10 May Weekend Roundup – inc. Welsh Castles Virtual Challenge update

Weekend Roundup is back! How, you may ask, in these strange times? Well this week we have had members taking part in Virtual Challenges organised via Opentrack.

On Wednesday, the anniversary of Sir Roger Bannister running the 4 minute mile on 6th May 1954, some of us took on the Cardiff Running Events Bannister Mile. There’s no hiding place running a mile flat out, but there were some credible performances from our gang, as these results illustrate (full results here)

It’s interesting how these solo challenges differ from “real races”…individuals choose their own course and time to run, so can use local knowledge and favourable weather conditions to get the best out of the available ‘slot’! This particular event stipulated NO DOWNHILL COURSES, but didn’t actually state what qualified as a downhill course (although after the results were published, a maximum descent of 25′ was bandied about). I’ve also seen discussion about imposing time penalties on downhill miscreants…I’m sure it will raise some interesting forum discussions in the next couple of months. So Mr Chairman’s run is in the “dubious box”, as he descended 70′, but in his defence he wanted a traffic-free route with no road crossings!

Saturday 9th May was the original date for the Whitchurch 5k Road Race, also known as the ‘Race for Victory’, and doubling up as the Welsh Athletics 5k Road Championships. Recent events have postponed it to 30th August, but in our world of uncertainty, even that might not happen…race with 700 competitors with the pubs open all day, anyone? Welsh Athletics gamely set up #WAVirtual5K and the challenge was to run a solo 5km time trial some time between 8th and 10th May.

First off for us on Friday morning was Lisa Cleary, a new, ‘born-again’ Strava convert! Lisa doesn’t mind admitting she’s a bit of a technophobe, and needed some coaxing from yours truly to sign up with a Strava account. But now there’s no stopping her…she’s ripping around the Barry segments eating up “Queen of the Mountain” awards like some demented Pacman! (apologies if this draws a blank with non-Strava people…it basically means Lisa is running very fast on different streets in Barry, where she’s trained all her life!) Lisa chose a tricky uphill course heading towards Dinas, and wasn’t helped by the prevailing Easterly winds….but still managed a highly-credible 22:49.

Kevin Chalke was out the next morning, and pulled out a stonking 19:35, sticking to tried-and-tested roads in the direction of Sully. A great run, but it wasn’t going to survive as our fastest time, with a rampant Ian Southwell ripping up the tarmac on the Cardiff Barrage….Ian blasted out 17:59 later in the day. Kit Lambert went for a similar stomping ground, and suffered manfully on his way to a 21:12 clocking. Simon “Bending the Rules” Williamson opted for a course starting at altitude above Culverhouse Cross…rumours that oxygen masks were necessary are unfounded. This is the hallowed ground frequented by legendary descender Malcolm Bradley, who would come out to play the next day. Simon was hell-bent on following the mantra that is #20in20 and threw caution to the wind (which was behind him, by the way…) knocking out the first three kms at around 20 minute pace. It couldn’t last, and he was rightfully punished for his maverick approach, finishing a broken man in 21:33. Malcolm couldn’t quite manage his epic time of 3 weeks ago, but still clocked a sterling 22:16.

Melissa Smith chose the local streets of Dinas to record an excellent 24:10, whilst Arabella Calder cruised around Penarth in 28:28. Cam Large went for a fairly late effort around Grangemoor on Sunday and came away with an excellent time of 27:56, not easy as the weather turned nasty.  Mandy Barrington probably struggled more with getting her result up on the website than the actual run…but still recorded a solid 28:31. In the team event, the Ladies finished 8th and the Men 15th (both positions provisional). Full results here.

We had a couple of runners who missed the entry deadline but still produced credible times….Chris Seal ran 22:35 around the streets of Penarth, and Chris Nellins took on the Grangemoor parkrun course to record 23:24. Look out for a brilliant “In the Spotlight” feature on Mr Nellins, due to be published on this site tomorrow.

We also had Clem Clement up in Springburn taking on a ‘freedom’ parkrun very quickly, yet again cracking the 21 minute barrier…20:57 to be precise. 

This week has also seen the Club take on another virtual challenge…we’ve asked individual members to cover the second day’s stages of the iconic Welsh Castles Relay during their regular training runs in the month of May. Stage 11 from Newtown in Mid-Wales through to Stage 20, which ends outside Cardiff Castle, a total distance of 104 miles. We’ve made it slightly more attainable by basing each day’s effort on average speeds, and the distance covered in one hour.

There’s been a real dog-fight at the front between fast boys Paul Delaney, Ian Southwell and Andy Pearce, with ‘the lead’ constantly changing hands. The Women’s ‘race’ has been dominated by Bethan Apglyn and Lisa Cleary, but with some great stories further down the order. It’s been lovely to see Judy Maragna taking on the Club virtual challenges with gusto…here’s her take on Stage 11 of the Castles Relay…

“Finished the challenge! Made it to the finish, photos to prove it! Figured I’d be last which is why the crowds had gone home before I finished! These challenges have really put me back in focus and are making me challenge myself. My usual average is just under 12 min but today I mentally put myself in the zone and remembered when I did a leg years ago. A “throw away” remark to Yvonne of “if you are really really really desparate I’ll be a reserve!” Thinking reserves don’t run but have the fun! Oh no, Lisa was injured so I had to step in, they jiggled the legs so I had the easiest, but cut off then was 10 min mile which I didn’t think I could sustain. But I did, every mile and Ian (Warby) dragged me up the sting in the tail for the last 20 yards! I was so proud of myself! Today I feel the same! I’ve never been able to even pace, but today I’m not far out! Plus the last 3 miles were faster – is that negative splits?! Yay! Today is a good day!”

Here is the Progress Board for our intrepid gang, with stages conquered and mileage covered on the stage they are running at the moment….

We also have a map charting their progress; bit late in the day to show today’s efforts, this was the map at close of play last night. Paul is now on the outskirts of Brecon, and Beth has left the Epynt Visitor Centre, having conquered the infamous Drovers Road climb!

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