June 1 – Merthyr Mawr Lane 5K
Another record for Cwm Ogwr with 68 runners for the 5K out and back along Merthyr Mawr Lane. In 2013 we had 3 runners for this, 2014 was 7, and last year 12 which goes to show the phenomenal increase in membership and participation in events over the past year.
I won’t go through every result but some highlights at the front end included Neil Jones being our first runner back in 17:41, Aled smashing his PB by 31 second with a 19:28, Richie Pett also getting a huge PB and just missing sub 20 with a 20:02, new member Gareth Richards with a PB of 20:13 and Brian getting a PB of 20:35.
There were also PB’s for Richard Purnell, Antony Lewis, Keith Coleman, Neil Morgan, Claire DB, Adam, Daniel, Carole, Julie G, Clare W and Sarah L whilst Shelley (first club female) and Denise both equalled their PB’s.
The PB’s continued with Emma W, Beverley, Jo K, Gail, Andrea R, Kimberley D, Helen G, Kelly G, Jamie, Rhian N, Rhiannon W, Lynda D, Pippa and Louise! A pretty successful evening. Massive well done to Pippa and Louise on their first official 5K race as well.
The huge participation helped the club move up from 4th to 3rd place in the team scoring for the Bridgend League.
June 4 – parkruns
34 runners across 6 different parkrun venues. 17 ran at Porthcawl where the alternative course is still being used – rare to see no PB’s which maybe says something about the tougher course… or the fact everyone smashed it at Merthyr Mawr a few days previously.
There were 12 Cwm Ogwr runners at Swansea Bay parkrun which has seen some great times from those who’ve visited to date, and this time was no different. Brian obliterated his PB set just 4 days earlier by a massive 52 seconds to go sub 20 in some style with a 19:43. An amazing achievement for someone who has been running for several years and has missed a years worth of running through injury over the past couple of years. Dai K got a seasons best whilst Beverley Sheard, Kimberley D and Lynda D all picked up their second 5K PB’s of the week.
Elsewhere, I ran at the off road Bath Skyline parkrun and Dawn Hopkins ran at Hackney Marshes whilst in London on a weekend away. You know you’ve got the running bug when you start looking for your nearest parkrun / race whilst away for the weekend. Chris Pratt ran at Huddersfield where a ‘taking it easy before the marathon’ turned into an outstanding 20:08 PB on a course with multiple sharp turns. Meanwhile, the club’s multiple record holder was at it again getting a PB of 17:21 at Cardiff whilst Chris Williams bagged himself a new PB with a 19:46.
June 5 – Huddersfield Marathon, Swansea Triathlon and Bridgend Race for Life
Chris Pratt ran his 4 marathon (or longer) in 14 weeks at the hilly Huddersfield Marathon. The gruelling course included 3,600 feet of elevation (for context, Snowdonia Marathon is 2,800 feet), and temperatures rose up to 28 degrees surely making it one of the toughest UK road marathon’s you could run this year. Chris completed the course in 4:11:17 finishing an impressive 14 out of 62 runners.
Sian Tossell added Triathlete to her list of sporting achievements as she completed the inaugural Swansea Sprint Triathlon. Well done also to Rhiannon W, Rhiannon B, Louise, Tammie, Jo K, Lisa and Carla all ran the Bridgend Race For Life.
June 7 – Brecon 5 mile and Craig Y Allt Summer Fell Race
Neil Jones joined some of his Pontyclyn Road Runners training buddies at the Brecon 5 mile event. Neil was on for a PB and another club record before confusion at the finish meant he went the wrong way and lost a few seconds to finish dead on 30:00. His PB was 29:56.
I went along to the Craig y Allt Fell Race which started near and finished at the Mountain View Ranch at the top of Caerphilly Mountain. I’d already done Pentyrch Hill Race (twice) and Preseli Beach Bach which were both classified fell races but felt this was my first proper venture in the world of fell running. Only 56 runners and I got the impression most had done these sort of races before so despite my hundreds of events and years of running, I felt like a complete beginner again.
Only a 4 mile race but with plenty of steep inclines and a proper fell race experience running through knee high grass with seemingly no obvious path, unavoidable stinging nettles and brambles, climbing over or ducking under fallen tree trunks a couple of small stream crossings and various terrain throughout. Hot temperatures made it even tougher but I took a sensible approach and was happy to slow it down and follow the ones who knew what they were doing! I finished 45 out of 56 runners for probably one of my lowest finishes ever but that didn’t matter. A great friendly atmosphere and definitely has increased my interest in trying a few more fell runs – albeit I think I’m happy to stick to the shorter ones for now.
June 8 – Corntown Kicker 9K(ish)
Initially part of a three race series that was advertised, we decided to make this a club race only to concentrate efforts on making the Drovers Run a bigger event. The Ewenny / Corntown village hall had already been booked and Dai Cappell had recce’d the course and put out signage with a few members offering to volunteer on marshalling and timing.
35 members ran in warm conditions with Neil Jones over 5 minutes ahead of everyone else with a 36:32 despite his efforts in Brecon the night before. Gareth Richards was second followed by on form Brian, then me and Aled. Great efforts throughout the field and I having it under race conditions with timing, marshals etc made it a really good tempo run for most as it can be easy to back off on a normal 5-6 mile training session. The route included a couple of style’s early on and a run through a long uphill crop field. Onto quiet country roads with a few hills spread over the course. Excellently signposted and marshalled (thanks to Natasha, Bethan, Sian, Chris and Dan) with timing and results recorded by Heather and Amanda. Definitely one to be repeated.
June 10 – Cardiff Summer Series 3 miler
Christie and I turned up for this one with Christie having completed the 1 mile and 2 mile events over the past couple of months and is on course to complete the series of four. Wearing my Cwm Ogwr shirt (of course) it was great to hear so many come over and remark on the amazing growth of the Blue Wave and our numbers at events like Merthyr Mawr. Hopefully all bodes well for when we apply for Welsh Castles Relays next year. As for the race, a change to the advertised course meant it was 2 smaller laps rather than what I thought was a lap loop of the two lap CPR 10K course. Little bit disappointed as I feel like I run better on courses I’m familiar with but given it was a 3 mile race and not a 5K, it wasn’t a big deal. A mix up with my watch meant I ended up not knowing how far I’d gone and after lap one I thought the second lap must be shorter… it was longer. I honestly started thinking they’d got confused and set out the 4 mile course instead but it was correct. I clocked 20:52 whilst Christie did a 23:55 with warm conditions for the week continuing despite this being a 7:30pm start. .
June 11 – parkruns and Man vs Horse
38 runners across 4 different parkruns this week with a lot of our recent tourists returning to Porthcawl which seen a biggest attendance in a while of 31. Having got within 9 seconds of a sub 20 time the previous week, Chris Pratt went for it again despite the fact we’re still on the alternative course. His watch said 19:59 but the timers confirmed straight away that they had it as 20:00. Mixed emotions for Chris – so agonisingly close to sub 20 but at the same time, a PB on not the easiest of parkrun courses with three 180 degree turns and a bit of incline. Richard Purnell set a parkrun PB although a few seconds outside his overall 5K time set at Merthyr Mawr whilst Beverley got a Porthcawl parkrun PB which was a few seconds outside her time at Swansea the week before. Chris Stanlake set a new PB whilst Louise Bennett and Pippa Clark (accompanied by female captain Sian T) also achieved personal bests.
Away from Porthcawl it was Richie Pett’s turn to give the Swansea course a go with parkrun PB of 20:35. Martin Beard ran at Pomphrey Hill parkrun near Bristol. Interestingly I did that one back in May 2014 when they only had around 80 runners.. now they regularly have over 350 runners. Unfortunately this is partly due to the closure of Little Stoke parkrun but on a more positive note it had significantly increased prior to that showing the growth in parkrun participation. We also had 5 runners at Cardiff with Neil J setting his second fastest time of 17:31 whilst Chris W set another new PB with 19:40 and Brian and the Denholms continuing their run of parkrun tourism.
Fiona Drysdale ran the Man vs Horse race as part of a relay team who finished 3rd overall. The race consists of 22 miles of off road running with waist deep rivers and tough climbs. As the name suggests it is actually a race against horses. Man has only won twice in 36 years although apparently there have been a few close finishes.
June 12 – NO RACES!??!?!?
First Sunday in months that there’s no Cwm Ogwr members running in some event or other. However, it did mean that there was increased attendance for Richards trail session with a few completing the Beast run for the first time and of course Zero to Hero where we continue to get a steady stream of new runners working towards 5K whilst also accommodating for those doing 10K or further.
June 18 - parkruns
36 runners across a record 10 different parkrun venues! Porthcawl continued on the alternative course which is seen by many as 'tougher' however this didn't stop Claire Dunbar-Bowen getting an incredible 24:02 - smashing her PB by almost a minute and a half and promoting her to one of the fastest females in the club this year (and ever). Phil Buckley, Dianna Purnell (paced by Denise), and Ann Lalic all also got significant PB's with Ann sneaking under 30 minutes perfectly with a 29:59.
Chris Pratt, Nick, Sian T and I headed to Swansea parkrun with Chris and I having our sights set on fast times. Chris smashed sub 20 for the first time with a 19:39 making it 3 parkrun PB's in 3 weeks at 3 different venues. I knocked 17 seconds off my PB with a 20:10 - my first 5K improvement in over a year so very pleased with that. Nick acted as a great unintentional pacer and let me pass for my moment of PB glory as we got into the final straight.
Aled, Brian and the Kembery's went to the inaugural Cwmbran parkrun with Aled posting a new parkrun PB of 19:43 on what apparently wasn't the best 'PB course'. Elsewhere Richard LJ ran Grangemoor, Julie and Natalie Griffiths ran Lanhydrock (apparently one of the toughest parkruns in the UK), Fiona Drysdale ran Pontypridd, new member Angela Parry ran at Mulbarton, Caerwyn was at Killerton, Shawn and Julie were at Newbury, and Liz Davis at Boston (UK not USA).
June 19 - Caerphilly 10K
22 Cwm Ogwr members in attendance on a record breaking day. Neil Jones smashed his own club record by over 4 minutes with a 35:26 whilst new member Nicola Symmonds who came to our attention after finishing 3rd Senior Female in the Cwm Ogwr 5 miler last month, broke the female club record by 20 seconds in her first event with the Blue Wave with a 47:31.
A plethora of PB's elsewhere as well with Aled Hughes, Brian Cotton, Richie Pett and Keith Coleman finishing in between the two record breakers. Denise Bradley was second female with her 7th PB at 10K. Mark Worrall and Emma Williams also got PB's under the hour mark with Chris Stanlake's PB a couple of minutes the other side. Helen Griffiths followed up her Merthyr Mawr 5K PB with a her first 10K PB in over 3 years and seems to have really hit some form whilst training for the Long Course Weekend and other challenges this year. Kirstie Edwards and Rhiannon Buckley completed the course in great PB times as well.
June - 25 - parkruns
From 10 different parkruns last week to just 2 this week - do Cwm Ogwr members all go away on the same weekends? Despite less tourism and a lot of members saving themselves for Swansea HM the next day there was still over 33 members parkrunning. At Porthcawl, Gareth Richards was first Cwm Ogwr runner across the line with a 20:12. Another runner knocking on the door of the sub 20 club. Kelly and Heather had posted on Facebook earlier in the week to offer their services as pacers with Richard G, Bev S and Sian T decided to join in on the day. Between them they helped encourage Lisa J, Nicola C, Rhiannon W and Pippa Clark to PB's.
Meanwhile, our tourism crew were also helping each other along with Dai Kembery's 'gentle encouragement' helping Shawn Cullen to knock over a minute off his PB with a 27:20. Chris Stanlake also bagged himself a PB with a 29:04 whilst Aled ran with Jayne K who clocked her fastest time in a couple of months with Julie R not far behind. Impressively Shawn and Julie have ran at 6 different parkrun venues in their 11 overall parkruns to date.
June 26 - Swansea Half Marathon
Huge turnout of 33 Cwm Ogwr members including several first timers. Again, the first member across the line was Neil Jones and again in a phenomenal time of 1:18:51 - knocking over 6 minutes off his personal best and of course club record. The first 6 runners all got PB's which were Aled, myself, Brian, Chris P and David Kembery. Antony L and Chris R knocked a couple of minutes off their respective PB's whilst Nicola Symmonds only missed out on a second club record in as many weeks by a minute with a 1:45:44.
A couple of amazing performances next up with Shelley clocking a 5 minute PB of 1:47:24 and Claire Dunbar Bowen getting the biggest PB of the day knocking 13 minutes off her Great Welsh HM time with a 1:48:31. In 3 months she has gone from a debut marathon of 2:11 to 1:48 - a 23 minute improvement Great PB for Rob Pritchard a few minutes behind.
An awesome debut half marathon from Kirsty Evans with a 1:54:16 - not many females in any club can claim a debut half marathon time that quick. More fabulous performances from our ladies with Melanie Thomas, Emma Williams (debut HM), Diana Purnell (first HM with club), Gail P and Katie Wood (debut HM), Bethan Cross (debut HM), Kerry Edwards, Alana Charles (debut HM) and Louise Bennett (debut HM) all claiming PB's.
Around a dozen of our members also took the opportunity to be 'race makers' for the event, marshalling between mile 1-2 before moving to mile 11-12. Amazing support and many of the ones to volunteer were relatively new members of the club which is great to see. A massive thanks to all involved.
Chairman's Runner of the Month
With the big increase in membership (I think we're now over the 150 mark) and mass participation in events, I'm going to start having a male and female runner of the month. This month was probably the toughest to date with so many great performances particularly at Merthyr Mawr 5K, Caerphilly 10K and Swansea HM, club records smashed to pieces and lots of first timers.
Chairman's Male Runner of the Month - Aled Hughes
To be fair, he's probably been the running every month this year and couldn't ignore the amazing 19:28 at Merthyr Mawr which lowered a PB that had stood for 2 and a half years. Then a 19:43 for a parkrun PB at Cwmbran, a PB by around 2 minutes at Caerphilly 10K, and then another big PB at Swansea Half Marathon last weekend. He also helped pace Jayne K at Grangemoor parkrun to her best time in a few weeks and is on course to do more races this year than the previous 3 years put together.
Chairman's Female Runner of the Month - Claire Dunbar Bowen
As already mentioned above Claire has had an improved at an incredible rate since joining the club at the start of the year. Only as recently as this February I ran with her at a Zero to Hero session where she completed her then longest run of 5 miles but she has gone on to run 3 Half Marathons since going from 2:11 to 1:48 making her one of the fastest females in the club. This month Claire also clocked a PB at Merthyr Mawr Lane 5K and then knocked around a minute and half off that a couple of weeks later with a 24:02 at Porthcawl parkrun.
Well done both.
Coming up in July
This weekend will see the club's third event of the year (fourth if you include the Corntown Kicker) with the Drovers Run 10K which is being used to raise money for #teamevsy . The weekend after see's several of our members take part in the Tenby Marathon with others aiming to complete the Long Course Weekend with a Friday swim race and Saturday bike race as well. Just 3 days later a huge contingent will be heading to the Cosmeston Relays and just 3 days after that is the Merthyr Mawr Trail Festival with race options from a 100m toddler dash to an 18 mile off roader through Merthyr Mawr Estate and the sand dunes. Then there's the third fixture of the Bridgend League with Kenfig 5K on Wednesday 20th July plus lots more besides. Looks like another busy month for the Blue Wave!