10 Feb Weekend Roundup 9-10 Feb 2019

Saturday saw an intrepid bunch of us back racing cross-country, with the fourth Gwent League staged at Pontypool Park. The fact that there is a dry ski slope in the park should give some indication of the steepness of the climbs, and the men had the added joy of running uphill through a muddy stream (waterfall?) on two of their laps. It was also the XC debut of Tenty Mark II, who performed splendidly in the wind and rain…so comfortable was his interior, we were still munching cake and taking selfies when all the other club tents had legged it!

On to the races, and a smallish squad of ladies were off first. Cath Gardner/Tailby loped around in her wonderfully economic style to grab our first finish spot (64th), followed in by a ‘returning-to-fitness’ Lisa Cleary (122nd), Anna Helsing (144th), Helen Griffiths (178th) and Yvonne Williams (182nd)…DeboDog was skilfully handled by Kev Chalke whilst Helen had her run!

The men were off at 3 o’clock, and we were grateful to have the services of two of our, ahem, more ‘mature’ members Malcolm and Chris, who opted out of the shorter M65+ race…thanks gents. Gary Brown was first home for us in a fine 34th place, and was followed in by Kevin Chalke, running his XC debut and finishing 174th. Colin Caesar (209th) was first home of a whole gang of us finishing in the 200s, with Malcolm “Crazy Descent Man” Bradley 221st, holding off Chris Nellins (226th). Steven Barker had a niggly calf issue to contend with, so sensibly knocked off the pace after a fast start, finishing 239th. Next in was a good old ding-dong battle between two V60s, with Terry McCarthy (243rd) holding off a ‘returning-from-injury’ Simon Williamson (249th). New member Richard Jackson completed the P&D lineup with a dogged run on a really tough course to finish 285th. Pics courtesy of Team Manager Ben Butler-Madden…Gary on his way to his best Gwent League placing of the season and 9th overall in M35+ Category, P&D convoy further down the field, and duelling banjoes as Chris desperately tries to drop Malcolm yet again on an uphill bit! Provisional results are here.

Saturday also saw action elsewhere for our much-travelled members. Tania Miranda took on a very tough challenge, the Hoka Trail Half Marathon, which is run up in the hills around Afan Forest…she finished in a sterling 2:22:52, claiming 19th spot in F45+ and 479th overall…here’s a picture with her Penarth buddies at the finish. Provisional results here.

Not much running activity on the  local parkrun front, although Grangemoor had a few Penarth and Dinas attendees…17th Dave Mathews (21:08), 22nd Tom Eales (21:45), 24th Rachel Eales (21:57), 32nd Mark Taylor (23:08), 76th Kath Petersen (26:17), 81st Arabella Calder (26:34), both the latter getting close to local PBs.

And then there was Africa…..the Clements continued their “gruelling” tour of South African parkruns, this time pitching up in a place called Jeffreys Bay. Clem managed to “podium”(!) this week, 3rd place in 22:28, but more importantly first Welsh man to finish!! Janice took time off from chatting up the locals to finish 21st in 28:49.

Sunday started bright and early for those of us running the Llanelli Half Marathon. Ben Butler-Madden was targeting this race as a significant milestone in his preparation for the Tokyo Marathon in March, and produced a sizzling podium performance, 3rd place behind elite-level runners Matt Clowes and Luke Williams. Ben was slightly disappointed not to run a bit faster, but was still rewarded with a PB 73:22. A great solo effort in blustery conditions, bravely holding off the chase pack by more than a minute.  Yep, that’s Ben in full flight at the top of this post…gawd, those 4% Vapor Flys are fast! Full results here.

Also stepping into PB country was Paul Morton, 75th place and 1:27:14, something like a minute off from his previous best time. Further back Hannah Clark had a solid run to finish in 2:22:39 (1772nd) before joining Paul at the selfie stand…

Meanwhile running the completely mental Brecon to Nantgawr Ultra (70km across some of the wildest terrain in Britain) was our friend, complete mentalist Steve New. Here’s a picture of him (courtesy of Simon Pritchard) somewhere on the route…hopefully he’s finished by now…..**NEWSFLASH** Steve finished in around 10 hours 40, an hour off last year, good job!

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