10 parkruns. 2 days. 50k.

How hard could it be?

‘Quite’ hard sums it up nicely.

1. Pontypridd

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First up was the Saturday 9am run at Pontypridd where we helped towards another of the largest ever attendances. Optimism was high and Tom brashly set out to finish in third just outside his PB. Diane and Bernie also ran PBs, perhaps forgetting about the other 28 MILES they would have to run over the next two days. Then it rained.

2. Penallta

2016-05-07 10.35.31The heavy rain stopped on the journey to this course, and the humidity kicked in hard. The day started warming up and those wearing jackets quickly regretted it. We also learnt early on not to trust Mike with his directions after he went the wrong way, and then shouted at everyone else to “help” them go the right way. We also learnt not to clap small dogs through the finish line as they get scared and have to be carried by their owners instead!

3. Bryn Bach

2016-05-07 13.00.49Halfway there for the first day! When the distraction of the very cute goslings had passed, we wandered over to the other side of the lake to start. However, Bryn Bach has recently changed the direction of its run which moved the start line. We knew about the new direction, but not the new start! This meant reaching the finish line and then running another 200m to complete a full 5k. The runners were as impressed with that as you can imagine… This was also the spot for lunch, which varied from fruit and nuts, to sandwiches, to chips, beans and a pasty. Nice.

4. Pontypool

This run was prefaced with a 10 minute explanation of the course from Mike, which, predictably, went wrong at the first corner as Tom and Ryan decided to go a different way. We made our way around (just) but congratulations to Lily who managed to throw up three times in one run, which may be a ‘throw and go’ record for a 5k.

5. Newport

2016-05-07 16.13.39 Final run of the day was in the beautiful grounds of Tredegar House which was hosting a folk dancing festival! Unfortunately this meant walking past delicious smelling coffee and burger vans on the way to the start. Following another lengthy, overly detailed description of the course, we set off creaking and aching through the park. The addition of sand to a few hundred metres of the course is understandable due to the sheer numbers of runners Newport parkrun gets, but completely unwelcome to 17 pairs of tired legs.

At the end, we collapsed into a heap and waited for Kolade who had got himself lost. Some half-hearted stretching occurred, but we were more interested in getting back to the cars to sit around and eat the copious amounts of food that had been brought along. This didn’t last long as we were hit by another hard shower so we bolted for home instead!

6. Grangemoor

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The start of day 2, and as it turns out, one of the hardest runs due to the tired legs that took some time to warm back up. We were joined by Laura’s dog Jet whose unique diagonal running style gave us something to smile about. Great to see some new faces join us that couldn’t make Saturday too.

7. Barry Island

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To baking Barrybados next and after dashing to the toilets, a solid feature of every run as it turned out, and a little bit of playing on the climbing wall we set off determined not to be broken by ‘Heartbreak Hill’. While it didn’t break any hearts, it probably strained a few calves. Luckily, we had Mik on hand who had met us at Grangemoor on his bike and then cycled to Barry Island to offer more support. Our applause for every finisher echoed around the covered promenade, confusing a number of passers-by who were trying to enjoy the sun.

8. Porthcawl

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Next to a windy Porthcawl where it felt like we walked an extra parkrun to get to the start line! Porthcawl always feels like a long parkrun with its sweeping bends along the coast and long gentle slopes, and after 35k felt even longer.

This was our lunch stop, and instead of bringing sandwiches like yesterday, most runners decided to go to a local cafe and order sandwiches and drinks, which of course set us back by about an hour from the much slaved over schedule. Props to Adam for shunning simple, safe food and going for ham, egg and chips instead. We were all looking forward to seeing it again on the pavement at the next run…

9. Gnoll

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Gnoll was a late addition to the aforementioned schedule, after Mike went there and decided what we needed was an extra 40 miles to drive and yet another 5k. Worryingly, cars were queueing at the gate when we arrived and upon offering £2 for parking, we waved through by the youthful attendants. Finally, some fame and recognition from the public! Even better was meeting up with Gnoll Run Director Graham, who explained the complicated course and even ran on ahead to direct us at the woods. There was also a huge children’s fair taking place, which made the park sections extremely difficult to navigate! I’m pretty sure we managed it without flattening any toddlers.

(Ham, egg and chips thankfully stayed were they were supposed to)

10. Cardiff

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We finished at Cardiff, not only because it’s the granddaddy of Welsh parkruns, but mainly because it’s pancake flat! It was great to meet up with a few extra runners who managed to make it down to run with us as part of their normal Sunday long run. The course is very familiar to everyone, so we were spared the usual rambling description and set off. Some of us even got followed by a police van around the playing fields in what appeared to be the slowest chase in South Wales Police history. Waiting for us at the end was recent C25K graduate Liz with her amazing cakes, followed by a bit of a stretch led by Dan.

Obviously, we then went and had a massive KFC to celebrate. We’re pretty big on proper running nutrition.

Congratulations to everyone whether they ran or walked a single run, up to the 12 members of the 50k club. There were lots questions about whether this would be an annual event, to which the answer was usually a resounding NO, but ask us again in a few weeks, and perhaps we’ll think about it…

CDF Goes Global: Madrid Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon

We love an outing.

Take 16 CDF runners, one easyJet* flight, a stash of ‘British’ tea bags and the wonderful city of Madrid. What could go wrong?

We arrived. We got to our beautiful apartments. Then, within an hour of arriving, Carl shouted “ENGLISH” at a Spanish waiter. We had a good start.

We’d travelled to Madrid to run the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. For a few of our runners this was their first full marathon. There were nerves and excitement waiting for the months of hard work to pay off.


On our first full day we made our way to the race expo to collect our numbers (mainly thanks to Amber, our former Madrid resident who became travel guide and translator for the entire trip).

The following day we ran with a local club, the Lactic Acid Junkies for a warm up before the race. A big thank you to their leader Rob who not only took us along some picturesque routes, he put up with our whines of, “is that another b*stard hill?!”. Not to mention the best part of running with the LA Junkies; they finish every run with Mimosas. We love Madrid!


Now, as many readers will know, pre-race nutrition is key. We take this very seriously. Red wine, cheese, tapas and ‘volcano cocktails’ are all important elements in the diet of an athlete. And we followed this rule closely. It’s hard in a city like Madrid not to take advantage of the local food on offer…or walk 10 miles a day before running a marathon. The things we know we shouldn’t do but do anyway.

So, race day. What an atmosphere. Thousands of runners in the middle of this magnificent city, bands playing along the way. It was a fantastic course with so much to take in but the hills were tough. It’s safe to say though that every single one of us loved the experience, no matter how difficult it was at times.


On a side note, before the race we had an email stating, “Race supporters on roller blades are medical staff. Do not be alarmed if they spray coolant on your legs”. We thought this was a translation error. No, they’re a real thing. And they’re stupid and annoying. Not only do they stop immediately in your path after weaving in and out of several thousand runners, they also spray said coolant alarmingly close to the skin of their ‘victims’ (although very few other people seemed concerned by this lackadaisical approach and potential burn risk).

Most importantly we all finished our races and after months of hard training, we couldn’t be more pleased.

Congratulations to Mike, Mik, Amber, Leah, Richard and our friend Brian for completing the full marathon. Also to Carl, Steph, Rich, David, Shaun, Kem, Paul, Howard and Tom who completed the half marathon course. Not forgetting our CDF cheers squad of course, Ella, Matt, Josh and Jade.

A special mention to Honard Honk (aka Howard) who, at the time of writing, has been running for 108 hours 12 minutes and 34 seconds at an average pace of 04:35 min/km**. Last spotted striding past the Bernabéu, we’ve been informed that Honard is in a state of delirium, aggressively listing Spanish craft ales at passers-by. If found, please do not approach.


We spent the rest of our time taking in the sights, eating, drinking even more and generally being tourists. We had one last run with our new friend Rob on Tuesday and it was time to come home.

So there we are, Madrid Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon, done! It’s wasn’t just a race; it was a holiday with a group of great people. The one thing we have at CDF Runners is a fantastic social community. We train hard but we have just as much fun and we’re always there to support each other.

Trips like this, yes are about achieving your goals but swigging prosecco from the bottle in a park while watching the sun go down is just as much a part of it.

These aren’t just great clubmates, they’re friends.


*other airlines available!

**Not really, he ran the half marathon but his chip time is still ticking over as we speak.

IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships Cardiff 2016

It’s a mouthful of a name for one race, but this was undoubtedly the biggest race any of us had ever run. Just think, if we won we could be a WORLD CHAMPION. Probably not likely, but it was nice to think about it. Then again, the bloke who went on to win it fell over on the start line, so anything is possible.

It was awesome to be joined by runners from our sister clubs in Liverpool and London for a monster team photo!

Nhv0ZvECIt was also the first time we got to show off our fantastic new running tops with logo courtesy of our very own Bernie Martin.

The weather forecast was always a bit iffy, but it’s not as if we haven’t run across the barrage in the pouring rain more than once. If anything, this gave us a massive home advantage! However, when the weather hit, it really did hit. By that time our runners were strung out from Roath Park to many poor souls on the barrage itself battling a massive downpour and 40+mph gusts. It was brief but plenty to soak us all through.

Despite this, the weather was unable to stop our runners producing incredible PBs all over the shop. The majority of us ran our best ever half marathon, and nearly all by a big margin. The occasion and attention of the world focussed everyone’s race and pulled us together as a team to smash it.

Whether running solo or in a pace group, everyone’s games lifted to give a brilliant performance spurred on by a soggy but enthusiastic crowd. The jelly babies strewn all over Roath is testament to the crowds generosity (and the clumsiness of tired runners).

It’s not lazy blogging cliché to say there are too may great performance to single out individuals so here is a list of everyone’s times:

Adrien Pilat 1:19:17
Lucy Marland 1:22:29
Tom Martin 1:23:04
Nick Armstead 1:26:51
Brian Dias 1:26:53
Ryan Cullen 1:27:27
Gavin Pugh 1:29:02
Josh Dixon 1:29:14
Jon Harrhy 1:30:21
Dmitri Morozov 1:30:21
Dan Lloyd 1:32:27
Elinor McNamara 1:36:57
Jaime Hindle 1:39:16
Mikhael Puar 1:40:17
Jeremy Edwards 1:41:37
Carl Evans 1:41:50
Stewart Harding 1:42:48
Hannah Roberts 1:43:17
Sarah Fry 1:43:34
Shona Bennett 1:46:58
Stefanie Taylor 1:48:04
Amber Jordan 1:48:59
David Sinclair 1:49:12
Matt Henson 1:50:22
Katie Healey 1:51:25
Andrew Caple 1:52:11
Emma Davidson 1:52:18
Gethin Price 1:53:54
Lee Harding 1:54:07
Leah Jones 1:54:38
Maru Rubiano 1:55:39
Emma McRae 1:56:54
Nicole Brunt 1:57:51
Gareth Key 1:58:16
Sam Evans 1:58:31
Kayleigh Wilding 1:59:07
Richard Chappelle 1:59:37
Caroline Martin 1:59:40
Rich Skyrme 1:59:41
Stephanie Ferry 1:59:42
Sarah Derrick 2:00:37
Huw Phillips 2:01:48
Katherine Rands 2:03:42
Simon Melksham 2:03:48
Dean Bishop 2:04:19
Angela Farmer 2:05:23
Lisa Innes 2:05:24
Gerda Tallon 2:05:51
Mike Haworth 2:08:16
Kemesha Bogle 2:13:00
Kristina Salmane 2:15:28
Laura Parsons 2:16:19
Gaz Pritchard 2:17:31
Hels Dawson 2:18:30
Paul Cole 2:26:12
Sian David 2:27:26
Harry Harnesh 3:07:44

We also volunteered to marshall on the Easter Sunday Cardiff Junior parkrun which was awesome, especially with so many kids standing in the rain cheering us on the day before. We learnt the Cardiff’s record for their 2k course is an unbelievable 6:24 by a 14 year old! Feeling humbled, we went to Coffee #1 for recovery coffee and recovery toast.

The year’s first major is challenge has gone, and we now look forward to the Liverpool Rock n Roll weekend, which sees CDF Runners tackling various combinations of distances of 5k, half marathon, marathon and 1 mile.

There’s still time to sign up and book yourself a hotel, so get yourself on it, it’s going to be MASSIVE.

Well done CDF Runners!