Janaury 2021

Virtual / (not)parkrun

Week 43 of virtual parkrun saw the December male runner of the month, Gareth Richards, run another astonishing time of 18:27 having clocked his first sub 19 last month. Our fastest female was the in form Melanie Thomas who clocked her fastest 5K and 10K’s in the past few weeks. There were 39 runners for the first virtual parkrun of the month.

Week 44 saw our biggest attendance in a while with 51 members submitting times. Kris Denholm set out to prove his outstanding sub 19 5K time on New Years Eve certainly wasn’t a fluke / GPS error / one-off with a 18:33. Whilst Neil Price made it a rare virtual parkrun week with two sub 20’s on the results list. Angharad Hinam ran a speedy treadmill 5K of 24:30 with the in form Melanie Thomas next up for the ladies.

Week 45 saw 45 times submitted and Neil Price topping the results just ahead of Rhodri Thomas who clocked his fastest 5K with a 19:43. Angharad was again the fastest female with another treadmill 5K with Fiona Drysdale up next for the ladies.

Week 46 saw another increase with 53 times submitted despite icy conditions. In a repeat of last week, Neil Price topped the standings, whilst Angharad again clocked the fastest treadmill time with Fiona Drysdale next up for the ladies.

Week 47 saw another increase with 69 times submitted despite cold and windy conditions. This week, Kris Denholm topped the standings with Angharad and Fiona again clocking the fastest times for the ladies.

Festive Four

Well done to Carl Walsh who finished 3rd overall in the Age Graded results with Gareth Davies in 7th. Carl Walsh was also 3rd in the standings in terms of cumulative times from all events / distances run whilst Gareth Davies was 9th and Carl Price was 10th. Sian Price was 2nd overall in the cumulative times standings with Melanie Thomas in 10th. Sian and Carl also featured heavily in the top 3 of all 4 individual events they entered with Sian winning the ladies Boxing Day virtual run, and Carl top of the age graded standings in the first virtual parkrun results of the series.

OPR Sunrise Challenge

The club challenges are back! The race committee set us the challenge of setting our alarms early and getting out to do a sunrise run and capturing photo’s from our various locations. The weather was kind (for 2 out of the 3 days anyway) to allow some stunning photos and videos to submitted by dozens of members. Well done to everyone who managed to get out early for that one.

Photo Competition

A photo competition also commenced this month with members encouraged to post their running photo’s to a January specific post with winner being decided for each month of the year.

Virtual training sessions

Current restrictions meant that there were no training sessions to attend in person this month, but the coaches and Lirfs kept us active by posting sessions and suggestions on the usual training days. Emma Loyns also revived her strength classes that had been popular in the first lockdown.

Virtual events

For most this month it has been continuing long challenges from last year. David Sheard completed the Welsh Coastal Path Challenge whilst several more are still going. A few have signed up to new ones like Route 66 which allow other forms of exercise to be included – it’s almost to obvious to even point out that Kris Denholm is already well into that one. Several members also did the annual RED (run every day) January or some chose to change it to exercise every day. If your a member reading this and I haven’t mentioned your virtual event, then feel free to get in touch and I’ll make sure it gets a mention in the next blog.

I’ll include details of the Welsh Athletics Winter Virtual 10K in the next blog as at the time of publishing not all the results are in.

Crazy distance runs

With a lack of official events and it being reasonably quiet on the virtual front, a few have kept going with some high mileage weeks and one off runs into this year. Sarah Davies ran from Tondu to pretty much Margam and back to clock up a marathon distance having apparently set out to do a 7 mile run. Gareth Richards ran marathons on 4 consecutive weekends and got quicker each time with times of 3:28, 3:26, 3:20 and 3:26. The 3:20 one was his fastest ever marathon distance run despite an undulating route to Porthcawl and back.

Steven James ran between 20 and 26.2 miles on 4 occasions during the month with his marathon effort being in the snow. Plus there were several double run days which meant that 20+ mile total was even higher when you include those. I ran a 27 miler taking in Llangenior and then down to Porthcawl and back, and also a 33 miler from Bridgend to the top of the Bwlch to Ogmore by sea and then back home to Bridgend again plus a double run day totalling 20 miles.

I just want to add that it’s easy to pick out these bonkers distances but I really want to say a massive congratulations and well done to anyone who ran their furthest distance in January whether that be anything from a mile to marathon.

Over to Chris for the runners of the month…

Chairman’s Runners of the Month

This month we have a coincidence that will become clear as I reveal who they are…

Always remember that criteria for this award changes frequently.  It doesn’t have to be about being fast or doing something crazy – it can simply be someone who shows endeavour.  Someone who puts in that little bit of extra effort enough to get noticed.  Maybe someone who helps out a friend to achieve or whose motivation and support catches the eye.  It is many and varied and fits in with our ethos of being all-inclusive and nurturing all to realise their dreams.

My first choice is most notably with us for the trails.  I think it would be fair of me to say that it was our trail running endeavours which have been the attraction for joining.  Sunday morning sessions.  Yes they are an early start, but they are increasingly popular.  Before we suspended training again, they were becoming even more so.  Regularly full.  Popular, with many regular attendees, but there was one name you’d always find on there week in, week out.  That was the carrot.  The thing that drew them in.  But it wasn’t just attendance that caught the eye, it was joined by notable times.  Engaging with club virtuals, weekly improvements were being noted.  Commitment and focus were also observed.  We’ve seen posts showing times tumbling at distances.  We’ve noted placement in parkrun results and an impressive finish in the Festive Four competition.  It seems that nothing is out of reach and you will see her on many start lists for virtual events that currently dominate the calendar.  I am delighted to announce that my Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month for January is Melanie Thomas.  Well done Mel, keep up the good work inspiring us all!  Welcome to the club!

My second choice will make clear the coincidence.  I don’t think there was any doubt at some point my that my second choice would find his way onto this list.  It’s happened before where it’s been that an immediate impression was made and this month was no exception on both counts.  There have been fast times and long distances recorded.  This accolade could have been given on previous months performances but I knew the time would come to celebrate the achievements.  Not least, notching up a significant third place finish overall in the Festive Four, which combined a number of events over December and on the first day of the year and recording a result near the top of the list for all of the events.  Alongside this comes support.  The ethos of the club is strong in this one.  Supporting anyone on their journey with words of encouragement whatever they may be doing.  There will, of course, be the odd crazy distance or crazy elevation thrown in for good measure, at the moment on training runs.  Last year he was one of the few who managed to notch up some legitimate race results during the very brief period when events were allowed.  I am delighted to announce that my Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month for January is Carl Walsh.  Well done Carl, I’m absolutely certain we will continue to see further impressive stuff in the future!  Keep it up Carl and, of course, welcome to the club!