Our home Gwent League fixture proved to be a very successful day for the club, with no less than thirteen team podiums and an incredible twelve individual podium finishes. Congratulations to everyone who braved the conditions and raced!
Club Top 3 Performances
1st Team - U17 Men, Senior Men, U13 Girls, U17 Women, Senior Women, Female Masters 55
2nd Team - U13 Boys, Male Masters 35, Senior Women B
3rd Team - Novice Boys, U15 Boys, U23 Women, Female Masters 35
1st - Ishmael Bradley (U17 Men), Owain Jones (Senior Men and MV40), Megan Hornung (U17 Women), Hannah Dyer (U23 Women), Chelsea Creak (Senior Women), Katy Roy (FV35), Clair Jolliffe (FV55)
2nd - Katrina Entwistle (Senior Women), Sarah Everitt (FV55)
3rd - Fletcher Rogers (Novice Boys), Amy Nicholls (U17 Women), Amy Partridge (Senior Women)
Going into the final race in Swansea on March 19th, we have sixteen teams sitting in top-10 positions with one race to go:
Novice Boys - 4th
Under 13 Boys - 2nd
Under 15 Boys - 6th
Under 17 Men - 4th
Under 20 Men - 7th
Senior Men - 1st
Male Masters 35 - 6th
Novice Girls - 4th
Under 13 Girls - 2nd
Under 15 Girls - 8th
Under 17 Women- 3rd
Under 23 Women - 3rd
Senior Women - 1st (with the B team in joint 2nd!)
Female Masters 35 - 3rd
Female Masters 45 - 4th
Female Masters 45 - 1st
Chris Elson reports on the Senior races.
I’m told by the Bristol and West AC ladies that the sheer joy expressed by their team managers Steve Grant and Chris Elson cheering them on, spurred them on. To have the first five women home in the Gwent Cross-Country League Women’s Race is an astonishing feat. One forged in the fire of training together at Whitehall consistently since the lifting of lockdown in March last year. Week after week their camaraderie and support for each other continues to grow and bear fruit. The previous league record was in the hypothermic conditions at Brecon in February 2014, when the club had the first four women home and six in the first ten. Not only did the current batch of ladies exceed that result with the first five home but also with seven in the first ten and if we include second claim member Katy Roy, coached by Dave Taylor, eight.
Of the first five, Chelsea Creak continues to be the revelation of the Cross-Country season, Katrina Entwistle has improved beyond recognition from a 22 minute parkrun in 2018, to a seasoned racer, as has Amy Partidge also a parkrun graduate. To complete the A team, both Frances Arnott and Catie O’Donaghue raced after a night shift at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, a feat in itself.
The second place B team was led home by Hannah Dyer who notably was first U23, then came Naomi Aylwin with her best position in the Gwent League, next two of our star masters Clare Jolliffe and Liz Sanigar and, making up the team, birthday girl Ellen Harrison.
The C team was another strong Quintet, led by star master, Sarah Everitt, only just getting over her joust with COVID, Verity Potts with her best run in the Gwent League, Elaina Gard who had the misfortune to exacerbate an ankle injury, a second birthday girl Anna Ford who was definitely pleased with her birthday present and Emma Jolliffe taking time off from marathon training to make a pleasing come back.
The D team is worthy of highlighting, beating 56 of the 67 teams competing. Molly Chilton is still recovering from her skirmish with COVID and only elected to run at the last minute, a decision validated by the way she moved steadily through the field to lead the team home. Caz Buckridge, who is a real talent came next, and made a remarkable debut for the club. The team was made up by Ruth Bevan returning to the fold, and two improving newcomers to the club, Rachel Breslin and Helen Mallison King.
The E team too starred, beating 50 of the 67 teams competing with Sophie Johnson first making a very satisfying club debut, Hayley Bennett getting faster again, another star evergreen Antonia Gooder producing a run to be proud of as did Emma Bailey making her debut for the club and Tanya Chowdhury on the comeback trail after an enforced lay off. Finally, another master, Julie Ilogu who battled through conditions unfavourable for her footwear, but still not too far off the top half of the field.
The men continued where the women left off. Owain Jones ran a canny tactical race to take victory. The race was a three way battle between Owain, Phil Matthews (Park Bryn Bach) and Luke Burgess (UWE). On the last lap heading into the ferocious headwind Owain put in a sustained burst leaving his pursuers exposed to the wind. Could he hold on? Steve and I watched anxiously, but it became clear that the master tactician had timed his effort to perfection.
Owain was followed by Tony Orvain, Andy Watt, Pete Bains and then the first of eight male club debutantes, Rhys Goddard. Their combined efforts extended the teams overall league over Parc Bryn Bach in second place by 59 points to 418 points, a reflection of how well all five ran.
The B team too had a good day. Led home by two newcomers Richard Elston and Simon Bright, I can safely state that they exceeded expectations. Next up came Aled Anderson who is on a heavy marathon training schedule, followed by rapidly improving Graham Donald and Lee Gawler with another solid performance. Both the C and D teams are worthy of highlighting with the C team beating 75 of the 85 teams competing and the D team 61. Chris Neilson and Adam Stokes led the C team home in conditions perhaps not suited to them, followed by newcomers Nial Moroney and Ross Ellett, both having good days at the office, and Sam Johnson another coming back after Covid.
For the D team, Hamish Wyatt, Nick Hearn and Tom Woodley all made solid debuts for the club, interspersed by Henry Sly coming back from injury and surviving a muddy fall and supported by the club talisman veteran Tariq Kurd. That left three masters for the E team namely Andy Dunn, Bill Hull and Nicko Brooke, who warmed up at Eastville parkrun. The trio can congratulate themselves on beating 30 other teams.
I hope enough people have got the final Gwent League meet on Saturday 19thMarch at Singleton Park, Swansea in their diary. We do need to turn up to win!