The Gwent League at Penlan Leisure Centre, Brecon on Saturday 11th February 2012 was marked by another strong performance by the Club’s under-13 boy’s team as Ali’s group finished four in the first ten to seize the overall team lead from Swansea. Hugh Sadler led the team home in fifth place in 10.03 just one place in front of Billy Cochrane (10.14). George Green – ninth in 10.24 – and Tom Krause – tenth in 10.26 – completed the scoring ‘A’ team and with 36 runners finishing they scored 138 points to take their season total to 600 – now 16 in front of Swansea who are on 584.
Anton Mills in twelfth place (10.39) couldn’t make the ‘A’ Team but led a complete ‘B’ team home. Kieran Dunkley was eighteenth in 11.06 with James Pike thirtieth in 11.22 and Joe Feehily thirty-first in 11.57 closing in the ‘B’ team. The ‘B’ team scored 73 points on the day and are fourteenth overall – a position they should improve upon at the final fixture in Blaise Castle Estate on Saturday 3rd March 2012. A picture of all eight young athletes appeared in this week’s Bristol Evening Post – well done lads – let’s see how you perform on the National stage this coming weekend.
Harry Feehily – nineteenth in 6.38 – was the club’s sole representative in the Novice boy’s race. Corey Haynes was also a lone figure for the club in the Under-15 boy’s race finishing tenth in 13.23 in a field of only 25 finishers. There were even fewer finishers in the Under-17 men’s race where only eleven athletes took part. Zak Tobias finished third in 20.08 to remain in third place overall. It is possible that Zak could overtake Jack Gooch of Cardiff for second place overall but race winner Matthew Edwards of Barry & Vale Harriers seems to have a tight grip on the overall prize with one race remaining. Bristol & West are currently fifth in the team event.
There were only two starters, both from Swansea, in the Junior Men’s race and Rhys Park remains in second position overall on 46 points.
Former Bristol University student and Bridge Inn course specialist Steve Francis made a welcome return to racing – we will need him at this coming weekend’s national – finishing fifteenth in 35.36. A new job in Bristol should see Steve getting back into some consistent training and hopefully he will be getting back into proper racing shape by the road relays. Peter Gandon made his league debut and finished sixty-eighth in 39.19 – another of Chris Elson’s group to make the transition into inter-club racing. Mo Osman – one hundred and nineteenth in 43.06 – is another athlete to have made a similar transition and it is great to see a steady stream of athletes starting with the Whitehall Group on a Monday and then graduating through Parkruns and the Bridge Inn 5k series into the club’s inter-club teams. There were 220 starters of whom 127 were masters. Top performer in the overall standings for the club is Mike Johnson in twentieth place despite only having competed in three of the four races to date.
In the ladies races Jessica Monk finished ninth in the under-15 girl’s race in 15.07 – a position which sees her seventh overall in the league with just one race to go.
In the Senior Women’s race Diana Kennedy led the Bristol & West quartet home in twenty-first position in 25.22. Behind her Claire Joliffe was twenty-seventh in 26.20 (and second F45) and Sarah Everitt was thirty-sixth in 26.56 (for third F45). Helen Brookes like Peter and Mo in the men’s race made the transition to inter-club running and finished a creditable eightieth out of 137 finishers. The Women’s Team were ninth on the day scoring 400 points and now stand eleventh overall on 1,653 points.
It is pleasing to see more club athletes competing in the Gwent League races and we hope there will be a big turnout at Blaise Castle on Saturday 3rd March 2012 for the final race of the 2011/2012 winter season. Let’s hope that the club can put a bit more emphasis behind competition in this league during next winter.