Lots to catch up on with parkrun milestones, PB's and races galore. The Snowdon Marathon lot are racking up the mileage with most having done up to 20 mile runs. As it's Snowdon we're training for, we of course need to include an incline or two so I've posted two of the most bonkers elevation profiles below.
Aled Hughes 21 miler
Chris Pratt and I - 20 miler
There’s also plenty of long runs from those signed up to Cardiff Half Marathon in just over three weeks time. Zero to Hero / 5K Masters club continues to go from strength to strength with more new faces practically every week and many of which are progressing to midweek sessions. Club membership continues to grow and we are now on the brink of welcoming our 100 member which in turn could secure us a third London Marathon place.
August 22nd - parkruns
Another parkrun, another milestone. This time it was Nick's 100th parkrun. Determined to 'go for it' he even had a top pacer in Kevin to help attack his parkrun club record of 19:38. In the end Kevin couldn’t keep up with the speedy Mr Harris who not only got a PB but beat the overall 5K club record by one second with a 19:27. Fiona somewhat unwillingly ended up as an ideal pacer for Denise with both getting PB’s of 25:00 and 25:02 respectively whilst Ann Davies made a rare appearance at her nearest parkrun with a sub 30 time. Our recent master baker Kelly was on holidays on so Nick made his own cakes to celebrate the milestone which went down very nicely.
A couple of parkrun tourisms as well with recent sign up David Sheard (who will be our next 100 club member in a few weeks) running at Pontefract parkrun, whilst Fiona Drysdale visited Penallta parkrun in Caerphilly for the second time.
August 26 – Kenfig Nature Reserve 5K
A bit of a last minute addition to the race calendar with the manager of the Nature Reserve (who is a keen runner) organising an inter-club race with the help of James Marks of Cornelly Striders. The clubs competing were Bridgend, Brackla, Cornelly, Cwm Ogwr and Porthcawl. We were initially told it was 20 runners per club maximum with 15 to score towards the overall team result. There was a bit of confusion as we were then told there was no limit and then there was, then there was – you get the idea. It did make me a little nervous as there was a fantastic response when I asked who fancied competing and it was over 20, so if there was a limit, I had a bit of a problem.
Fortunately there wasn’t and an incredible 31 members turned up! We easily had the biggest turnout of the 5 clubs involved. None of us really knew what to expect and as it turned out, the run was a lot harder than many of us thought with a lot of it on sand and a short section on grass in the middle with minimal time on tarmac. Neil Jones was first Cwm Ogwr member over the line and 12 overall, followed by Kevin, Chris Williams, myself and Chris Pratt. Amy Roberts was our first female in what was her first off road race. In fact, it was the first off road race for well over half of the members in attendance and although it was only 5K, it was certainly a challenging one.
Entry fee was just £2 and there was water or Lucozade upon finishing and then hot drinks and a vast selection of cakes and biscuits afterwards – can’t argue with that! Cwm Ogwr finished 4 out of the 5 clubs involved and it was very close between us and Brackla for 3. I’m blaming Nick Harris for not being able to make it which may actually have made up the difference. A fantastic event which got me thinking about the possibility of an Inter-club league which I have proposed to the other club contacts and will be pursuing with a view to something being in place for 2016. Watch this space.
August 29 – Porthcawl parkrun
A Porthcawl parkrun without Nick Harris?! As Nick was doing the CPR challenge it meant he was missing from the start line in Porthcawl for the first time since 18 October last year. In his absence it was a trio of Dai’s with Evans, Cappell and Kembrey our first three finishers. Amy Roberts was first Cwm Ogwr female and has so far not been beaten by any other female member. The few who were doing Severn Bridge Half Marathon choose to take it easy, whilst a few ran down to parkrun as part of half / full marathon training so it ended up being a rare parkrun with no PB’s.
August 29th-30th - The CPR Challenge
This was the 4th year this had be run and I was really keen to give it a go. CPR stands for the Cardiff Penath-Run indicating that there are 5 events. The 5 events are split over 2 days and make up exactly a marathon distance (26.2 miles or 42.2K) in total. This includes Cardiff Parkrun (5K) followed by a 10K and then a 4.5K Cross Country run on the Saturday with a Half Marathon (21.1K) and a 1 mile (1.6K) time trial to finish.
Event 1 - Cardiff Parkrun
Kevin, Nick and I signed up and looked a bit odd at the start of parkrun being amongst the 30 odd with a race number on whilst the other 600 people didn’t. As we were ‘racing’ the parkrun we stood reasonably close to the front not to lose too much time. Nick sped off whilst I think Kevin had the other four events in mind and was only a few meters ahead of me for the first 2K before disappearing into the distance. I’d decided beforehand that I was going for it in the 5K and 10K events with PB opportunities due to the flat courses. I finished in 20:27 – a PB! Kevin obviously picked up the pace quite a bit after 2K as he finished in 19:58 whilst Nick clocked a sub 20 for the second week in a row with a 19:46.
Event 2 – 10K
Event two was the 10K with a 2 lap course around Pontcanna fields and lopping round the Swalec Stadium. Kevin had opted for a Tesco’s breakfast in the 3 hours between the races whilst I went for a couple of flapjacks and some milk having seen some program indicating that it’s a better recovery drink than any of the usual isotonic options. The 10K was my big target for the weekend as my 10K PB dated way back to September 2013 despite me beating all my PB’s at other distances on more than one occasion since then. I sped off and for the only time in the whole weekend was in front of Kevin and Nick, albeit for about 30 seconds. All three of us said afterwards that it was an incredibly tough race after blasting the 5K earlier in the day. Nick and Kevin ran the first couple of kilometres together before Nick pulled away and it wasn’t long after before neither of them were within my sight. I really pushed hard and was so pleased to get a PB with a 43:53 to finally break the two year 10K PB lull. Kevin was a little disappointed even though he managed an excellent 42:46 whilst Nick also got a PB with a 42:13.
Event 3 – 4.5K XC
Event three was the 4.5K Cross Country event. Again, what to eat between events came into play with me going for what I would consider a sensible tuna pasta option. Nick on the hand had a McDonalds! Now I’ve been know to suffer with stitches in a few races and know this is a problem Nick has as well so his choice of pre-race food was surprising to say the least. However, who was first of the three of us in the cross country… Nick! The course was very beginner friendly with 2 laps and only a small incline on each and run mostly on grass. However, not so easy with a after giving it everything in a 5K and 10K earlier the same day! Nick ran the 2.8 miles in 20:10, Kevin came in at 20:35, whilst my double PB efforts earlier in the day caught up with me and I could only manage a 22:27. The final results would be the cumulative time of all the events so after day one, Nick had a 70 second lead of Kevin with me a further 2 minutes or so behind.
Event 4 – Half Marathon
Day two started with a Half Marathon. Just what you need after three fast races the day before! The route started with the same first mile as the 10K before crossing over the Millennium Bridge and going past the parkrun start and up the Taff Trail to Long Wood Nature Reserve by the Coryton roundabout and then back on itself. Whilst Kevin was convinced his legs were shot from the day before, I wasn’t quite sure until I started running. I quickly realised my legs weren’t quite up for it and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to go any quicker. My aim was a 1:45:00 but I fell short with a 1:47:55. Our two speedsters smashed it though – a 1:36:03 for Kevin and a 1:38:00 for Nick. Crazy times considering their efforts the day before. Such are their high standards, they were both a little disappointed not to go quicker.
Event 5 – Half Marathon
The final event was a single mile. Sounds easy but after 25.2 miles over 4 events in the previous 28 hours, an all out mile sprint didn’t seem too appealing. As we only had times from our watches to go on there was a bit of uncertainty what the gap was between Kevin and Nick going into the last event but we knew it was close with Kevin having a lead. I was worried I might not even managed a sub 7 minute mile as I was knackered but managed to dig deep for a 6:38 mile. Kevin got a 6:28 whilst Nick smashed it with a 6:06. We eventually found out Kevin beat Nick overall by just 25 seconds with a cumulative time of 3:05:50 to Nick’s 3:06:25. Nick did have the fact he won 4-1 event-wise. My disappointing half marathon time put me much further back at 3:21:22 but I had said beforehand it was all about the 5K and 10K for me which I got PB’s in both so a great weekend for all.
30 August - Severn Bridge Half Marathon
There’d been much discussion beforehand about just how hilly or otherwise this half marathon is. I did the inaugural event last year and my view was that it was pretty hilly or certainly ‘undulating’ as many races like to put it to avoid the ‘H’ word. The organisers desperately try to play down the hilliness on the event website listing a load of half marathons it is less hilly than and pointing out that the second half is almost entirely downhill. I’ll cut to the chase, the ones who did it this year said it was hilly, and let’s remember this a from a group of runners who train on hills every week. However, despite the challenging course, Liz Davis notched up her second half marathon PB of the year with a 2:06:02 whilst Amy Roberts set an awesome time of 1:48:55 on her half marathon debut. I think the women’s club record would have been under threat from her on a flatter course. Chris Pratt was first Cwm Ogwr runner across the line in 1:45:45 with Chris Roberts next in 1:48:10 having run most of the way with Amy. Christie finished in 1:53:58 meaning both him and Chris Pratt were around 3-4 minutes slower than they had been in Afan Argoed a couple of weeks previously, again indicating a challenging course.
September 5 – parkruns
Well I don’t know what’s going on at Porthcawl – a second week with no PB’s. To be fair it was Cardiff 10K the next day so most were being sensible and keeping something back for that. I say most as there still a few very speedy performances. I’d pointed out to Nick and Chris Pratt that it was their 100 Porthcawl parkrun’s so they both decided that deserved a ‘go for it’ performance. Nick notched his 3 sub 20 in as many weeks and now has more sub 20 times than any other member. Chris also went for it and agonisingly missed out by just 2 seconds. The also in-form Christie was even closer finishing just 1 second shy of his PB. Meanwhile over in Pontypridd, Neil Jones loosened up the legs ready for his Aquathon the next day clocking a 20:06.
September 6 - Cardiff 10K
The before photo
Cwm Ogwr speedsters starting pen selfie
An incredible day for Cwm Ogwr Running Club with 46 runners completing the course. This time last year we didn’t even have that many members. Even Aled Hughes ran! We had several members running their first official 10K race whilst most wanted to take advantage of the good weather conditions and super-flat course to go all out for a personal best. In the end 36 of us managed just that. Kevin was the first Cwm Ogwr runner across the line in 41:01 with Nick close behind and me a further 2 minutes back, all getting personal bests despite our CPR efforts the weekend before. Aled, Dai K and Chris Pratt were the next three all also achieving PB’s. Chris Roberts and Anthony Lewis both narrowly missed out.
Heather was first Cwm Ogwr female and it was the first time she has finished ahead of Kelly. Her time of 49:17 was a PB and is the fastest 10K this year by a female member and is the third fastest in the clubs history. Kelly was just 15 seconds behind missing out on her best by 34 seconds. Rob Pritchard, Christie Coleman and Richard Garratt all snuck under sub 50 making it PB’s for all three. Lorna narrowly missed out with 50:12 whilst Fiona Evans was 14 in her age category with a PB time of 50:49. Steve Riddler was next up with 50:54 before Fiona Drysdale continued the PB’s with 51:04 and Shelley Smithson who ran a 51:26 in only her second ever 10K having only run her first a couple of months ago.
Denise Bradley made it six PB’s in six 10K races whilst Dermot ran a 53:54 in his first 10K with the club. Next up was Liz Davis who smashed her PB by over 4 minutes with a 54:56. Liz has now gained PB’s at 5K (twice), 10K, 10 miles, Half Marathon (twice) and Marathon distances this year!
Lewis, Nicola, Jonathan, Ceri and Ann all finished in under an hour whilst Gail was agonisingly just 20 seconds outside. All PB’s bar Jonathan who missed out by just 15 seconds on his long standing record. Jackie, June and Andrea all ran fantastic times in their first 10K’s with the club followed by Rachel, Erin and Lisa who were the newbies to the distance this time last year. The PB’s continued with Natasha, Natalie and Katie before Sherril and Melanie came in. Sian Llewellyn-Goring and Pat were just one second apart in their PB performances with Cerys knocking a couple of minutes off her best. Hannah was up next followed by PB’s for Karen, Caroline and Dai Power all running their first 10K’s for the club. Our final finisher was Jayne Kembery who knocked over 4 minutes off her first 10K time back in May
The after photo with Olympic Marathon runner and former Marathon World Record Holder Steve Jones
September 6 - Ross on Wye 10K / Wentwood Woodlark / Pontypridd Aquathon
We actually had over 50 members in action that morning as Martin ran the Ross on Wye 10K, Richard LJ ran the Wentwood Woodlark and our Ponty parkrun members Neil J, Neil H and Chris W did the Pontypridd Aquathon. Fantastic times all round and the Ponty boys are now going on to do a triathlon.
Richard LJ at tackling the Wentwood Woodlark
Martin (left of photo) at the Ross on Wye 10K
Pontypridd Aquathon finishers
September 9 - Hilly 4
In a way, this event was perfectly timed to capitalise on the buzz created after the very successful weekend of running. Just as we did for the Kenfig 5K, we decided training was cancelled with everyone encouraged to attend the race which starts at the Old House Inn in Llangynwyd. Unfortunately the 10K had tweaked a few muscles so a few sensibly took an extra rest day whilst the early start time (6.30pm) meant a few couldn’t make I due to work / other commitments. Most were fair enough but not sure about Amanda Pallister ditching us for bingo! Still we had an amazing turnout of 24 members, bearing in mind the year before we had just 6! Still waiting full list of results but pretty sure we might have edged Brackla for the most represented club just as we had been in the Kenfig 5K.
I had an angry mob awaiting me on arrival as I’d claimed the race was ‘no worse than the valley lap’ in an attempt to encourage more members to attend. I’d clearly forgot that one of the ways to get there is by driving up the final hill so they saw what was coming in advance. Thankfully I think they’ve forgiven me and ended up enjoying the challenge… and the chips / £2 off a pint might have helped quite a bit as well. As for the race itself, it was the usual sight of seeing Nick disappear into the distance within the first mile before an interesting race for second place emerged.
I’d started quickly and was in second place (out of the club members of course, not overall) before Aled overtook me at after half a mile or so and started pulling away. Dave Evans came past at 2 miles with Dai Cappell putting me down to 5 Cwm Ogwr runner on the long downhill section. Approaching the final hill, Aled wasn’t initially in sight with Dai Cappell just ahead of me and then Dave Evans.
Now, if your reading this and are part of our Facebook group then you’ll know I how much abuse I get off Aled so I was determined to catch him.. and I did. Two defeats in three days for Aled Hughes against ‘the one paced wonder’. To be fair, on both occasions he was gracious in defeat and I’m under no illusions that he’ll be half hour or more ahead of me when it comes to the big test up in Snowdon. I totally get the ‘run for fun’ and it’s not all about being competitive but it is nice to have a bit of friendly rivalry though.
Chairman’s Runner of the Month (August) – Christie Coleman
An incredible month for Christie who was already on form and getting PB’s before the month even started. In August, he started the month with a parkrun PB followed by a 10 mile debut PB the next day. Another two parkrun PB’s followed with Christie reducing his time by over a minute and going sub 25 for the first time. In Afan Argoed HM he obliterated his Swansea Half Marathon time set less than 2 months earlier by 12 minutes and also ran an excellent time in the much hillier Severn Bridge Half Marathon just two week later. Well done Christie.
2015 goals and targets - the Third-Quarter Report
Ok, technically the end of September is the third quarter but I thought I’d do it a bit early to see how the three that wrote a big list are doing…
In short mine were to get PB’s at 5K, 10K, 10 mile, Half Marathon and Marathon distances. All of which I’ve done. I wanted to complete 8 Half Marathons of which I’m on 7 and Cardiff will be my 8th. A few parkrun related ones including getting to 100 runs, volunteering 5 times and getting my overall total to 20 different parkrun events which have all been completed. There are a couple still to tick off with finishing Snowdon Marathon and running 2015K in 2015 which I’m well on course to do both. I’ve now come up with a new challenge with details at the end of this blog.
Richard LJ's progress
A few of Richards were quite subjective (strengthen ankles, use foam roller, improve flexibility) so only he’ll be able to tell us if those have been achieved. Of the more measureable ones, Richard is on course with finishing every race he’s started, has run a trail half marathon and has paced club members to PB’s. On the still to do list are a 10K PB and get a Half Marathon PB. To be fair, Richard didn’t intend signing up for Snowdon Marathon and had targeted these two PB’s for races that fall during the biggest period of training so a tough ask.
Chris Pratt's progress
Chris hasn’t just achieved some of this targets, he’s done some several times over and surpassed them by huge margins. His 5K aim was sub 23 which he’s done over a dozen times and has a PB of 20:50. The 10K aim was sub 50 – PB now 46:19. Half Marathon aim was sub 1:55 – PB now 1:41:58. He completed his 50 x 5K challenge back in May albeit with a slight delay due to illness and reached the parkrun 100 club around the same time. He is well on course for 1000 miles in 2015. The two tricky ones are to complete 15 Half Marathons (currently on 8) and run at 11 Welsh parkruns which is the number that existed at the start of the year. Plans are in place for both.
**THE NEW TARGET**
I can’t just relax in the knowledge I’m on course to complete all my targets, and the Kenfig 5K and a couple of other races I didn’t know about earlier in the year have meant a ridiculous feat might be possible…
100 EVENTS IN 2015
I did a list of events I was definitely going to do at the start of 2015 and it amounted to around 80 odd. Throughout the year a few others have popped up that weren’t on the initial list or I did more than I expected so as I added these to list the total nudged over the 90 mark. I’d given some thought to whether 100 was possible earlier in the year but quickly dismissed it as bonkers and not realistic. Then a couple of weeks back Richard LJ posted about some Fell races which being Saturday afternoon races didn’t clash with anything and could add another two or three. I revisited my list which was initially pretty quiet for Oct-Dec and started adding a couple of the Fell races, a couple of cross country fixtures, Pembrey MT10, Porthcawl Lions Boxing Day race.. all of a sudden, it’s on.
Now feel free to re-post this throughout 2016 if it doesn’t happen but my number 1 goal for next year is “DO LESS EVENTS”. I’m never going to get near 100 again so I’m determined to do now the opportunity is there*
*when I say never going to get near 100 again, I mean within 10-15 events of it as I’ve already done my list for 2016 and it already includes 77 events even though I’ve left out loads.
Getting back to this year and I’m currently on 71 events leaving me 29 to do in the next 15 weeks as I’m hoping to complete it on Boxing Day. No doubt I will keep everyone updated on my progress.
A look ahead
This weekend is reasonably quiet although Dawn is running the Great North Run and Fiona D is running the Aberdare 5K. I’m trying to encourage some parkrun tourism with Caerphilly the venue although I suspect it may just be me and Chris Pratt. There’ll be a blue wave descending on Swansea 10K the week after as I think at least a dozen or more members are attending with even more first timers. Chris Pratt will be doing the Two Tunnels Half Marathon to add another towards his target. September 25-27 is likely to see Cwm Ogwr racking up hundreds of miles between us as this is pencilled in as most of the Snowdon lots final 20+ mile run whilst a few others might be getting in a final 10 miles or so for the Cardiff Half Marathon which is a week later. Hopefully we’ll have hit the 100 member mark and in around 3 weeks time several members will discover whether they have been successful in the London Marathon ballot.
Again, I’m so happy with how the club is growing and developing. More training sessions, more members, more races, more milestones, more firsts, more PB’s, more happy runners. It’s been especially fantastic to see the turnout at local races like Kenfig 5K and the Hilly 4 to the point we’re outnumbering much bigger, more established clubs and really putting Cwm Ogwr on the running map. The club is going from strength to strength and long may it continue.