January, all 31 days of it. Some dread the shorter days and the colder darker nights, yet on the other hand some revel in the chance to start again, try something new or explore new commitments. Within our familiar sphere of the world of running and physical activity it can be a time when we make new challenges, sign up for different races, yet also welcome new people to the sport and activities that we all know and love.
For many of our Run Wales Social Running Groups, the situation was no different as they braved wind and rainy conditions bought by strangely named storms yet also enjoyed the sunshine and crisp early mornings. We’ve heard stories of achievement on Couch to 5k programs up and down the country, catching up around familiar parkrun routes all alongside the usual group runs.
Read our report below to see all the fun things that the Groups have been up to this January:
While January might not be known as a traditional time for holidays, a few running groups were able to get out and about, although we can’t promise there was any guaranteed winter sun!
Nominated group of the Year She Runs Cardiff headed to Chepstow Racecourse for the Chepstow Running Festival, kickstarting the year over a variety of different distances. Meanwhile, others were able to make the brave venture over the bridge to the Longleat 10km. Heading further afield, the Llanelli striders took a trip to the well-attended National Running Show in Birmingham, hearing from inspirational speakers and checking out the latest gadgets, gear and exhibitors.
Visiting different events, parkrun tourism, remains a popular means of excursion for Run Wales groups such as BRF Running. Moreover, the Chargers Running Club tried out Cwmbran parkrun. They continue to look for more destinations for future trips, with or without the inclusion of a post-run supermarket breakfast!
For some, then highlight of the month can simply be a case of enjoying the beautiful scenery or technical trails that many of us are blessed to have in our locality. Rhedwyr Coed-Y Brenin were able to brave the wind and the cold to still enjoy running in the forest, while the Stackpole Striders continued their tradition of coastal runs followed by a dip in the sea!
January saw the return of two popular races in South Wales. One of these was the Lliswerry 8, run on a flat (for once) course around the villages near Newport’s rural-urban fringe. Lots of members of Run Wales groups once again returned, such as those from Pontypool Phoenix, Seriously Mad Runners, She Runs Cardiff and Monmouth Rock Up and Run.
Penarth and Dinas Runners returned to host their CF64 Winter Race once again around what can be a fairly muddy course around Cosmeston Lakes. Participating groups included Yr Hen Blywf and Llantwit Major Milers.
Some set themselves challenges throughout the month of January. Some, such as those led by Crazy Al the Jogfather at Undy and Redwick Road Runners took on challenges such as RED January, where participants challenged themselves to do some form of running or physical activity on every day of the month. Erddig Muddy Trainers took on a slightly different challenge with 2 Miles for 2 Wish, doing 2 miles every day in support of those suffering from bereavement and sudden death in young people.
The start of the year also sees the start of Couch to 5k Programs getting underway, as volunteers around Wales give up their time to help others into running. A fabulous example of these is the programme run by Catrin and the Porth Eirias Runners, based in Colwyn Bay, who have welcomed 31 new members attending every week as they take their first steps on their running journey! Mon Milers have also welcomed their newest Zero 2 Hero members while Happy Feet Runners Brecon only recently started on the 30th. Some of these groups have already achieved so much! Some of the chargers smashed their first 5k.
Finally, we are looking forward to welcoming some new running groups into the Run Wales social running community, including independent running shop SoleMate’s social running group in Merthyr and the recently established Cardiff Muslim Runners.
We hope that your year has got off to a great start and we wish you all the best with your running goals in the next 11 months or so!