This month saw our members accumulate 210 parkrun finishes across 39 parkruns and 25 different parkruns
As well as the usual parkruns across South Wales we had tourists at Gloucester City, Burnham and Highbridge, Malborough Common, Hanley, Reading, Ashton Court, Kingstone, Stonehouse, Somerdale Pavillion, Tamar Trails, Nonsuch and a Canadian parkrun with Kayley Griffiths at Whistler.
Milestones this month included Fiona Drysdales 100th parkrun and my 300th parkrun. Maesteg parkrun also celebrated their 100th parkrun.
PB’s in the month included Brownwen Apsee, Clifford Searle, Brett Bonell, and Sally Pensom. A special mention for Wayne Hayhurst who smashed his PB to not just dip under 20 minutes for the first time but absolutely smash it with a 19:16.
Julie Ransom was our only entrant in the 5K event of the Long Course Weekend and finished in 29:30.
We had 13 runners at Swansea Bay 5K which included another sub 20 for Aled.
Nick Harris was our only entrant in The Chase 5K in Cardiff which involves runners setting off at different times depending on seasons best times with the aim of catching other runners (the fastest going off last).
Nick was joined by Aled and Chris for the final race in the SSAFA 5K series.
On the first Sunday of the month, we had a record breaking 103 members run an official race 10K including 4 taking on the 10K in Tenby and 2 at the Gloucester 10K.
The majority were at Porthcawl 10K where we had 97 runners which is second only to the Ogmore Castle BCRL event earlier this year for biggest attendance. Despite very warm conditions and a half hour delay at the start, there were PB’s aplenty including our first two finishers Paul Smith (38:29) and Adrian Pearce (38:40). Aled Hughes got his first sub 40 with a (39:37). Aled and Adrian earned Welsh Athletics Bronze Medals in their respective age categories whilst they are also due a second bronze medal along with Paul and Ryan for being the 3rd best combined team.
Claire Dunbar-Bowen ran a PB of 47:15 with Jonathan Tidball coming in at 47:25. The PB’s continued with Brett Bonell, Gary Loo, Dean Soles, Ian Lewis, Liam Cattell, Ken Salvatore, Brownwen Apsee, Kaye Pedler, Tanya Lacey, Beverley Soles and Fran Collins all improving their previous bests in the 50-59 minute range.
An even bigger list of post 1 hour PB’s followed including a number of them taking on their first 10K’s with the club. Well done to Lowri Howells, Jamie Bevan, Heather Morgan, Claire Taylor, Kate Atkin, Megan Apsee, Jane Collins, Kathy Watkins, Emma Bowen, Anna Clough, Rhian Miller, Claire Williams, Ruth Thomas, Paul James, Iona Gregory and Laura Worrall.
The next 10K saw James Beynon and Liz Sim complete the Thornbury 10K. Jay Howells took on the Ammanford 10K, and we had 4 members at the Pontypridd Roadents ‘Loop’ event.
10 members also ran the Mick Morris 10K which is almost entirely downhill and therefore doesn’t count for PB purposes and saw some ridiculously fast times. Wayne Hayhurst was our first finisher in 37:56 whilst Luke Jones ran sub 40 with a 39:43.
We had 6 runners at the Tough Runner 10K with Jade Bazylkiewicz our first runner home in an impressive 52:58 on the hilly off road course.
We had 14 runners complete the Half Marathon at the Long Course Weekend in Tenby in sweltering conditions. First back were Sarah and James Littlewood clocking an impressive sub 2 hour time on the hilly course. Lisa Pinney, Andrew Hughes, Helen Griffiths, Kayley Griffiths, Jamie Puddy and Mark Burgess who had all completed swim and / or bike events in the previous days all added additional medals to their total.
4 members took on the Tough Runner Half Marathon with Wayne Randall finishing just ahead of Samantha Thomas in 2:39:32 with the two of them followed home by Jamie Puddy and Vickie Blake.
Wayne Hayhurst ran an impressive sub 4 hour time and was one of 8 members who completed the Long Course Weekend Marathon. Kirsty Evans and Hannah Bartle completed the marathon to tick off full distances in the swim, bike and run.
The Lovelucks took on the Tough Runner Marathon with Anneliese finishing first lady overall by a huge margin in 3:35:47 whilst Steve clocked an impressive 3:39:38.
Infinity Running event
These events are now getting a separate section rather than including the various distances under all the different headings. This month saw the latest in the series head to Cardiff for the first time with the 6 hour event being a 3.3 mile out and back along the Taff Trail. 9 members heading down this time round on another warm morning to tackle as many laps as we wished.
Laura Worrall completed 2 laps for the ’10K’ and was accompanied by Mark Worrall and Chris Richards who carried on to complete 4 laps for the Half Marathon. I also ran the Half Marathon and was first finisher out of those that chose to do that distance. Denise Bradley and Liz ran together and also chose 4 laps to complete the Half.
Running just behind Denise and Liz and occasionally with them were Jo Gamba and Chris Pratt. Jo set out to do 4 laps but enjoyed it so much she ended up doing a 5th to get some early Snowdonia Marathon training in and clocking up 16.5 miles.
Chris carried on to do 8 laps and tick off yet another marathon – his 7th in just 19 weeks. Meanwhile, Kris Denholm carried on to do 11 laps and around 33 miles with only 2 other runners clocking further.
Ultra Marathon races
Just the one this month but our second 100(+) miler of the year. This time it was Steven James’s turn. Steven’s training had been impressive with 6 ultras ranging in the 33-40 mile range just this year leading up to this event. The 1066 Ultra runs from London to Battle and was advertised as 106 miles although Steven eventually clocked 109.5. It’s also worth mentioning it was very hot. What an incredible achievement.
A rare month where we had 2 Bridgend League events with the first being a brand new one starting in Pencoed in the showground of the annual Bridgend Show. The first Friday evening fixture ever for the league saw an amazing 92 members complete the course which was mainly on undulating roads. 92 is the joint 3rd highest attendance we’ve had at any race with all of our top 3 attendances now being in the last 3 months.
Paul Smith was our first runner back just ahead of Adrian Pearce, Niki Puleio, Gareth Battle, James Littlewood and Aled Hughes. Our first ladies back were Sian Price, Claire DB, Sarah Littlewood, Sarah Davies, Denise Bradley and Jo Gamba. Another very strong performance from our top 15 scorers coupled with the high attendance meant we finished as runners up on the night to Bridgend and further increased the gap to the rest of our competition.
The second event came on the final day of the month with the Kenfig Sands fixture. With 84 finishers it also ranks in our top 10 attendances at any event and a record for that particular fixture. It’s also worth noting on the same evening, we had more than 40 at the Zero to Hero session making it probably the most Phoenix Runners running on the same evening.
Back to the race and this time the order was Adrian, Gareth, Ryan, Paul, Dai James and Aled all finishing within 77 seconds of each other. Our top ladies were Sian Price, Jade, Sarah Davies, Emma Loyns, Denise Bradley and Jo Gamba. As with the previous fixture a strong 15 coupled with high numbers bagged us runners up on the night to Bridgend and dare I say a almost insurmountable lead over the other clubs in our quest to finish 2nd overall for the 2nd year.
Not too many ‘other distance’ events in July although clearly there were a huge amount in the categories above. Brett Bonnell and Karl Johnson took on the Tintern Trot, Aled and Nick ran the Summer Series 4 miler plus we had 2 teams at the Cosmeston Relays.
With 366 race finishes it’s our second highest monthly total ever after 381 in May. No doubt that with the Barry 10K, Newbridge Fields BCRL event and a whole host of races over the bank holiday weekend, I’ll have plenty to write about in August. Over to Chris for Chairman’s Runner of the Month.
Chairman’s Runners of the Month
I try and chop and change the mechanism for choosing runners of the month. Different things catch the attention. Sometimes it’s times, sometimes distance, sometimes grit and determination, sometimes helping others and sometimes endeavour. Sometimes there are events that cannot be ignored. Super long distance means pushing the body to extremes that only one or two of our midst will experience. The second current member of the club to achieve this distance. A slightly different approach to this challenge with a slightly different motivation for completing it. When is running 100 miles a pre-cursor to something bigger? Well this one is. Proper prior preparation prevents poor performance. The 6 p’s. Lots of training miles. A focused approach. Events thrown in with sensible pacing. Striding the hills. Running the flat and downhills and learning to just keep going even when everything tells you to stop! It worked. The course followed Harolds Way from the English capital down to Battle Abbey near Hastings in Kent. Tracing the steps of a historic journey. 100 miles. Rest assured he dug very deep and completed the task in hand. Broken legs were the reward for his troubles but huge kudos and rest followed the huge achievement. Running 100 miles is totally amazing and worthy of huge accolade. It shows not only running prowess but also a strength of character. Mind games take hold during crazy distances like that and so many other things other than running get you to the end of your goal. I am in awe as I award my Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month for July as Steven James. Massive well done Steven. On to the next challenge now!
Every now and again I see a spark. A glint in an eye. The indication that things have clicked. The magic has worked. Attendance at training for one is noticeably on the rise. Posts on social media indicate an enthusiasm for getting out and banking miles. Not only that but new personal bests start to appear. Smiles crossing finish lines with hands held aloft. Running experiences shared with others and the evidence shared with excitement. Times improving as a result. Training runs and races in increasing frequency. It’s a joy to see. We merely provide a platform – it is the individual that takes advantage of that and makes their own way to achieve something more. That doesn’t have to be better times, it doesn’t have to be longer distance, it could just be stepping out of the door, enjoying the experience and sharing with friends. Here we have a combination of better times, longer distances and increased enjoyment! Truly inspiring stuff! I am absolutely delighted to award my Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month for July to Laura Worrall. Keep on doing what you’re doing Laura and continue to inspire us all into the future!