12 Dec Weekend Roundup 12 December 2020

As trailed in the Weekly Roundup earlier in the week, Club Chairman Simon Williamson had chosen this weekend to be the “Last Chance Saloon” for improving his 2020 5k time. This was very much a personal ‘vanity project’, but he’d managed to persuade some decidedly-nippy Club Members to join him in an attempt to dip under the 21 minute mark…a possibly over-ambitious target, considering his best 2020 time sat at 21:33; apparently he likes to push the envelope out a bit!

The week was spent checking the weather forecast and scouting out possible race routes. First change of plan was to pull forward the attempt from Sunday to Saturday morning, as the forecast for the latter looked particularly grim. Unfortunately this took out one of his “mystery pacers”, who was working that morning. We’d lost the services of local lad and uber speed merchant Nathan Christoforato, but the Chairman was able to abuse his privileged position and press gang all-round talent Andy Pearce into the support role.

The other “mystery pacer” was Mr Metronome himself, Kevin Chalke, fresh from obliterating his best 5k time earlier in the week. To make matters even more compelling, we decided to use a modified version of Kevin’s PB course, with a grandstand finish just short of the Shelter on Barry Island Esplanade.

Saturday morning dawned with encouraging sunlight, if a little nippy and breezy. The squad assembled at the Cold Knap Car Park, along with support crew Malcolm Bradley (in charge of Media-gathering) and Lisa Cleary (in charge of the Blue and Yellow Pompoms). Lots of pacing instructions and checking what’s actually in Lisa’s basket?

Part of that earlier weather forecasting was analysing the strength and direction of the wind direction (20 mph and NNW, in case you’re interested…😂😂), so the start straight was going to be rapid. With Kev saying this is “too hot”, the Chairman knew he was in trouble, with the first km covered in just over 4 minutes, but the idea (agreed by all present!) was to have a bit of a buffer. (Photos below courtesy of Julie Broughton)

The little climb away from the Knap put paid to the Chairman’s aspirations, but Beth stuck to Kev’s heels like glue….as Andy knocked off the pace to try and resurrect an ailing Club official (reduced subs next year, mate, thanks….)

The next section of the course along Harbour Road should have seen a bit of respite…well Beth was back in to her stride knocking out a strong rhythm, but the Chairman was trying desperately hard to laugh at Andy’s jokes….

Three laps of the Main Car Park at Barry Island? Don’t mind if I do, but it was pretty horrific. Beth was first to hit the Esplanade on the Island, but those Nike Next% on her feet were going nowhere as she weaved her way across a sandy maelstrom, which surprisingly the Chairman negotiated ok (must be those 45 years of cross country racing paying back..😂)

The final results? Bethan Apglyn produced a fantastic 20:49, aided and abetted by Kevin Chalke, equalling her 5k PB and just reward for some really consistent lockdown training. Simon Williamson produced a ‘rather disappointing’ (his words) 22:25…he did the training, but it didn’t happen on the day, even with superb ‘wing man’ efforts from Andy Pearce.

All that was left was a bit of socially-distanced runner chat, aided and abetted by Jane Sheldon who was strutting her stuff at a Barry Island Boot Camp session….

Meanwhile, altogether more civilised, 15 miles further north Ruth Cann was leading a Club Group run up the delights of Garth Hill. Known and ‘loved’ by many members during the Pentyrch Hill Race, the group struck lucky with a glorious day.

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