On the 6th of April 2013, Cwm Ogwr came together with Bridgend Athletics, Brackla Harriers, Cornelly Striders, Pencoed Tri and Porthcawl Runners for the official first event of Porthcawl parkrun. I say official as we had a trial event the week before where the club had our photo taken with Helen Jenkins as below. It had been several months in the planning with former GB Olympic marathon runner, Steve Brace heavily involved in the set up. Yesterday's parkrun was the 2nd anniversary celebration and an amazing day for Cwm Ogwr Running Club, but before I get onto that, I thought I'd share Cwm Ogwr's stats at parkrun to date.
The first few months
Cwm Ogwr had 10 runners at the official first event with who else but John Burridge setting down an impressive marker of 20:19. However, attendance quickly dropped and between May and August 2013 we didn't have more than 3 members turn up on the same week and had several weeks with only one runner. John became the clubs first runner to go sub 20 in May with 19:59. Jonathan Edwards and Ross Jones lead the attendance figures in the early days with me not far behind having already visited a few other parkruns. August seen Nick Harris run his first parkrun and although he did miss the odd weekend in the first couple of months, he started a phenomenal consecutive run of Porthcawl parkruns on 16th November 2013 not missing one until the 30th August 2014 - a total of 41 weeks which I'm pretty sure is a Porthcawl parkrun record not just for our club but any runner at the parkrun. Due to that run, it means the last Porthcawl parkrun with no Cwm Ogwr representatives was 12th October 2013 - although I was running at Pontypridd that day, and we did have several future Cwm Ogwr runners at Porthcawl that day. Despite the ever present Nick, Cwm Ogwr runners remained low with me being the second most regular attendee and Steven Clatworthy running several weeks in a row leading up to Christmas 2013. Steven became the second Cwm Ogwr runner to go sub 20 although it was actually at Pontypridd parkrun and it was a rare appearance from Aled Hughes that seen the second sub 20 time at Porthcawl and a club course record of 19:58.
The "Couch to 5K" parkrun and starting to grow
On the 1st February 2014, several members of Cwm Ogwr's Couch to 5K club came along for their first attempt at running 5K. Unfortunately despite the fact we had rarely had bad weather at parkrun to date, the recent storms had meant the promenade was flooded and the alternative course had to be used. This meant having to run the 'bump' (us valley runners can't call it a hill) to Rest Bay twice. There were record 11 attendees with Lisa, Lucy, Hannah, Erin and Rachel all running their first 5K in wet, windy conditions. Numbers returned to just 1-3 attendees per week before some of the Couch to 5K runners decided to give it another go on 16th March were we had a record 14 runners including a first parkrun for Dai Kembery who would also go on to rarely miss a week. It was also a first parkrun for Denise Bradley who went on to get a PB at her first 6 parkruns before injury meant not returning for several months. Again, it was a bit of a one-off high attendance although we did have a regular half dozen each week with another parkrun addict, Richard Lowcock James joining in April. This meant that each week you could almost guarantee there'd be Nick, me, Dai Cappell, Dai Kembery and Richard.
Records tumble and 50 club members - April - September 2014
In early April, Dai Cappell went sub 20 for the first time and clinched the club course record with 19:57 and would go on to lower this to 19:50 in May. As well as the regular 5 mentioned above, Kelly kept her numbers ticking over and set the women's club record on 7th June 2014 which still stands at 22:47. A week later John made a rare appearance to reclaim the club course record with 19:48.There was a first parkrun and occasional appearance from Lorna, whilst Kevin also made his debut and Jonathan still made the odd appearance. Dai Cappell became the first Cwm Ogwr to receive the club 50 t-shirt whilst a member, before me and Nick became the first to run all 50 with the club and receive our t-shirts on the same day in August 2014. It was around this time that the ever improving Nick smashed the 20 minute barrier with a 19:45 clocking and followed that up a week later with a course record 19:38 which still stands. That month also saw Frances Samuel and Fiona Evans made their first parkrun appearances although neither decided to make it a regular weekly fixture.
Recruiting at parkrun - Oct-Dec 2014
Looking through the results it was noted that many of the regular parkrunners are not part of a running club. Club Membership Secretary Kelly was quickly on the case to see if we could change this. With our very competitive membership fees we offered some of the regulars a chance to become affiliated with the club which would in turn mean discounted race entry as well as obviously being part of one of the friendliest, fastest growing clubs around. Richard and Heather Garratt signed up along with Ceri Raffill whilst we also signed up the leading woman for parkrun appearances Jackie Lewis and one of the only men to rival Nick for appearances in Chris Pratt. This meant along with the current 5 pretty much ever-presents, we now regularly had 10 club members at every parkrun. Brian Cotton also made a few appearances leading up to Christmas and there was a return to parkrun for Denise.
Turning parkrun Cwm Ogwr blue - Jan-Apr 2015
The new year seen yet more new recruits. Chris Roberts, Alica Thomas and Helen Lowcock James all joined and between them have notched up over a dozen PB's! January 24th seen a new club record appearance with 15 turning up in what was my first attempt at running with the double running buggy. Richard had already notched up a couple of runs with his running buggy which was to become a regular fixture now that Helen was also regularly running. On Feb 21st he set a 'buggy PB' with an outstanding 26:02. Liz Davies has also become a regular since the new year combining her marathon training runs with parkrun and even running down, doing parkrun and then running home for one of her longest runs. Whilst our numbers were now regularly around the dozen mark, a new group of potential parkrunners were being trained by Kevin and Dai with the Zero to Hero club...
Cwm Ogwr take over Porthcawl Parkrun - the 2nd Anniversary Run - 4th April 2015
There'd been some talk for a couple of weeks of some of the Zero to Hero members coming down to Porthcawl and last weekend seen them complete a 5K run on their Sunday session. Friday night, Dai accidently let it slip that "8 or 9 could be attending" as Kevin wanted to keep it a surprise for us regular parkrunners to see a load of new faces. I went down early to do a few miles as part of marathon training before meeting Kevin opposite the Pavillion to meet 4 of the Zero to Hero members... then a couple more... and a couple more... and a few more. I spend most of the run back from the turnaround point in Rest Bay shouting encouragement as a stream of new Cwm Ogwr members passed in the opposite direction whilst there was actually a record number of regular parkrunners as well! It was only whilst standing at the finish line cheering the runners coming in that I appreciated just how many had turned up. Cwm Ogwr shirts were everywhere as many of the Zero to Hero club have already purchased one and a group photo had to be taken as seen below.
In the end I believe there were 29 Cwm Ogwr runners with 2 volunteering plus Amanda and the twins cheering us on with a few other supporters.
I think it would be naïve to expect us to now have 20-30 parkrunners every week but the feedback from many of the newbies yesterday was that they will return so who knows - a regular 15-20 from now on? Maybe set a date for everyone to go down and if we can top 30? Whatever happens, yesterdays run was my proudest day as Cwm Ogwr Chairman.I can't thank the coaches enough for not only for running the Zero to Hero club but for improving the quality of Tuesday and Thursday sessions so that more people attend and look forward to them.
We also have a lot of celebrations to come in the next few months at parkrun. Dai K, Helen LJ, Kelly, Chris Roberts, Heather and Richard Garratt are all on 40 odd parkruns so lots of club 50 t-shirts to be presented. Chris Pratt is just 4 parkruns away from the 100 club whilst Jackie, me, Nick and Dai C will all reach that milestone within the next few months. With marathons coming up for a few of us and other commitments, I'm sure some of these will slip by a week of two but if no parkruns are missed then members will achieve their milestones on the following dates..
David Kembery - Club 50 - April 18th
Helen LJ - Club 50 - April 25th
Chris Pratt - Club 100 - May 2nd
Kelly Owen - Club 50 - May 9th
Chris Roberts - Club 50 - May 23rd
Richard and Heather Garratt - Club 50 - June 6th
Jackie Lewis - Club 100 - July 11th
Natalie Griffiths - Club 50 - July 18th
Gareth Jenkins - Club 100 - July 25th
Nick Harris - Club 100 - August 22nd
David Cappell - Club 100 - September 12th
With the recruitment over the last 6 months of several parkrun regulars, the stats produced in the presentation in the Hi-Tide after the run yesterday showed that Cwm Ogwr are up there with the other local clubs in terms of number of attendees and total number of runs. We had members in the top 10 list for male attendees, female attendees, both male and female points tables and two members in the monthly prize-winner lists.
Nick has only missed 3 parkruns since Nov 13
I've only missed 2 parkruns since the end of April 14 (post London Marathon)
Chris Pratt has only missed 6 in the last 2 years
Richard LJ who ran his 150th parkrun last weekend
The fast ones - sub 20's
Dai C - 5 occasions
John - 3 (parkrun record of 19:38 at Cardiff)
Nick - 3 (parkrun record of 19:38 run twice at Porthcawl)
Steve - 1 (at Pontypridd)
Aled - 1
Erin - 40:18 to 27:53
Rachel - 40:33 to 29:59
Hannah G - 40:17 to 33:53
Chris R - 28:12 to 22:42
Lisa - 31:58 to 27:01
Chris P - 27:22 to 23:42
Nick - 23:15 to 19:38
Kelly - 25:46 to 22:47
I'm sure there's many more. Well done everyone!