January 1 – parkruns and Kenfig 4 miler
New Years Day is the only day of the year that parkrun allow you to run two parkruns. With Cardiff starting at 9am and Barry Island at 10:30am, Chris Pratt, Nick Harris, Kris Denholm, Karl Johnson and myself went for the option of doing both. Neil Jones joined us at Cardiff where he ran 17:27 for his third sub 18 time within the space of 24 hours and 18 minutes and in the process set a seasons best that is unlikely to be beaten by anyone but himself less than 10 hours into the New Year. Mark Gabb joined us to do Barry Island only. Meanwhile, Aled clocked 19:58 at Swansea parkrun just ahead of Brian Cotton with David Evans, Juliet Amner and Christie Coleman also in attendance.
Later that morning was the Kenfig 4 miler with 39 members in attendance including the 5 who’d ran Swansea parkrun earlier. Neil Price was first of the Blue Wave across the line in a speed 25:07 on what turned out to be a 3.7 mile new route. Our first female was Denise Bradley who was celebrating her 100 event for the club. Well done to several of our runners who completed the Festive Four competition with this being the final event. Sian Tossell finished 5th in the 'Green Jersey' competition which looked at how participants did against seasons best times. Helen Griffiths, Jo Betty both made the top 10 with 9th and 10th respectively whilst Pippa and Claire T were just outside in 11th and 13th.
January 4 – Track Session
The second track session attracted even more runners with around 50-60 in attendance. Some chose a technique session in the clubhouse whilst others were put through their paces by multiple club record holder Neil Jones. The session ranged from doing 8 laps with 30 seconds recovery to some of the faster runners doing 12 laps and a couple of cool down laps to finish. Another superb session with many already looking forward to the next one.
January 7 – parkruns
58 runners across a massive 8 different parkruns. 33 were at Porthcawl where Stephen Davies annihilated his previous best set just 3 weeks earlier and finished a remarkable 3 overall with a time of 18:43. He becomes only the third Cwm Ogwr runner to get a sub 19 time and over the past month has jumped from 25 in the club 5K rankings to 3. Aled Hughes set a new course best for himself with 19:43 whilst Niki Puleio clocked an early season sub 20 time as well. Interestingly Aled’s time of 19:43 gives him a better age grade percentage than Stephens 18:43. New member Alun Wylde clocked himself his 3 PB in as many parkruns. Chris Stanlake got a course best whilst Cath Griffiths got a PB of 31:06.
We had 16 runners at the Gnoll which was a memorial run for Dan Tomlinson, a promising young runner who tragically died just over a year ago. Chris Pratt lead the way with seasons best all round with most running their first 5K of the year. Great to see coach Kev in attendance and some great team spirit with Pippa, Rhiannon, Sian T and Llinos running the whole course together.
The Hillman’s attended Cardiff parkrun where they had a record 815 runners. Dawn was at Newport, Jo Betty at Cheltenham and Fiona D at Grangemoor. Neil Jones clocked 17:37 at Pontypridd parkrun – the same time to the second that he ran there a week earlier. At the same parkrun, Neil Harris set a new PB with a time of 19:31. I attended Gloucester North parkrun where I became the 20 member of the sub 20 club with a time of 19:58 knocking 12 seconds off my PB. A lot of us had put what our goals for 2017 were on the clubs Facebook page and my top priority was to get a sub 20.. I didn’t expect it to come on the first Saturday of the year! It also meant we have a record 6 runners under 20 minutes on the same morning at 3 different venues.
Sunday 8 – Tata Steel Run Round the Reservoir
This is normally a fixture in the West Glam XC league but after not making the list this season, they decided to still put on the event and only charge £2 for affiliated runners. A combination of no Zero to Hero session and interest in off road running seemingly being at an all time high in the club meant that over 30 members chose to do Richard’s trail session which took in part of the Hoka Half Marathon course just a few miles away from where this race was. Christie Coleman and Chris Roberts were our only runners in what was described as ‘the Blue Dribble’ as opposed to ‘the Blue Wave’. It meant after the first full weekend of the year, Christie already gained top spot on the 2017 most events table.
Thursday 12th - Chepstow Night Run 5 miler
Stephen, Bethan, Emma W and Ian signed up for this one which was a headtorch required night race which included hills that reduced runners to using their hands to climb and running through caves. Stephen finished the course in 41:37 for 21st position overall out of 294 runners. Bethan, Emma and Ian finished close together around the 1 hour 5 to 6 minutes mark.
Saturday 14th - parkruns
54 runners across 5 different parkruns. 46 of which were at Porthcawl where Stephen Davies helped pace Graham Hillman, and Chris Pratt helped pace Victoria Hillman to course bests. I ran with Jo Betty helping her knock an incredible 69 seconds off her PB which had been set over 6 years previous at Cardiff parkrun. There was more pacing heroics with Bethan helping Matt Murray to PB meaning both my December Runners of the Month picked up PB's in the same morning. Angela Parry picked up a PB whilst Dai Power made it 5 Cwm Ogwr pacers to help others get PB's with Lisa Jenkins knocking 43 seconds off her previous best.
Away from Porthcawl, Karl, Julie and Chris S ran at Newport, Sarah Littlewood ran at Telford and Peter Walsh ran at Brighton. Aled got a parkrun PB and was 2 seconds shy of his overall 5K PB at Cardiff parkrun with an impressive 40th place finish amongst a record attendance of 856. Nick Harris and Mark Gabb also ran at Cardiff with Mark pushing a buggy round.
Sunday 15th - West Glamorgan XC league - Margam Park and Riverbank Rollick
33 runners at the 4th fixture of the West Glamorgan Cross Country League. This one was a 2 lap course around Margam Park which was advertised as approximately 4.5 miles - it turned out there was a bonus mile and it was closer to 5.5! The lap started with a lengthy tarmac section before entering the zig zag 'Field of Dreams' which included a mixture of mainly grass and some muddy sections whilst gently inclining before a short sharper incline towards the top. At the highest point runners were treated to a mile or so of trail and mostly downhill back to the tarmac section at the start.
Stephen was first of the Blue Wave across the line in a speedy 36:12 followed a couple of minutes later by stand in captain for the day Chris Pratt. Simon, Kevin and Graham H made up the remaining scoring positions with myself and Nick Harris close behind.
Bethan Cross was the first Cwm Ogwr female across the line in 47:29 which would actually indicate a large 5 mile PB. Victoria, Claire W, Liz Davis and Sara made up the remaining points scoring places. In true Cwm Ogwr spirit, most of the members in attendance waiting for our final runner who on this occasion was Pippa and ran the final straight with her.
Meanwhile we had 17 runners taking on the Riverbank Rollick. A 9 mile race with mud, mud and more mud. Aled was first across the line for Cwm Ogwr with Daniel Clark second. Fiona Drysdale was first of our female runners.
Saturday 21st - parkruns
56 runners across 8 different parkruns. 45 at Porthcawl where Neil Price was first Cwm Ogwr back in a PB time of 19:42. Denise Bradley beat her PB which had stood for over a year whilst there was another PB for Angela Parry.
Away from Porthcawl, Aled helped pace Karl to a PB at Penallta parkrun, the Hillmans ran at Cardiff, Neil clocked another sub 18 at Pontypridd and Shawn and Julie continued their parkrun tourism run in Bournemouth. Dawn and Kevin ran at Swansea, Stephen, Bethan and Mark Gabb ran at Grangemoor and finally we had Jayne P at the Gnoll.
Sunday 22nd - Buff Trail 10K
The first 10K of the year brought an off-road event following the same course as the Night Trail Race that had a huge Blue Wave attendance last May. Just 12 runners this time with Nigel Hutchings leading the way just under the hour mark on the tough course which has a killer incline in the last kilometre. Josie was first Cwm Ogwr female less than a minute behind Nigel. Top effort by all.
Saturday 28th - parkruns
46 runners across 5 parkruns. At Porthcawl Stephen notched up another sub 19 and a time only Neil and Niki have beat in the past. There was a first sub 20 at Porthcawl for Chris Pratt and his fastest 5K since last June. Matt smashed his PB by 51 seconds and has 9 PBs from his 14 Porthcawl parkruns. Emma Williams got a PB despite running down to Porthcawl in only her second parkrun. Rhiannon Buckley had PB of the day knocking a huge 109 seconds off her best at Porthcawl. Her stepson George was first junior over the line in a swift 20:43.
Away from Porthcawl, Aled beat his PB which had stood since May last year. Aled has now achieved sub 20 at 6 different parkruns plus the Merthyr Mawr Lane 5K. There was also parkrun tourism from Chris R at Passhanger, Dawn at Barry, Nick and Mark at Penallta, whilst Saul ran at Southampton.
Sunday 29th - Lliswerry 8
29 runners for this race which sold in out just a few hours after a Snowdon Marathon style midnight entry system. Chris Pratt was first across the line beating his previous course best with Dai K and Nick Harris next up. Josie Bishop and Claire Dunbar Bowen were the two fastest female club runners respectively. We also had members running their first race over 10K distance so a massive well done to them.
Chairman's Male Runner of the Month - Stephen Davies
2 months ago, Stephen had run 3 parkruns, a 10K and a two Cardiff Half Marathons in around 15 months. I'm not sure what happened.. but he seems to have caught the racing bug. He's doubled that in January alone. An incredible 18:43 at parkrun catapulted him from outside our top 20 ranked 5Kers to third and only to Neil Jones and very close behind second placed Niki Puleio. He also finished 3rd in that parkrun. In another parkrun he helped pace Graham Hillman to a course best and then got another sub 19 in the final parkrun of the month. Add to that being first Cwm Ogwr by some margin in the Margam XC and a 21st placed finish in the Chepstow night race and it has been a remarkable month for Stephen.
Chairman's Female Runner of the Month - Angela Parry
Angela notched up two parkrun PB's in 2 weeks knocking a total 39 seconds off her previous best set in October. She also volunteered as tail runner in the final parkrun of the month in a role she has now done 4 times. There were also great performances in both the Kenfig 4 mile on New Years Day and the Lliswerry 8.