August was another busy month for Cwm Ogwr with a leadership course, parkrun milestones, new half marathons and even a triathlon thrown in for good measure. After several changes to the attendees, Kelly Owen, David Kembery, Kevin Raymond and Aled Hughes went on the Welsh Athletics Leadership in Running course. The rest of us are already seeing the changes in training sessions with the warm up’s, stretching and cool (warm) down’s plus some new sessions thrown into the mix. “Meet and Greet” Hills last Tuesday was probably the toughest session ever even though only covered 2.5 miles! It’s also allowed the club to better cater for a wide range of running abilities from our sub 20 minute parkrunners to our Couch to 5K graduates and other newbies looking to improve their running. There’s more to come with the same individuals attending more extensive coaching courses over the next few weekends which can only benefit the club and its members even further. A massive thanks to those who have / are giving up their weekends to attend the courses.
There were some big parkrun milestones in August. Myself and Nick both reached our 50 parkrun on 16 August with Nick celebrating in style with his first sub 20 minute parkrun, smashing his previous PB by over 30 seconds. It was a very different story for me as my wife and I rushed to get our 3 week old twins ready and the start had to be held up as I ran towards the crowd at a couple of minutes past 9am and therefore started at the back of the 200 odd starters. Unfortunately we still haven’t received our club 50 t-shirts due to huge demand across the UK. Parkrun UK have now resolved the issue so hopefully Nick and I will be swapping our Cwm Ogwr shirts for the converted red parkrun t-shirt within the next couple of weeks. A week later and Nick was at it again getting another PB and beating the Cwm Ogwr record for Porthcawl Parkrun whilst closing in on the overall club 5K record. August also seen two new Cwm Ogwr runners at parkrun with our newest trainee Frances Samuel joining us for the last two Saturdays, and Fiona Evans also joining us last Saturday. Richard Lowcock James visited his former home parkrun of Newport where he has run over 100 times and notched up his 125 parkrun overall meaning he’s half ways to the top parkrun club. Last Saturday (30 August) also seen Nick finally bring his consecutive run of Porthcawl parkruns to an end by volunteering after 41 weeks in a row of running it. If he hadn’t won it last month, he’d probably be the main contender for parkrunner of the month again!
The first of two August Half Marathons seen Nick, Lorna and I join some other local club runners for the annual Afan Argoed Half Marathon which is a free timed event organised by Port Talbot Harriers and used as a club championship race for them and Brackla Harriers. The three of us used it as a training run before the Severn Bridge Half Marathon which was just a week later. However, Nick still had an impressive time of 1:36 for an 18place finish, whilst I came in at 1:50 after a slight detour towards the end and Lorna beat her PB, finishing in 1:52. As soon as you crossed the finish line, they asked for your name and club so they could add you to the results so it was quite amusing when they asked how to spell Domachowski literally seconds after she had just sprinted to a new half marathon PB. A week later the three of us along with Steven Clatworthy and David Kembery ran the inaugural Severn Bridge Half Marathon. I offered to pace for Lorna who was looking to get a second half marathon PB in as many weeks, whilst Dai Kembery having only just returned from injury was hoping to get round and see if he could beat his one and only half marathon time from Cardiff last October which he ran prior to joining the club. A bit further up the field, it was a battle between two of Cwm Ogwr’s best with Clatworthy v Harris for the first time at half marathon distance. In the end it was Clatworthy who was the first Cwm Ogwr finisher getting a PB despite the course being much hillier than expected with several steady inclines or ‘undulations’ as they were referred to in the race pack, plus a very steep hill right in the middle of the course and an agonising hill for the final 300 meters. Nick was just a minute or so behind whilst David Kembery still managed a PB despite having just recovering from the injury. Lorna and I stuck together the whole way and she managed to knock another minute off her PB after a really big effort throughout but particularly in the final 3 miles.
On the same day as the Severn Bridge Half Marathon, the club’s only Ironman David Cappell and multi-distance triathlete Kevin Raymond competed in the Tuska triathlon in Porthcawl. David had a big advantage coming out of the swim as Kevin lost his goggles early on, whilst the bike and run times were very close between the two of them. Being the results / stats person for the club, it did make me laugh when I looked up the results to see that they’d put David down as being first in the 85-89 category. He certainly looks good for his age!
Nick was in action yet again on the final Sunday of the month running the Reverse 10 which is a 10 miler organised by Pontypridd Roadents. Much of it is flat along cycle paths but there is a big climb / descent to contend with around miles 4-6. Having not done the parkrun the day before, this was the first time in several months that Nick rested ahead of a Sunday race which showed as he took another couple of minutes off his 10 mile previous best and only just missed out on taking the club 10 mile record in the process.
September always tends to be a busy month for the running club with Cardiff and Swansea 10K, plus there’ll be something different with a team effort at Survival of the Fittest. Cardiff 10K is a special race for the club so I’ve done a little review of Cwm Ogwr at the event the past two years and a preview of this years runners.
Cardiff 10k 2012 / 2013
In 2012 just 3 weeks after the club was formed, eleven of us turned up at a very warm Cardiff 10K. To my surprise, I was first back in a time of 48:25 for a then club 10K record that would only be good enough for 11 on the current rankings. Anthony Williams followed a minute later then Lee Owen missing out on sub 50 by 2 seconds. Simon James and Kelly Owen were also well under an hour with all of us getting PB’s. Ross Jones, Jonathan Edwards, Elenor Marsh, Liz Walker, Michael Williams and Kerry Edwards all finished with many completing their first 10K’s. In 2013, we had a record 18 runners with 7 returning for a second time with the club. In an even bigger shock, I was first Cwm Ogwr finisher again with Matthew Jones in second who had to that point been unbeaten against any other Cwm Ogwr runner. I should add that he’d been out injured for quite a lengthy period and hadn’t trained much. Just 1 second separated us with Aled Hughes just 2 seconds further back, and then Phil Lewis a few seconds further back and all four of us all finished sub 45 minutes which hadn’t been achieved by any Cwm Ogwr runner before that date. Due to the sub 45 finishers, Nick Harris probably went under the radar a bit as the 5 member over the line in 45:40 but this was clearly where he started to make his way up the rankings. Lee Owen, Brian Cotton, Ben Griffiths, Helen Davies (with a female club record that still stands) and Kelly Owen all came in under 50 minutes whilst Ross Jones finished almost 10 minutes quicker than the previous year with 50:56. Heather Thomas and Jonathan Edwards achieved their first sub 1 hour finishes whilst Hannah Simmons, Gabriel Jones and Elenor Marsh all achieved PB’s just outside the hour mark. Helen Griffiths training for her second half marathon was next up with Liz Walker completing the course for the second time as our 18 finisher.
Cardiff 10K 2014
This year see’s four of our top runners miss out due to the coaching course and a rare race that Nick will miss. However, we still have 17 running this year. 12 have joined the club in the past year with only 5 returning from last year and just myself and Jonathan Edwards running under Cwm Ogwr for the third year in a row. Our current 10K record holder David Cappell is very likely to stop me making it 3 years in a row as first Cwm Ogwr finisher and could lower his own record given it was achieved in Treforest which is a tougher course than Cardiff. The women’s 10K record could also be under threat with Lorna running her first flat 10K and Helen Davies back on form after injuries earlier in the year. This year is definitely all about the newbies though. Frances Samuel will run her first official 10K, whilst several members of the first Couch to 5K program will be aiming for to beat the hour mark after a few came very close on a very hot day in Caerphilly a couple months back. Good luck to all this years runners and look forward to seeing you at the finish line.