This month seen the introduction of parkrun pacers, a record club attendance at Cardiff 10K, a spot of tourism and a few other races besides. I’ll start with the record club attendance at Cardiff 10K with 20 Cwm Ogwr Runners (if you count the odd past member). Interestingly although we normally have more male participants in races, the girls heavily outnumbered the boys with 15 female runners and just 5 male runners. The attendance would actually have been even greater had four of our members not been on a training course and normally ever present Nick missing the first big race involving Cwm Ogwr Runners in over a year. There were a few worried faces beforehand as many of the 20 runners were either running their first or second 10K and in most cases had not participated in an event with this number of runners. Weather conditions were good (if not a bit on the warm side). The results were amazing with 10 out of the 20 runners getting PB’s, a further 5 running their best times of the year, and all runners pleased with their times. The big stories were club record holder for 10K David Cappell running the second fastest 10K time for the club, I ran my second fastest ever time, Lorna managed sub 50 for the first time, Tara beat her personal best by an incredible 9 minutes, newest member Frances Samuel easily beat the hour mark in her first 10K, Erin and Denise ran sub 1 hour for the first time whilst Sheryl Jones and Cerys Edwards also completed their first 10K.
Just three days later it was the Hilly 4 race in Llangynwydd. Only Nick and myself were brave / stupid enough to return for a second year with Richard, Fiona, Frances and Tara joining us. It looks like me and Nick might have a rival for most events entered as Frances has already done 5 races / parkruns in her first month with the club and is signed up for Cardiff Half. Back to the race and it was another nice day weather-wise and not too warm with the evening start. There was a small field of around 40 runners of varying abilities from those capable of sub 19 minute 5K times to those around the 30 minute mark with lots of familiar faces from parkrun running and volunteering. Nick flew round the hilly 4.2 mile course in an impressive 29:45 knocking over 5 minutes off the time he managed last year in one of his first races with the club. I was next across the line over a minute slower than last year but understandable after Cardiff 10K 3 days earlier, and was followed by Richard, Tara, Fiona and Frances who were all pleased with their times on a tough course. Tara was the 4th female overall and first for her age category.
A massive thank you again to Aled, Kelly, David and Kevin who gave up most of their weekend to do the first weekend of the more intensive coaching coach having already done the leadership course. They even missed the Hilly 4 in order to practice what they’d been taught on the Tuesday after the course. There’s already been major improvements in training sessions and we all look forward to seeing what’s next.
Other races this month included the Swansea 10K or as I put it on the results, the Costa Del Swansea 10K such was the heat and humidity with all of our runners struggling and only Denise and Frances achieving PB's. Our other runners were me, Kelly, Fiona and Brian. Last weekend saw Nick up in Aberdeen and therefore not in attendance at the Porthcawl Parkrun for the first time in 10 months. He of course did the parkrun up there and followed it up just a few hours later running the 'Beast' 10K obstacle course with his brother and uncle. On Sunday, Kelly, Aled, Helen Davies, Lorna, Lucy and Lisa completed the Men's Health Survival of the Fittest 10K in Cardiff. It was the second year for Kelly and Aled whilst it was the first attempt for the others. A new obstacle this year included jumping in the white water rapids in Cardiff Bay which was refreshing as it was another hot day for running.
As mentioned, this month saw the introduction of parkrun pacers. Myself and Richard volunteered for the first week pacing at 25:00 and 27:30 respectively. I also did the next couple of weeks doing 27:30 and then 25:00 again. Richard took David Kembery along to the Newport parkrun for Dai's first taste of parkrun tourism. This helped spark some interest in trying out different parkruns every few weeks with October 11th pencilled in for a visit to Bryn Bach parkrun.
Runners Profile #2
As promised, I'm going to start doing a runners profile at the end of each monthly review. I got carried away with the first one (me) and it turned into a blog post of it's own! Anyway, my second runner to be profiled is..... Fiona Evans. Unbeknownst to her, I was asking lots of questions with this in mind when we went down to Swansea 10K together. I have sent her this beforehand though in case I'd got anything wrong...
Name: Fiona Evans
Joined Club: April 2014
Parkrun Age Category: W45-49
First Race: Bath HM 2009 (with club: London Marathon 2014)
Career Parkruns / Races: Approx 30
Parkruns / Races with Cwm Ogwr: 8
Breakdown of events with Club:
5K: 2 --- PB: 25:46 (Porthcawl Parkrun)
5 mile: 1 --- PB: 52:04 (Cwm Ogwr 5 mile)
10K: 2 --- PB: 51:29 (Cardiff 10K)
Marathon: 1 --- PB: 4:23:02 (London Marathon)
Other: 2 (Beast of Bryn + Hilly 4)
From the beginning
Fiona started running back in 2009 initially just as additional exercise having already been a keen cyclist. She decided to enter the Bath Half Marathon as a challenge to herself and completed the course in 2:14:53. It took a while for Fiona to actually start enjoying running, but soon found she was itching to get out if she'd had more than a couple of days off. Fiona then decided she was ready for more races and bigger distances. In 2010 she ran the Edinburgh Marathon in 4:54:50 whilst injured but was determined to do it having raised money for charity and not wanting to let her sponsors down. She returned two years later to do the half marathon. Later in 2012 Fiona ran one of the toughest but most scenic marathons in the UK - the Snowdonia Marathon. She finished in 4:58:13 but felt she went out too quickly in the first half and was ultimately disappointed with the time although really enjoyed the event. 2013 saw Fiona have a break from the marathons with PB's at 10K in Swansea, and Half Marathon in Cardiff but it wasn't long before attention turned back to the 26.2 miles.
With the Club
Fiona was considering joining the club around the time she was about to run the London Marathon in April 2014. She'd finally getting in through the ballot on her 4th attempt. Fiona set off without a target time in mind and just wanted to enjoy the race and soak up the unbelievable atmosphere. She ran the first half in 2:03 before struggling for a few miles, finding it mentally challenging and not really enjoying it. Remarkably, at 20 miles she started feeling a bit better and the positivity returned. She managed to run all the way the end boosted by the crowds and having not initially set a target time, she realised a huge PB was on the cards. She finished in 4:23:54 which I know she'll be pleased for me to point out was 8 minutes ahead of me despite being 8 minutes behind me at the 30K (around 19 mile) point.
Shortly after the marathon Fiona attended her first training session with Cwm Ogwr and entered our 5 mile race. Still recovering from the marathon, she decided to join Rachel, Lucy, Hannah and Erin who were running their first 5 mile race. Fiona then entered the Beast of Bryn at the end of May, but due to injury decided to complete the 6.8 mile course rather than the 15 miler. She had intended doing the Wales Long Course weekend, but foot injury meant it would have to wait until next year. The injuries meant limited running during the summer before Fiona returned to try out a couple of parkruns before running the Cardiff 10K where she got a PB of 51:29. She then the Hilly 4 just three days later and then the Swansea 10K where the conditions weren't ideal for another PB attempt in a busy September with the club.
Fiona is signed up the Cardiff Half Marathon this weekend and has signed up for the Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run having run it in previous years. Triathlon is definitely in the plans for 2015 and a half Ironman has even been mentioned. Fiona missed the ballot for London Marathon 2015, however, there is talk of a few us trying out a different spring marathon, and Snowdon marathon is also one Fiona would like to revisit in the future.