31 Dec 2018: 30th year of the “Knackered Dragons”!
It’s 31st December 2018, so about time we looked back at the P & D year! Here’s a whistle stop tour of an amazing 30th year for the Club, observed by someone who only became a member in March. Also, as I’m completely disorganised, I will apologise in advance for any omissions, and point you in the direction of a wonderful video montage put together by our Club Captain Ben Butler-Madden…as per that old chestnut, a picture says a thousand words….click on the group photo to follow Ben’s link
This photo was taken by a bemused member of the public, capturing a mob run to Penarth Pier on the actual day of our 30th anniversary, with many of us adorned in specially-commissioned teeshirts. The celebrations continued at the SSAFA 5k two days later, and confirmed in my own mind that this newbie had joined the right club. Coach to the race, quality field, friendly rivalry, flat course, all topped off with beer and cake…what’s not to like?!
Another highlight of this year has been the success of the three unique events we have organised as a club, putting something very valuable back into the local running scene. I’ve been really gob-smacked by the willingness of everyone to muck in and help on the day, and the professionalism of the main ‘movers’ behind the scenes, in particular Race Director/Supremo Lyn Evans,Volunteer Co-ordinator Debbie Williams and Club Chair Yvonne Williams. Whether we were marshalling in a quagmire at CF64, shepherding runners into the start pen at Porthkerry Country Park, or collecting the batons at the Relays, everyone had a great day out and lots of memorable stories to reflect on.
And then there have been the team events we have competed in. I felt very privileged and honoured to make it into the Welsh Castles Relay team, and again was “wowed” by the detailed organisation and planning put in by Castles Committee to make sure everything ran like clockwork over the weekend. It all paid off, with P & D finishing a much-improved 32nd out of 46 good-quality teams.
There were more great team performances on different surfaces throughout the year. The Women’s Cross Country team got promoted to Division One of the prestigious Gwent League, our Master Men Gary Brown, Nathan Christoforato and Ben Butler-Madden took away bronze medals at the Welsh Road Relays Champs, and a team of Ben, Colin Caeser and Debbie Warburton won the Mixed Team category at the Rose Inn Relays.
And so we come onto individual performances…where to start? Early success came for racer extraordinaire Lisa Cleary, with an Age Category win in the Forest of Dean Trail race, overall win in the Barry Track Marathon and numerous TV appearances in marathons all over the world!😂😂
One of my favourite photos of the year was Cath Barker winning the Great Welsh Marathon in 3:33:26. I’ve just looked at the split times…Cath lost over 6 minutes to the 2nd placer in the last lap (of four) but still won by a minute…so her celebration is worthy of a full size image!
A week later Ruth Cann was reconfiguring the Club Record books, with a brilliant 3:28:57 in the Newport Marathon, which was also good enough for 4th in the F35+ Category. That’s also worth a full frame picture!
On the Men’s side it was a ding dong battle between Ben and Gary to see who could win the most prizes over the course of the year…you’d deserve a prize to guess who came out on top! Here’s a selection of racing action and prize collection…..
I won’t attempt to list everyone who achieved a PB this year (and there’s lots of you, well done!), but Ben sent me a couple of handy links to the Power of 10 website…have a look and enjoy. Conversely, work out how much training you will need to do in 2019 to beat your nearest Club rival!
Of course, 2018 wasn’t all about winning races and PBs. The Club continued to offer support to the local parkruns, in particular the Barry Island event and the Junior counterpart that runs on a Sunday in Romilly Park. Having never volunteered at parkrun before, I found myself injured in the latter part of the year and with no viable excuse…but I’ve loved every windswept moment of it. Highlight had to be the “Gavin & Stacey” combined event with Billericay parkrun members, which also coincided with Lisa (100) Cleary and Beth (50) Apglyn reaching significant parkrun finishes. And my favourite image of the day…our Debbie Rees (Nessa to her friends) surely achieving the “Fastest parkrun of 2018 for someone dressed up as Nessa”! 😂😂
We’ve had Club members competing in events all over the world…the Ladies Gang of Three (Lisa, Beth and Andrea Hurman) at the Chicago Marathon, “International Man of Mystery” Jon Lewis at Geneva and French Riviera Marathons, and of course the Legendary Club Visit to Lanzarote for the Half & Full Marathons.
And lastly there have been monumental feats of endurance, with members completing some insanely-long races. The biggest “mentalist” (by his own admission) was Nigel Adams, who bravely took on a beast of an event known as “The Wall”, as in 69 miles non-stop along Hadrian’s Wall in Cumbria/Northumbia. He survived to tell his story and apparently he’s doing it again in 2019! 😂😂
So what a year 2018 has been for Penarth and Dinas Runners! I’ve really enjoyed compiling the Weekly Roundup since August and I hope to continue this in 2019, and you never know, I might actually be able to feature in it myself! 😂😂 Big thank you to everyone who has contributed photos and interesting stories.
Here’s to us all striving towards our full potential in 2019, but making sure we make time to celebrate (or commiserate!) the ups and the downs of being a runner.
Happy New Year!