Rack Raid 2019 review

This year saw the club invited to compete in a 13 stage relay covering 100 miles all within 12 hours. Each stage had it’s own start time with cut off times applied and there is a bit of overlap to ensure it’s all finished within a reasonable time. The cut off for each stage requires runners to finish within a 9 minute mile average – so a 5 mile route would have a 45 minute cut off. If runners come in after this time then they are given the cut off time (in this example 45:00), unless they are more than 10 minutes off the cut off in which case they are given the cut off time plus 10 minutes (in this example 55:00). Stages ranged from 5.1 miles to 13.1 miles.

The road to Rack Raid began as an attempt to get into Welsh Castles which requires 20 runners plus a number of reserves across the 2 day event from North Wales down to South Wales. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough runners who would meet the strict cut off times for that event to apply so turned our attentions to Rack Raid. Many of our members had already run the ‘qualifier’ route the captains had set out which involved 2 laps of the Ogmore Valley loop for a 10 mile run in total. This then ended up being used to determine places for Rack Raid instead.

The 13 runners had to made up of a 7/6 gender split with the majority of teams going for 7 male and 6 female runners which is what we went for. 

The final team was (in order of what stages they ran) – Jo Gamba, Dai James, Gareth Jenkins, Chris Truman, Neil Price, Niki Puleio, Sarah Davies, Anneliese Loveluck, Steven James, Liz Davis, Paul Smith, Sian Price and Emma Loyns.

Jo Gamba and I headed off at 530am to get to Grosmont Castle in time for Jo to do the first leg at 730am. T-shirts collected for the team and ‘official vehicle’ sticker acquired which was needed to drive to certain stages and parts of the course that weren’t open to other vehicles.

A race briefing is given at the start of each stage and numbers given out which are the same for each team throughout the day. There are just 28 teams in total and they discourage other runners / supporters from going to the start as there’s a few houses around the castle and they don’t want too much noise at 7-730am on a Sunday morning. It was odd to see such a small field of runners as Jo set off on the first stage.

That first stage was the shortest at 5.1 miles but still included 315 feet of elevation with the majority of that in the first half of the run. The entire route is on quiet country roads and for those of us seeing runners off at the start, it meant carefully driving passed them to get to the end point of that stage. It does mean there’s an opportunity to shout encouragement out of the car window as you drive past though. Quite a lot of the teams had chosen female runners for the first stage with just 1 male out of 28 teams. I passed Jo about a mile or so in and she doing well in the middle of the pack.

Arriving at the second stage I saw Steven, Niki, Dai and Chris who had car shared with Dai who was due to start the second leg. As pointed out at the start of this review, the stages overlap slightly so Dai and the rest of the runners for the second stage set off before most of the first stage runners came in. A few minutes later Jo appeared and finished in a fantastic 41:09 and well inside the cut off of 46 minutes and in 17th place overall. As I was running stage 3, we had to quickly get in the car and drive off, passing Dai who was amongst the top 5 or so runners along the way. His stage was 6.9 miles with 636 feet of elevation and very little downhill making it one of the hilliest if basing it on elevation per mile.

The third stage started at White Castle which was restricted to ‘official vehicles’ only meaning only Jo and I could drive our car to the start. This meant a quick change of plan as Steven couldn’t go and pick Dai up from the end of his stage but it was fine as Jo could take Dai to the next stage after dropping me off where we would all reconvene. Driving to the start of stage 3 we saw that Dai would have a tough half mile long hill to content with at the end but despite this he finished in an excellent time of 50:55 and 8th place overall.

I set off for stage 3 which was a 7.5 mile route to Abergavenny with 394 feet of elevation. It was a nice start as I went down the hill Dai had just had to come up before turning back onto the main road. The route then gradually climbed for agonising 4 miles albeit at a mostly gentle gradient. It also started raining but fortunately for me it wasn’t too heavy and quite refreshing. The final 2.5 miles of my stage were almost entirely downhill so I was able to make up for some lost time on the incline and ended with a sprint finish against a female runner from Les Croupiers which definitely helped me find another gear than if I’d been running in alone. Very pleased with a time of 55:07 and 11th place overall.

Meanwhile, Chris Truman had set of on stage 4. A 6.7 mile hilly route with 633 feet of elevation. Like many of the stages it involved a lot of climbing for the first half before a downhill second half. Chris finished in 46:53 equalling our best position of the day so far with 8th overall.

By this point, Jo and I had already been up for 5 hours and we were barely a third of the way through the day so we went off to Monmouth to sneak in a quick second breakfast before seeing Neil come in from stage 5. Stage 5 was an 8.1 mile route with 443 feet of elevation which Neil finished in 55:15 and 9th overall. Most of the stages started or finished near castles but Neil’s finish was just as good with it finishing on an old bridge heading into Monmouth town.

Niki was up next with the second longest stage of the day. A 12.6 route from Monmouth to Raglan taking in 801 feet of elevation and hilly throughout. He smashed it in 1:21:59. To put it in perspective, had it been half marathon distance then he’d have finished a reasonably hilly half marathon in around 1 hour 25/26 minutes. It was also the third time we’d finished 8th overall.

Whilst waiting for Niki, the rest of us arrived in Raglan where we our final group of runners joined us – Sarah, Emma and Liz. Sarah was lined up with the others about to set off just as Niki was finishing. Sarah’s route was 5.5 miles from Raglan to Usk taking in 236 feet of elevation and undulating throughout. Sarah put in a great effort finishing well inside the cut off of 51 minutes with in 45:34 and 16th position.

By this point we’d already seen Anneliese Loveluck set off on the longest stage of the event – a 13.1 mile route from Usk to Tintern Abbey which not only had the highest amount of elevation at 1200 feet of climbing, but was also one of the only stages that included some off road running as well. Anneliese had actually offered to run this stage in case you’re wondering why the captains would be so mean. She was one of only two female runners for that stage as a number of teams put out their fastest guys for the stage. Anneliese held her own though and finished in an astonishing 1:36:45 on the hilly half marathon distance course and 16th position. Her time was 21 minutes inside the cut off.

The finish at Tintern Abbey was one of the highlights although as stated earlier, most of the start / finish locations were pretty special in terms of scenery. As we waited for Anneliese to come in, Steven James headed off for Stage 9 – a 10 mile route from the abbey to Chepstow Castle taking in 945 feet of elevation making it the second hilliest in terms of climbing elevation. Again, a number of teams appeared to put their best runners out on this stage and Steven ran a great time of 1:17:14 and 20th place.

Liz Davis was next up taking on a 5.6 mile route to Caldicot Castle with around 300 feet of elevation. Liz missed the cut off by just a few seconds and was therefore awarded a time of 51 minutes and 24th place. It should be noted that 8 runners out the 28 also didn’t make the cut off on what was a deceivingly tough route. Our team spirit and camaraderie really shone through as every one of the team was proud of Liz who absolutely gave it her all and still recorded a great time.

Most of us missed Paul heading off for stage 11 as the tight timings to get from the previous stage didn’t quite work out. His route was 8.3 miles with 551 feet of elevation and was a rare one that didn’t finish at a castle or on a bridge, however, there was a pub which was packed with runners and supporters. Many of you reading this may not have met Paul yet who is relatively new to the club and is amongst our fastest runners. He smashed the route in 55:43 and recorded our joint highest finish of the day with 6th overall.

All of us made it to see him finish whilst across the road, Sian was heading off on the penultimate stage. Stage 12 was 6.6 miles with 266 feet of elevation. We’d be told Sian would get one of the best finishes of all the stages and as we arrived we could see why. The finish was at Caerleon Amphitheatre which dates back to 90 AD and was a venue for gladiatorial combat. Sian finished by running into the middle of the amphitheatre with the rest of us watching from 20-30 feet above. She did get a little confused with exactly where the finish line was and carried on running for a few more metres though. Her time was 51:37 which was well inside the cut off of 60 minutes and she was 18th overall.

The spectacular finish was also the spectacular start venue for our final runner, our club coach, Emma Loyns. Emma had been dreading her stage which although the second shortest at 5.4 miles, it included almost 500 feet of elevation climbing for much of the route and including the a section at the end that a local club use for long hill sessions. The rest of us headed off to the finishing point and caused a little bit of chaos when we accidently ended up driving up the narrow road close to finish where the runners were heading. We had to stop to let the runners go through and wait until they’d finished so frustratingly the final stage was the only one we didn’t make it to see our runner finish. Lesson learnt for next year if we are invited back. Emma smashed it in 47:30 coming in under the cut off and finishing in 20th place.

When we all eventually parked up at the finishing venue at the Castell y Bwch pub we got in the queue for some much needed food and drinks. We’d been given food vouchers at the start of the day which entitled us to curry and chips which went down a treat as we watched the presentations for the stage winners and overall team winners.

The organisers had been posting results from each stage throughout the day along with current team standings so we excitingly awaited to see our final position. Eventually we saw that we’d finished in 14th place out of 28 teams. A fantastic effort and beyond what many of us had expected in our first year. We also finished almost an hour ahead of friendly local rivals, Brackla, who have been competing in Rack Raid for many years (lets ignore that they were probably saving themselves for Welsh Castles the weekend after).

101.5 miles completed in 12 hours 36 minutes and 44 seconds.

So how would I sum it up? Well firstly I would say that elevation profiles don’t always tell the whole story as every single one of our runners found the stages harder than expected. The entire day was very well organised and I can’t imagine the planning and logistics required by Fairwater Runners Cwmbran who run the event. Amazing commitment and support by every single member of our team who were out for 12 hours or more which for a few of us included 100+ miles of driving, running one of the stages and supporting at as many stages as possible.  An absolutely fantastic day was had by all and I think if you ask any of the 13 of us that ran it, we would absolutely recommend the club does it again next year. The support and effort put in by every team member was amazing.

Rack Raid 2020 anyone?

May 2019 review


This month saw our members clock up 246 parkrun finishes in 45 parkrun events. Our members visited 27 different parkruns in month including 19 in Wales with the others being Buckingham, Crosby, Dartford Heath, Isabel Trail, Longrun Meadow, Lydney, Milton Keynes and Thornbury.

There were 27 parkrun PB’s including Aled Hughes, Catherine Robinson, Jay Howells, Maria George and Sian Jenkins who all notched up 2 parkrun PB’s each in the month. Aled smashed the 19 minute barrier for the first time with a 18:46 whilst Sian Jenkins double means she now has 17 parkrun PB’s in 32 parkruns and has gone from 42:43 to 29:31 over the past 15 months.

Our other parkrun PB-ers were Abbiegayle Lumsden, Adrian Pearce, Andrew Hughes, Anthony Kavanagh, Chris Bimson, Claire Williams, Dawn Apsee, Heather Morgan, James Beynon, Judith Jeeves, Leanne Puleio, Nicola Cornock, Paul Barrett, Paul James, Sara Davies, Steph Iveson-Holmes and Wayne Randall. A couple of highlights include Adrian smashing his PB with an 18:16 making him the fastest current member in the club over 5K. Another PB for Chris Bimson means he now has 10 parkrun PB’s in just 17 parkruns so far with 9 of those PB’s being this year.

In case this has passed you by, Swansea seems to be the place to go if you are on form and looking for a PB with 8 of our members getting a PB there this month. I know a few others including our Chairman Chris Pratt who’s 5K PB has been set at Swansea parkrun.

Finally, this month saw Diana Purnell and Brett Bonell celebrate their 50th parkruns.


The first day of the month saw 36 runners at the first race of the Aberavon 5K series. Ryan Evans lead the Phoenix runners back with a speedy 18:58 despite a headwind for half of the race. Jonathan Tidball, Sarah Davies, Paul Barrett, Chris Stanlake, Kaye Pedler, Alexis Barrett and Stephne Puddy all bagged themselves PB’s. A huge well done to Elaine Nash and Philippa Nash who completed their first race with the club as well.

Karl Johnson and Nige Rees ran the Cardiff Race for Victory 5K. This was the second race of the day for Karl who had run the Newport 10K that morning. Nige Rees  got a new PB of 24:39.

We had 6 runners at the Swansea Bay 5K where Niki went sub 19 and claimed the fastest 5K time of anyone in the club for this year with a 18:54. Shawn Cullen claimed a new PB to add to the growing list this year with a 25:40.

We also had 6 runners at the first of the SSAFA 5K series where Aled ran 19:03 followed by seasons bests from Chris Pratt (21:27), and David Kembery (21:50). Nick Harris notched up yet another event along with Karl Johnson and Dawn Hopkins clocked a sub 25 with a 24:52. 

The final event of the month was the Merthyr Mawr Lane 5K with 57 members completing the course. Adrian Pearce led the way in an impressive 18:37 whilst Aled Hughes and Niki Puleio were next up in 18:56 and 19:00 respectively. For the second year in a row Simon Williams got close to a first sub 20 with 20:16 whilst I was next up in my best time since the same race last year with a 20:33.  Final results are still to be confirmed so these are provisional times but it looks like there were multiple PB’s set including for Denise Bradley who picked up her second top 3 age category placing in just 4 days.

5 miles

A rare 5 mile event with the Porthkerry Multi Terrain 5 miler. It was also the latest fixture in the club trail championship which is proving very popular this year as we had 28 entrants. Adrian Pearce led us back followed by Aled and myself. Sarah Davies was our first female followed by Emma Loyns and Denise Bradley. There were multiple PB’s with so many running a 5 mile race for the first time with the club including Luke Jones, Steven James, Sarah Davies, Jo Gamba, Nige Rees, Paul Barrett, Dawn Hopkins, Sharon Pritchard, Alexis Barrett, Nicola Cornock, Stephne Puddy and Andrea Self.

We had 12 runners at the Tonmawr Hilly 5 miler where Adrian Pearce led our club members back in 33:30 and was 2nd in his age category. Steve Loveluck was 3rd in his age category whilst April’s female runner of the month, Anneliese Loveluck was 1st female overall. Denise Bradley was 2nd in her age category. Unsuprisingly given the course, the PB’s were for those either running their first 5 miler or those that had only run a similiarly tough 5 miler previously. There were PB’s for Jonathan Tidball, Sian Jenkins, Nicola Cornock and Stephne Puddy.


The first weekend of the month saw the second Newport 10K with 39 runners from the club. Niki Puleio ran just 3 seconds outside his PB with a 38:11 despite having run London Marathon just a week earlier. His time is also the fastest 10K in the club this year. Neil Price chipped a few seconds off his PB to come even more agonisingly close to his first sub 40 with a 40:07. Running side by side throughout, Chris Wonka Williams had the better finish to beat me and finish as our third runner in 43:28.

Sarah Davies was our first female in a PB time of 48:48 meaning she claimed a 5K and 10K PB’s in the same week. Jo Gamba also bagged herself a PB with her first sub 50 clocking at 49:19. Our third female finisher was Emma Loyns who had only travelled back from Florida the day before.

The huge PB list included Simon Harrison, Gareth Davies, Jay Howells, Alun Job, Paul Iskander, Dawn Hopkins, Phill Iveson, Sian Thomas, Amanda Taylor, Steph Iveson, Sara Davies, Tammie Baker, Deb Edwards, Catherine Robinson, Nicola Cornock, Maria George, Cath Griffiths and Claudine Nicholson. Well done to Chris Stanlake and Alexis Barrett who also got 10K PB’s just 4 days after setting new 5K PB’s.

The Swansea Epic 10K saw 6 of our runners complete the tough off road course with Chris Richards claiming his first sub 1 hour 10K and Dawn Wright completing her first race as a Phoenix.

Niki Puleio was back in action again and ran a 38:47 with David Kembery our only other finisher in 46:24. Shawn Cullen ran the tough, off road, Brecon Beacons 10K whilst a week later, Steve Loveluck, Denise Bradley and Karl Johnson completed the Builth Wells Trail 10K.

Karl made it a weekend 10K double doing the Caerphilly 10K the day after whilst David Kembery made it three 10K races on consecutive weekends. Nige Rees ran a PB of 53:23 whilst new members Tyler Howells and Abbiegayle Lumsden came in with a PBs of 58:00 and 1:08:51 respectively. There were 11 Ogmore Phoenix Runners in total at Caerphilly.

Another couple of 10K’s to finish off the month as Dawn Hopkins ran the Vitality London 10K whilst Karl, Sharon Pritchard and Debbie Bennion completed the Treforest 10K.

Half Marathons

Julie Ransom ran the Milton Keynes Half Marathon whilst Liz Davis and Liz Sim ran the Bath Two Tunnels Half Marathon early in the month. Sally Pensom ran the Chester Half Marathon whilst Gary Loo scored a PB and first sub 2 Half Marathon at the Great Manchester Run. Sharon Pritchard ran the only local Half Marathon of the month with 4 laps of 3.3 miles at the latest Infinity Running event in Margam Park.

Finally, Shawn and Julie completed the Liverpool Half Marathon on the final weekend of the month.


Just a week after the heroics and excitement of the London Marathon, we had 11 runners at the second running of the Newport Marathon. Wayne Hayhurst took another few minutes off his marathon best coming in at 3:20:54 – an incredible improvement considering before this year he hadn’t run under 4 hours. Steven James also notched a PB with a 3:33:38 with Ryan Evans coming in at 3:39:52 in his first marathon.

Keith Coleman just missed out on the sub 4 with a 4:03 and next up were Gregg Harris in 4:19 and Dan Clark in 4:36. Anthony Kavanagh ran a 4:44 PB whilst Emma Marshall was paced round by Chris Pratt in a PB time of 4:49 which was a huge improvement on her time from the previous year. Peter Walsh completed the course in 5:11 whilst Jamie Puddy completed his debut marathon in 5:21.

Chris Pratt was back in action for his 5th Marathon in just  10 weeks (plus the Vale Ultra thrown in for good measure) at the latest Infinity Running event in Margam park where he completed 8 laps of the 3.3 mile course to make up the marathon distance. A 4:11 finish time being his fastest of the 5 despite the usual stops for photos and a bit of chatting along the way. He’d also run 10 miles the day before with me and Jo Gamba down to Porthcawl parkrun.

There were yet more Marathon heroics at the Liverpool Marathon where Amy and Chris Roberts returned for a second year. Despite a reported challenging headwind for the final few miles, Amy got another PB and set a new club age category record with a 3:51:49 whilst Chris came in just over the 4 hour mark with a 4:05:03.

Ultra Marathons

Steven James took on the Brecon Beacons Ultra. A 32 mile race with an eye watering 6700 feet of elevation. That’s more than double the elevation of Snowdonia Marathon and over testing, tricky terrain. He completed the course in 6 hours 50 minutes before going on to run the Porthkerry 5 miler the next day.

A week later Steven was back in action, this time running the latest Infinity Running event with an aim of using it as more long run training for an upcoming Ultra of even longer distance. Steven ended up managing 12 laps of the 3.3 mile course within the allotted 7 hour cut off (finishing after 6 hours and 36 minutes) and incredible kept up a 10 minute mile pace throughout, ending up covering 39.3 miles.

It’s difficult to find the words for what one member did this month so I’m just going to put the details and then a couple of comments I put on Facebook before and after the run. Nick Harris took on the Dragon 100 mile race. Starting in Rhossili Bay in the Gower and finishing in Cardiff Bay following the Coastal Path but also throwing in Afan Forest for good measure which helped bump up the elevation to around 9000 feet.

I started another tracking post to follow his progress and wrote this just as he was starting at 6pm on Saturday evening… “Absolutely crazy to think that whilst we’re having our evening meals tonight, Nick will be running. Whilst we sleep tonight, Nick will be running. When we have breakfast, do our morning run and for the entire time our Newport Marathoners are running – Nick will still be running. Sunday lunch, afternoon and possibly even bedtime tomorrow, Nick will still be running. Incredible.”

29 hours and 28 minutes later Nick finished and I wrote this… “He’s rewritten the history books again. I’ve been fortunate enough to know Nick Harris since he first joined the club in 2013. He started out at the back. Within a year he went from back marker to our fastest runner in the club breaking several club records and winning Runners Runner in 2014 in his first full year with the club. He’s run well over 400 events for the club and took on every challenge possible. This week has pretty much summed Nick up… a fell race, a 5K, 1 miler and a 100 miler. He will take on any challenge. The mental strength to run 100 miles is just beyond what most of us could comprehend, let alone the physical side of moving forward for a 100 miles and seeing darkness fall twice. Above it all, a genuinely lovely, unassuming guy. A gentlemen. A supporter. St Nick. Our Phoenix.”

Other races

From a 100 miler to 1 milers. A day before his 100 mile race started, Nick warmed up with the Cardiff Summer Series 1 miler along with new member Joe Hill. Later in the month, Dai James clocked a speedy 5:27 mile at the Steve Jones 1 mile series in Bryn Bach along with Aled Hughes and Karl Johnson.

Aled and Nick were on a mission with events this month with them being our only runners at the Lady Windsor race and joining several others for the Whitford Point Multi Terrain race. Aled was joined by Adrian Pearce and David Sheard to take on the 3000 feet of elevation included in the Cader Idris Mountain Race whilst Leanne Parsons completed another tough off roader with the Preseli Beast Bach.

Bridgend County Running League

I had to save the best for last. The first race of the 2019 Bridgend League saw our attendance record at a single event smashed as we exceeded 100 runners for the first time with 114 members completing the course.

At the front end, I think I can safely say we had our strongest 15 scorers to date with another golden find by Neil Price who introduced his mate Gareth Battle to the club who was our first finisher, followed by Niki, Ryan Evans, Adrian Pearce, James Littlewood, Paul Smith, Aled Hughes and Neil Price. Our top 8 finishing in the top 22 positions overall and every one of them capable of a low 19 minute 5K time. The remainder of our top 15 was made up of Wayne Hayhurst (just 3 days after his amazing Newport Marathon time), Gareth Richards, Saul Harris, myself, Luke Jones, Kris Denholm and Gareth Davies. Several more came in close behind.

The course at Ogmore Castle was amended slightly from last year to start further down Golf Club Hill meaning an even longer climb to start with before a couple of miles running on the trails and fields at the top before a fast descent including some tricky rocky and sandy sections. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security though as the final half mile or so included a steep narrow incline and a very muddy and slippery finish. A massive well done to everyone who took on the course and completing it.

For the competitive amongst us, the excitement grew as we realised we’d had an incredible team performance with so many of our top end finishing in high positions and the incredible turnout meaning we would have one of, if not our best event score ever. I am very proud to announce, Ogmore Phoenix Runners won the first event of the BCRL. If you are reading this having run for us at that event, you made that happen. One of the best things about the BCRL is that every single finishers makes a difference to the scoring no matter if you are the first or final finisher so well done to every single runner.

This month saw 620 results recorded with 246 parkruns and 374 race finishes. Our members attended 36 different races in month with everything from 1 mile to 100 miles and from flat road races to a race over one of the Welsh 3 peaks. Incredible. Now it’s over to our Chairman, Chris Pratt, for his runners of the month.

Chairman’s Runners of the Month

I’ll launch straight in this month with my first accolade.  It won’t take long to work out who it’s going to…

100 miles.  Rhossili to Cardiff Bay with a little detour up around the Afan Forest thrown in for good measure.  It sounds like a car journey, that you might consider for a day trip.  For one of us it was an adventure.  Start time was 6pm Saturday evening.  He ran through sunset.  He ran through the night and as our Captain said in a Facebook post as we were all getting up out of our beds on Sunday morning, he was still running.  Changes of shoes, socks and various items of clothing were necessary during the journey.  Various members of the club turned out to support him at multiple points along the route.  The sun approaching Porthcawl wore him down to reveal an almost broken man to supporters there.  With refreshment and a subsequent drop in temperatures he pressed on and showed amazing endeavour to keep going all the way along the coast.  To put it in perspective he reached the end of Vale Ultra having completed almost 70 miles and then had to run it in reverse on incredibly tired legs.  The support crew built as he approached his goal.  With odd shoes on his feet he arrived at Cardiff Bay at 23:45 on Saturday night to rapturous applause from supporters both present and at home watching live.  An epic performance.  A story of true grit and determination.  A 100 mile PB of 29 hours and 28 minutes was in the bag!  Not only this but he also did a flurry of events during the week and even a parkrun on the Saturday morning before the 100 miler kicked off!!  Amazing stuff and such a worthy winner of the Chairman’s Male Runner of the Month accolade for May.  Mr Nick Harris.  We salute you.

There have been lots of ladies doing amazing things this month.  We’ve had PB’s left, right and centre.  We’ve had long distances covered.  Very difficult to separate all the huge achievements.

But it’s not always about big achievements.  Sometimes it’s just being able to get out there that makes a difference.  Someone who has had a year of hardship.  Long term injury had plagued and it was a struggle to get out and get the miles in.  Despite that there was a resolute person battling along behind the scenes.  Walking at club sessions and helping to bring on our walking section.  Staying connected by social media and attending social gatherings.  But quietly, in the background, she was running.  Helped by osteopathy to re-commence the journey, she took advantage of a challenge through a charity she held dear and set a target.  Nobody was in on it.  It was something she tackled quietly in the background.  The target was 50 miles.  She ended on 73.  Rekindling a love for something so long missed.  Social miles completed with friends and longer runs than had been tackled in a long while.  At the same time completing a leadership course to give even more back to the club joining the ranks of wonderful leaders we have within our midst.  A story that warms the heart and an accolade to a determined soul.  Riding out such long periods of injury is tough.  This brings to mind times when we need to rally to support those within our midst who are struggling.  A huge hats off to my Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month for May, Jayne Bissmire, for her determined focus in the face of adversity and her fight to get back into the running groove.  Well done Jayne.

April 2019 review


This month saw 206 parkrun finishes by 106 different members across 35 different parkrun venues.

As well as the usual South Wales parkruns, tourism included Ashton Court, Bedford, Brighouse, Buckingham, Burgess, California Country, Cirencester, Dartford Heath, Exmouth, Great Dunmow, Greenwich, Groe, Highbury Fields, Parke, Rushcliffe, Seaton, South Sheilds, Victoria Dock, Woking and Woodhouse Moor.

This month saw Aled Hughes reach his ‘Cow’ or ‘Half Cowell’ meaning he has now run at 50 different parkrun venues. Chris Stanlake ran his 100th parkrun whilst Sara Davies ran her 50th.

There were 26 PB’s in the month with Gareth Davies, Julie Ransom and Megan Apsee all notching up 2 each. The other PB hero’s this month are Andrew Hughes, Chris Bimson, Dawn Apsee, Deborah Dong, Deborah Edwards, Fiona Randall, Frances Hughes, Laura Worrall, Leanne Puleio, Maria George, Michelle Alexander, Paul Iskander, Paul James, Phill Iveson, Rachel Jones, Ruth Thomas, Sharon Pritchard, Sian Thomas and Stephanie Iveson-Holmes.


Just one 10K race with only 1 club entrant this month with Julie Ransom completing the Margam Pursuit 10K in 1:06:14.

10 miles

The rearranged Reverse 10 saw Neil Price lead the club home in 1:09:31 with Lisa Pinney next up in 1:32:40 and Kayley Griffiths in 1:41:19.

Half Marathons

Chris Richards took on the Pendine Half Marathon which is entirely run on the beach. Martin Beard, Sharon Pritchard and Debbie Bennion completed the inaugural Kite Trail Half Marathon – a hilly trail race starting in Llanharen.

The biggest Half Marathon of the month was at the Great Welsh Half where myself and Denise were official pacers running 2 hours and 2:30 respectively. Liz Davis bagged herself a new PB with a 2:02:09 whilst Jamie Puddy continued his excellent run of form with a 2:18 PB despite a tough headwind from mile 5 through to 11. Rebecca Newton finished just ahead of Jamie in 2:17.


Incredibly, we had more Marathon finishers than 10K, 10 miles and Half Marathons put together this month.

Starting with a not so normal marathon, Steven James took on the Beacons Marathon which included almost 5000 feet of ascent. To put that in perspective, Snowdonia Marathon is 2800 feet. The terrain was also very tricky resulting in a 5:50 finish that I’m sure is still very respectable.

We had 6 runners at the Great Welsh Marathon with more official pacers from the club. Chris Pratt paced 4:15 and Kris Denholm paced 5 hours.

Anneliese Loveluck was running her first road marathon and obliterated the female club record finishing in 3:13:56 to finish in 4th place overall. What is even more incredible is that the London Good For Age qualifying time for her age category is 3:53 so she has qualified by almost 40 minutes. Some other stats I later found out included that Anneliese set the fastest marathon time by any Welsh Female in her age category this year, and no other Welsh female in her age category has run a faster marathon time in the past 18 months. At the time of her result, she was also ranked in the top 100 female marathon times in Britain for any age category this year.

The amazing running continued at the Great Welsh Marathon with Wayne Hayhurst knocking an incredible 40 minutes off his Marathon PB with a 3:25. Dai James ran just outside of his marathon PB with a 3:38 whilst Hannah Knight completed her first ever Marathon in 5:51.

Anticipation for the London Marathon had been building for weeks, but quietly (not usually a word associated with this person), Sarah Littlewood was plotting her own marathon on the same day in the much quieter and more beautiful setting of Stratford upon Avon. Sarah finished in 3:57:33 to become only our 5th female to ran under 4 hours in the history of the club, and only the 3rd to run a sub 4 on her debut marathon. The time also meant she set a new club age category record in the Female 35-39 category.

Onto the big one. The London Marathon. Normally I start a tracking post on the morning of the marathon, but such was the excitement in the build up, I started it on Friday evening and screenshot good luck messages from all over Facebook and photos of our runners at the expo to create a London Marathon memories post that they could all look back on. Jayne Bissmire had heavily contributed to the exciting build up with ‘Featured Phoenix’ write up’s on each of our 17 runners. Despite 40,000 runners, plenty of our runners were spotted on the live coverage and finish live coverage once the main coverage had ended.

As for the race itself, Niki Puleio led the club home in an outstanding 2:59:51 becoming only the second member in the history of the club to break 3 hours. Kris Denholm was next up and smashed his marathon PB with a 3:45.

Sian Price became the 6th female member of the club to break 4 hours with a 3:55:47 and in the process, took the age category for female 35-39 within an hour of Sarah Littlewood claiming it. It also means that Sian is the first member ever in the history of the club to have a complete sweep of all the distances within an age category with records at 5K, 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles, Half Marathon and Marathon.

Brett Bonell completed his first marathon in 4:51 with another marathon debutant, Natalie Aryal finishing just behind in 4:52. Shawn Cullen got inside the 5 mark on his first marathon with a 4:56 whilst Sara Bayliss finished in 4:57. Another marathon debut PB was claimed with Ashely Howells finishing in 5:01.

Helen Griffiths, accompanied by Denise Bradley, smashed her marathon PB by 44 minutes with a 5:04. Rebecca Newton continued the PB’s with a 5:10 whilst Rhiannon Sian smashed her marathon PB by 11 minutes with a 5:12. Gary Piper bowed out from marathon races with a brave 5:48 after multiple injury issues heavily hampered his training resulting in Gary confirming this would be his last marathon more than 30 years after his first.

The final four were yet more first time marathoner with Lisa Jenkins finishing in 5:49, Claire Taylor 6:02, Vickie Blake 6:08 and Lousie Bennett 7:17.

We also had more than a dozen club members supporting in London including some that travelled up that morning. The ones at home followed on the tracker and my tracking post which ended up accumulating over 1000 comments. Thanks to Jo Gamba for helping me keep up with everyone’s progress so I could post updates as soon as they appeared.

Other races

April was certain a month of long distance runs with 37 members running the Vale 18 (nearer to 19) miler. Dan Clark was our first finisher in 3:27 which saw more than a dozen members complete either their longest run to date, or longest trail run. Almost everyone who had run the course before beat their previous best times with weather conditions perfect for most runners with the wind behind the runners and cool conditions… although it did get a bit warm at points and some runners still got sunburn.

We had a further 14 runners in the Ultra with Steve Loveluck leading the runners home. More than half of the runners were completing their first ultra including Steve, Adrian Pearce, Emma Loyns, Sara Vowles, Louise Foster, Emma Williams, Nige Rees and Adam Rowe.

The support on the course and particularly at the end was bigger and better than ever. Runners plus supporters must have exceeded 80 members of the club on the day with many joining the party at the finish line where there was enough food to last us all a week.

Other races in the month included 9 members taking on the Gilwern Grunt. A tough multi-terrain course with a very interesting finish that is so steeply downhill that runners are resigned to sliding down most of it. On the final day of the month, we had 5 runners at the Pentyrch Hill Race. Another tough, fell classified race with 7 miles of constant hills. Adrian Pearce was followed by Aled Hughes in both of these events whilst Sarah Davies and Fiona Drysdale were our first ladies home in the respective races.

What a month. 76 finishes in races of 18 miles or more and barely any races under Half Marathon distance albeit still huge attendances at our home parkruns and plenty of parkrun tourism. Well done to everyone who represented OPR this month and good luck to Chairman, Chris Pratt on another tricky choice for his runners of the month below.

Chairman’s Runners of the Month

Just like last month this has been a very arduous task.  So many amazing achievements throughout the month. First time marathons and PB’s left, right and centre. Incredible that we had 76 finishers at races of 18 miles or more in length!

I’ve always maintained that these choices will depend on entirely different criteria, but sometimes fast running outshines everything else and I have to turn to it for my choices.

In terms of female achievements I have chosen this person before but even when I scribbled down all the names from this months accolades I couldn’t avoid choosing one.  It has been over a year since she was last honoured, however.  It will be difficult to conceal the person concerned as soon as I start listing the reasons.  Top 100 female marathon time in Britain for any age category this year.  The fastest marathon time by any Welsh female in her age category in the last 18 months!  She has exceeded her good for age qualification time for the London Marathon by almost 40 minutes.  There are very few words I can add to that.  It is quite simply an amazing achievement.  She finished the marathon in 3:13:56.  I was running the same event and pacing other runners to 4:15 and every time I passed her she was totally focused but making it look like it was a walk in the park!!  Absolutely outstanding.  I have no hesitation awarding my Chairman’s Female Runner of the Month to Anneliese Loveluck.  All I want to know is, what’s next?

Again for fantastic running performance this is for someone that I have never actually awarded anything to in the past.  He has been credited by our statto for his achievements however.  There’s always been a target in his mind.  He ran a formidable run at Snowdonia Marathon Eryri last year hitting 3:15 on a tough course.  But that was never going to be enough.  He trains with conviction and has a dogged determination that always sees him relentlessly pursue his goal.  Heading up to London he had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve.  Tracking him he went out clearly targeting the objective from the off and it all fit into place.  That photograph of him 600 yards from the line knowing that the goal was in the bag was one of sheer delight.  To experience that feeling of knowing you have achieved something so significant, whether it be completing a 5k or smashing your sub 3 hour target for a marathon is euphoric.  The picture captured it all in one instant.  A very humble and supportive runner who admires everyone of all abilities while targeting his own phenomenal targets and smashing them.  2:59:51.  Those numbers will be etched on his brain…  until the next goal is set!!  Again no hesitation in awarding my Chairman’s male runner of the month to Niki Puleio and again I have to ask, what’s next?

March 2019 Review

parkruns – a record month

This month saw a record 330 parkrun finishes by a record 149 different members across a record 36 different parkrun venues. With a 5 Saturday / parkrunday month, it was always going to be big numbers, but even after 4 Saturdays we’d set new record amounts. The total numbers for each Saturday were 52, 56, 71, 85 and 62. The jump marks when the new batch of Zero to Hero’s graduated on the 3rd Saturday of the month. The 4th Saturday saw a huge proportion of them return as well as a few more that had missed the previous week and were graduating a week later.  The final weekend saw a slight drop which was understandable considering the turnout of Cardiff Bay 10K the next day and with just a week to go until the Vale races.

As well as the usual parkruns across South Wales, tourism included Telford, Winchester, Dartford Heath, Lancaster, Mount Edgcumbe, Cirencester, Sandwell Valley, Didcot, Harlow, Milton Keynes, Bath Skyline, Gloucester North, Tewkesbury, Wotton, Kingsway, Mile End, Minehead and Burham.

Further afield we had two different Dublin parkruns with Gary Loo at River Valley and Fiona Drysdale at Fairview. Plus we had yet more Australian parkruns with Frances Manship at Albert parkrun in Sydney, and the Sheards at Centennial parkrun on their first Saturday in Oz and Hamilton Island on the second.

This month saw David Sheard become the 5th club member to join the 250 club whilst Victoria Hillman, Julie Ransom and Shawn Cullen all celebrated her 100th parkruns.

Normally at this point I would list the PB’s in month but there were so many with the new influx of Zero to Hero graduates that it would be exceptionally long. A massive well done to everyone whether it was a first timer PB or a PB on your 100th run.


Sally Pensom ran the Chester 10K which had almost 4000 runners in a new PB time of 55:59.

We finished off the month with the Cardiff Bay 10K with an outstanding 62 runners. However, what is even more remarkable is that there were 39 PB’s. Where do I start? Well James Littlewood led the club home with a huge PB and became only the 5th member to go sub 40 with a 39:28. Neil Price also claimed a PB with 40:20, whilst Steven James made it 2 PB’s in 2 days with a 41:52. Keith Coleman got his first sub 45 whilst Simon Harrison claimed a PB despite starting towards the back.

The girls absolutely smashed it. Sarah Littlewood moved to 5th in the club female 10K ranking with an outstanding 46:07 which I think surprised everyone including Sarah. Emma Loyns was just a couple of minutes back with a 48:56 PB despite the last thing she said to me walking into the pen was that she ‘was taking it easy with the Vale Ultra in 6 days time’. Denise Bradley claimed the female 55-59 age category club record with 50:07 and was closely followed home by Sarah Davies in 50:25, Jo Gamba in 50:34 and Dawn Hopkins in 52:38 with all adding to the PB list.

Ben Davies added a 10K PB to multiple parkrun PB’s in 2019. Last months male runner of the month, Shawn Cullen, added yet another PB to the list for this year adding to parkrun, 10 mile and Half Marathon PB’s. Emma Marshall, Natalie Aryal, Rhiannon Sian, Hannah Knight, Julie Ransom, Steph Iveson, Phillip Iveson, Sharon Pritchard, Debbie Bennion, Deb Edwards and Helen Griffiths all claimed PB’s between 56:17 and 59:54.

Our 2018 Runners Runner and Most Improved winner, Tammie Baker, smashed her PB by 5 minutes missing out on a sub 1 hour time by just 12 seconds. Alexis Barrett, Sarah Davies and Sian Jenkins were next up with PB’s and all followed within a couple of minutes of Tammie. Jamie and Stephne Puddy made it 3 PB’s at 3 different distances in just 8 days with parkrun, Half Marathon and 10K.

There were PB’s ranging from 39 minutes to 80 minutes so to complete the list, well done also to Gareth Davies, Craig Alexander, Paul Iskander, Andrew Hughes, Paul Barrett, Joanne Burrows, Maria George and Ffion Smith.

10 milers

This month saw our members at 2 different 10 milers. The first being the San Dom 10 miler where Kayley Griffiths, Julie Ransom and Stephne Puddy all notched PB’s. Later in the month, Emma Winch took on the super tough multi terrain Soulbreaker 10 miler and earned herself a first official 10 mile time and therefore PB.

Half Marathons

I need to start with one I missed out last month – the Hoka Winter Trail Half Marathon. Fortunately for our 8 runners, conditions weren’t quite as bad as forecast but we still had strong winds and a downpour half ways round to contend with on the course which includes close to 2000 feet of elevation. The Lovelucks were in attendance setting astonishing times to pick up yet more age category trophies with Steve clocking a 1:41 PB and Anneliese a 1:43. Steven James was up next in 1:55 whilst I was just outside 2 hours. Juliet Amner claimed a first in age category and was followed home by Liz Sim, Adam Rowe and new member Sam Connell.

March saw an incredible 12 different Half Marathons with 7 all on the same day (24/03).

The first Saturday of March saw Shawn Cullen ran the notoriously tough Ras Dewi Sant Half Marathon in 2:25:30. Despite the course distance coming up a bit short, this is yet another indication of the improvement Shawn has seen since marathon training.

A day later saw 7 members complete the Newport Half Marathon. This race was called off last year due to bad weather so I believe most of our runners were actually running as a result of deferred places and may have originally signed up in late 2017. Nige Rees led the club home in a PB time of 1:56 whilst Sarah Davies picked up her first sub 2 hour time coming in a few seconds under 1:59 with Alun Wylde just a few seconds behind. Paul Barrett got a PB of 2:20 with Nigel Hitchings and Steph Dyke finishing in the same time. Our final finisher was Alexis Barrett in 2:26.

Louise Bennett had a taster of what’s to come in the London Marathon when she completed the London Big Half in a PB of 2:49 following in the footsteps of Mo Farah who won the event. The course took in most of the middle section of the London Marathon course (but in reverse) finishing at Cutty Sark.

Weekend 3 of the month saw Saul Harris finish the Bath Half Marathon in 1:42 ahead of his brother Nick (1:48). Ashley Howells notched up an excellent PB of 1:55:47 on what isn’t the flattest of courses. Our final finisher was Jonathan Pritchard in 3:11.

Weekend 4 of the month was when we saw an incredible record with members running at 7 different Half Marathons on the same day in 3 different countries. The biggest attendance of the day was at Cardiff Taff Trail Half Marathon. A no-frills race at just £11 to enter (therefore no goodies afterwards), on very flat out and back course. Paul Smith was first back in a PB time of 1:27:46 whilst Neil Price clocked his first sub 90 minute Half Marathon with 1:29:29. Kris Denholm who very rarely runs Half Marathons, ran his fastest Half Marathon since joining the club with a 1:40:49. Jo Gamba was our first lady back in 2:06:04 and not too far behind was an astonishing run by Julie Ransom who knocked 23 minutes off her PB with a 2:10:29. It means she’s pretty much mirrored what her husband Shawn did a month earlier with 5K, 10 mile and Half Marathon PB’s all within a couple of weekends.

Many of our Maesteg parkrun / Just Run Penybont contingent ran the Weston Super-Mare HM with Gregg Harris finishing with a PB of 1:46:59. More PB’s followed for Alun Job, Jamie Puddy and Stephne Puddy who ran with Emma Marshall as our final finishers. Seven members made their way to London for the London Landmarks Half Marathon with Gary Loo and Nicola Veasey clocking PB’s.

The Littlewoods ran at the Ironbridge HM with James getting a 1:36:40 PB. Emma Morris paced 2:30 at the Limassol Half Marathon in Cyprus coming in at 2:29:26. We had 9 runners at the Forest of Dean Half Marathon. No PB’s to be had on the undulating trail course with many of our runners using it as another training run towards the Vale races or marathons.

Finally we had 4 runners at the Merthyr Half Marathon were Anneliese Loveluck annihilated the female club record with 1:32:33 which was also a PB by over 9 minutes. It also puts Anneliese in 10th for fastest Half Marathon PB in the club overall. Wayne Randall was next up with a 2:06 whilst Vickie Blake ran a PB of 2:41:51. Our final finisher was Karl Johnson who finished in 2:53:03 having stopped to help another runner.


Emma Loyns and Liz Sim took on the Ras Dewi Sant Marathon finishing in 6:05 and 6:52 respectively. The marathon is one of the toughest in the UK with technical multi terrain and steep sections along the clifftops of the Pembrokeshire coast. It was the final marathon in a challenge Liz had set herself which was to run 10 marathons in 2 years. An outstanding achievement.

Chris Pratt ran 2 marathons in March with the Infinity Spring Marathon which I’ll come onto later, and then at another event by the same company which was set in Aberdare.

West Glamorgan Cross Country League

With the season complete, I thought I’d do a quick round up of how we’ve done this season. Promotion for the men’s team in the 2017/18 season meant our first season in Division 2 which is almost a mini-Bridgend League with Brackla, Cornelly and Porthcawl all in the same division. TROTS, Neath Black Tuesday, Swansea University and Amman Valley Runners made up the remaining teams. Many of these clubs have been competition in the league for decades whilst this was only our 4th season.

The men’s team ended up finishing 5th out of 8 which should see us stay in Division 2 barring another reshuffle of the tables.

A decent finishing position in 17/18 and a reshuffle of the divisions meant that the ladies were also given a place in division 2 out of 3 for the 18/19 season. They were in direct competition with 3M’s, Llanelli AC, TROTS, Paul Popham Running Club, Celtic Tri, Tata Steel and Swansea University. Again facing teams with a lot of experience.

The ladies team also finished 5th out of 8 which should see them stay in Division 2 barring another reshuffle of the tables.

The first fixture at Llanmadoc saw 10 runners with a split of 5 men and 5 women which is the minimum required as each team’s first 5 runners count for team scoring purposes. There was a better turnout with 16 at Kenfig and another increase to 20 for Margam Reservoir where we had a particularly strong men’s team with Adrian Pearce, Niki, Paul Smith, Neil Price and Kris Denholm. 15 attended Margam before 16 ran the final fixture at the Gnoll.

Well done to Adrian Pearce who finished as our highest ranked runner in the individual standings at 46th out of 470 runners. Jo Gamba was our highest ranked lady at 44th out of 360 female runners. In total we had 48 number of different members run during the season.

Other races

We had 10 runners for the Rhayader Round the Lakes 30K. A popular event for many runners training for a springtime marathon or ultra as was the case for many of ours who ran. Aled Hughes led our runners back in 2:35 closely followed by Simon Harrison. Our first lady back was Carol Bartle in 3:20.

The next event in the Infinity Running series saw 4 of our runners complete 4 different distances so I’ve included it in this section rather than repeat the same event 4 times. The event in Margam Park included laps of around 3.3 miles. Judith Jeeves completed 2 laps to record a ‘10K’ of 1:06, Sharon Pritchard completed 4 laps for a Half Marathon time of 2:36, Nick Harris completed 5 laps for 16.5 miles in total in a time of 2:51, whilst Chris Pratt did 8 laps to record a marathon time of 4:16.

David Sheard took on ‘the Grizzly’. A roughly 20 mile race including bog, cliff edges, beaches, waist deep water crossing and over 3000 feet of elevation. Despite all this, it’s an incredibly popular race and one of only a few in the UK that you need to ballot to get a place. David completed the course in 4:06.

The Narberth Numbers event provided a different challenge with 6 runners from the club pairing up and using maps to find 8 checkpoints on a trail course… in the dark. The shortest route would be around 6 miles but as you can imagine, some did a couple more. Well done to Aled and Nick who completed the course finding all 8 checkpoints in 1:48. Gareth Richards and Leigh Francis managed 6 out of 8 and added a bit more distance than required, whilst Fiona Evans and Denise Bradley found 4 out of 8 before returning a lot sooner than the other pairs. Shawn and Julie took on the

Cosmeston Pursuit 10K however, it’s included under ‘other’ races as due to storm-force winds, the route had to be amended to avoid a forestry section and ended up being closer to 8K.


This month also saw the club AGM where it was fantastic to hear the chairman’s report on such an outstanding year for the club. I’m honoured to be the new Male captain after our long standing captain Richard Lowcock James stood down to focus on his many other roles within the club. Congratulations to Jo Gamba and Nick Harris who are the new Vice Captains whilst all other roles remained as they were.

That wraps up my review of one of the busiest months ever for Ogmore Phoenix Runners. Over to Chris for his choices for Chairman’s Runner of the Month – I don’t think that will be an easy task!

 Chairman’s Runners of the Month

This task gets tougher and tougher.  As we grow as a club it becomes increasingly more difficult to choose someone who stands out from the crowd.  Months like March make it virtually impossible.  Personal bests left, right and centre.  Valiant efforts in every race.  Mutual support by the bucketload.  Gareth sent me a message saying the blog was complete at the start of April and I’ve deliberated since then.  Who to choose?

We see it quite often where running improvements coincide with lifestyle changes.  Changes in diet combined with a focus can lead to weight loss and subsequent fall in times.  March was the start of this journey for someone and very early on in the process times started to tumble.  Races abound at this time of year and we all love to sign up in numbers.  As a result it was a flurry of improving times for one.  parkrun, 10k, 10 mile and half marathon all saw personal bests during one month – three of them within 8 days!   It’s wonderful to see that the focus has continued beyond March and looking forward to seeing more to come in the year ahead!  I am delighted to award my Chairman’s female runner of the month to Stephne Puddy.  Well done Steph – a fantastic month of running, long may it continue! 

My male choice has been on my radar for some time even though he flies under it quite often. When he runs he has a habit of pulling performances out of the bag.  It’s fair to say he’s quiet on a day to day basis.  All the while he’s getting his miles in and largely unbeknown to us signing up for events.  Whenever he appears at events he excels.  This month has seen some big improvements in a household where improvements have being seen across the board.  With a huge sub 40 PB at 10k and a huge PB at Ironbridge half marathon I sense this is the start of a string of improvements over the coming months.  Evening up the balance of Chairman’s accolades in one household I am delighted to award my Chairman’s male runner of the month as James Littlewood.  Well done James – looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year brings!

February 2019 review


This month saw 216 parkrun finishes by 108 different members across 25 different parkrun venues.

As well as the usual South Wales parkruns, tourism included Seaton, Bath Skyline, Burham, Ellesmere Port, Old Deer Park, Gloucester North, Bideford, Kingsway, Telford and Exmouth plus some further afield which I’ll come onto next.

Tim and Philippa Rees returned from Australia but not before completing Lake Entrance parkrun taking Tim’s total number of Aussie parkruns to 14 across 7 different venues whilst Philippa did 12 across 7 venues. With Philippa only recently having started parkrunning, 12 of her 14 parkruns have been in Australia and she’s already visited 8 different venues. Interestingly, Chris Roberts, Martin Beard and Kaye Pedler have also done parkruns in Australia with each one being a different venue so in total, there have been Ogmore Phoenix Runners at a massive 18 different Australian parkruns.

Now you may have missed this (although if you have any social media then I think you’ll probably have seen a post or two) but 7 members of our club went to Jersey just to do a parkrun. Led and organised by super tourist Karl Johnson, some chose to stay in London the night before whilst others got up at 130am to travel to London to then get a flight to Jersey, do the parkrun, and make the return leg that afternoon. Well done to the crazy gang of Aled, Steven James (who had only done one other parkrun prior to this), Dawn, Karl, Chris Stanlake, Rhiannon Sian and James Beynon.

The crazy parkrun tourism continued with Jo Gamba and I going to Delaware and Raritan Canal parkrun in New Jersey. It was the nearest parkrun to where we were staying in New York but still required about an hour and half of travel time. I finished 3rd overall whilst Jo was first female finisher for the first time in her 124 parkruns. If you want to read more about this, I did a lengthy post about the event on our Facebook page if you wish to read more about it.

This month saw Debbie Bennion and Richard Purnell celebrate their 50th parkruns.

Some highlights in month included Ben Davies, Sian Jenkins and Chris Bimson all notching up two PB’s each, yet another PB for Claire Taylor, Shawn Cullen bagged himself a PB, plus many more. At the super speedy end, Aled Hughes and James Littlewood both ran 19:15 PB’s at different locations on the same day, whilst returning member Chris Truman smashed his previous best with a 19:28. Niki Puleio was first finisher at Maesteg for the first time since September whilst Dawn Hopkins was first female finisher at Elsmere Port.


The month kicked off with a couple of very different 10K events. Emma Morris completed the London Winter 10K in 51:45 through the parks and streets of London whilst Dawn Hopkins, Chris Richards and Adrian Pearce took on the Worms Head 10K. A multi terrain race near Rhossili Bay with over 800 feet of elevation. This was Dawn’s 11th event for the club in just 34 days and a day after being part of the crazy gang who went to Jersey parkrun.

Emma was back in 10K action again later in the month with the Castle Combe 10K in which she came in just under 1 hour.

Our final 10K of the month was the Pontypool 10K where Karl Johnson was our first member across the line followed by Liz Davis, Shawn Cullen with another PB, Debbie Bennion, Julie Ransom with a PB time, and Sharon Pritchard. A tough course which goes to show the improvements by Shawn and Julie recently with them managing PB’s there.

10 miler

Shawn Cullen ran the inaugural Cardiff 10 mile event where he smashed his previous PB with a 1:33:23 just 24 hours after getting a parkrun PB at Gloucester North. There aren’t too many 10 milers about so this should definitely be one on peoples lists for next year.

Half Marathons

Darija ran the Ras Cors Caron Half Marathon in 2:30:24 despite being out for Presentation night the previous evening.

The big Half Marathon this month was the Llanelli Half Marathon which had 47 Ogmore Phoenix Runners in attendance as well as several volunteering and many more supporting. Ryan Evans ran 1:27:42 despite having not run much over the Winter, Chris ‘Wonka’ Williams was next up with 1:36:30, before our first PB of the day with Keith Coleman running an impressive 1:41:30. The PB’s continued with a 1:44 for Gareth Davies and Claire Dunbar Bowen became only the 3rd female member to go sub 1:45. A long list of PB-ers were to follow with Gregg Harris, Craig Alexander, Sian Thomas, Shawn Cullen, Hannah Bartle, Natalie Aryal, Ken Salvatore, Rhiannon Sian, Hannah Knight, Rosaleen Lian, Kerry Worthington, Helen Griffiths, Shelley Evans, Claire Taylor, Michelle Alexander, Rhiannon Lewis, Louise Bennett and Leanne Parsons. Some remarkable achievements in amongst those including Claire Taylor now having knocked over an hour off her Half Marathon since joining the club, and Shawn Cullen becoming one of the first members ever to record 4 PB’s and 4 different distances in the same month… in fact, it was 4 over the course of 3 weekends.

Jo and I also ran the Central Park Half Marathon whilst in New York. We ran together finishing in 2:12:11. Again, I did a lengthy post about the race on our Facebook page if you wish to read more about it.

Other Races

Nick Harris and Simon Melksham ran the 3rd event of the Chepstow Night Race Series. A 5 mile event with over 800 feet of elevation.

There were 5 club finishers in the Dursley Dozen which was the 2nd race in this years Trail Championship. Adrian Pearce led the runners home followed by Steven James, David Sheard, Emma Loyns and Bev Sheard.

We had 4 runners at the Brecon to Cardiff Ultra. Kris Denholm completed the 44 mile course in 8 hours and 6 minutes with Gareth Richards a few minutes behind. Dan Clark completed his second Brecon to Cardiff in 8:40 knocking 50 minutes off his time from 2018. Wayne Hayhurst completed our Ultra finishers in 9 hours 40 minutes.

February also saw the first event of the Club Road Championship. I set our runners the challenge of completing the regular 5 mile training loop from the Life Centre in Ogmore up to the top of Nantymoel and back down and around… twice. A challenging 10 miler with almost 1000 feet of elevation, although it should also be pointed out, a significant amount of miles downhill. 36 members took on the challenge with Niki Puleio clocking the fastest time of 1:07 whilst Sarah Littlewood was the fastest female with 1:26. The next event in the club championship is the Cardiff Bay 10K on March 31st.

Presentation Night

Celebrating the achievements of the club and its members during 2018 , the Presentation Night was held at the Richard Price Centre on Saturday 16th February. The night kicked off with a speech from our Chairman, Chris Pratt, followed by an hour long video containing photos and short video clips of the year – over a 1000 in total.

The awards followed with Tammie Baker winning the top prize of Runners Runner after a fantastic year including huge improvements from 5K to Half Marathon (which also saw her win the Most Improved Female prize as well).

Runner’s Runner: Tammie Baker

Runner’s Runner 2nd place: Siân Jenkins

Runner’s Runner 3rd place: Denise Bradley

The next batch of awards listed are based on the fastest times by a runner in that category over the ‘standard’ distances of 5K, 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles, Half Marathon and Marathon. Whoever has the most ‘fastest in category’ wins – it’s a simple as that. The Club Runner is then chosen by the awards panel (made up of committee members, captains and myself as stats guru) from the 6 category winners.

Club Runner: Anneliese Loveluck

Super Veteran Female: Juliet Amner

Super Veteran Male: Steve Loveluck

Veteran Female: Anneliese Loveluck

Veteran Male: Neil Jones

Senior Female: Amy Roberts

Senior Male: John Burridge

The Age Grade Championship included fastest times (and corresponding age category percentages) at Maesteg and Porthcawl parkruns as well as age grade percentages for each of the 6 Bridgend League events.

Female Age Grade Champion: Juliet Amner

Male Age Grade Champion: Steve Loveluck

The inaugural Trail Championship included multi terrain races spread out across the year which included everything from short fell races to Bridgend League to 10+ mile multi terrain events.

Trail Championship Female Winner: Emma Loyns

Trail Championship Female 2nd place: Emma Louise Winch

Trail Championship Female 3rd place: Bev Sheard

Trail Championship Male Winner: Steven James

Trail Championship Male 2nd place: Richard Lowcock James

Trail Championship Male 3rd place: David Sheard

Best Newcomer doesn’t really need much explaining. Basically anyone who has been in the club for less than a year and have made a big impact which could be a combination of time improvements, events run / representing the club, volunteering and encouraging others.

Female Newcomer: Leigh Francis

Male Newcomer: Tim Rees

Most improved is one of the trickiest to decide as there were so many worthy contenders. From those who’ve been running for years and working hard to chip away a few seconds, to those knocking several minutes off as they start their running journey’s, and everyone in between.

Most Improved Female: Tammie Baker

Most Improved Male: Chris Stanlake

The criteria for the Zero to Hero award is simple – someone who started through attending Zero to Hero, and like Best Newcomer, has shown improvement in times and / or volunteered and represented the club.

Zero to Hero: Siân Jenkins

For those that don’t know what this assuming moment is – Matt Murray (selfie extraordinaire) managed to catch Alica popping her head up from behind a wall after a ‘call of nature’ stop in the middle of Snowdonia Marathon.

Most Amusing Moment: Alica Thomas

Photo of the year was actually a series of photos put together of Aled falling over in a river during the Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run as he was busy looking behind him and no doubt ‘gently encouraging’ in his Aled sort of way to catch up.

Photo of the year: Aled Hughes

There was also recognition of the top 10 male and female finishers in the Trail Championship and a list of everyone who got a vote for Runners Runner. Another brilliant evening organised by the social committee and huge thanks to them on another successful evening.

That wraps up my review of another busy month for Ogmore Phoenix Runners. Over to Chris for his choices for Chairman’s Runner of the Month.

Chairman’s Runners of the Month

Spring is in the air.  Warmer weather and the build up to the spring marathons.

Miles have been trod through the cold and miserable winter months and the long runs are being completed by those nearing the finale.

My first choice is one such person.  If you told someone they’d be tackling a marathon in a few months time, let’s say 6 months time, you’d often see either an initial excitement or fear.  One might lead to overtraining and subsequent difficulties.  The other might lead to ignorance and lack of training that also lead to difficulties down the line.  I think it’s fair to say this was never an intentional pathway for one.  A position in a prestigious event was bestowed upon one which resulted in a combination of the latter scenario coupled with denial.  However, the resulting actions have not been the characteristic lack of training it has been a complete change of lifestyle.   Renowned for loving to eat out and a tipple or two he has completely reformed.  Eating well.  Cut out alcohol.  Training like a demon… and I mean a demon!  Regular yoga and spin classes.  Getting out for the required runs according to plan – but also being mindful of his body, which is exactly how it should be.  When it doesn’t feel right, easing back.  Not only are the miles building, but the times are coming down naturally.  The weight is falling off which often leads to natural improvements, but when combined with a good training plan the improvements are accelerating.  PB’s left, right and centre.  Four at four different distances over three successive weekends.  This is a disciplined approach that you cannot help but admire and celebrate.  I have absolutely no hesitation awarding my Male Chairman’s Runner of the Month to Shawn Cullen.  This is the first time I’ve awarded a runner of the month to the same person twice and it won’t happen very often, but this month’s efforts were something which cannot be overlooked. Keep it up Shawn – it’s a mightily impressive way to tackle marathon training for the first time!  

I have said in the past many times that this is more than just running.  As a club it’s something we celebrate.  Not only do we run, but we also volunteer for many things – usually associated with running.  The month started with some of our number away in foreign climes.  For two it was in extreme heat about as far from home as they could possibly be on the other side of the world.  Despite the heat they managed to find opportunities to run thanks to parkrun.  Indeed, at several locations whilst away on their travels visiting family.  We enjoyed the stories of each one reported back via social media.  Many of stories told of battling with the heat in normal everyday life, but making that extra effort to head out of the door to actually run in it every week is fantastic! 

On immediate return one of them had volunteered to man a water station at Llanelli Half and dutifully turned up ready to do so.  It’s no mean feat standing in the cold handing out bottles of water but when your body has been subjected to incredibly hot temperatures for an extended period of time it’s an extra shock to the system.  Not only that but when a runner arrives at the water station and is feeling unwell and collapses the nursing instinct took over and she lay down alongside said runner to shield her from the strong and very cold onshore breeze for half an hour putting herself at great risk from the elements.  Above and beyond the call of duty, but instinctive.  Rest assured, I’ve discussed this with her since and she realises how risky it was for her but doesn’t recognise the adulation that it attracted as it was just such a natural thing for her to do.  I totally get this, but it is worthy of praise because it demonstrates an extraordinary natural kindness of spirit. Going above and beyond the call of duty to help others.  Something worthy of commendation.  I am delighted to announce my Female Chairman’s Runner of the Month as Philippa Rees.

January 2019 review


This month saw an a record 303 parkrun finishes by 123 different members across 41 different parkrun venues.

Tourism included Alice Holt, Aston Court, Basingstoke, Bath, Bexley, Burnham, Chippenham, Chipping Sodbury, Colby, Eastville, Fletcher Moss, Hereford, Kingsbury, Lullingstone, Medina, Minehead, Shewsbury, Telford and Wormwood Scrubs. Our members visited more English parkruns than Welsh ones. We also had more international tourism with Tim and Philippa Rees completing Karkarook, Maribyrnong, Wyndham Vale, Toolern Creek and You Yangs parkruns in Australia.

Other notable parkrun stats in the month include a record 20 members recording a New Years Day double – the only day of the year it’s possible to record 2 parkruns. 11 of those are on the maximum 6 parkruns out of 6 for 2019.

This month saw Denise Bradley celebrate her 100th parkrun whilst Adrian Pearce and Claire Taylor reached their 50th parkruns.

Ben Davies had a fantastic month with 3 PB’s in 3 parkruns knocking 97 seconds off his best time which was achieved in his last parkrun of 2018. It marks a 3 minute improvement since starting with the club.

Ryan Evans set a marker for the year with a 18:56 in his first ever parkrun with Neil Price setting a new PB of 19:38 on the same day. Natalie Aryal smashed sub 30 for the first time with a 28:45 despite having run more than 7 miles to parkrun beforehand.

There were plenty of tourism PB’s in the month with Sarah Littlewood running her first sub 24 at Shrewsbury on New Years Day having run sub 25 the same morning at Telford as part of the double. Rhiannon Sian bagged herself a PB at Aberbeeg. Dawn and Brett got PB’s at Riverfront. Claire Taylor had an incredible running year in 2018 and started 2019 with a PB at Swansea. Julie Ransom got a PB at Kingsbury Water.

Other PB’s in month included Chris Bimson (twice), Maria George, Sarah Davies, Paul Barrett (twice), Sian Jenkins, Ken Salvatore and Cath Robinson. Well done to our first time parkrunners with the club, Paul Iskander, Frances Manship and Lynnette Griffiths. Apologies if I’ve missed any other PB-ers or newbies.


The first 10K of the year came courtesy of the Buff Trial race in Afan Argoed. Steve Loveluck was first in his age category with an incredible 43:46 clocking on a course with around 800 feet of climbing. Anneliese was first female overall (not just in the club or category but first lady in the overall race) with 45:58 and was over a minute ahead of the second place lady. Impressive performances throughout our runners with Sarah Davies, Sharon Pritchard, Debbie Bennion, Alexis Barrett and Dawn Davy all completing the tough course.

Half Marathons

I ran an event set up by Infinity Running in Margam Park. It was a 6 hour lapped event which was roughly 3.3 miles per lap so you could do 1 lap for 5K(ish), 2 laps for 10K(ish), 4 laps for Half Marathon, 8 laps for Marathon, or as many laps as you can within the time limit for an Ultra. They are putting on similar events every month and I would highly recommend them.

To my surprise, I led the entire field for the first mile and a half before a 10K runner went passed. It was 5 miles before another runner went passed which unfortunately for me was someone doing the Half. However, I was absolutely delighted to end up finishing 2nd in a time of 1:37:30 which was my fastest half marathon time for almost 2 years.

Other races

25 members started the year with the Kenfig race as part of the Festive Four on New Years Day. Adrian Pearce led our runners home which earned him top spot on the Festive Four age category standings and secured 3rd place overall for fastest cumulative time over the series. Gregg Harris was our 4th runner back and was rewarded with 3rd place in the male season best ‘improvers’ category. Our first female runner was Denise Bradley whilst Tammie’s performance earned her 3rd place in the female season best ‘improvers’ category.

23 runners made the trip just over the bridge to Thornbury for the Riverbank Rollick. This event has increased in numbers from our club year on year since just Richard Lowcock James and I ran it in 2015. Richard definitely promotes it more than I do as I haven’t been convinced to run to the 9 miles of energy sapping mud since whilst only injury stopped him making another appearance this year. I’m not adverse to a muddy trail run but you have see it to believe it. Luckily (or maybe not if you were looking forward to the mud), the course was a bit drier than usual this year and James Littlewood ran an impressive 1:15:57 with Aled Hughes just a few seconds behind. The in-form Dawn Hopkins was our first female across the line.

On the same day as the Riverbank Rollick we had a further 20 runners in attendance for the Tata Steel Margam Reservoir XC fixture. It’s probably the most bizarre cross country fixture around as the course is entirely on tarmac paths around the lake. Adrian Pearce led the club home in 34:33 on the 5.6 mile course with Niki Puleio and new member Paul Jones less than a minute behind. Neil Price and Kris Denholm completed the scoring positions for the men. Claire Dunbar Bowen was our first lady with another in-form lady, Sarah Littlewood less than a minute behind. Jo Gamba, Victoria Hillman and Liz Davies made up the remaining scorers for the ladies.

We had 8 runners at the CF64 race in Barry. The 10.2K multi terrain event saw Simon Harrison cross the line as first Phoenix followed by Gregg Harris, Nick Harris, Dawn Hopkins, Nige Rees, Shawn Cullen, Julie Ransom and Jamie Puddy.

Steven James completed the Wychavon Way 40 mile Ultra in 8 hours 34 minutes. Steven was using the event as a step towards a long term goal of running even longer Ultras over the next year.

Our most popular race of the month was the Lliswerry 8 where we had 33 runners. Kris Denholm was first Phoenix back in 55:45 with Claire Dunbar Bowen our first lady in 1:01:49 and the in form Sarah Littlewood only just over a minute behind. Claire’s time was the fastest any female in our club has completed the course beating Josie Bishop who ran 1:02:33 in 2017. There were some amazing improvements by runners who had run the event last year and this year including an 11 minute improvement by Sarah Littlewood, 16 minutes for Dawn Hopkins, 15 minutes for Claire Taylor and a 5 minute improvement for Vickie Blake. Several others had course bests as well or saw even bigger improvements when compared to when they ran in 2017 or previously.

On the same day as Lliswerry we also had 15 runners brave freezing conditions in Margam for the 4th fixture of the West Glamorgan XC league. It’s the most ‘cross country’ of the 4 fixtures so far, mainly due to the fact it actually has some grass / mud unlike the others. It is more ‘multi-terrain’ though with forestry track and tarmac sections included. Ryan Evans was our first runner back followed by new member Paul Smith. Neil Price, Dai James and myself made up the scorers for the men’s team. The ladies were led home by Juliet Amner with Sara Vowles, Louise Foster, Steph Dyke and Jo Gamba the other scorers. Well done to Nigel Hitchings, Rosaleen Salvatore, Hannah Knight, Peter Walsh and Kimberley Davies who all represented the club at the event.

What a start to the year. 303 parkrun finishes and a further 125 race finishes completed by our members. Well done all.

Chairman’s Runners of the Month


Another year and more running to do.

Renewed enthusiasm and vigour throughout the Phoenix ranks as the new year brings positivity and hope!  Numbers swell at training for us and many of our neighbours.  Wonderful to see.

We’ve seen many members conclude a fantastic year of running in 2018 and not ones to reset on their laurels many have continued this run of form.  One of these has flourished quietly over the last few months and January was a month of continued excellence.  Reaching a very lean racing weight and continuing to bash out the miles at decent pace this run of form cannot be ignored.  With several mentions in the months summary it justifies my choice.  Always smiling with the characteristic expression on photos that is now become synonymous.  Always the soul of the party whether it be running or away from it.  The running is continuing to cut through the amusing expression and outshine it and it’s brilliant to see.  I am absolutely delighted to start the year by celebrating the achievements of Sarah Littlewood by awarding her my Chairman’s female runner of the month for January.  Keep up the hard work Sarah – 2019 is going to be a good year of running for you, I sense it – and keep on smiling – and don’t stop with the thumbs up!! 

It’s often the case that runners reach their peak of excellence and maintain form from that point on.  Peaks and troughs follow but the recognition for endeavour usually comes when they either step away from their comfort zone or during their initial stages of improvement – when they began running.  Those who have been in our midst for a long time tend to fade into the background.  Their introduction to running and subsequent improvements came before we all knew them and so their achievements, while impressive in their own right, can be swallowed up against a backdrop of a huge number of improvers within the club.  Sometimes, though, there is a dip in form that is followed by a return which does get noticed.  One of the troughs runs for a period of time (often as a result of helping others with their improvements – and that is the case here) and the ascent to the peak cuts through the background “noise”.  My next choice is one such runner.  He does so many events we just see another one as a tick on the list, but I sense a return to form that may see a peak that exceeds previous highs.  A focus has returned.  Chomping at the bit to improve and set a new marker in the sand.  With an impressive half marathon time set already this year that echoes back to two years ago it’s onwards and upwards and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing where that new marker will be set.  I am delighted to announce my Chairman’s male runner of the month as Gareth Jenkins!  Great start to the year Gareth!!

Porthcawl parkrun 300th event special

The club at Porthcawl parkrun

233 different runners are currently listed as Ogmore Phoenix Runners and have completed the course at least once (this does include a few juniors). This is the most of any club. Those 233 runners have completed 5870 Porthcawl parkruns between them.

The inaugural and record attendance growth

Although not all had joined the club at the time, current members who ran at the inaugural Porthcawl parkrun on 13th April 2013 include Kelly Griffiths, David Sheard, Angela Walsh, Chris Pratt, Peter Harrop, Garry Jones, John Burridge and myself.

There were 134 runners in total at the first Porthcawl parkrun and the average for the first year was only around 100. By the end of 2015, there were regularly 200+, then 300+ in 2016 before a huge record attendance of 425 on Christmas Eve that year. The last 4 weeks have saw the attendance record smashed again with 458, 499, 508 and then just missing another record last week with 505.

Most individual Porthcawl parkruns

I believe the record for most Porthcawl parkruns in held by Nigel Thomas (unaffiliated) who has completed a staggering 273 of the 299 Porthcawl parkruns so far. Another one worth mentioning is Michael Davies (Porthcawl Runners) who has run all of his 266 parkruns at Porthcawl despite a serious illness.

As for our runners, our top 10 for most Porthcawl parkruns are…

Nick Harris 229

David Sheard 213

Chris Pratt 207

Gareth Jenkins 196

David Kembery 174

Peter Harrop 157

Chris Roberts 134

Angharad Rees 124

Kris Denholm 112

Liz Davis 109

Claire Goldsworthy, Caerwyn Lewis, Dai Power and Simon Williams have all also completed over 100 Porthcawl parkruns. Of our Porthcawl 100 club, Liz Davis is the most loyal to Porthcawl with 95% of her total parkruns being there. A further 18 members have completed 50-99 Porthcawl parkruns.

Fastest Phoenixes at Porthcawl parkrun

Our fastest listed Porthcawl parkrun time is 18:38 by Niki Puleio, closely followed with a 18:47 from Adrian Pearce and 18:56 from John Burridge. In the sub 20 club at Porthcawl we also have Nick Harris, Steve Loveluck, Aled Hughes, Neil Price, Gareth Richards, Chris Truman, Dai James, Chris Pratt, James Littlewood, Brian Cotton and finally myself with 19:59.

*Worth noting that Neil Jones has run 17:01 at Porthcawl whilst a member of the club but representing Pontyclun. He has also been first finisher on 5 occasions at Porthcawl whilst a member of our club.

Our top 10 fastest females are

Anneliese Loveluck 20:41

Sian Price 21:14

Amy Roberts 21:53

Shelley Smithson 22:34

Claire Dunbar-Bowen 22:55

Josie Bishop 23:05

Kirsty Evans 23:41

Emma Loyns 23:50

Victoria Hillman 23:53

Jo Gamba 24:35

Both Anneliese and Sian have also been first female finishers at Porthcawl. In terms of highest age grade percentages, Anneliese comes out on top again with 79:13% with Adrian Pearce next on 77:28% and Steve Loveluck with 76.97%.

Biggest improvements

Below is a selection of some of the biggest improvements on first Porthcawl parkrun times to current Porthcawl parkrun PB’s…

Claire Taylor 46:38 to 31:21 (33% improvement)

Rhiannon Sian 39:12 to 27:30 (30% improvement)

Dai Power 41:40 to 30:05 (28% improvement)

Chris Pratt 27:22 to 19:54 (27% improvement)

Sian Jenkins 42:43 to 31:42 (26% improvement)

Rhiannon Whiteley 44:13 to 33:40 (24% improvement)

Tammie Clemett 36:12 to 28:38 (21% improvement)

Elaine Nash 51:57 to 41:38 (20% improvement)

Looking through the list, there’s at least another 30-40 runners who’ve knocked up to 10 minutes off their times and have had close to 20% improvements.

Random stats

Biggest variation in fastest and slowest time: David Sheard 22:58 to 55:49

Oldest Porthcawl parkrun PB: Martin Beard 22:34 (27/09/14)

Fastest average parkrun time: Adrian Pearce 19:11 from 6 runs

Fastest average parkrun time (over 100 runs): Simon Williams 21:10 from 102 runs

Fastest average parkrun time (over 200 runs): Nick Harris 22:15 from 229 runs

First current Phoenix member to reach 50 parkruns at Porthcawl: Chris Pratt

First current Phoenix member to reach 100 parkruns at Porthcawl: Chris Pratt

First current Phoenix member to reach 200 parkruns at Porthcawl: Nick Harris

Most parkruns away from Porthcawl even though it’s considered their ‘home parkrun’: Gareth Jenkins 78

Longest gap between Porthcawl parkruns (that I know of): Adrian Pearce 27/07/13 to 14/04/18 (also longest gap between Porthcawl parkrun PB’s)


It seems fitting to end with some stats on the volunteers and the 300 Porthcawl parkruns wouldn’t have been possible without them. We’re very fortunate a Porthcawl to have a super dedicated and experienced core volunteer team – many of which have close links with Welsh Athletics and organise / volunteer at numerous other running events.

One of that core team is a Phoenix. Maria Lalic has volunteered at Porthcawl on 193 seperate occasions!

Unfortunatley parkrun don’t do a breakdown of volunteering at one specific event (that I have access to anyway) so the list below will include some volunteering elsewhere like Maesteg and Bridgend junior parkrun but definitely worth a shout out…

Maria Lalic 193

Emma Marshall 83

Michael Brain 71

Stephne Puddy 61

Peter Harrop 50

Chris Stanlake 49

Chris Roberts 44

Gareth Jenkins 40

Kris Denholm 38

Karl Johnson 35

Well done to everyone who has represented our club at Porthcawl parkrun whether it’s running, volunteering or supporting.