark Gabb got a PB of 23:24. I paced Jo Betty for the second half of her run to a PB of 26:13. Incredibly this beat a time that was set over 6 and a half years previous. Richard Lowcock James became only the second member to run his 200th parkrun. Away from Porthcawl, Claire Taylor and Pippa ran at Swansea, Chris S, Julie R and Shawn ran at Llyn Llech Owain and Neil Jones ran at Pontypridd. Julie and Shawn’s run at LLO parkrun marked their 20th parkrun venue putting them on the UK parkrun most events table.

That evening 19 Cwm Ogwr runners were in Mountain Ash for the Nos Galan races. Neil Jones and Neil Harris ran in the Elite 5K race where Neil Jones set yet another club record of 17:08 whilst Neil Harris got 19:57. Neil Jones had also run a 17:37 at Pontypridd parkrun that morning. In the fun run 5K they were no more PB’s to be had as many enjoyed the party atmosphere on the course. The final race of the year resulted in Christie Coleman finishing on a club record 108 events for the year.

Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month – Matt Murray

Two parkrun PB’s for Matt in December as well as great performances in the Pudding Run and Cottrell Park 10K.

Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month – Jo Betty

The only member to get three parkrun PB’s and beating that 6 and a half year previous best. Jo also ran at the Pudding Run and accompanied Pippa on the Boxing Day 7K.

That’s it for 2016. Bring on 2017!

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