February 2018 review

parkruns in February

Another big month for parkrunning with 167 results in the month across 28 parkruns. That total includes 88 different members and 21 different parkrun venues.

Aside from the usual home parkruns of Porthcawl and Maesteg, we had members at the following Welsh parkruns – Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Gnoll, Pontypridd and Pontypool. Further afield Jayne Bissmire ran at Minehead, Wayne Hayhurst ran at Stonehouse and Forest of Dean, the Sheards ran at Nostell, the Littlewoods ran at Telford, Saul ran at Dartford, Chris Pratt ran at Southampton and Matt Murray, Ian Lewis and Carrie Griffiths ran at the Eden Project. Of our regular tourists, Chris Roberts ran at Princes, Karl ran at the inaugural Llanerchaeron and Gloucester City events,  Shawn and Julie ran at Moors Valley, and Jo Betty and I ran at Bushy.

For those who don’t know Bushy parkrun is where parkrun started over 13 years ago with just 13 runners. On the day we ran (24/02/18) the finish count was 1,211. The total number of UK parkrun finishers on 24/02/18 was 113,450 across 501 parkruns. Worth mentioning that whilst Bushy parkrun is the highest attended parkrun in the UK, there are over a dozen parkruns in South Africa that have attendances of 1500-2500 runners every week.

February included Cardiff parkrun’s 10th anniversary where they became only the 4th UK parkrun to top 1000 runners with 1192 in attendance including Richard Purnell and Victoria Hillman with Sian Tossell in supporting.

Worthy notes in month include Sian Jenkins, Fran Hipkiss and Deborah Edwards running their first parkruns. John Burridge ran a new PB of 18:31 at Swansea making him the 4th fastest parkrunner in the clubs history. Neil Jones claimed the fastest parkrun time of the month with 17:53 at Pontypridd which earned him 3rd place that week.

Congratulations to everyone who achieved PB’s during the month including Jayne Bissmire, John Burridge, Maria George, April Kitchener, Rhiannon Lewis, and Rhiannon Sian amongst others.

We also had milestones in month with David Sheard recording his 200th parkrun, Peter Harrop reaching his 150th parkrun and Angharad Rees running her 100th.  Our two longest serving parkruns also celebrated their parkrun anniversaries in February with it being 10 years since Ann Davies ran her first parkrun (the second ever event at Cardiff) and 9 years since Jo Betty ran her first parkrun which happened to be the 1st anniversary parkrun at Cardiff.

Races in February

After a very quiet January, Emma Morris was back in action with the London Winter 10K at the start of the month in 55:53. She then ran the Bramley 20 miler a week later but had to cross the finish line at 15 miles due to injury. Her time was still recorded which looks like an incredible 20 mile time.

We had 5 runners at the Reverse 10 where Jamie Vanstone was 39 seconds off setting a new club record in 01:05:52. Gareth Richards set a new club age category record, Chris Pratt missed out on a PB by just a few seconds, whilst there were great PB times for Karl Johnson and Kayley Griffiths.

The first Ultra of the year saw 9 of our members run the Brecon to Cardiff 44 miler. Neil Jones finished 4th overall in 05:55:09 averaging a mind boggling 8 minute miles for the entire run. Jamie Vanstone ran the course in under 7 hours and was also amongst the top finishers. Antony Williams and Stephen Davies came in either side of the 8 and a half hour mark whilst Graham Hillman managed to sneak under 9 hours. Liz Sim, Dan Clark and Gareth Richards all ran together finishing in 9 and a half hours. Wayne Hayhurst who has now run several Ultras having only run his first last year was our final finisher in just over 10 and a half hours. It should be pointed out it was the longest distance ever for Antony, Stephen, Graham, Liz and Dan.

At the Hoka Winter Trail Half Marathon, Anneliese Loveluck was our first club finisher in a PB time of 1:43:15 which is also a club age category record. She finished 10 seconds ahead of her husband Steve who also recorded a PB despite the course having over 2000 feet of elevation. Rhiannon Sian recorded one of the stand out results in the club’s history. Going into the event her PB was 02:50:50 on the relatively flat streets of Cardiff Half Marathon. On a hilly multi terrian course, Rhiannon’s recent improvements were made very clear when she knocked 14 minutes off her PB. In comparison, almost everyone else (understandably given the course) were at least 10-15 minutes slower than their PB’s set on flat road courses.

The next day saw the Llanelli Half Marathon with Karl Johnson running his second half in as many days as part of his efforts to run 18 Halves in 2018 for Ty Hafan. John Burridge set the fastest half marathon time of any member this year with a huge PB time of 1:23:53 and is now second only to Neil in terms of fastest half marathon times in the clubs history. Dai James was up next also with a PB. Ashley Howells bagged his first sub 2 hour half marathon whilst Sara Vowles and Emma Williams got PB’s just outside the hour mark. Jayne Bissmire, who was aiming for her first sub 2:30 half marathon smashed her own expectations finishing in 2:10. Joanne Rowling, Rebecca Newton, Hannah Bartle and Alana Lutwyche all also claimed PB’s.

Chairman’s runners of the month

February is one of those quiet months.  I suppose race organisers want to avoid the bad weather that typifies the second month of the year – an argument justified by the recent conditions we are facing.   But there are still some events going on and we had some amazing running at the few events that there were.

Running is something that some of us dip in and out of.  We have years where we put our whole being into it and dedicate every waking moment to treading the streets or out on the trails.  Then we have years where other things get in the way and the focus ebbs away.  I joined the club at the end of 2014 and the name of my first choice was something I heard on a frequent basis and saw on many a list of age category and club records, but he had stopped coming to club.  A great runner by reputation but someone that I never met for many months after that.   On odd occasions he would sweep past a training session on his way home and stop and say hello but it took a long time before he returned to training.  But return he did.  He returned with a fire that has driven him on to big training mileage as he heads towards the excitement of hitting the streets of London in the spring.  With a renewed focus the training has paid off and in a similar way to last months winner times at short and long distance have come down as a result.  With a new 5k PB this month going sub 19 and a huge half marathon PB going sub 1:24 my chairman’s male runner of the month is John Burridge.

As I’ve said before, some accolades come as a result of an achievement that tops a historical build-up worthy of note.  We honour runners of all abilities and ones who run all distances but sometimes you do have to take a step back and admire the efforts of someone taking on bigger and bigger challenges.  The back story to the running often compounds the achievement.  We all have things going on in our lives that often contribute to the reasons we run.  Running is therapy.  It’s an escape.  A way to free yourself from the shackles of the day to day.  Running longer and longer can be a way to prove to yourself how strong you are and exactly what you are capable of.  Often surprising yourself!  Knowledge of this strength can be channelled into dealing with big issues elsewhere in our lives.  A challenge set in 2017 to complete all the home nations marathons having never run one before was completed with determination.  Never daring to stop dreaming the plan was hatched to tackle an ultra marathon and at the beginning of this month that goal was realised running the Taff Trail from Brecon all the way down to Nantgarw, just north of Cardiff.  A mere 44 miles.  Joined by other members of the club for the journey this little lady proved that no matter what life throws at you, you give it everything you’ve got and overcome the hurdles however big they seem.  An inspiration for all of us.  My chairman’s female runner of the month is Elizabeth Sim.

Well done guys.

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