November 2016 review

November 1 – Halloween Party

The first event set up by the social committee was a kids Halloween disco in Ogmore Life Centre. A great evening had by all and I think some of the adults enjoyed it even more the kids. Great costumes by those who attended and a mountain of fabulous food. Thanks to Natasha and her team for decorating the room and for the music and party games. Definitely one to be repeated.


November 5 – parkruns

A record equalling 55 runners across 8 parkruns. 44 of which were at Porthcawl where there were PB’s for Joey, Emma Loyns and Kimberley Thomas with her first sub 30. We had another new parkrunner with Amy Williams completing the course in 32:22. There are now 180 different Cwm Ogwr runners who’ve ran Porthcawl parkrun.


Away from Porthcawl there were plenty of tourists with Martin B in Bath, Neil Harris running his 50 parkrun in Pontypridd, Wayne running in Colby and Neil J finishing 3rd in another sub 18 time in Grangemoor. We had 3 runners at Cardiff where Jamie V set a new PB of 19:44 with the Hillmans also in attendance. Another 3 at Penallta where Shawn Cullen set a new PB of 27:04 with Dawn and Julie also running there. Kirsty Evans ran Swansea parkrun and obiliterated her previous PB by over a minute to finish in 23:07 to go equal 5th with Lorna in the 5K female rankings.


November 6 – Richard Burton 10K and Bog n Bryn


37 runners at the Richard Burton 10K, smashing last years total of 18 (which seemed a lot at the time). Niki Puleio was first Cwm Ogwr runner back in 40:50 with Aled just 5 seconds further back. Peter Walsh ran 43:53 to add a 10K PB to his 5K and Half Marathon PB’s he achieved in October. Both Lloyd West and Shelley Smithson made it three 10K PB’s in 2 months with Cardiff, Swansea and Richard Burton. Shelleys time puts her up to 3 fastest club female in the 10K rankings with her 48:03 and second fastest this year. The PB’s continued with James and Carol whilst Emma Williams knocked almost 4 minutes off her time set at Caerphilly earlier this year. June Parry, Bev Sheard, Rachel G, Cath Griffiths and Julie Ransom completed the PB list. Impressive running by all.


Starting at Cwmbran Stadium, 8 crazies from the Blue Wave turned up to take on the Bog n Bryn Trail ‘Half Marathon’ (actually 13.8 miles). A multi-terrain course with a mixture of tarmac, fields, mud and forestry paths. With countless amounts of styles, a few narrow wooden bridges and a couple of small streams added to the 1800 feet of elevation – this was certainly a good challenge. Most of the elevation is included between mile 5 and 10 and is agonisingly mostly undone with a mile of steep descent similar to the final mile in Snowdon Marathon. Jamie Vanstone completed the course in the most satisfying time of 1:59:59 and was 15th overall in a small field of just 130 odd runners. Graham Hillman was up next followed by Daniel Clark and then myself. Victoria Hillman was first Cwm Ogwr female over the line followed closely by Richard LJ. Emma Loyns and Bethan Cross came in together just under the 3 hour mark. All eight of us really enjoyed the event with Bethan even declaring it as her favourite race so far, so I’m sure we’ll be looking to recruit a few more to take on the challenge next year. Just a gentle warning though – it’s almost always the week after Snowdon Marathon so bare that in mind.


November 12 – parkruns and Gower Trail Half


46 runners across 5 parkruns with 41 of which at Porthcawl were there was a plethora of PB’s. Neil Jones was first finisher for the 3rd time at Porthcawl and beat the club record he already held with a 17:12. Neil Price got the perfect first ever sub 20 with a 19:59 making him the 17th club member to achieved the feat. Joey Howland was just a few seconds off making it 18 members with a PB of 20:11. Daniel Clark smashed his parkrun PB by over a minute which was set on the short Salt Lake Car Park course, so realistically it was a 2 minute PB if only counting times on the original course. Lloyd West also beat his previous best a parkrun by around 2 minutes although this was only his 3rd parkrun. I helped pace Bethan Cross to a 55 second PB with a 26:08. She has knocked over 5 minutes off her parkrun time in just 7 months. Natalie Griffiths ran a late season PB and her fastest time since August 2015 whilst Angela Parry completed the PB list.


Away from Porthcawl, Mark Gabb ran at Barry, Shawn and Julie ran at Newport whilst new member Karl Johnson ran at Pontypridd. Shelley took on the super fast Swansea parkrun course and finished as 3rd female overall with her second fastest parkrun time of 22:48.


An event that really slipped under the radar for the Blue Wave is the Endurance Life Gower Trail Half Marathon. They also do a 10K, Marathon and Ultra although all distances tend to be very approximate and the events are pricey which is maybe what’s put members off. The Half Marathon is slightly long at 13.6 miles (and probably longer in reality) and includes nearly 2500 feet of elevation – that’s not far off Snowdon Marathon but all the elevation squeezed into half the distance. Simon Harrison and Nicola Symmonds took on the challenge finishing in 2:16 and 2:38 respectively.


Sunday 13 November – Cardiff Mo Run 10K and Las Vegas Half Marathon


A bumper 22 runners for the Mo Run 10K this year after only having 5 last year and 2 the year before. A fun event with lots of people dressed up and a good atmosphere. A super flat course but not ideal for racing as the paths are narrow in places and it’s very congested at the start. The two lap course also includes a footbridge that is very busy with walkers and cyclists crossing which resulted in bottlenecks and even having to stop for a few seconds. However, despite all this, it was one of the most successful PB races we’ve ever had. Chris Pratt was first club member across the line followed by Josie in a PB time of 48:59 putting her 6th in the female 10K rankings for the club. I was next across the line in what was my 300th event for the club. Mark Gabb came in with a PB time of just under an hour with Matt Murray and Kirstie Ellen picking up PB’s just outside the hour mark. Then came a huge group of PB’s with Nigel H, Tammie, Stephanie, Cath, Angela, Rhiannon W, Nicola A, Llinos, Claire Taylor and Pippa Clark. Myself, Chris Pratt and Mark Worrall all returned part way up the course to run in with some of the girls whilst almost everyone stayed to cheer on the runners in the latter stages.


Kelly ran the Las Vegas Half Marathon in 2:01:11 under the bright lights as it’s run in the evening. She commented that it was an amazing atmosphere and the medal was pretty decent as well.

Saturday 19th – parkruns

51 runners across 9 different parkruns. 41 at Porthcawl where despite ‘character building’ weather as Richard LJ would say, several new Cwm Ogwr members who started training with Shelley Smithson attended. Their times ranged from 28 to 37 minutes with first time PB’s for all. Away from Porthcawl, Karl Johnson volunteered as tail runner at Pontypridd, Jayne Powney ran at Forest of Dean whilst new member Joseph Smith (son of Chris Pratt) ran at Cambridge in the fastest time of the day with a 20:23. The Hillmans ran at Cardiff, parkrun tourists Shawn and Julie ran at Llanhydrock, Mark Gabb at Barry, Martin Beard at Gnoll and Dawn Hopkins at the inaugural Llanelli parkrun.

Sunday 20th – Pembrey MT10, Margam Tough 10K and Valencia Marathon

For possibly the first time this year we actually had less members at an event than the previous year. The Pembrey Multi Terrain 10 miler seen 19 of the Blue Wave in attendance compared to 25 last year. The race sold out weeks in advance which I think caught a few out. The race includes a mixture of tarmac, forestry trails and lots of sand including a mile beach section and multiple sand dunes. Niki lead the way in an impressive 41st place and course record for a Cwm Ogwr member.  A few PB’s mainly for those doing their first 10 milers including Graham M, Aled, Wayne, Lloyd, Keith, Josie, Claire DB, James Beynon, Gary Piper, Dawn H, Lucy H and Liz Sim. Emma Loyns was the only non-first timer to set a new PB beating her time from the previous year by 38 seconds.

I ran at the Margam Tough 10K in place of Chris Stanlake who had to drop out through injury. A stunning course around Margam Park going up to the highest point with a mixture of terrain. It lived up to the ‘Tough’ name so I was pleased to finish 34th out of 333 finishers.

Fiona Drysdale ran her first marathon and went for an alternative venue with Valencia her choice. Her impressive time of 4:17 is a club age category record.

Saturday 26th – parkruns

A record 63 runners across 5 parkruns with several more volunteering. 57 at Porthcawl which is also a record for a single parkrun venue and where Brian Cotton was celebrating his 50th parkrun. Conditions were cool (cold some might say) but with minimal wind it made it ideal for going for some speedy times. Sian Price annihilated her own female club record by 68 seconds with a 21:14. Incredibly the old record of 22:22 was smashed twice as Amy Roberts who was the long term record holder became the second club female to break 22 minutes with a 21:53. Jo Kendall, Stephanie Dyke, Catherine Griffiths and Joanne Rowling all also achieved PB’s whilst Richard LJ and Natalie Griffiths secured their best times of 2016.

There was a further PB away from Porthcawl with Katie Wood getting 30:49 at Burnley parkrun. Shawn and Julie continued their tourism at Cwmbran parkrun, the Hillmans were at Cardiff for their 50th parkruns and Dawn ran at Swansea.

Sunday 27th – West Glam XC League Kenfig fixture

The third fixture of the league seen the Blue Wave numbers increase against with 31 in attendance after 20 at the first fixture and 29 at the second fixture. This time it was advertised as a 4.5 mile route taking in the same course as the Bridgend League Kenfig 5K but with the additional mile or so thankfully being an extra loop around the trail part rather than the sand.

Neil Price was first of the Blue Wave back followed by Chris Pratt. Nick Harris, Brian Cotton and Graham Hillman made up the 5 male scorers. As for the ladies, Kelly led them home with Victoria Hillman, Sarah Littlewood, Bethan Cross and Denise Bradley made up the 5 female scorers. Both Bethan and Denise have been in the top 5 in each of the first 3 fixtures.

Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month – Lloyd West

Lloyd started off the month with an impressive 46:21 PB at the Richard Burton 10K which was also his third 10K PB in just 2 months. A week later he followed it up with a huge parkrun PB of 21:38 equating to a 71.65% age grading which is amongst the best in the club. A week later Lloyd got a PB at the Pembrey 10 miler with a 1:22:22 placing him 15th in the male 55+ age category. He wrapped up the month with a great performance at the Kenfig XC finishing as our 9th male runner.

Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month – Emma Loyns

Emma started off the month with 41 second PB at parkrun with a time of 25:21. A day later she ran the tough hilly 14 mile off road Bog n Bryn in Cwmbran showing some nifty footwork whilst running with me along one of the trickier sections and finishing alongside Bethan having thoroughly enjoyed the event. Emma was the only member at the Pembrey 10 miler to beat a previous 10 mile PB and then finished off the month with a run down to parkrun.

Coming up

Hopefully members don’t think Christmas is a time for relaxing. Very important to carbo-load and ‘hydrate’ of course but still a busy month of events. The opening weekend will see a few doubling up with parkrun plus the Aberavon Santa Run whilst there’s plenty of other Santa / Reindeer / Elf fun runs to choose from over the coming weeks. The second weekend see’s one of the highlights of the racing calendar with the Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run which I believe despite selling out in around half an hour, we have over 50 members entered. We have a few doing Cottrell Park 10K the week after and then over the Christmas period there’s the Festive Four competition. This includes a Christmas Eve parkrun, Boxing Day 7K, New Years Eve parkrun and a New Years Day 4 miler. To a non-runner this sounds like the most horrendous idea ever but I think we’ll see quite a few of the Blue Wave getting involved. Merry Christmas everyone!

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