Some weekends will always stand out as special…
Not long ago we celebrated a huge club turnout for the coastal race to Ogmore by Sea…
Last week we saw incredible performances in London – an event we can all share in the excitement by tracking and following TV coverage.
This week many events have occupied our attention…
Tuesday saw some attend training while a brave few headed to a tough hill race. Admirable performances all round with one achieving an accolade at regional level for excelling.
Wednesday saw decent numbers on the track and improving down in Pandy Park as well as a significant contingent heading down west to the increasingly popular 5k on the seafront.
Good numbers turned up on Thursday night for a pleasant evening climb up the mast in Lewistown. Lighter nights make these hilly sessions more accessible and it’s great to be doing them again.
Friday drew a couple up to Cardiff for a one mile event as part of an annual series.
Even before the weekend arrived we already had a huge number of events in the bag and decent training attendance!
Saturday brought the usual flurry of parkrun visits. On the seafront, up the valley and beyond. “May the 4th”, when it falls on a Saturday, always attracts Star Wars themed attire (as you might expect) and parkruns up and down the country share in the initiative. Home locations were no exception but a few in our midst went the extra mile and travelled to Tredegar House where there was an abundance celebrating the occasion!
One of these parkrunners was set to take a much longer journey later the same day. The equivalent of 33 parkruns back to back. 100 miles, plus 2.5 for good measure just to be sure!
I’ll set the scene…
6pm. Rhossili Beach car park. A collection of brave souls prepared themselves for an epic journey along the coast to Cardiff Bay. As if that wasn’t enough it would also wander up into the Afan Forest, at night, just to add some elevation and make up the distance to the scheduled 100 miles! Nerves, excitement and wonder at what would be their fate!
As our esteemed captain said, while we’re having our tea – he was starting his run. As we went to bed he was running. When we woke he was still running…
As the sun rose many were up from their slumber to head to Newport for the second running of the dual distance event. The Phoenix were out in their numbers with the lions share doing 6.2 and the balance covering 26.2. Great conditions made for an amazing event with great times and big smiles across the board. First timers also earned their stripes at the event. Phoenix volunteers aplenty gave up their time to line the outlying roads around Newport to support those taking on the challenge of the day. Without doubt, a great day out for the Phoenix.
Two intrepid souls had taken a trip across country to the home of the Dons and tackled a double distance event there. Great performances at both 5 and 21 metric units!
And while all that was happening, he was still running.
Fellow Phoenix met him along his route. 60 miles as he entered Porthcawl he had support and all the way through the stepping stones at Ogmore Village to the car park where he gained more support with some running short stages with him to boost morale and keep him going. 79 miles in at Llantwit he received some cheers and was sent on his way after some well earned refreshments. More supporters joined the trek at Porthkerry, 88 miles. Shoes hurting so changed to continue with odd shoes. Hot dogs and drinks consumed he went on his merry way. Joined for some of the run from Barry to Sully where more had joined the support crew as he hit 95 miles. Off he went at a jog and a run back from the finish to Penarth Pier gave him company for the last few miles to record an amazing finish of his second (and last I am told) 100 mile event, this time as a solo effort! Almost 10,000ft of climbing and a distance of over 104 miles in the end! A superhuman effort.
With all good intentions a 50th birthday party within the club was missed by those who followed and supported but in true Phoenix spirit the sentiments of those present was sent via the wonder of technology to will him on as he made his last few steps.
And while all this was taking place, almost lost in the excitement, were two lonely souls who represented the club admirably at the Race for Victory 5k in the Welsh capital. An event that slipped under the rader with all the activity taking place elsewhere, but not to be overlooked!
It’s weeks like this that rally the troops. That put that Phoenix fire in the belly.
As much as we love to run we love to support. When events have tracking everyone can get involved. Some of the excitement of London was recreated at the weekend as attention switched from following finishing times in Newport to tracking one heroic runner on his epic solo journey. An amazing feat of both physical and mental endurance.
I say this a lot to people when they gasp in awe at these “crazy distance” events. It’s all relative. We all started somewhere and the journey to standing on the start line of a 100 mile run is long and arduous but with a huge amount of dedication and commitment it is amazing what becomes possible.
Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Always remember that you don’t have to have these huge goals in mind. Your dream may be just to be consistently doing parkrun and if it is, that is fine. We salute you for just lacing up your trainers and heading out of the door.
If you do have aspirations to go further or faster, draw on the inspiration of our incredible members who push the boundaries and challenge themselves to discover exactly what they are capable of.
Those words again ringing in our ears as the efforts turn into memories and we turn our attention to what next week will bring…
Whatever it is we shall meet it head on and continue to support each other through it.
As you were.