12 Apr Marathon Miles Club Challenge

As Weekly Roundup Editor (with a small side-hustle as Club Chairman) I, like all our members, have been feeling a bit lost in the present circumstances….a world of social distancing, no non-essential travel and (depressing for runners) no races on the horizon. I’m indebted to those people who have risen to the challenge of our new feature “In the Spotlight”, sharing their experiences from the past and keeping us all entertained with some great stories….Lisa Cleary, Abyd Quinn Aziz, and tomorrow, Simon ‘Cyrill’ Grant.

So this afternoon I’m delighted to write a few words about a Virtual Club Challenge we set ourselves this week…the Penarth and Dinas Marathon Miles! This is an idea we use regularly at our Summer BBQ in Cosmeston Lakes Country Park. It’s basically a 26-person relay, with each individual running one mile, and then all the kids running the final 385 yards to give us a composite time for the marathon distance.

So the idea for the Virtual version was for individual members to run solo miles in their own neck of the woods, either as a flat out effort or as part of a standard training session….but of course, this being a running club, most people went out there and smashed it as hard as their present fitness allowed them! The front page is a montage of “watch-proof” to establish they ran the times they said they had; we accepted screen grabs or Strava/Garmin data.

Here’s the stage-by-stage story, from Thursday though to Sunday….

MILE 1: First out of the blocks for us was Kit Lambert, who was actually the person who came up with the idea at our Monday Committee meeting (by video conference, of course). He scorched around the streets of Penarth in an excellent time of 6:14, which remained the fastest split until Saturday afternoon.

MILE 2: Also out early on Thursday morning was Kath Petersen, who produced a very respectable 7:31, which was great testimony to her regular track sessions at Leckwith Stadium, which we are all missing at the moment. If you ever feel peckish I can heartily recommend following Kath on Instagram…some very yummy food on display! https://www.instagram.com/kathpetersen/

MILE 3: I’m not sure Julie Broughton realised that her Thursday training session was going to be “hijacked” by the marathon miles challenge…but when I spotted the words “Tempo miles” on her Strava account I pounced! She ran a strong 8:09 on the airport perimeter road.

MILE 4: Malcolm Bradley knows the roads around Wenvoe like the back of his (very gnarly) hand…so I wasn’t surprised that he chose a section of tarmac regularly used for his interval sessions. Very sensibly he chose the ‘slightly downhill’ section, and was rewarded with a time of 7:02 and some sore legs.

MILE 5: Club Treasurer Lyn Evans was out next…well not actually “out out”, as Lyn decided to rev up the rubber belts on his brand-new treadmill.. Having been troubled with foot issues for the last year, Lyn was happy to tap out a workmanlike 9:41. Lyn was our last runner on Day One, with the Club completing 5 miles in 38:37.

MILE 6: Andrea Goodfellow was up nice and early on Good Friday, running a solid 8:07. Unfortunately husband Steve is injured at the moment but according to Andrea has been “assessing the runners and riders” as the times have come in…we all wish you a speedy recovery Steve!

MILE 7: Lisa Cleary keeps telling us she’s lost her “running mojo”, but that’s not stopping her getting out early to do some very fast pavement-pounding. Her 6:55 stood as the fastest Ladies’ time until late on Saturday, and she also completed a “Not parkrun” solo 5k in 23:37 this weekend.

MILE 8: It was lovely to have Judy Maragna submitting a mile time from her 4 mile training jaunt, which appeared to involve some canine maintenance duties! Well done on your 12:05, Judy.

MILE 9: Jon Ely has a very busy household, so it was great to see him escape for a bit of mile action….a solid 6:44 along Lavernock Road into Brockhill Rise, as per the Club 5 mile Handicap route.

MILE 10: After hearing all about his track exploits in the previous week’s “In the Spotlight” feature, Abyd Quinn Aziz took the opportunity, in the immortal words of BBC Commentator David Coleman, to “open his legs and show us his class”. Cracking the 7 minute barrier by a huge amount (one second), Abyd showed P&D he’s back!

MILE 11: Closing down the action on Day Two was our man north of the border, Clem Clement. Like Malcolm before him (these wily old foxes are all the same…), Clem chose a course with a certain amount of “negative elevation” which possibly assisted him to a super fast time of 6:24. Fair play though, he’s flying in the training at the moment, so the time was well-deserved. Our composite time for the first 11 miles was 85:51, which was pointing towards a final marathon time of around 3:24…..

MILE12: Saturday morning dawned pleasantly still, with hopefully the possibility of some fast running. Nigel Adams was out nice and early, clocking a very pleasing 7:14 on the old railway track in Penarth.

MILE 13 & 14: Getting us past the halfway mark on a pleasant jaunt around the Barrage were Ian and Debbie Warburton. The initial watch offering from Ian was 8:52, but inspection of the other watch yielded a faster split…8:12! Thanks guys!

MILE 15: Debbie Rees was next up and about, choosing to run around her local loop in Lakin Drive, Barry. Now I’m a close neighbour to Deb and I can testify that this is quite undulating, so her time of 9:15 was excellent. Here’s the evidence….

MILE 16: Recent new member Andrew Gardner was keen to get stuck in to his first P&D Team effort, and we’re really glad he did…Andrew ran a cracking 6:50, so will I’m sure be getting the obligatory “invitation to run cross country” from Lisa very soon!

MILE 17: David Brown, another Barry resident, chose a flat but slightly soul-destroying section of Port Road to record his mile effort. It turned out to be a wise decision, as Dave produced a stonking time of 6:18.

MILE 18: After observing the bench mark times laid down by over-60 rivals Bradley and Clement, Club Chairman Simon Williamson opted for a “secret” stretch of smooth tarmac hidden in the valley close to Dyffryn Gardens. He slightly overcooked the first half, but was satisfied with a 6:44 clocking….and it was flat (sort of…)

MILE 19: Someone who’s not been able to train much in recent weeks, Anthony Bannon, kindly donned some trainers and produced a 7:46 for the team effort…thanks Anthony, much appreciated.

MILE 20: Likewise, Jonathan Irvine, a man with a very hectic job at the present time, was able to get out and run 6:42.

MILE 21: Andy Pearce had been out for a bike ride in the morning, shouting a cheery greeting at the Chairman who was bent double at the side of the road after his mile effort. Andy was out later, dragging some of his family around Sully, and recording a punchy 6:38…top work!

MILE 22: A man who’s been quietly putting in the miles over the last few months is Dave Mathews…and it showed on Saturday. Dave was our only runner to crack 6 minutes, with a superb 5:58 recorded down near Penarth Marina. You deserved that beer, Dave!

MILE 23: Another person who’s taken self-isolating very seriously is Bethan Apglyn, putting her new super-duper treadmill to good use….she’s been running Virtual routes of the Welsh Castles Relay! Well, yesterday she chose the walkway at Barry Marina to produce an excellent time of 6:19, which definitely warranted some post-effort prosecco! Bethan was our last runner on Day Three, with the tally standing at 2:52, and now pointing at an improved finish time of 3:16.

MILE 24: Day Four kicked off with the return of club stalwart Glenn Powell, who’s had a few injury niggles over the last few months. Glenn clocked 7:49, which was a pleasing effort, hopefully setting him up for more regular club appearances when we all get back together again.

MILE 25: Another person working pretty hectic hours at the moment is our Club Secretary Louise Hunt. Lou had the reward of some tasty Easter Eggs waiting for her after her Sunday morning effort, and consequently managed a speedy 7:05!

MILE 26: After Team Warburton’s efforts running round the Barrage on Saturday, it was the turn of Team Dobbs…actually Zoe Dobbs pushing her twins’ double buggy as fast as possible to keep them asleep! And boy, it was fast! Zoe managed an incredible 6:18, which was our quickest Ladies’ time of the challenge. As a 19 minute 5k runner (she holds the Club records for both parkrun and 5k), this was perhaps not so surprising. Hopefully when things get back to normal, she can put on some racing shoes and produce more cracking times.

Well you might think that was the Marathon Challenge finished? No, this is Penarth and Dinas Runners, we do things a bit differently. We had two more runners keen to do their bit!

MILE 27: Running around Penarth this afternoon was Melissa Smith getting back into a regular training routine. Melissa recorded 8:33 during a 5 mile outing.

MILE 28: Another member who’s had an up and down few months with injury is Shirley Howman, but she’s followed a well planned rehab programme and has gradually got her fitness and running mojo back. She produced a really gutsy effort in Dinas Powis today, recording an excellent 7:50…richly-deserved, Shirley!

End result? The average mile time for our 28 heroes was 7:49, which equates to a marathon time of 3:16:05!


Well done everyone, and thanks to other Club members who offered support and encouragement via Facebook. We might not be able to meet up in person, but it really felt as though we were cheering each other on from the roadside over the last four days.

Next week’s challenge? Run a 5k before next Sunday, and post up a selfie or watch evidence to record your exploit!


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