This month saw 201 parkrun finishes by our runners across 33 parkrun events. In month our members ran parkruns in a record 6 different countries. As expected, most were around Wales with a few just across the border in England. Further afield, the Sheards ran Loch Leven parkrun in Scotland, I ran Krakow parkrun in Poland, Dai James ran Clermont Waterfront in the US and Tim Rees ran at Toolern Creek in Australia.
There were 3 inaugurals attended in November with Karl running at the newest Welsh parkrun at Aberbeeg, Aled running Somerdale Pavilion, and David Kembery running Parc (prison) parkrun which is only open to prisoners and staff. I should point out he is one of the latter. At the time of writing, David still holds the course record with a 22:15 clocking.
Jo and I ran Ludlow parkrun which ranks 10th out of 571 for toughest UK parkruns according to this website https://the5krunner.com/2017/11/04/parkrun-difficulty-ratings-adjusted-course-times/ – a few of our members have run the toughest one listed, Lanhydrock, including Chris Pratt, Chris Stanlake, the Littlewoods, plus Shawn and Julie.
The final Saturday of the month saw another Phoenix takeover at Maesteg with our members filling most of the volunteer roles as well as 15 running.
Some standout performances in month include Tim Rees getting a parkrun PB in Australia, Claire Taylor notching up another PB at Maesteg, Alexis Barrett getting so close to sub 30 at Grangemoor and Chris Roberts beating his PB which had stood for more than 2 years. Dawn Hopkins celebrated her 50th parkrun with a huge PB at Swansea and Emma Loyns joined just 7 other current female members in running a sub 24 parkrun.
Our new influx of Zero to Hero graduates seem to have caught the parkrun bug with several notching up their 2nd, 3rd and 4th parkruns already and many of those improving times week on week.
We had a record 43 runners at the Richard Burton 10K despite it being just a week after many had completed Snowdonia Marathon. Niki Puleio added another sub 40 finish whilst new member Adrian Pearce missed out by just 13 seconds. Amy Roberts was our first female across the line in 47:29. Tammie Baker continued her amazing form this year with a PB making it several PB’s for the year across 5K, 10K and Half Marathon distances. The PB’s continued with Vickie Cameron-Davies, Claire Taylor, Nicola Allen and Maria George.
The Lovelucks were in action and picking up more age category prizes at the Oxwich Bay 10K. It almost goes without saying that the course was multi terrain and hilly.
We had 12 runners at the Mo Run 10K where Claire Dunbar-Bowen finished 7th female overall and 1st in her age category. There was also a PB for Leanne Parsons at the event.
A 10K with a difference to end the month with the Narberth Night Nobbler. Dan Clark and Brett Bonnell took on the event that starts in the dark on a hilly, multi terrain course.
Only one Half Marathon in month with the inaugural Vale Half Marathon. The event takes in some of the Vale Ultra / 18 mile course along the Wales Coastal Path before looping back round to the start/finish in Llantwit Major. The event is a bit different to most as they set runners off every few minutes presumably to avoid congestion on the narrow paths around the course. On a tough course in wet conditions, Wayne Hayhurst led our runners back in 2:02 ahead of Nick Harris, Saul Harris, Sarah Littlewood and Darija Keenor.
Just one marathon this month as well with Martin Beard running the historic Athens Marathons in 4:54.
A rare 10 mile race with the Sospan Multi Terrain 10 miler in Pembrey saw 9 members in attendance. Despite throwing in a couple of hills, sand dunes and a beach section, the course does allow for quick times and so it proved with Wayne Hayhurst, Simon Williams, Ashely Howells and Chris Stanlake all picking up 10 mile PB’s.
At the same venue a week earlier, Chris Pratt and Kris Denholm finished less than a minute apart in the second fixture of the Gwent League. A day later saw the second West Glamorgan XC league fixture where Adrian Pearce led the club home on the familiar sandy course at Kenfig. Claire Dunbar-Bowen was our first female as the women’s teams maintained their 6th place in Division 2. The mens team also occupy 6th spot in Division 2.
The penultimate fixture included in this years Trail Championship saw 6 members take on the Sodbury Slog. Search out the photos if you haven’t seen them already as you’ll see our runners wading through waist high muddy water which is one of the features of the event.
The final event to note was the Caer-hilly Trail Challenge. With around 1000 feet of elevation in less than 6 miles it was a tough one. A great event with a very reasonable entry fee that included a medal for all finishers and goody bag including stuff you actually want like crisps and a banana. The event also saw what must be the closest finish between our entrants in the clubs history. I led the way with 200 meters or so to go before Chris Pratt went flying past, I picked up the pace finishing within arms reach and not realising that Dan Clark was also hunting me down. The manually timed results had us all finishing within 9 seconds of each other but I think in reality it was more like 2-4 seconds at most. All good fun and all three of us said we’d probably go back for another attempt next year with added knowledge of what was to come.
Chairman’s Runners of the Month
November was a relatively quiet month after the furore of Cardiff Half with it’s huge attendance and then the trip to Snowdonia with runners and supporters out in force.
It’s notoriously a wet month and although the excitement of Christmas is just on the horizon it’s a time when many start to lose their mojo on the darker, colder evenings.
Spring marathons mean one thing. Winter training. One of the things about marathon training is the length of time and number of miles it involves. 16 week programmes are common and so for the spring, they start now! So. On top of the darker, colder evenings you have to start building the strength and fitness to carry you through 26.2 miles. Many are doing that now and one of our stand out runners is starting that journey again. In amongst the beginning of the process she’s also notching up some quite impressive results. Reading above it won’t have escaped your intention that we had a 7th place female finish, 1st in age category. Not to be sniffed at! Then, representing the club at a league fixture came in as first female to give our ladies a fighting chance in their division. Holding just about every club record in her category she always impresses us with her running while still wanting to run with others during her training, enjoying the social aspect of the club too. Worth saying also that the London Marathon place that she is training for was obtained by running a good for age time previously this year!! I have no hesitation in awarding my Chairman’s female runner of the month to Claire Dunbar Bowen. Well done Claire and good luck with the training.
To see a happy, smiling face is a huge lift. We don’t smile enough. It costs nothing and it’s amazing how it can warm someones heart if you just approach them with a smile. I’ve bumped into my first choice for runner of the month at various events and at training lately. He’s been through some tough periods where his health was worrying him and breathing was holding back his running. With a real passion for running and always with a smile I had noticed during this time that his smile wasn’t quite as warm as usual. Something clearly troubling him. Recently I’ve seen it return. Following a great run at Snowdonia Marathon Eryri (one that really gave him a big boost) I’ve seen him at parkruns with the same smile I knew so well. Coupled with it was a renewed vigour. The breathing was getting easier and with the passion had returned. Cycling to and from training sessions, increasing the miles, putting in the the effort and seeing the rewards through enjoyment of something which has become a huge part of his life. Love it. I am absolutely delighted to award my Chairman’s male runner of the month to Mark Worrall.