September 1 – Parc Slip
The 4th fixture of the Bridgend League seen a new event at Parc Slip. A record attendance of 83 for this one! There was some confusion over the distance as initially it was advertised as a 4 mile run and then due to an enforced change in the course we were told it was ‘nearer 5K’. I think a lot of people missed the ‘nearer’ bit so had a bit of a shock when it turned out to be around 3.5 miles. Neil Jones finished 4th overall but as there were two guest runners, he was 2nd in terms of scoring for league purposes. This was a day after finishing 2nd in a tough off road hilly half marathon. As usual, there’s a few too many runners to go through every result but a great effort by all and plenty of support for each other with an out and back early on and a couple of other sections were you passed runners going the opposite way. Banana, water, welsh cake and hot drink for all finishers went down very well. A great event which I hope they repeat in the league next year.
September 3 – parkruns and Roman Run
50 runners across 5 different parkruns. Starting with the tourists for a change, we had Chris Pratt in Sunderland, Wayne in Swansea, David Sheard in Bryn Bach ahead of the Roman Run, and Aled, Kris and Brian in Grangemoor. Our Grangemoor runners were doing the parkrun before going on to run to Nash Point along the coastal path as a 30ish mile training run for the Gower 50. Jamie Vanstone joined them at the starting point of the Vale Ultra to run the whole course ‘just for fun’… 32 miles of it!
Back at Porthcawl there were 44 runners for Chris Roberts 100 parkrun. It was also Jackie Lewis’s 150. Niki Puleio was first Cwm Ogwr runner home back in 19:34. The girls dominated the PB’s with Kirsty Evans, Josie Bishop, Dawn Hopkins, Bethan (paced by Kelly and Heather), Mandie Owen, Rhian Peacock and Sharon Delahunty. The final 3 mentioned all doing their first parkruns for the club. Anne Lalic and Chris Stanlake took up the new tail runner volunteer role.
David Sheard, Gary Piper and Mark Worrall ran the 16 mile Roman Run from Brecon to Merthyr in horrendous wet and windy conditions. Gary took a tumble in the early miles and dislocated his shoulder but incredibly carried on and completed the race before going off to A&E to get it sorted out.
The 401 Marathons
For those who don’t know about this, Ben Smith is attempting to run 401 marathons in 401 days in various locations throughout the UK. He is raising money for two anti-bullying charities and is now into his final few weeks of the challenge. He did miss a week earlier this year due to an increasingly painful injury that could have caused long term damage had he not rested, but he is now looking to make up the lost mileage by tagging extra miles onto some of the remaining marathons.
On Friday 2 September the venue was Neath with Run 4 All helping organise the marathon route for the day. Chris Pratt went along and had originally intended to run the full marathon but other commitments meant he had to change his plans to running the first 8 miles. Sian Tossell joined in for the Gnoll parkrun part of the route as well. He was in Merthyr on the Saturday and then Pontypridd on the Sunday where Dai Power and I went over to meet him and run the Reverse 10 miler which he would be using for the first 10 miles of his run. More on the race below. Then on Monday 5 September, Ben ran a double out and back marathon course from Pontcanna Fields following the Taff Trail north. Chris Pratt joined him for the entire run which was organised by Les Croupiers Running Club.
September 4 – Reverse 10
Organised by Pontypridd Roadents, this was an event that have seen a small selection of Cwm Ogwr runners do over the past 3 years. The race is called the ‘Reverse’ because apparently when they first ran the event, someone put the mile marks out in reverse order so instead of saying mile 1 after a mile, it said mile 9. They stuck with this and it’s the only race I’ve done where the mile markers count down. However, due to some building works, the Reverse 10 course had to be reversed! So it started from what would normally be the turnaround point before heading towards the old start / finish and looping back… still with me?!
Anyway, as mentioned above, Ben Smith, the 401 marathon guy was there so Dai Power and I managed to get a selfie with him before the start and wished him good luck. The 10 mile had a long incline after 1 mile which sapped the energy from the legs early before a reasonably flat out and back barring a few humpback bridges. The route was a mixture of gravelly / stoney paths and cycle track. I decided to go for it but fell just 40 seconds short of my time from Neath 10 miler with a 1:14:16 – 2 weeks later I’m still debating whether it was actually a PB or not as most of us measured the Neath 10 miler that year as being about 0.2 miles short which doesn’t sound like a lot, but is more than 40 seconds worth. After finishing I got a post-race selfie with Ben before heading off to run the final mile or so with Dai who finished in 1:58:59.
September 5 – Rose Inn Relays
26 runners for this one which caused a bit of an issue. Teams of 3 required so that left us one short. A volunteer was needed to step in to run twice. Realistically there were 3 likely candidates – me, Christie or Nick.. but you couldn’t run for the same team twice which counted out Christie and Nick so I ended up taking one for the team. Let’s be honest, I didn’t need much convincing although did start wondering if it was such a good idea shortly after getting my two race numbers. On the positive side it was only 1.9 miles per leg… on the downside, it was only 1.9 miles per leg meaning pretty much a faster than 5K pace sprint a day after pushing for a 10 mile PB.
Nick ran the fastest leg of the day in the first leg. Given I was running 3 on his team, this meant less recovery for me. Kevin ran the second fastest leg whilst I ran both the 3 and 4 fastest. My second leg was actually 7 seconds fastest than my first which helped the team of Nick, Christie and I finish as first Cwm Ogwr team across the line. Aled had signed us up as was supposed to be part of the team and had called us “Bridgend Athletic A”! Some great performances throughout the field and in true Cwm Ogwr spirit Ian Lewis accompanied our final runner Angela Parry on the last leg whilst a few more of us joined for the latter stages. We later discovered that David Sheard. Jackie Lewis and Ian Lewis won the over 50’s all-comers prize which Diana Purnell collected on their behalf.
September 6 – Tuska Beach 5K
A late cancelation of the Sandy Bay 5K that Porthcawl were organising meant that Pencoed Tri stepped in to do a Beach 5K instead. The plan was that it would start at Rest Bay and go down to Pink Bay and back but the tides had different ideas so the course had to be amended to a 2 lap ‘just under 5K’. I think most of us expected that to still be 3 miles but I don’t think anyone was complaining when it only turned out to be 2.6 miles. Fortunately the sand was quite firm which allowed for some speedy times. What we didn’t expect was having to run through quite a bit of water further up the beach on both laps. To be fair, there was a mention of ‘bring dry shoes’ from the organisers.
49 Cwm Ogwr runners for this one. A combination of some not being keen on running on sand and mainly the early start time of 6:30pm meant a smaller attendance for Cwm Ogwr although still by far the most represented club there. Neil Jones set of like a rocket and lead from start to finish to win his first event outside of parkrun. Kelly Owen was first female home just ahead of Shelley who is on the comeback trail after several weeks out injured. After finishing 3 of the 6 teams at Parc Slip last week, we improved to finish 2 in this fixture and are now within catching distance of second placed Brackla ahead of the final event.
September 10th – parkruns
48 runners across 4 parkruns. Saul ran at Southampton, Shawn and Julie were at Reading whilst Neil returned to his home parkrun of Pontypridd finishing 2 to Daniel Bodman who is a sub 16 runner. Neil’s time of 17:26 was his fastest on that course and the 11 time he’s run under 18 minutes.
Back at Porthcawl there were 44 runners lead home for the second week in a row by Niki Puleio. It was Nick Harris’s 150 parkrun and he celebrated with his 21 sub 20 time whilst Dave Evans ran a seasons best of 19:49 making it a trio of club members under the 20 minute mark. Josie Bishop was first club female back with a parkrun PB of 24:10 which puts her 9 in the female rankings. Kristy Thomas ran her first parkrun with the club with a swift 27:22 whilst Seanne Sandford, Natasha Hodgson and Nicola Allen got first timer PB’s. Jonathan Edwards ran his first parkrun in over a year so automatically got a seasons best time.
September 11 – Cardiff 10K, Great North Run and Glynneath Triathlon
78 runners at the Cardiff 10K which is a record outside of parkrun / Bridgend League. With 2 at the Great North Run and Sian Tossell completing the Glynneath Triathlon it meant Cwm Ogwr had clocked up 342 individual results in the first 11 days of September which includes 135 DIFFERENT members! That’s 80% of our membership with many of them running 2 or 3 events, or 6 in my case.
At the Great North Run Dawn ran 2:23 after slowing towards the end to help her running buddy who was struggling with injury. Helen Griffiths was just a couple of minutes behind and broke her 3 year old PB with a 2:25:58. Helen has now clocked 5K, 10K, 10 mile and HM bests this year.
Back at Cardiff Neil Jones was first Cwm Ogwr runner back in a phenomenal 35:44. Amazingly, such is Neils determination to get even faster, he was actually disappointed with this. Niki Puleio became the second Cwm Ogwr runner to break the sub 40 barrier with a 38:26 whilst Aled knocked over a minute off his PB but just missed out on sub 40 with a 40:13. Back in 2013 I ran a then club record of 44:17 at Cardiff – this year we had 11 runners under that mark which helped us finish 4th, 7th and 10th in the team competition.
Despite the recent return from injury, Shelley clocked a PB of 50:06 and was first Cwm Ogwr female back with Kirsty coming in with a PB not far behind. Helen Davies was 10th in the F55+ category with a brilliant 52:10 and Jackie Lewis was 9th in the F60+ category. Our highest male age category finisher was Kevin with 16th place in the M55+.
There were 47 PB’s in total plus several season’s best times. More than a dozen of the blue wave were either running their first 10K for the club or first 10K ever.
Still to come
This weekend see’s the blue wave descend on Swansea 10K whilst Martin Beard makes his Ironman debut at Tenby. The following weekend will see Cwm Ogwr compete officially for the first time in the West Glamorgan Cross Country league at Llandmadoc whilst a few are off to Scotland to do the Loch Ness Marathon. Best of luck to everyone.