Another busy month for Cwm Ogwr so I've decided to a half month review. So far we've had more parkruns, the second Aberavon 5K, Swansea Half Marathon, and a surprise appearance by one of our members at the Liverpool Marathon.
June 6th - parkruns
27 members parkrunning across 4 different locations with 20 at Porthcawl, 4 at Bryn Bach, 2 at Newcastle and 1 at Colby. Windy conditions at all and even a couple of showers at some. Despite that there were still a few PB's with Liz and Jayne at Porthcawl, Dermot at Bryn Bach and Dawn at Newcastle who ran with Denise. Great effort by Dawn and Denise who were up in Newcastle on a hen weekend but dragged themselves out of bed to do a bit of parkrun.
June 10th - Aberavon 5K
Just 6 Cwm Ogwr members in attendance this time round and overall numbers at the event were slightly lower than the first in the series. Warm conditions with a swirling breeze that never seemed to be behind us. I was first CORC member across the line in just under 22 minutes, Dermot was 30 seconds or so slower than his PB set 4 days previous whilst Christie Coleman had by far the best result knocking almost 30 seconds off his 5K PB time. Next up was Melanie followed by Natalie and Helen Lowcock James. Chris Pratt was due to run his 50th event for Cwm Ogwr but was late leaving work / stuck in traffic and got there a couple of minutes before the start time to find registration was closed. He stayed to cheer the rest of us on.
Porthcawl Parkrun - 13th June
Another huge attendance with 20 in attendance including a few zero to hero / 10K masters returning for another attempt. With half of the runners also running Swansea HM the next day, there were lots of us taking it easy and finishing 2-3 minutes slower than our bests. However, there were some amazing runs from the others with Kerry Edwards and Pat Stanley getting PB's. There were also huge improvements for some of our Sunday group with Julie Oakley, Andrea Randall and Andrea Williams all smashing the their PB' and Beth Rees running for the first time.
Liverpool Marathon - 14th June
Kevin had kept this one quiet and done a good job as it seems hardly anyone found out. I discovered his secret a good couple of weeks ago but didn't let on to him or anyone respecting that he didn't wanted to advertise the fact he was running another marathon.
Kevin was flying and looking at his timing splits was on to smash his club record and maybe even finish around 3:10 - 3:13 range. Unfortunately Kevin encountered some injury problems in the final few miles reducing him to walking 2 miles and in his words 'shuffling' a further couple of miles to the finish.
I think we all know Kevin's not a quitter and it sounds like he battled through a lot of pain to ensure he finished. Kevin is very disappointed things didn't go to plan but at the end of the day, he's still achieved a time many of us can only dream of. With a Good For Age qualifying time already in the bag for London 2016, I'm sure we'll see him back stronger and fitter than ever before to attempt to lower his already incredible club record of 3:18. There's the small matter of Snowdon Marathon before that as well. A massive well done to you and I'm sure everyone will agree that it's absolutely amazing to have such an enthusiastic and supportive member and coach. Look forward to seeing what's next.
Swansea Half Marathon - 14th June
The previous record for Cwm Ogwr Runners at a Half Marathon was 15. Last year at the inaugural Swansea HM we had 6 runners. This year, we had 25! From several doing their first or second marathons to me doing my 21st, and from those looking at sub 1:30 to those who want to get round and maybe break 2:30. The majority of our runners went down on a mini bus organised by Kelly. Mixture of nerves and excitement but always a good atmosphere on the rare occasions we do organise a mini bus to a race. A meet up with some of the other runners a pre-race photo and all of sudden it was time to get in the starting pens. Long queues for the small amount of toilets meant some members were very last minute setting off which is probably the only negative to a brilliantly organised race.
Unfortunately a few of our front runners weren't 100% but Neil Jones finished in 1:34:11, John Burridge finished in 1:37:04 whilst Chris Williams and Nick Harris were in the 1:39's. Dai K ran almost the entire race a few feet behind me and I thought I'd nicked a quicker time with a sprint finish to get a gun time a few seconds quicker.. however, Dai had started after me so chip time was 4 seconds faster for him with both of us in the 1:40:40's. The first PB came courtesy of Antony Lewis who now has quietly ticked off 5K, 5 mile, HM, 20 mile and Marathon PB's in the last 3 months. Chris Roberts continued his excellent form knocking over 3 minutes of his HM time set in Liverpool early this year. My choice for May's runner of the month, Chris Pratt, staked his claim to be the first person to win it two months in a row with a 1:47:55 knocking a massive 6 minutes of his time. Whilst this is impressive under any circumstances, it's worth noting that Chris has run quite a lot of half marathons so it's not just a case of improving on a first or second attempt. He's also knocked nearly 10 minutes off his personal best coming into the year.
Kelly was next up and pleased with a 1:50 finish. Newest member (although this chances on an almost daily basis) Peter Harrop finished in PB time of 1:52. Lorna was up next with 1:54 which is impressive considering she's mostly been mountain biking rather than running for the past few weeks. Possibly one of the most impressive debut half marathons was Tara running 1:57 having hardly run at all over the winter and only really started back up again a couple of months ago. Steve Riddler was just a few seconds behind. Richard Garratt achieved his target of sub 2 hours with 1:59 knocking nearly 6 minutes of his debut HM time. Unfortunately things didn't go so well for his wife, Heather, who started the race with a hip injury which ended up affecting her throughout the race and meant a 2:07 time. Christie Coleman come in at 2:02 which was a 5 minute improvement on his debut HM. Denise Bradley also knocked over 5 minutes off her HM time with a 2:07 finish whilst Liz knocked an incredible 9 minutes off her time finishing just a few seconds behind. Like Chris Pratt, Liz has done several HM's before so to take such a big amount off is remarkable.
Our next 4 finishers were all first timers with Erin and Rachel coming in at 2:21 having run together and done all their training together. Gail and Melanie also ran the course together finishing in 2:23. Our final finisher was Dai Power in 2:41. Amazing achievements by all.
A big thank you to our wonderful supporters today - Fiona Evans cycled down to the 6 mile point to cheer us on and rode all the back home after waiting for all to finish. Jenna Horn, Chris Pratts wife Jo, Chris Roberts wife and daughter, Liz's husband Andy and Jayne Kembery all joined us on the bus to come and support. Andy who was the official photographer and one of the sponsors for our 5 mile race took photo's which we can't wait to see. Liz also made some amazing cakes for us to eat on the way back. Maria Lalic put good luck / well done messages on the blackboard in her garden which hundreds of passers by would have seen. A final thanks to all those who've sent good luck messages and congratulated the runners on the results.
The BEFORE photo
The AFTER photo
A few of us met up in Bridgend afterwards for a well earned drink or two. There were members from Brackla and Bridgend that joined us which shows how social media and particularly parkrun have brought the local clubs together.
An amazing day and really looking forward to Cardiff 10K with significantly more members again signing up. A great start to June and plenty more to come.