THE BLUE WAVE - Cwm Ogwr Running Club
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November Review

November seen Cwm Ogwr Runners at the Richard Burton 10K, Cardiff Mo Run, Pembrey 10 miler and one lucky runner at the Las Vegas Half Marathon. There’s also yet another milestone for Nick to add to the list and I finally get a PB. I’m also going to start a Club Runner of the Month on these monthly blogs and there’s the fourth Runners Profile from someone who beats even me and Nick for number of events entered.
 
As with almost every month, the first event was the Porthcawl Parkrun which was Halloween themed. There’s been a few themed parkruns and to date, Cwm Ogwr have chose not to partake but I think we more than made up for it with this one. Kelly wore an inflatable witches outfit, Richard wore a skin tight Skeleton outfit complete with full face mask which was promptly removed after 5 minutes or so of running, whilst I wore my wife’s old Halloween witches outfit complete with witches hat, wig and black lipstick. Needless to say, it got as many laughs as it did concerned looks. Worryingly, I already have something even more shocking in mind for next year as believe it or not, this year was just a last minute effort. I’ve also worked out it could be around the time of my 100 parkrun so it would be an impressive way to celebrate. Back to the actual running and Dai Cappell clocked an impressive 20:15 just a week after completing the Snowdon Marathon whilst the rest of us took it relatively easy with the Richard Burton 10K in mind which was the day after.
 
For most of us, it was our first attempt at the Richard Burton 10K with only Richard and Brian having run it before. After a couple of showers beforehand, it stayed dry until around 30 minutes in when it then hammered down until the end although I think most of found it quite refreshing on a strangely mild November morning. David Kembery was the first Cwm Ogwr member across the line bringing his PB down to 45:05. Nick was next up in 45:48 still clearly recovering from his 2 week all-inclusive holiday coupled with a cold. I was close behind in 46:13 then we finished in roughly minute intervals with Brian then Richard then Lorna. Richard got a new PB with CORC although still has a faster time from his Liswerry days, whilst Lorna got another 10K PB with both runners having achieved PB’s in every 10K they’ve done with the club. Lorna’s time is also the fastest of any female club member this year. New member Chris Pratt also got a best ever 10K time with 51:06 whilst Denise Bradley achieved her 4 10K PB in as many events. Denise’s neighbour, newest club member and regular parkrun volunteer, Maria Lalic also completed her first 10K in 1:06:43.
 
The second parkrun of the month seen another ‘run to parkrun’ with Aled leading me, Richard, Nick and Helen via the Merthyr Mawr Sand Dunes. Unlike the previous attempt, we managed to get through unscathed and also got the parkrun in time without having to sprint the final couple of miles. A few others joined us there including Liz Davis who was representing the club for the first time in what was also her first parkrun. The third parkrun of the month seen some impressive times with Nick back in the low 21’s for the first time post holidays, I got sub 22 for the first time in 3 months whilst Richard, Brian and Chris all came in well under 24 minutes. That evening saw around 20 Cwm Ogwr members go out for our first Saturday evening social event as all previous socials have been after Sunday races. Everyone had a great time and big thanks to the clubs social secretary, Helen Griffiths for arranging it all.
 
A day later saw Cwm Ogwr members running in 3 very different events. One being a 10 mile multi-terrain event in West Wales, one being a 10K fun run in Cardiff, and the other being a half marathon in the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip. I’ll start with the Pembery MT10, which included me, Nick, Fiona and Lorna all running the event for the first time. The course started like any other with tarmac paths for the first mile or two but then the multi-terrain kicked in – miles and miles through undulating forestry tracks, some of which was more sand than dirt with a couple of short steep climbs thrown in for good measure. The toughest bit was yet to come though. Mile 7 to 8 was along Pembrey beach before a knee busting mile long section along what most have been 12-15 small sand dunes constantly going up and down. Although it was tough, all four of us really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend to others to put it on next years calendar. Nick was the first of the CORC runners across the line with me just a couple of minutes behind. Lorna came in 10 minutes later in 1:31 whilst Fiona crossed the line in 1:41 having not trained much due to injury and illness. Both achieved PB’s on account of it being their first 10 milers. The second event of the day seen Helen Griffiths run the Cardiff Mo Run for the 3 year in a row. Chris Pratt also completed the course to receive the unique moustache shaped medal and was less than a minute away from his Richard Burton time earlier in the month. The final event was Helen Davies running the Las Vegas Half Marathon which she completed in 1:56:08 enjoying every minute of it. Although I think the half marathon experience was quickly eclipsed a day or two later when she met Donny Osmond who signed her race number.
 
I’d rather not mention the next weekend of running (22 / 23) as for the first time in 16 weekends and only the second time 38 weekends I didn’t do a parkrun! I was supposed to be doing a spot of parkrun tourism at Ashton Court in Bristol, but illness put an end to that. Meanwhile, there was another good attendance at Porthcawl with 11 club members running. Nick continued his comeback with a sub 21 clocking finishing just behind Dai Cappell. New parkrun regular Brian smashed his previous best with a 22:39 clocking moving him up 3 places to 12 in the 5K rankings. Lorna ran her fastest time since July whilst Fiona was agonisingly just 5 seconds off her PB. Richard was the last of the 11 runners but for good reason as he was pushing his 1 year old round in a running buggy and beat his previous attempt in a very respectable 26:24. I’m hoping to complete my first buggy parkrun in the next couple of months but I already have my excuses ready if I don’t beat that time given I have two babies to push around the course. Unbeknownst to Nick, this parkrun was actually his 100event since joining Cwm Ogwr and he becomes the second runner (after me) to reach the milestone. 
 
The lead up to the final parkrun of the month seen a familiar face as 'parkrunner of the week' on the UK newsletter... me! http://www.parkrun.org.uk/news/2014/11/27/weekly-newsletter-27th-november-2014/ 

Conditions were good and clearly boosted by the parkrunner of the week status I finally beat my previous best 5K time which had stood for a year (barring one week). Nick and Bridgend Athletics Claire Hughes unknowingly paced me all the way round both finishing a few seconds ahead and probably surprised to see me so close behind at the finish. Denise Bradley also ran a PB in her first parkrun for seven months knocking nearly a minute off her previous time and moving up to 4 in the women’s 5K rankings.
 
As I’m a bit late with the November review, I’ll include the first weekend of Decembers events as well which seen me, Dai K, Chris and Nick do two 5K’s in one morning. First up was the Porthcawl parkrun where Nick (I don’t know how to run slow) Harris ran an impressive 20:45 followed by Dai K who was leaving a little in reserve with a 22:21. I volunteered to pace 25:00 whilst Chris finished in 26:25. The second 5K of the morning was the inaugural Run for All Santa Fun Run 5K. Brian and Denise joined us in the sunshine of Aberavon along with 230 others in matching Santa outfits. The event went really well. Well organised, excellent support for every marshal on the route, a choir signing carols at the start / finish, a decent enough Santa outfit and a fast flat course. The day started with zero temperatures when I left for Porthcawl, but by the start of the Santa Run at 11am, the temperature had rose to 10 degrees and after a couple of kilometres in those Santa outfits it was uncomfortably hot. Despite that, Nick finished an impressive 22 out of the 231 Santa’s coming in at 21:13. I was 30 with 21:57 whilst Dai K was just outside his earlier time in Porthcawl finishing in 42. Brian was next up followed by Denise and Chris. Another great race and one for next year should they do it again.
 
The rest of December see’s Cwm Ogwr at the Pudding Run for the third year in a row in what could be very muddy, wet conditions if the current forecast is anything to go by. Once we’ve scraped the mud off it’s onto the second Cwm Ogwr Presentation / Christmas do where the top prize of Runners’ Runner of the Year will be presented. Christmas parkruns, the annual Porthcawl Lions Boxing Day run and Nos Galan should all see CORC members in attendance as well.
 
Chairman’s Club Runner of the Month – Denise Bradley
 
After lowering her 10K time recently at both Cardiff and Swansea 10K’s, Denise did it again at the Richard Burton 10K this month. She then followed this up with her first parkrun in several months knocking almost a minute off her 5K time.
 
Runners Profile #4
 
Name:                    Richard Lowcock James
Joined Club:             May 2014
Parkrun Age Category:    W35-39
First Event:             (Ever) Cardiff 10K 2009 (with Cwm Ogwr) Porthcawl Parkrun 03/05/14
Total races / parkruns:  (Ever) over 170 (with Cwm Ogwr) 34
 
Breakdown of events with Club:
 
5K or Parkrun:          26 (PB 22:34) – 22:11 with Liswerry
5 Miles:                        1 (PB 39:09)
10K:                    3 (PB 48:35) – 47:44 with Liswerry
Other:                  2
 
From the beginning
 
Started running in 2009 when a friend who ran for Les Croupiers convinced Richard to sign up for the Cardiff 10K. Having a base level of fitness from regular dog walks up the mountain and the occasional gym visit meant it didn’t take too long for Richard to build up to the distance. Before long it was onto Newport parkrun where Richard became a regular runner and volunteer barely missing a week and even doing an additional Christmas Day / New Years Day parkruns. Joining Liswerry running club reintroduced Richard to cross country for the first time since school days and he has clocked up a few cross country fixtures as well as the more conventional road races. It wasn’t until 2013 that Richard decided to enter his first half marathon going with the local one in Newport which remains his PB.
 
Joining the club
 
Richard joined Cwm Ogwr in late April 2014 and made his first appearance at his new home parkrun of Porthcawl on May 3 before running the Cwm Ogwr 5 miler the day after which he completed in an impressive 39:09. With Liswerry’s premier event being ‘the flattest race on the planet’ I think we can be forgiven for thinking maybe Richard wasn’t a hill runner although clearly he was with his next race being the Preseli Beast Bach – a roughly 10-11 mile course over the mountains in West Wales. The regular parkruns continued with an occasional visit to Newport and running the inaugural Colby parkrun in Pembrokeshire. As for the races, Richard adopts a strict one race per month policy and June’s race was the Caerphilly 10K. He kindly offered to pace for Lorna who managed to get a PB although Richard struggled towards the end on what was a very hot day. In July it was Richards first half marathon with the club at the inaugural Swansea Half Marathon. Again, very warm conditions didn’t help and after a decent first half of the race, the pace slipped towards the end, but still finished with a respectable 1:53:54.
 
August seen Richard compete in one of the more bizarre races in South Wales – the Murder Mile. One mile – all very steeply uphill. Needless to say, it was probably his slowest ever racing mile. In early September Richard ran the Hilly 4 in Llangwyndd which I think will be on his calendar again next year. October seen Richard break his 1 race per month rule as he ran the Cardiff HM, beating his Swansea time by just over a minute having started in 2 – 2:30 pen and battling his way through the crowds. A week later he introduced me to cross country at Newbridge Fields. I think Richard was a little disappointed as there was very little mud, no water and only a small section of incline on the 3 lap course. We had a good battle throughout with Richard finishing ahead of me for the first time in race conditions and even beat his 10K time from Caerphilly. In November Richard ran the Richard Burton 10K notching up yet another 10K PB making it 3 out of 3 at that distance since joining the club.
 
Future plans
 
Riverbank Rollick and Liswerry 8 have already been entered and maybe another cross country fixture. Richard has also entered the Ras Dewi Sant Half Marathon which is one of the toughest but most scenic half marathons in the UK. No doubt there’ll be more off road races and who knows, maybe one day – a marathon. Plus of course there’s that 250 parkrun t-shirt… currently on 137 so maybe that’s one for the end of 2017?
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