18 May Weekend Roundup 16 – 17 May 2020

All those weeks ago when “lockdown” was first announced, I remember writing this in a rather ‘downbeat’ 15th March Weekend Roundup….

“As we move into “batten down the hatches” territory, with the COVID-19 virus dominating the news across the globe, your P&D Roundup Editor wonders whether he will have anything to write about in the next few weeks (months?), as UK running events begin to fall like skittles”…..

Thankfully Penarth and Dinas Runners is a collection of rather special people. Possibly the most positive people I’ve been lucky enough to be associated with, connected by a common love of running, but also with an ethos that is all about encouragement and support of your friends and Club mates.  I have been astounded by the inventiveness, good humour, enthusiasm, banter and sociability of everyone in our running Club. It’s been great to see a re-connection of members who can’t always make it to our organised training sessions and socials, either for work or geographical reasons.

Every week there have been fantastic stories and anecdotes to report on, amazing stuff when there have been no “traditional” races to attend. Be it photographing wonderful occurrences of Blue and Yellow on our runs, drawing very odd-looking animals on Strava (dragons, not dinosaurs….) to lurking on street corners, looking lost with phone in hand, about to be questioned by the local constabulary…you lot are up for ANYTHING, and long may that continue!

Since that fateful weekend of 14-15th March, we’ve had 13 (YES THIRTEEN!) News Stories published on this website, which in that timeframe is unprecedented in the Club’s history. Of course it’s not been a solo effort, and we’re hugely indebted to Lisa Cleary, Abyd Quinn Aziz, Simon Grant, Jon Lewis, Bethan Apglyn, Catherine Barker and Chris Nellins for sharing their running journeys via our (now not-so-new!) feature “In the Spotlight”. It’s been a fascinating experiment gaining an insight into where some of our most popular members have “learnt their trade”….

We’ll keep you in suspense about the rather “puzzling” picture above, and first update on news of our long-running Virtual Challenge, Welsh Castles Relay Day 2. This commenced on 4th May, and involves members (29 at the last count) using their daily exercise, be it running (inside or outside) or walking (with or without Club doggos!) to determine a distance in miles they would have covered in ONE HOUR. This is inputted into the Chairman’s extremely clever mathematical algorithm (a calculator and an Excel spreadsheet…) to work out where in South Wales everyone is. For people not familiar with WCR, Day 2 is made up of 10 Stages (No.s 11 – 20) between Newtown in Mid Wales and Cardiff. It is organised brilliantly by our local neighbours Les Croupiers Running Club and is scheduled for the first weekend in June each year…it’s been cancelled this year, for obvious reasons. Have a look on the Les Croups website for a fuller explanation, but it is an event that P&D love to take part and support each year.

So how hard can 104 miles be? Well if you’re Ian Southwell, Andy Pearce, Paul Delaney or Bethan Apglyn it’s not much more than one week’s training! These four have blasted away from the rest of the Club, running fast average pace (between 6 and 8 minute miles) to regularly record daily “mileages” of around 10 miles.

The runner who took it to ‘another level’ was Ian Southwell, who on days he combined the challenge with a Virtual Time Trial was covering a monstrous 10.4 miles. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, as Ian scorched to a very high placing on the ‘King’ Mountain Stage 14 in 2019 (pictured below).

Ian finished the challenge on Saturday morning, with what was for him a leisurely 3.8 miles (6km) jogging at 7 minute mile pace!

Fortunately for us, watching from 50 miles back (somewhere around Brecon), he didn’t have it all his way! He was pushed very hard by both Andy Pearce and Paul Delaney (Morton), who adapted different strategies to try and get past Ian. Andy, wily old dog that he is, went for the consistent approach, going out daily to cover 3 or 4 miles at between 6:30 and 7:30 pace, not missing a day since 4th May…that’s 13 days on the trot, with some occasional faster efforts when the odd virtual race turned up. And it very nearly worked, as he was leading the trio at the end of Stage 17! Great running Mr Pearce, totally deserving your ‘Silver Medal’. In the ‘Bronze Medal’ position came Paul, although as I write this he’s at the 8 mile point on Stage 20, perhaps enjoying the late evening sunshine on the Taff Trail as the welcoming committee snuggle up under some blankets and open more tins of cider! Paul has been a fantastic ‘trooper’ throughout this challenge, running some seriously high-quality sessions in an effort to get past Ian….rather ironically, they share the same Coach, who I hope hasn’t been issuing curses at the P&D Chairman…thanks for your tolerance Paul Graham!

Leading the Ladies’ Challenge is Bethan Apglyn, who has followed the same philosophy as Andy…consistent and a solid average pace, 13 days on the trot….anyone would think she was a seasoned marathon runner! Coupled with some super-fast mile and 5k time trials, it was never likely Beth would be challenged, but it’s been lovely to see the re-emergence of Lisa Cleary presently in 2nd spot. Lisa will be the first to admit she’d lost her running mojo when we got “locked-in”, but she’s managed to re-invent herself by the very simple expedient of signing-up to Strava. For someone who confessed to being a ‘technophobe’ it could have gone two ways…but fortunately for us, Lisa has taken to Strava like a duck-to-water! As a fellow devotee, I’m particularly tickled by Lisa’s progress, marching up the Strava Women’s rankings (segments) around popular roads in Barry…she’s literally re-writing the record books, which for someone who has just moved up an Age Category (MW55+) is truly awesome!

As is the name of the Lady in 3rd spot…Shirley Dawn Howman, who I’m sure will not mind being listed as Bethan’s Mum! A few months ago Shirley was really struggling to exercise regularly, due to injury and various other health issues…and here she is four miles out of Brecon on Stage 16! What makes this even more awe-inspiring is the fact that Shirley, along with her husband Nigel, are a very important part of our Welsh Castles Support Team each year…we literally couldn’t enter the event without their help and that of the other members of the Support Team.

Which brings me on to Nigel Adams and Lyn Evans. These two are having storming runs….both have run stages of the Relay in past years, and now we are seeing that same gutsy determination to get to Cardiff (solo this time around!) Nigel has run 12 days on the trot since 5th May, mainly on his 5k route home from his office in Cardiff, putting in around 6.5 miles on to his daily tally, and now sitting in 5th place, 7 miles into Stage 18, homing in on Abercynon….

Meanwhile our Club Treasurer and esteemed Race Director Lyn has taken the opportunity of no races to organise as an opportunity to beat his newly-purchased treadmill (bought with a nifty discount, of course…) into submission…in between painting every room in the house. Lyn is banking an average 5.5 miles per day, and it’s looking likely he’ll continue overtaking several more people ahead of him before this Challenge is over.

(Photos of Nigel and Lyn running the 2019 Cardiff Half Marathon, as the Club website doesn’t appear to have any of them running Castles!)

There are of course lots of other awe-inspiring stories going on with other Members’ back in the bunch on the earlier Stages….don’t worry, the Judy Maragna story will probably have its own Roundup!

I hope to fill in the gaps in the next few weeks as these individuals get closer to Cardiff, so please bear with me!

Here is the afore-mentioned Chairman’s spreadsheet, stating everyone’s progress at close of play on Saturday night (some changes since then documented above). Similarly with the map….

In amongst all this excitement, the Club Committee had a meeting (Zoom, of course!) and took the decision to totally revamp our Club Championships for 2020, again for obvious reasons. We will amalgamate our Main and Off-Road lists, and incorporate some of the new Virtual Challenge Races that are popping up all over the country. We are fortunate that Welsh Athletics and an organisation called OpenTrack are getting fully behind this venture, and one of our local organisers Cardiff Running Events has fully embraced the concept for their Cardiff Summer Series. This comprises of 4 races over 1/2/3/4 miles, which are traditionally held in Bute Park during May and June each year; the 1 mile was staged on Friday 15th May.

Very smart results page here….but this being Penarth and Dinas Runners, we like to see EVERYONE’S names up in lights!

These come from the OpenTrack website (link above), where it is possible to view the course each athlete ran, by clicking on the the little “mobile” or “file” icon next to each person’s time. If you’re a geek (like the Roundup Editor) you can see how much slower you were than your ‘rivals’ (word used advisedly) on a particular stretch of road or track in the Penarth and Barry areas…because these runs are solo efforts, standing start (like a real race), no support allowed, social distance rules apply and downhill courses will be penalised!

Some really fine performances from EVERYONE….all 32 of you, which is half our current membership, so a fantastic turnout (well done Lisa and Kit for your rabble-rousing!). The Mile is a tough race at the best of times, but running it on your own is vicious torture. I’m not even going to have my arm twisted to mention any individual performances, as I might in a ‘normal race’…every single one of you ran brilliantly, and I note that many members have already signed up for the other three races in the Series. It’s free to enter and you run the trial at a time and a place that suits you…is this the future?! I should also mention that Welsh Athletics have a 1 Mile due to run next weekend, where there is the option to make a Charitable Donation to the NSPCC.

 

PORTHKERRY PLOD Challenge (or is it Porthceri?)

Okay, I need to explain this Weekend’s cover photo, showing Danielle Rayner and Mandy Barrington getting up close and personal with some street signs, with Chris Seal and Colin Caesar looking a bit perplexed. Lyn Evans set the challenge of finding local street names which started with the 14 letters of Porthkerry Plod, with a Welsh-language option Porthceri Plod. Various rules were in place, such as the distance needed to be as close as possible to 5 miles, and you had to start from home. Here’s Lyn’s final judgement….

Thank you to everyone who took part with such gusto in this past week’s Porthkerry Plod challenge. It was obvious you all enjoyed it and entered into the spirit of things – and your postings brightened up a busy P&D lockdown week.
It was obvious early on that a spreadsheet wasn’t going to be much help keeping track of any points ‘system’ – so by Tuesday I’d already decided to go with something based loosely on QI and assorted drinking games. Even then it got tougher and tougher as the week wore on and we got into Colin’s Saga (in 3 parts over several days and many miles), a tour of the flora and fauna of Greater Wenvoe – and a horticultural quiz – plus the quest for an elusive ‘Y’ on the means streets of Penarth.
Anyway, amongst all of this madness, nearly everyone managed to get a Porthkerry/Porthceri Plod full house by various, increasingly creative (and not always ‘legit’) means. We had entries taking in Whitchurch, Wenvoe, Llandough, Grangetown, Penarth, Dinas Powys and Barry. No-one took a crack at Sully. Bonus points were randomly awarded and deducted for gurning, leaping, streets with ‘Lyn’ or ‘Evans in them, crinkled maps and plans, and old P5 t-shirts. Among other things.
So, after trying and failing to make sense of it all, I’m just going to declare everyone a winner of the Porthkerry Plod Challenge 2020. How’s that for a cop-out?
There are few special awards, though. Virtual P&D trophies go to the following people:
    • First finisher – Judy Maragna
    • Most compact route – Jake Bourne’s 2.8 mile tour of Dinas Powys
    • Longest total run(s) – Colin Caesar and his epic tours of Barry
    • Nearest the bull – Bethan Apglyn (also best sunglasses) and Andrea Goodfellow – 5 miles exactly
    • Best crinkled map/plan – Chris Seal
    • Best use of WFH to plan route – Sophie Gott
    • Winner – ‘Dazed and Confused’ award – Colin Caesar’s ‘Help I’m Lost’ run
    • Runner-up – ‘Dazed and Confused’ award – Simon Williamson (19 points deducted for video’ing it)
    • Jumpiest jump for joy – Mandy Barrington
    • Finding a legit. ‘Y’ near Penarth – Chris Nellins
    • Best flower photos – Malcolm Bradley****
    • Team award – Emma ‘shuey’ Shumack and team Healy  (team Goodfellow DQ’d for sign infringements)

 

Here’s the points table (for what it’s worth) and a selection of photos which sort of explain the results!

 

 

 

Race Director’s decision is final.

  • Judy 31
  • Cameron – 26
  • Mandy – 32
  • Lisa – 27
  • Bethan – 35
  • Andrea – 34
  • Jake – 26
  • Kit – 26.5
  • Emma – 26
  • Chris Seal – 27
  • Chris Nellins – 34
  • Colin – 68
  • Shirley – 27
  • Debbie Rees – 31
  • Sophie – 29
  • Danielle – 30
  • Malcolm – 29 (+ RHS medal)****
  • Arabella – 27
  • Simon – 12
Here’s a link to Simon Williamson’s losing video. Luckily it’s speeded-up (a lot!).

https://youtu.be/LPbJoNlxpxs?fbclid=IwAR253NSu-o76uTmutdfsD5cTADYO3apqYQVVWgJkWURVTNvVZfO-jik8Ek4

**** As mentioned above, Malcolm Bradley ran his own Horticultural Quiz at the latter end of the week, posting flowers from his garden and asking for their names. Tricia Cottnam was a very worthy winner of that competition, and Malcolm found just about enough time at the end of a busy week to go out chasing his own street names, with limited options in Wenvoe. But there were some lovely flowers to be seen, even if you had to run nearly into Cardiff to find them…..

Thank you Lyn and Malcolm for keeping us on our toes this week with two very inventive Challenges!

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