Gwent League #2: Pembrey Park – Senior report

Gwent League #2: Pembrey Park – Senior report
12 Nov

Pembrey Park 9/11/2019 – Chris Elson reports

Inclement weather greeted the intrepid bands of Bristol & West AC runners heading west
for the distant Gwent League cross-country fixture at Pembrey Park, many people’s
favourite venue for the races. By Swansea however, things were looking up and just before
the senior women’s race the sun shone from a cloudless sky. Looking at those running I did
wonder if the current ladies were capable of achieving a feat, beyond those of any of our
great teams of the past, namely filling the first two team positions. Read on!

A group of 3 women pulled away over the first lap with Natalie Griffiths slightly detached running
strongly in 4th , a position she maintained until the finish for another excellent run. Izzy
Talbot-Price ran her now trademark canny race gradually pulling through the field for 5 th
place. The finish was a heartening sight for the B&W AC supporters club with a lot of club
vests in view, albeit in a crowded home straight. Hannah Pollak and Amy Partridge had latched
on to a group of six or seven runners and were gradually moving to the fore all the way to
the finish, where Hannah used her superior track speed to finish 7th with Amy 8th. These
were another two runs to be proud of. Not to be outshone, Elaina Gard finished a
creditable 13th to complete the A team.

The rapidly improving Katrina Entwhistle led the B team home in 16th position, followed by Catie O’Donoghue, who did a hard session the day before not knowing that she would be available to run, in 22 nd place. Next up came Ellen Harrison gradually putting the weeks of injury behind her in 25 th, W50 superstar Clare Jolliffe (28th ; 1 st W50); Naomi Aylwin 36th. Another W50 superstar led the C team home in 37th position (2nd W50), namely Sarah Everitt happily restored to us after her skirmish with the
surgeons. She was followed by Alice Doggrell who ran the New York marathon the previous
weekend despite an unwanted fast induced by a gut infection. Given that background Alice
looked amazingly well and ran strongly moving through the field for 48th position. Emma
Clarke (74th ), W45 Nicky Hodges (82nd; 14th W45); Rosie Mushens (136th& 11th W50) now rapidly recovering from a prolonged injury, completed the C team. This left W55 Ali Hurford (151th & 7th W55), W60 Fliss Russell now established as one of the leading W60’s in the league (175th & 2nd W60.) and W45 Emma-Jane Orchard (179th) to fill the D team. 329 women finished.

So, what of the team results? B&W AC A 1st, Swansea 2nd of course it’s a home fixture for them(!), B&W AC B 3rd overall and 1st B team. The C team was 11th overall &  1st C team, and D team 46th overall and first D team out of 84 teams competing.
The M65 team of Dave Bedwell (2nd ), Tom Burgess (12th ) & Dave Hart (22nd and 5th M70) made up the D team, which was 2nd on the day and retained its overall 2 nd place.


The list of those unavailable for the men was scarily long, with at least one, Jack Millar,
running the Milton Keynes Cross-challenge and in doing so unleashed another star
performance in 6 th place. Consequently, it was with some anxiety, fortunately misplaced,
that I watched the men’s race unfold. It seemed that almost everyone employed the right
tactics of not setting off too fast and working their way through the field. Jed Bartlett led the A
team home with another solid performance in 12 th place with Maciej Bialogonski hanging in after a tiring week and only a fortnight after his 3 rd place in a mountain marathon in Poland, to take 20th . Pete Bains had a sterling run to take 26th place, Graham Breen recovering well from his 2.35 marathon in Manchester a fortnight earlier 30th (2nd M40), leaving Rob Farley (37th ) who had a storming run working his way through the field to make up the A team. This was good enough for B&W AC to retain top spot overall and come 2 nd on the day,  13 points behind Cardiff AAC and 8 in front of Aberdare.

Darren Garmen (62 and 4th M45)had another good run and led the B team home, followed by rapidly improving Lee Gawler (72), Matt Bond (80) back after injury, Sam Bentley (90) also improving and newcomer Liam Glenn who made a very impressive debut for the club in 94th. The B team finished 13th overall and you won’t be surprised 1st in the B division.

Jack Longstaff (115th) led the C team home and in so doing set a tall order for the next race. Having finished 100 places higher than Cardiff, can he improve that much again at Blaise Estate? Aled Anderson (142) Cameron Grayley (143), Bill Hull (146; 24th M45); Matt Burdon (157) completed the C team which finished 24th overall out of the 105 teams competing and was again first in the reserve division. Brad
Clarke (160) led the D team home with Peter Wang (181), Mark Taylor (183; 35 th M45); Tariq Kurd (241; 63rd M45) making up the team, which was 2nd D team on the day but retained the overall D team top spot. 429 men finished.

So, overall another rather good day for B&W AC with lots of people achieving or exceeding
expectations. Can we do a repeat performance in the 3rd fixture,which is at Blaise Estate on
Saturday 7th December? Please get the date in your diaries and let me know if you want to
run!