06 Jul Weekend Roundup 4 -5 July 2020

Busy weekend alert!

Welsh Athletics Virtual 10k in our Club Championships, various members taking on other ultra challenges, preparing the next Club Challenge (not) The Cosmeston Relays, and finishing off the Welsh Castles Relay Challenge….phew!! 😂😂

Let’s start off with the last challenge first, if that makes sense…the Club Chairman Simon Williamson devised a crazy venture to offset the fact that the 2020 Welsh Castles Relay (organised by our good friends at Les Croupiers RC) couldn’t happen this year, for obvious reasons. P&D love this event…held over the first weekend in June, it’s a 20-stage relay held over two manic, adventure-filled days, starting outside Caernarfon Castle early on Saturday morning and wending its way south, finishing on the green outside Cardiff Castle, late on Sunday afternoon. Over 60 teams vie for entries, and the standard is now so high we have to pre-select half our team and ballot the other places.

Simon was keen to open up the excitement of being on the road to Cardiff to everyone in the Club, by staging a virtual manifestation of Day 2 of the race…eleven stages, 104 miles, starting in Newtown (Mid Wales), ending in Cardiff. He devised a means of using average pace on a run (or walk or treadmill effort, but no bikes allowed, sorry Chris Seal!) to calculate how far you would have covered in ONE HOUR, and kept everyone informed of their progress with a (ahem) “state of the art” spreadsheet and a personalised map. The idea was most people would average about 4-6 miles per day (running) or 3 miles (walking the dog).

The continuing nature of the challenge was a concept that not everyone seemed to understand… we had several Club Members stationary by the ‘edge of the road’ for days on end, thinking that the challenge was just one run…oh no! With a bit of gentle ‘persuasion’ (private message on Facebook!) we were able to coax them back into action, and it was surprising how quickly they then moved through the field.

The action kicked off on 4th May, with the Club Chair naively thinking we’d all be home by the end of the month…and here we are two months later with David Brown zooming in to the finish this afternoon to rapturous applause from his TWENTY-EIGHT fellow finishers (see above)…Dave chose to “show-boat” a bit, with a solid 48 minute run in the WA Virtual 10k….no need to apologise; hope the warm cider we had waiting for you at the finish was worth the sprint finish! 😂

“Fast boys” Ian Southwell, Andy Pearce and Paul Clark-Delaney took to the challenge like ducks to water, with their average training pace whizzing them along the road to Cardiff…..Ian & Paul favouring speed sessions (they have the same coach!), Andy opting for consistent sub-8 minute mile pace. Ian was first home on 16th May, taking just 12 days at an average speed of 8.86 mph! Wily old fox Andy pushed Ian all the way to the line, finishing on the same day (but taking 13 days at average speed 8.1 mph). Paul was not far behind, finishing on 18th May, taking 14 days at 7.8 mph.

Meanwhile in the Ladies ‘race’, we had a very interesting trio at the front of affairs. Bethan Apglyn, like many other Club members, was working at home and had taken the opportunity to purchase a state of the art treadmill, so her consistent training approach was always going to be a tough act to keep up with…and sure enough, Beth completed the challenge on 19th May, with 16 days non-stop and an average speed of 6.54 mph. In 2nd place, it was lovely to see Lisa Cleary re-finding her “running mojo”, making it to Cardiff on 23rd May. Lisa also took 16 days and was moving at exactly the same speed as Beth!! Third place went to Shirley Dawn Howman, who just so happens to be Beth’s Mum and has obviously passed on fierce tenacity and stamina to her daughter. Shirley displayed a masterclass in consistency, finishing on 26th May, taking 18 days at just under 6 mph…top work, Shirley!

And so it went on, with everyone having a story to tell as they crossed the line and joined the “virtual party in the park” (which is traditional in the real Castles Relay). Abyd Quinn Aziz is going through a ‘purple patch’ at the moment, with some strong placings in his new M60 Age Category…he finished on 7th June, off 16 days running at an average speed just under 7 mph. Ali Reeves battled with some health issues, but often walked or ran early in the morning to get finished on 20th June. Andrew Gardner dilly-dallied on Stage 11 for many days, but eventually carved his way through the ‘tail-enders’ to finish a day later on 21st June.

It was a similar story with Cam Large, Chris Seal, Colin Caesar and David Brown….stop/start progress, compounded by the difficulty of finding time to run in a strange locked-down world. Dave Mathews joined the challenge quite late on, but such is his training pace, he was all done by 7th June! Key worker Jonathan Irvine was a model of consistency, emailing me screenshots of his watch, which more often than not displayed a speed of 7 mph (15 days, finished on 28th May).

There were some interesting ‘battles’ out there, as members approached the finishing line together. Nigel Adams was incredibly consistent, running home from his office in Cardiff Bay most evenings….he finished 5th overall on 21st May, 17 days on the trot at 6.5 mph. Kit Lambert was running faster (8 mph) but finished a day later after 13 recorded runs. There was a fascinating ding-dong going on between Judy Maragna and Julie Broughton, with both ladies finishing on 6th June, using totally different approaches. Judy clocked lots of miles walking her faithful pooch Haribo, whilst Julie seemed to never stop, either running with husband (and new P&D member..welcome!) Mark or fitting in exercise around being a key worker.

Dog-walking was also a key element for Emma Healy (with Bella) and Tania Miranda (with Pistco), with the latter combo making it home on 31st May. Sophie Gott enlisted the help of her children to get some daily exercise when she could find time, and our other photo challenges ensured she made it home on 24th June.

Another slightly ‘surprise package’ was our esteemed Treasurer and Race Director Lyn Evans…Lyn was another New Treadmill Aficionado, and with uber-consistency arrived in Cardiff on 23rd May…an exhausting 20 days of treadmill trotting at an average pace of 5.45 mph. Lyn was quietly satisfied to be 2nd ‘Old Boy’ home after the Chairman, but well ahead of another one, Malcolm Bradley (31st May, 17 days, 6.2 mph). Two other ‘Ms’ Mandy Barrington and Melissa Smith were others to use family exercise opportunities and Club Photo Challenges to get out there and beat lockdown….well done ladies! Steven Barker started off fast, but picked up an annoying calf injury. After a bit of cross-training (rowing) and Joe Wicks with the kids, he gradually came back and finished on 12th June.

Finally we’re really pleased to report that Paul McGilvray finished on 23rd May, taking just 14 days at a speedy 7.8 mph…why? Well Paul is one of our ‘remote members’, presently living in Harrogate, and it’s incredible that he’s been able to keep connected with the club through social media platforms and virtual time trials, even scoring points in the M50 Club Championships. The future’s already here, maybe….

Did we mention Ultra Challenges? Two of our resident ‘head cases’ Steve New and Kuldeep Singh have been doing battle with the Hope 24 Hour Endurance (Virtual) Event, the ‘real’ one having been scheduled for this weekend. Here are snapshots of their journeys grabbed from Facebook….massive kudos, well done fellas!

And what about the Welsh Athletics Virtual 10k Time trial in our Club Championships this past weekend? Here are the provisional results, amazing Club turnout as seems usual these days, on a fairly horrible weekend weather-wise….great running by Brian Law, Malcolm Bradley and Judy Maragna, currently leading their Age Categories. There were also solid runs (not WA registered) from Jon Ely (43:25), Kuldeep Singh (49:26), Gideon Calder 52:02), Chris Nellins (52:37) and Mark Broughton (53:48). Sarah Lees ran a storming 51:54, but stopped her watch at 6 miles….really encouraging to see Sarah returning to excellent running fitness.

Finally, we need to mention our next Club Challenge! We were due to be organising our annual, hugely-popular Cosmeston Relays this coming Wednesday evening (8th July). Instead we have put together our own virtual , in-house version, which will reach its finale next Sunday afternoon, when Race Director Lyn Evans will “playback” each of the legs recorded during the coming week! 😂 What could possibly go wrong…..already have 20 teams of 3 entered, with some nutters taking on 3 separate legs during the week.

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