June 2015 review

Another busy month for Cwm Ogwr so I’ve decided to a half month review. So far we’ve had more parkruns, the second Aberavon 5K, Swansea Half Marathon, and a surprise appearance by one of our members at the Liverpool Marathon.


June 6th – parkruns


27 members parkrunning across 4 different locations with 20 at Porthcawl, 4 at Bryn Bach, 2 at Newcastle and 1 at Colby. Windy conditions at all and even a couple of showers at some. Despite that there were still a few PB’s with Liz and Jayne at Porthcawl, Dermot at Bryn Bach and Dawn at Newcastle who ran with Denise. Great effort by Dawn and Denise who were up in Newcastle on a hen weekend but dragged themselves out of bed to do a bit of parkrun.


June 10th – Aberavon 5K


Just 6 Cwm Ogwr members in attendance this time round and overall numbers at the event were slightly lower than the first in the series. Warm conditions with a swirling breeze that never seemed to be behind us. I was first CORC member across the line in just under 22 minutes, Dermot was 30 seconds or so slower than his PB set 4 days previous whilst Christie Coleman had by far the best result knocking almost 30 seconds off his 5K PB time. Next up was Melanie followed by Natalie and Helen Lowcock James. Chris Pratt was due to run his 50th event for Cwm Ogwr but was late leaving work / stuck in traffic and got there a couple of minutes before the start time to find registration was closed. He stayed to cheer the rest of us on.

























































Porthcawl Parkrun – 13th June


Another huge attendance with 20 in attendance including a few zero to hero / 10K masters returning for another attempt. With half of the runners also running Swansea HM the next day, there were lots of us taking it easy and finishing 2-3 minutes slower than our bests. However, there were some amazing runs from the others with Kerry Edwards and Pat Stanley getting PB’s. There were also huge improvements for some of our Sunday group with Julie Oakley, Andrea Randall and Andrea Williams all smashing the their PB’ and Beth Rees running for the first time.



























Liverpool Marathon – 14th June


Kevin had kept this one quiet and done a good job as it seems hardly anyone found out. I discovered his secret a good couple of weeks ago but didn’t let on to him or anyone respecting that he didn’t wanted to advertise the fact he was running another marathon.


Kevin was flying and looking at his timing splits was on to smash his club record and maybe even finish around 3:10 – 3:13 range. Unfortunately Kevin encountered some injury problems in the final few miles reducing him to walking 2 miles and in his words ‘shuffling’ a further couple of miles to the finish.


I think we all know Kevin’s not a quitter and it sounds like he battled through a lot of pain to ensure he finished. Kevin is very disappointed things didn’t go to plan but at the end of the day, he’s still achieved a time many of us can only dream of. With a Good For Age qualifying time already in the bag for London 2016, I’m sure we’ll see him back stronger and fitter than ever before to attempt to lower his already incredible club record of 3:18. There’s the small matter of Snowdon Marathon before that as well. A massive well done to you and I’m sure everyone will agree that it’s absolutely amazing to have such an enthusiastic and supportive member and coach. Look forward to seeing what’s next.


Swansea Half Marathon – 14th June


The previous record for Cwm Ogwr Runners at a Half Marathon was 15. Last year at the inaugural Swansea HM we had 6 runners. This year, we had 25! From several doing their first or second marathons to me doing my 21st, and from those looking at sub 1:30 to those who want to get round and maybe break 2:30. The majority of our runners went down on a mini bus organised by Kelly. Mixture of nerves and excitement but always a good atmosphere on the rare occasions we do organise a mini bus to a race. A meet up with some of the other runners a pre-race photo and all of sudden it was time to get in the starting pens. Long queues for the small amount of toilets meant some members were very last minute setting off which is probably the only negative to a brilliantly organised race.


Unfortunately a few of our front runners weren’t 100% but Neil Jones finished in 1:34:11, John Burridge finished in 1:37:04 whilst Chris Williams and Nick Harris were in the 1:39’s. Dai K ran almost the entire race a few feet behind me and I thought I’d nicked a quicker time with a sprint finish to get a gun time a few seconds quicker.. however, Dai had started after me so chip time was 4 seconds faster for him with both of us in the 1:40:40’s. The first PB came courtesy of Antony Lewis who now has quietly ticked off 5K, 5 mile, HM, 20 mile and Marathon PB’s in the last 3 months. Chris Roberts continued his excellent form knocking over 3 minutes of his HM time set in Liverpool early this year. My choice for May’s runner  of the month, Chris Pratt, staked his claim to be the first person to win it two months in a row with a 1:47:55 knocking a massive 6 minutes of his time. Whilst this is impressive under any circumstances, it’s worth noting that Chris has run quite a lot of half marathons so it’s not just a case of improving on a first or second attempt. He’s also knocked nearly 10 minutes off his personal best coming into the year.


Kelly was next up and pleased with a 1:50 finish. Newest member (although this chances on an almost daily basis) Peter Harrop finished in PB time of 1:52. Lorna was up next with 1:54 which is impressive considering she’s mostly been mountain biking rather than running for the past few weeks. Possibly one of the most impressive debut half marathons was Tara running 1:57 having hardly run at all over the winter and only really started back up again a couple of months ago. Steve Riddler was just a few seconds behind. Richard Garratt achieved his target of sub 2 hours with 1:59 knocking nearly 6 minutes of his debut HM time. Unfortunately things didn’t go so well for his wife, Heather, who started the race with a hip injury which ended up affecting her throughout the race and meant a 2:07 time. Christie Coleman come in at 2:02 which was a 5 minute improvement on his debut HM. Denise Bradley also knocked over 5 minutes off her HM time with a 2:07 finish whilst Liz knocked an incredible 9 minutes off her time finishing just a few seconds behind. Like Chris Pratt, Liz has done several HM’s before so to take such a big amount off is remarkable.


Our next 4 finishers were all first timers with Erin and Rachel coming in at 2:21 having run together and done all their training together. Gail and Melanie also ran the course together finishing in 2:23. Our final finisher was Dai Power in 2:41. Amazing achievements by all.


A big thank you to our wonderful supporters today  –  Fiona Evans cycled down to the 6 mile point to cheer us on and rode all the back home after waiting for all to finish. Jenna Horn, Chris Pratts wife Jo, Chris Roberts wife and daughter, Liz’s husband Andy and Jayne Kembery all joined us on the bus to come and support. Andy who was the official photographer and one of the sponsors for our 5 mile race took photo’s which we can’t wait to see. Liz also made some amazing cakes for us to eat on the way back. Maria Lalic put good luck / well done messages on the blackboard in her garden which hundreds of passers by would have seen. A final thanks to all those who’ve sent good luck messages and congratulated the runners on the results.


The BEFORE photo




























The AFTER photo




























A few of us met up in Bridgend afterwards for a well earned drink or two. There were members from Brackla and Bridgend that joined us which shows how social media and particularly parkrun have brought the local clubs together.


An amazing day and really looking forward to Cardiff 10K with significantly more members again signing up. A great start to June and plenty more to come.

The second half of June included a couple more parkruns, Caerphilly 10K, and another half marathon. As we’re half ways through the year I thought I’d have a look at how people are doing against their 2015 goals set out at the start of the year. Plus of course there’s the Chairman’s Runner of the Month for June.


June 18th – The return of The Beast


Don’t normally write about training sessions but after a seven month absence, we finally attempted a route we call The Beast. It’s a 7 mile run with over 1000 feet of elevation. Dermot, Neil, Chris Pratt and Antony were all attempting the run for the first time. The challenge is to ‘conquer the Beast’ which means ‘running’ the biggest incline you can see towards the middle of the elevation profile below. It took me about 6 or 7 attempts but I have done it the last 3 times – albeit a very slow jog. Matthew joined us for the first time in ages and also made it without stopping as did Nick. Antony made it to the top in front of me for an impressive first attempt whilst Chris Pratt made it well over half way before walking and is already looking forward to the next attempt. Definitely going be included as part of Snowdon training and the include we’ve nicknamed the Beast is actually steeper than anything we’ll encounter during the marathon.



The Beast elevation profile



View from the top of the first climb



Group photo at the top of the Beast

June 20th – parkruns


Another amazing turnout from Cwm Ogwr members with 25 members across 3 parkruns. At Porthcawl there were 22 with Lyndon West the first member across the line with 20:04. Chris Roberts got his TWENTY THIRD parkrun PB at Porthcawl with his first sub 22 time just missing out on the overall 5K he got a Merthyr Mawr 5K. I decided to volunteer to pace 25 minutes after still feeling the effects of the Beast. Funnily enough, none of those that did the Beast were anywhere near PB’s! Richard run with his new running buggy and was close to a buggy PB. Jayne got a PB by 10 seconds making it 6 in 9 parkruns and knocking nearly 4 minutes off her first parkrun time.



Me in my fetching pink pacer jacket

At Pontypridd, Neil Jones notched up another sub 20 time with 19:44. In less than a month with the club, Neil has already got 3 of the top 10 5K times. Neil Harris also ran but was saving himself for Caerphilly 10K, finishing in 21:57. Our final runner was Ann Davies who ran at Colby for the third time in the last 4 weeks.


June 21st – Caerphilly 10K


Kelly, Kevin, Chris Williams, Neil Jones, Neil Harris, Cerys Edwards and Katie Wood signed up for this one. Hang on a minute… no Gareth Jenkins, Chris Pratt or Nick Harris in an event with several CORC members??? I’ve just had a quick look and I think the only race that 6 or more members have run in but haven’t included any of us three was Swansea 10K 2012 which was only because Nick and  Chris weren’t even members at the time, and I was on holidays! Anyway – getting back to the race – another warm one but much cooler than the previous year. Neil Jones smashed the club record by 1 minute 47 seconds and became the first club member to go sub 40 in the process with a time of 39:31. His finishing position of 75th out of 1858 finishers is arguably the best result yet for Cwm Ogwr when you consider that’s in the top 4% in a race packed with club runners at the front. Kevin also broke the old club record with a time of 41:15 in his first 10K with the club and was 8th out of 92 in his age category. Neil Harris and Chris Williams both ran PB’s and are 4th and 7th respectively in the 10K rankings. That’s knocks me with a time of 44:17 which was a club record just a year ago down to 8th.


Kelly’s time of 50:54 is over a minute quicker than she ran on the same course next year and is the fastest women’s 10K time for the club this year. Katie Wood was running her second 10K event ever and first as a member of the club and knocked 4 minutes off her previous best. Cerys Edwards also ran her second 10K after getting a place last minute and knocked 6 minutes off the time she managed in Cardiff back in September 2013.



CORC runners before the Caerphilly 10K

June 24th – SSAFA 5K


I’d fancied doing one of these for a couple of years so after Chris Pratt did the first in the series and said he intended to go to the second, I decided to join him. A super flat course that takes in some of the Cardiff parkrun route. A warm evening without being overly hot. I got another sub 21 time with 20:55 whilst Chris got 22:18 for his third best time to date and only 7 seconds off his PB.


June 27th – parkruns


As detailed in the last blog post, Parke Parkrun near Torquay was to be my 20th different parkrun venue which should see me added to the ‘most events’ section on the UK parkrun website http://www.parkrun.org.uk/results/mostevents/


Meanwhile, back at Porthcawl it was Richard Garratts 50th parkrun. This time last year, Richard LJ was the only CORC member who had reached 50 parkruns (and that was before joining) – however, with the influx of regular parkrunners signing up to become members plus those already signed up reaching the total, Richard becomes our 15th member to have run 50 or more. Richard LJ was also running his 50th parkrun since becoming a Cwm Ogwr member which surely puts him in a small percentage of parkrunners to have run 50 or more with two different running clubs. He actually ran over 100 with Lliswerry so at some point next year he’ll join an even smaller group to have run 100 with two clubs. He’s also well on his way to doing 50 parkruns at two different venues (Newport and Porthcawl) which again I suspect not many people have done.


As for the results – there was a bit of a mix up due to a ‘rogue runner’ which agonisingly meant that a PB from Richard Garratt on his 50th parkrun wasn’t confirmed until Monday evening. Kelly ran her fastest 5K time in almost a year and her time of 23:20 is the fastest by any female member this year by some margin. Denise helped pace Melanie to a sub 29 time which was over a minute quicker than her previous best. At Pontypridd Neil Harris got his second sub 20 time of the month with 19:52 which was just shy of his 19:50 PB. Fiona Drysdale ran the inaugural Penalta parkrun in Caerphilly which had 240 finishers


June 28th – Torbay Half Marathon


Just confirming my obsession with entering races, this was conveniently on whilst my wife and I were on a long weekend break in Paighton. In fact, our accommodation was just 200 meters from the start line meaning I had the rather odd experience of being able to leave just 10 minutes before the start and walk there.

I’d already decided in the lead up to the race that I wasn’t going to ‘go for it’ having done a ridiculous amount of events so far this year plus a couple of days of unhealthy eating and drinking not really the best preparation to go for a PB. My plan was to go sub 1:50 which I find amazing that I now consider this ‘a nice pace’ when a couple of years ago it would have been a PB. It seemed to start raining as soon as the gun went for the start and continued for most of the race but it was still quite warm nevertheless. Started quite far back after the usual late entry into the starting pen but didn’t bother trying to weave around people. Checked my watch after mile 1 and then the next time I checked it was the finish line as I didn’t want any sort of time pressure to enter my thinking. The course has a small 1 mile loop at the start before 2 out and backs to Torquay from Paignton Pier. Quite undulating with 6 steady inclines spread out every 2 miles. My relaxed non-time-checking approach actually resulted in me running a lot quicker than I expected with a finish time of 1:42:17 despite feeling reasonably comfortable throughout. Admittedly I did ‘go for it’ in the final mile which was my fastest of the race. Do I regret not pushing throughout? Not really as I honestly think that constantly checking the watch and ‘pushing’ would have maybe got me round in 1:39:xx but definitely not a PB time and I would have enjoyed it a lot less.

Cwm Ogwr Triathletes

Strangely enough our triathletes in the club prior to this month were all a bit extreme. Dai Cappell and Steve Riddler have both done an Ironman race in the past, whilst Kevin has done all three Ironman disciplines individually (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run). However, this month has seen two members complete their first ever triathlons at the more beginner friendly sprint distances. Please note, by beginner friendly I certainly don’t mean easy as this is being written by someone who can barely swim 25 metres and did an 5 mile bike ride a year or two ago which was more painful to me than a half marathon run. Anyway, Fiona Evans (or Fi Fi as she is affectionately known) was first up with the Mumbles Triathlon which involved a 750m swim, 32K bike and 5K run which she completed in 2:31:43. Then last Sunday, Helen Griffiths did the inaugural Cardiff Triathlon (750m swim, 20K bike, 5K run) in 2:01:13. Well done to both.

Chairman’s Runner of the Month – Richard Garratt

Richard beat his Half Marathon PB by 6 minutes to go sub 2 hours for the first time. Then he followed it up a couple of weeks later with a PB on his 50th parkrun. He has already got a 5 mile PB this year and is almost certain to complete the set by the end of the year with 10K, 10 mile and the small matter of a debut marathon all planned. Well done Richard.


2015 Goals – Half Year Report


If you read January’s blog then you’ll know that a few of our members wrote a list of goals / targets that they wanted to achieve during the year so I thought I’d have a look at how we are getting on so far. I’ve commented in red font progress or lack of progress so far.



Starting with myself, my goals were…


1.               New marathon PB at Manchester Marathon (currently 4:31:54)


Done with a 41 minute PB!


2.               Complete Snowdon Marathon


Training about to start


3.               Run at least 8 Half Marathons (continuing the trend of doing more each year)


4 completed, the other 4 booked / planned – possibly might end up being a 9th as well


4.               Half Marathon PB or sub 1:40 minimum


Done – PB at Merthyr Half Marathon


5.               5K PB


Done three times at Porthcawl, Aberavon and Merthyr Mawr Lane


6.               Get to 100 parkruns (on 68 at start of year)


On course to achieve by August


7.               Get to 20 different parkrun events (on 16 at start of year)


Done – now aiming for 25


8.               Volunteer at parkrun at least 5 times during the year


on course having already done 4 volunteering slots


9.               New 10K PB or sub 45:00 minimum


not officially done at a 10K but first 10K of Lliswerry 8 was sub 45.


10.           New 10 mile PB


Done at Neath 10 mile


11.           Run 2015K in 2015 (1259 miles)


ahead of schedule (going on average)


12.           Do more off road races


Already done more than last year with more planned


Verdict – pretty much done. Mileage one is difficult as requires consistently doing over 100 miles per month but should be fine with Snowdon training. Obviously want to properly tick off the 10K target. No reason why I shouldn’t tick off all 12.


Richard Lowcock James


1.               Maintain record of finishing every race started


Done to date


2.               Run a trial half marathon


Done – Ras Dewi Sant


3.               Aim for a 10K PB (probably Swansea)


Not run one yet


4.               Aim for Sub 1:50 Half Marathon (probably Cardiff)


Not run one yet


5.               Pace a club member to a PB


Done as Helen LJ is now a member


6.               Strengthen ankles

7.               Improve Flexibility

8.               Learn how to use a foam roller

9.               Get better at pacing during races (not start too fast)


10.           Get course record at any races repeated from 2014


Done to date


Verdict – numbers 6-9 are subjective so Richard will have to assess himself but a couple already ticked off and well on course with the others. The first one is a significantly bigger challenge than it was at the start of the year now that Richard is signed up for Snowdonia Marathon.


Chris Pratt


1.               Run 15 Half Marathons (if not, a minimum of 12)


‘Only’ on 6 so far having missed one due to illness. Signed up to Snowdon Marathon which going to count as 2. Think Chris is aiming for 12 rather than 15 now?


2.               Half Marathon PB and sub 1:55 (current 1:56:45)


Done twice at Sunderland and then Swansea with 1:47:55!


3.               parkrun PB and sub 23 (current 23:47)


Done 3 times at Porthcawl, SSAFA and Merthyr Mawr. Gone sub 23 on 4 occasions.


4.               100 parkrun club (81 at start of year)




5.               Run at all 11 welsh parkruns


Only done 5 so far and with Caerphilly starting last weekend plus new ones due to start in Swansea, Cardiff, Neath, and possibly more, it’s going to a difficult. Chris is still determined to it though and I plan on joining him for as many as possible. You might not see us much at Porthcawl for the rest of the year!


6.               10K PB and sub 50 (current 51:06)


Done at Treforest 10K with 49:04


7.               Complete 50 x 5K challenge


Done – had to miss a couple of days due to illness but made up for this later to still complete the challenge


8.               Run total mileage of 1000 miles (2014 total 630)


Ahead of schedule


Verdict – when I reviewed after 3 months, Chris hadn’t ticked off any but due to an incredible last few weeks he’s now on track to tick off all. Welsh parkruns probably the most difficult one to complete – especially should another parkrun start in North Wales late in the year.


Kevin Raymond


1.               Run a Marathon


Done twice with Good For Age time achieved. Also signed up for a third with Snowdonia Marathon


2.               Sub 1:30 HM


Cruelly taken away with the short measurement at Newport – not sure of intentions to do another HM this year


3.               Run a 10K


Done at Caerphilly with second best club time


4.               Sub 20 5K


Done – in some style with a 19:39


Verdict – ignoring the short course, Kevin is done on these and has mentioned another set of targets but hasn’t shared what these are.


Kelly Owen


1.               Sub 4 hours at London Marathon


Very ambitious for first marathon but nutrition plan didn’t work out on the day. Completed first marathon which is always the primary aim


2.               Complete Snowdon Marathon


Training due to commence


3.               Parkrun PB


For later in year


4.               Parkrun 50 club


Done in some style doing the Florida parkrun for her 50th


Helen Davies –complete Manchester Marathon –done

David Kembery –finish every race started – done

Maria Lalic – complete Race to the Stones100K over 2 days – in training

Ross Jones – come back to club and do a race at some point this year –Plenty of time to still achieve


Pretty impressive by everyone so far and lots more achievements detailed in above and in the previous months blogs. Couldn’t be happier with the way the club is going at the moment and look forward to what’s next.



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