A small change to the blog for this month as I will round up all parkruns first before going onto the big races in October.
October saw 119 finishers across 24 parkruns over the 4 Saturdays. A much lower total than usual with attendance affected by Storm Brian, Snowdonia Marathon and training runs leading up to it. Whilst Porthcawl and Maesteg remained the most popular parkruns for our members, there was plenty of tourism in the month. Phoenix tourism around South Wales included Haverfordwest, Llanelli, Gnoll, Pontypridd, Pontypool, Cardiff and Rogiet parkruns. Further afield, Saul Harris ran at Peckham Rye, Jo Betty and I ran at Milton Keynes (where Jo actually ran twice in the month), Nicola Allen ran at Minehead, Dawn Hopkins ran at Blackpool and Chris Roberts ran at Shipley Country parkrun. Even further afield, Dermot and Rhian Nolan ran at Waterford parkrun in Ireland whilst Fiona Drysdale ran Paris parkrun.
October saw Aled celebrating his 100th parkrun with Storm Brian turning up for the occasion at Maesteg. Storm Brian also caused the first Porthcawl parkrun cancellation in 4 and a half years.
Niki Puleio and Neil Jones both had first place finishes during the month whilst Juliet Anmer was first female finisher at Maesteg parkrun.
October 1st – Cardiff Half Marathon
A massive 90 runners at the Cardiff Half Marathon led home by Neil Jones in 1:20: 16. The PB list is a long one with Niki Puleio up next in 1:24:03 and John Burridge with 1:28:36 making it 3 Phoenix Runners under 90 minutes. Stephen Davies, Simon Williams, Dai James all clocked PB’s. Sian Price smashed the female club record with 1:41: 44 with Keith Coleman, Karl Johnson, Dan Clark and James Littlewood all adding to their impressive PB’s lists for this year. Coming in with their first sub 2 hour half marathons were Jo Betty, Martin Cowan and Sara Bayliss. David McCann, Claire Goldworthy and Ashley Howells all got PB’s and are edging their way towards their first sub 2 hour halves. Jackie Lewis was 3rd in her age category with an outstanding time of 2:08:45. The PB’s continued with Bev Sheard, Jayne Powney, Rebecca Newton, Donna Radford, Natasha Jordan, Stephanie Dyke, Hannah Bartle, Jayne Bissmire, Kaye Pedler, Jamie Bevan, Lisa Jenkins, Cath Griffiths and Leah Boon. Several of those listed running their debut half marathon.
Several used the race as a training run ahead of Snowdon Marathon and many paced other club members to PB’s.
October 7th – Gower 50
Three Phoenix took on the challenge of the Gower Ultra 50 miler. Gareth Richards was first back in 12:49 with Kris Denholm smashing his time from the previous year with a 13:48. Wayne Hayhurst added to his year of Ultra running with a 15:26.
October 8th – Merthyr, Chester and Bournemouth Marathons
We had 6 runners at the inaugural Merthyr Marathon with Neil Price leading the Phoenix in over the hilly course in 3:32:47. Antony Lewis ran with Nicola Prior helping her along to a 4:23:04 PB. Graham Hillman also achieved a PB in 4:35:00 putting his Waterford demons behind him. His wife Victoria just missed out on beating her Waterford time with a 4:47 whilst Liz Davis completed the course in 4:53. There was also a last minute decision to add a Half Marathon option which Melanie Thomas signed up for finishing in 2:17.
Kirsty Evans ran the Chester Marathon, agonisingly missing out on sub 4 hours by 39 seconds. Eryl James ran Bournemouth in an impressive PB time of 4:21:32.
October 22nd – Stroud Half Marathon and West Glam XC League
Wayne Hayhurst and I signed up for this one after Wayne had entered the previous year. We ran the first 5 miles together before Wayne dropped back having felt ill during the week. Despite planning to take it easy, I ended up going past the 1:45 pacer that we had been following close behind for the first 5 miles and ended up finishing in 1:42:32. A little quick 6 days before Snowdon Marathon. Wayne finished in a more sensible 1:55:18. Reccomend this event as not too crowded and definitely PB potential with even less elevation than Cardiff.
We had 29 runners for the second West Glam XC fixture at the Gnoll. Leading the ladies home was Sian Price in 20th place and 4th in her age category. Claire DB, Denise Bradley, Fiona Drysdale and Samantha Thomas completed the top 5 scoring finishers. Great to see 16 ladies running after just 3 for the first fixture and including some trying their first XC event. Neil Jones lead our male club runners home over 2 laps (it was 1 lap for the ladies) and finished 8th overall in a field including some of the best runners in South Wales and even Welsh and GB internationals. Niki Puleio, Jamie Vanstone, James Littlewood and Steven James made up the other top 5 scoring finishers.
October 28th – Snowdonia Marathon
28 brave souls traveled up to North Wales with more than a dozen supports to take on the self titled ‘toughest road marathon in the UK’. Almost 3,000 feet of elevation over 26.2 miles. Niki Puleio lead our runners home in an unbelievable 3:15:00 – only 3 minutes slower than his time at Waterford on a much flatter course. Neil Price was next in with a few race wounds after a fall late on. Gareth Richards, Aled Hughes, Chris Truman and Dai K all got in well under the 4 hour mark with times ranging from 3:49-3:54. For Aled and Dai it was over a 10 minute improvement on their previous times at the same marathon 2 years ago. Nick Harris, Dave Evans and myself were next in – all having run the course in previous years. Daniel Clark finished in an impressive 4:21 in his first marathon with David Sheard getting his best time since joining the club with 4:22. Josie Bishop was our first lady in 4:25. Richard LJ got a 4:45 PB with Wayne just a couple of minutes behind. Caerwyn Lewis and James Littlewood both got debut marathon PB’s.
Elizabeth Sim completed her 4 nations (Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland) challenge of running a marathon in each accompanied by Mark Burgess in just under 5 hours. Chris Pratt ran with friend of the club Roni in 5:10 which included assisting a Cornelly Strider on the way round, once again showing the incredible sportsmanship and camaraderie between runners. James Beynon was next up in 5:20 followed closely by marathon debutantes Adam Rowe and Dai McCann. Christie Coleman and Mark Worrall finished just over the 5:30 mark. Jo Betty who almost had to pull out with a knee injury just a week before employed a sensible walk / run strategy to finish in 5:53. Kimberley Thomas ran with Stephen Davies and former member and now Cornelly Strider Bethan Cross just over the 6 hour mark for her first marathon finish. Completing an amazing day for the club were Matt Murray and Ian Lewis in 6:07.
October round up
Alun Wylde and Christie Coleman ran the Ponty Plod 11 miler. A hilly off road race which several other members have run in previous years. Natalie Aryal ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon in a 2:52 PB.
Emma Morris ran the Great South Run 10 miler setting a new female senior club record of 1:24:40 a week after running a 10K race in Majorca. Emma is likely to set all sorts of female club records for most events with the amount of races she has entered and has lined up. If she was able to do parkrun every week then she would be challenging myself and Christie for most events overall.
Shawn Cullen, Julie Ransom and Samantha Thomas entered the Run Walk Crawl Ghost Run 5 miler. In the Dublin Marathon, Antony Lewis clocked a PB with a 3:56 finish. Peter Walsh finished in 5:23 whilst Angela Walsh clocked a 5:37 debut marathon PB.
Stato’s Runner of the Month – Niki Puleio
A tough decision with so many PB’s and improvements during the month but it’s hard to ignore another spectacular month for Niki who I think becomes the first runner to have my vote on 3 separate occasions. An outstanding 1:24:03 PB in Cardiff Half Marathon, a first place finish at Maesteg parkrun just 6 days later, a superb time at the Gnoll XC and then a phenomenal 3:15:00 marathon time in Snowdonia.
Chairmans Runners of the Month
Every month I’ve contributed to this I’ve said the same thing… It’s a tough choice!! With over 200 members doing incredible things every month it’s very difficult to identify who warrants the accolade – especially when there’s no specific criteria.
Two people particularly caught my eye…
The first person has had a rocky running career dogged with injuries. These have been overcome with an equal amount of grit and determination that always pulled them through. Someone who is very vocal about liking the longer distance events – sharing them on Facebook often and trying to draw in people to join him on these quests… He admits himself that some are actually a pipe dream… But dream he does! At the beginning of October he tackled the 50 mile trip around the Gower… again. I had visions of him losing his shoes like he had in The Witches at the Merthyr Mawr Trail Running Festival last year. But he didn’t. He soldiered on and despite experiencing tougher conditions than last year knocked 90 minutes off his time! But that was just the start! He’d signed up for a challenge to do 200 miles in October. I have a particular interest in challenges and this one caught my eye… 200 is a high mileage for a month!! Obviously, 50 is a good start, but even with 150 left it’s as good as 5 miles a day! Sure enough, his character and tough legs got him through!! So congratulations to Kris Denholm – chairman’s male runner of the month.
My second choice is currently on a mission! Everyone has a different approach to running. Some tackle distance events. Some tackle short, fast events. Some just train. Some people enter every event known to man!! Ironically October itself was a bit of a relative drought for this person only actually completing two events other than parkruns, but it’s the build-up through September that makes is admirable… Three half marathons on consecutive weeks followed by a marathon on the fourth week. But these have also been spread far and wide in Swindon, Budapest, Bristol and Loch Ness!! Into October and another trip abroad to Majorca for a warm 10k (not that I’m jealous at all) and then back home for a place in the Great South Run breaking the women’s senior 10 mile club record!! Brilliant running and determination and a well deserved chairman’s female runner of the month – Emma Morris.
Just remember though, accolades aren’t always given for huge distance or quick times and so in future months I will be recognising all kinds of different aspects of running.