The first weekend of the month saw 67 of our members across an incredible record breaking 18 different parkrun venues. Our number 1 tourist, Chris Roberts has obviously made such an impression on the parkrun tourist world that he’s had a parkrun named after him and visited Roberts park parkrun for the first time. Our fastest runner of the day was Toby Kearns who ran an impressive 18:51 at Cardiff parkrun.
The second parkrunday of the month saw 67 members (again) but this time across 16 different parkrun venues. Bethan Moor was first female finisher at Sandy Water whilst we had a rare double at Maesteg parkrun with Toby Kearns and Carys Cronin first male and female finishers.
The third Saturday saw an slight increase with 71 members across 14 parkruns. Jo and I visited one of the toughest parkruns in the UK, Woolacombe Dunes where I can now claim the club course record in a speedy 30:49! Trust me, it was hard work just to run 9 minutes slower than my fastest time this year. Much more impressively, Jacob Tasker broke the course record and was first finisher at Coed Cefn-Pwll-du in 17:00 which is actually in the top 10 toughest parkruns in the UK. There were lots of visits to Coed Cefn during May by our members as it was part of the trail club championships. Aled Hughes ran a parkrun PB of 18:19 finishing 3rd overall at Porthcawl parkrun whilst Nicky Bennett was first overall at Maesteg.
The number increased again for the final weekend of the month with 76 across 16 different parkrun locations. There was a big turnout with 35 club members at Porthcawl on another sunny bank holiday weekend. Jamie Verran ran in Zuiderpark parkrun in Amsterdam as he continues his streaks of not missing a parkrun since he started. On the Monday, there was a extra parkrunday in the Netherlands where he did Delftse Hout parkrun and has now broke the club record for most different parkrun tourists in a row with 23.
May marks the start of about 20+ 5K races located between Cardiff and Swansea over the next few months and we started off with some amazing performances and PB’s.
The Race for Victory 5K is arguably the fastest of them all with PB’s galore every year that our members have attended. This year was no exception with Nicky Bennett running an incredible mind-blowing 15:59 PB followed by PB performances from Toby Kearns (17:46), Aled Hughes (17:47), Dylan Panting (18:20), Emyr Bissmire (18:26), Adam Kearns (18:49) and Rhodri Thomas (19:08). Carys Cronin joined only a handful of women in the clubs history to run sub 22 with a 21:57 PB. Denise Bradley ran 24:35 to break the club’s female over 60 record and run what I believe is her fastest 5K in around 4 years.
No PB’s on offer at a windy Paul Popham Swansea Bay 5K which was the first of a series of 3 races. Possibly the best value race of the year as although £12 might be more than some other 5K’s, runners were presented with a burger, bottle of beer and leftover Swansea 10K tech t-shirts from last year. There were 24 in attendance for this one with Nicky Bennett leading us home in 4th place overall followed by Aled Hughes and John Burridge. Sarah Davies was our first female followed by Denise Bradley and Jo Jenkins.
This month also saw the Samtampa Memorial 5K in Porthcawl. A first time event raising money for the RLNI which saw 7 of our runners complete. I believe it more than 5K but including in this section for ease.
We had 9 runners at the Caerphilly 10K where Jake lead our runners home in a new club record time of 31:45. Geriant Lewis ran 35:36 whilst Aled Hughes just missed out on another PB with 37:36.
We had 7 runners at Treforest 10K where Jake Tasker ran 32:11 which is the second fastest 10K in club history behind his record at Caerphilly this month. Katie Plimmer ran a PB of 48:50 for her second 10K PB already this year.
During the month, we also had Abbi Lumsden run the Great Bristol 10K and Dawn Hopkins run the Gorseinon 10K.
Our largest attended Half of the month was 6 members running at the Weston Super Half including long term supporter Alison Allen running her first event for the club. We had 4 runners at the Bristol Half with Jay and Toni Howells adding Half Marathon PB’s to their Marathon PB’s at Manchester a few weeks before. It was a 20 minute PB for Toni from his time in Cardiff Half just 7 months before.
Elsewhere, Jake won the Welsh Trail Running Championship Half Marathon event, Danny Ridley was first finisher at the Limitless Blacks Half, and Melanie Thomas completed a ‘long’ half in Brecon with some crazy elevation and technical terrain.
Carl Walsh and Danny Ridley completed the Blacks to the Beacons Marathon whilst Carl also did another Brecon Trail Marathon in the month. We had 6 runners at the inaugural Rob Burrows Leeds Marathon where Carl was in action again with Danny. Denise Bradley, Chris Pratt, Ian Lewis and Helen Griffiths also ran the marathon raising vital funds for MND.
Other distance races
Jake Tasker took the overall win at Porthkerry 5 miler running 28:09. That smashed one of the longest standing club record which had stood for 7 years. The marathon is the only club record Jake doesn’t have and if he can get that one, then he’ll become the first runner in the 10+ year history of the club to hold every distance record from 5K to Marathon. We had 6 other runners at the 5 miler with Chris Pratt, Mark Teesdale, Katie Plimmer, Fiona Drysdale, Sharon Pritchard and Debbie Bennion.
There were a few short speedy races in May with Aled Hughes running both the 1 mile and 2 mile Cardiff Summer Series events. We had 7 runners at the Bannister Mile with Nicky Bennett running 4:43 which is the fastest official mile time recorded for the club. Incredibly our ‘slowest’ runner came in at 5:43 so that particular event attracted the very top end of our club although just to note for next year, it is open to all abilities.
We had a couple of hilly races with the aptly named Pentyrch Hill race which returned for the first time since 2019 with Mark Teesdale, Aled Hughes and Nick Harris running that one. Kevin Raymond took on the Cader Idris Mountain Race which includes an eye watering 3,000 feet of elevation in just 11 miles.
Emma Loyns took on arguably the toughest race in the history of the club with the Snowdonia UTS 100K which has 21,000 feet of elevation over the 64 mile course with some of the toughest and steepest terrain anywhere in the world. Just to make it that extra bit tougher, it was unusually hot for Snowdonia and unfortunately Emma had to pull out around half way have done 33 miles and over 11,000 feet of elevation due to heat exhaustion. There was a significant drop out rate including runners who had previously completely the UTMB which is widely renowned as the ‘World Championship’ of Ultra Running and one of the toughest mountain races on earth.
This month saw the second fixture of the BCRL with Pencoed the venue for a cross country style event. As they were for the first running of this fixture last year, conditions were very hot. Jake Tasker won the event by some distance with Geraint Lewis second making it a 1-2 for Ogmore Phoenix. Our top 10 male runners all finished in the top 20 and a great performance from our ladies combined with a huge turnout of 89 meant that we were within 7 points of Bridgend who won the event in the club competition.
Over to Chris for his Chair’s Runners of the Month
Passion. Focus. Dedication. Commitment. Heart! All positive and things that we all aspire to in our training and our running. Often driven by a cause. Mix with that excitement. Some exude it when they’re driven. Emotions become a part of the fire that burns within. Sometimes we read it on a face. Sometimes we hear it in the voice as the journey is recalled. Outwardly displaying that excitement and passion is infectious. It feeds into the soul of those around looking on. Motivation follows and others find themselves taking a path that mimics that excitement – we get drawn in! I am incredibly inspired by the positivity and excitement of others and watching recent achievements has added weight to that inspiration. Having represented the club at the London Marathon this year, she was incredibly humble and overflowing with excitement. Driven by a cause it was a fabulous build up to the race and then an emotional journey around the streets of the capital creating memories that will last a lifetime. The whole process was inspiring and just the start of a year-long challenge to raise valuable funds for a worthy cause. So inspired by the commitment to it. Huge well done to my Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month for May as Shelley Evans. Keep the focus and smash the challenge out of the park!
parkrun is a love for many of us. We’ve all had it in our lives to varying degree. Some dip their toe in and some just launch headlong into the throng and get completely absorbed by everything it has to give. That detail could be attributed to many within the blue wave, that’s certainly true, but to project to such commitment from a standing start is incredible to see. A passion for moving around. A serial tourist – including jumping on a plane and visiting foreign climes. Every week a different venue. Every week a different location. Each time sharing the experience. With family often in tow for support it’s been a fabulous journey to observe and be a part of. Reporting back on endeavours and hitting quicker times than ever before along the way. All of this with an excitement that exudes and inspires. I’m sure it will continue as he gets drawn in by other weekly challenges under the parkrun umbrella and we look forward to following all future antics. Keep up the good work Jamie Verran, my Chairman’s Male Runner of the month for May!