September 2017 review

Saturday 2nd – parkruns and Roman Run

41 runners across 7 different parkruns. Most taking it steady with thoughts of Cardiff 10K the next day. However, there were PB’s for Nigel Hitchings, Debbie Bennion and a parkrun PB for David McCann. Tourism included several at Maesteg, Nick Harris at Worcester, Elaine at Tees Barrage, Wayne at Colby and Saul at Grangemoor. Tourism King and Queen, Shawn Cullen and Julie Ransom took the club record off me for parkrun tourism with their 34th venue which was Caldicot.

Juliet Amner, Richard Lowcock James and Ian Lewis took on the 16 mile Roman Run which is a challenging point to point trail race over multi terrain from Brecon to Merthyr. A shame the event is the day before Cardiff 10K as I’m sure many more of our runners would have been interested in giving this one a go and personally it’s still on my to do list.

Sunday 3rd – Cardiff 10K, Oldbury 10 Mile and Joust 24 hour relay

Christie Coleman, Shawn and Julie completed the Thornbury series of events which include Riverbank Rollick, Thornbury 10K and the Oldbury 10 miler. It was also Shawn and Julies first 10 mile event for the club meaning brand new PB’s.

Nick Harris kept it quiet that he was doing the Joust 24 hour relay. This event is organised by Ultra Runner Ltd who I am familiar with having done two of their half marathon events on consecutive days back in February. The event involved laps of a roughly 5 mile loop and can be entered in teams of up to 8…. however.. Nick chose to enter as a solo entrant, therefore signing up to attempt to run for 24 hours. Unfortunately things didn’t quite go to plan but despite cramp at just 9 miles in, Nick continued and managed 9 laps and therefore around 45 miles before retiring after 10 hours. The laps weren’t at all simple either with mixed terrain, gates, fences and hills. An incredible effort and I’m sure he’ll be back for more, if not in this event, then another 50+ miler.

Cardiff 10K saw 69 Phoenix take on the new course in the capital. The route started and finished near City Hall as it had before, but zig zagged it’s way to Roath Park Lake and included the ‘incline’ which is towards the end of the Cardiff Half route. Many including myself thought it might be a tougher course to achieve a PB but that was certainly wasn’t reflected in the results with 38 of our runners achieving PB’s. Many of our runners got to the event on a double decker bus arranged and driven by Karl Johnson with a rousing inspirational speech by Chairman Chris Pratt on the way to the event. The weather threatened to soak us to the bone by in the end we were lucky with mostly dry conditions for much of the race if not a tiny bit warm even though most of us wore the charity vests provided in support of Kidney Wales.

As for the results, I’m ignoring Neil Jones who ran for Pontyclun and not mentioning his amazing time of 36:29. So first Phoenix runner across the line was Gareth Jenkins (me!) with a PB of 41:33 with my teammates in the ‘Corporate Challenge’ finishing close behind with Aled 41:45, Neil Price getting a 41:55 PB and David Kembery also PBing with 43:10. Our time were combined and was good enough for us to finish 2nd overall in the team competition!

My Stato Runner of the Month for August, Sian Price was next up with an outstanding female club record time of 44:42 knocking nearly a minute and a half off the previous record.  The amazing times continued throughout the field with dozens of our runners smashing personal goals whether it was to complete their first 10K, or get a certain time, or a best time since injury or for the year. I wish I could write about every performance but I want to at least list out plethora of PBers as below…

Gareth Jenkins, Neil Price, David Kembery, Sian Price, Graham Mackleworth, Dan Clark, Chris Roberts, Karl Johnson, Nigel Hitchings (second PB in 2 days), Mark Burgess, Martin Beard, Jo Betty, Alun Wylde, Liz Davis, Louise Foster, David McCann, Jackie Lewis, Steven Taylor, Claire Goldsworthy, Ian Lewis, Rebecca Newton, Matt Murray, Kim Thomas, Jayne Powney, Kay Pedler, Hannah Kinsella, Joanne Rowling, Donna Radford, Natalie Aryal, Martyn Cameron-Davies, Sharon Delahunty, Nicola Allen, Vickie Cameron-Davies, Claire Taylor, Helen Perry, Maria George, Elaine Christian and Suzanne Harrison.

Saturday 9th – parkruns

41 runners again but this time over 8 parkruns and remarkably in 4 different countries with the various Welsh contingent joined by Chris Pratt in Huddersfield, David Sheard in Dundee and Peter Harrop in Milan.  Windy conditions at Porthcawl meant a rare week of no PB’s. A few travelled down to Llanelli parkrun which assume was equally as windy being an out and back coastal run but Elizabeth Sim managed to bag a PB accompanied by Gareth Richards. There was also a PB for Karl Johnson who shaved another second off his best overall 5K time with a 22:07 with a rare run at his home parkrun of Pontypridd.

Sunday 10th – Budapest HM, Great North Run, New Forest HM, Shepley 10K

Just because there aren’t any local races doesn’t stop our members. Adam Rowe bagged himself a 2:03 PB at the New Forest HM. Karl Johnson made it 3 PB’s at 3 different distances within 8 days with a 1:47 at the Great North Run with Dawn Hopkins running for the 4th year in a row. Meanwhile Emma Morris made it 5 different countries with Phoenix runners this weekend coming in at just under 2 hours in the Budapest Half Marathon.

Chris Pratt returned to his native Yorkshire for the weekend running the Shepley 10K in just under an hour. An event he’d last run 3 years previous before joining the club.

Saturday 16th – parkruns

45 runners across 7 different parkruns.  Gareth Richards lead our runners home at Porthcawl with a 19:45 PB. Jayne Bissmire knocked a massive 87 seconds off her PB for her first sub 30 parkrun at her 4th attempt. It was almost a 2 minute PB for Michelle Alexander in her 5th parkrun. Relatively new parkrunners Debbie Bennion and Andrea Self also shaved a few more seconds off their PB’s as well. Away from Porthcawl, there were 10 of our runners at Maesteg parkrun whilst parkrun tourist King and Queen, Shawn and Julie visited Andover parkrun.

Sunday 17th – Bristol HM, English HM, West Glam XC

Emma Morris ran an impressive 1:52 at Bristol whilst new member Steven James ran 1:48 at the English Half Marathon.

It was the first fixture of the West Glamorgan XC League where we had 13 runners at Llanmadoc. A multi terrain course with forestry trail followed by sand dunes and a 2 mile beacTh section before a short uphill section and then downhill finish. As I didn’t make it, Pippa Clark becomes the only member to have completed all West Glam fixtures since the club has been in the league. Niki Puleio lead our runners home followed by Gareth Richards and Dai James. Denise was the first of our 3 females in attendance followed by Bev Sheard and Pippa.

Saturday 23rd – parkruns

37 runners across a record TWELVE different parkrun venues. 22 of which were at Porthcawl for the Elvis themed run where we were joined by parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt. Maesteg had an influx of quick runners as Niki Puleio’s 18:52 which would be good enough to finish first most weeks got him 6th overall. Ashley Howells got a PB at the same venue whilst our only tourist to get a PB was Mark Gabb at Barry (arguably not a tourist venue for him). Aled Hughes ran the inaugural Haverfordwest parkrun.

Sunday 24th – Swansea 10K, Forest of Dean 5K and Half Marathon, Loch Ness Marathon

Starting at Forest of Dean for the Autumn edition of their Half Marathon event. Apparently a hillier course than the Spring edition. A great first trail half for those looking to get into distance trail events as the terrain wasn’t too technical and mostly on firm forestry paths. A challenging course with the downhills being steep and short whilst the uphills were gentle but very long. I was first of our club across the line in 1:43, followed by Samantha Thomas in 2:17, Mark Worrall 2:24 and Pippa Clark accompanied by Simon Harrison in 3:38 in her first trail half. Pippa’s time was quicker than her previous half in Waterford. Meanwhile Suzanne Harrison ran the 5K event in a PB time of 43:51. A great effort by all.

The fantastic four of Emma Morris, Liz Sim, Gareth Richards and Mark Burgess made their way to Scotland for the Loch Ness Marathon. Emma beat her previous PB by an incredible 23 minutes for a 4:20. The remaining 3 ran together throughout all finishing in 4:27 which meant a 13 minute PB for Mark and 16 minute PB for Liz. Amazing results.

The biggest event of the day was Swansea 10K where we had 25 runners. John Burridge became the 3rd club member to run sub 40 minutes with a PB time of 39:30. Wayne Hayhurst, Simon Williams, Karl Johnson, Alyn Wylde and David McCann were next up all achieving PB’s. Jo Betty was the clubs first female finisher in 52:33 which was just outside of her PB achieved at Cardiff earlier in the month. The PB’s continued with Ashley Howells (second PB of the weekend), Emma Williams, Dawn Hopkins, Julie Ransom (accompanied by Shawn), Lisa Jenkins and Nicola Allen.

Statos Runner of the Month – Karl Johnson

In a month with so many big events, it’s normally a tough decision after trawling through the stats to decide who should get the nod… but this month was pretty clear cut. Karl achieved a parkrun PB, 10K PB’s at both Cardiff and Swansea, plus a Half Marathon PB at the Great North Run.

To end the September blog it was the Vice Chair’s choice for runners of the month so here’s Sian’s thoughts on choices…

Vice-Chair Runners of the Month


Let’s just turn the clock back 1 year and the person I have chosen for male runner of the month was so disappointed that he could not run the Snowdon marathon after being very ill with pneumonia. He came to support the Snowdon marathon and vowed that next year things would be different …

And boy have they been different. This person regularly runs half marathons, marathons and ultras and has also done an ultra marathon and half marathon the next day !!!

When the zero to hero group needed a person to assist during the summer this runner took it in his stride and volunteered.

He does his races with no fanfare, helps others achieve their goals and is always quietly training in the background …

Who is my choice for runner of the month .. Gareth Richards, take a bow

You are awesome and inspire lots of us when coming back to running from having to take time off from illness.

Well done


This female runner has been a member from the original dissolved running club. She has had a tough ride the last few years but is always smiling.

Not only does she run, very well, she has taken quite a few of us under her wing to develop us into budding triathletes. She has given us confidence in taking on sea swims and has the patience of a saint with many of us on our bikes.

What challenges has this person done this year, well I think the biggest has to be when she swam the Solent, not a mean task, 5 miles and got caught up in a rip tide at the end !

This person is always in the background, helping, supporting and encouraging and this month, you are my female runner/athlete of the month (especially when you turned up for the Bridgend League Race in jogging bottoms and cotton t shirt!

Helen Griffiths … you are amazing!

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