15 Feb WA Virtual Road Relay, 12 – 15 February 2021

After Club success in the Women age categories at the Welsh Regional 3 Mile Road Relays back in January, the ‘Team Management’ (a.k.a Lisa, Kit and Simon W) were fairly hopeful and confident we could carry forward the momentum into the National event, which had slightly different rules.

This time around you needed to run a solo 5 miles any time between Friday 12th February and Monday 15th February. The team performance would comprise of the four fastest Men and four fastest Women, so we’d need some youngsters to lace up their daps and dust off their blue and yellow vests! Having a four day window would also encourage a bit of gambling with the weather forecast….

As is her style, Catherine Barker wasted no time getting out there and storming to a superb 35:09, ably abetted by husband Steven on his bike going ahead to open gates!

Another early starter on Friday was Men’s 2020 Club Champion Ian Southwell, eager to stretch his legs on the Barrage and hopefully dip under 30 minutes. Mission accomplished, a master class in progressive pace judgement, in spite of a really bitter wind….and not surprisingly Ian’s time survived as our fastest performance over the entire weekend.

Saturday dawned equally cold and windswept, and to make matters worse it started snowing mid-morning. Early starters were Lisa Cleary with a cracking 37:51 on the roads between Sully and East Barry, followed by a strong, improving run by Colin Caesar 37:31 up on Port Road in the ‘frozen North’. Wily old dog Malcolm Bradley donned his trail shoes to skip through the snow in 40:47, but deemed this “not fast enough”, knowing that his M70 nemesis Ron Morris from San Domenico had turned in a sub-39 performance…Malcolm returned to his sofa in Wenvoe and looked at the weather forecast for Monday!😂😉

Some members decided quite sensibly to not risk slipping and injuring themselves and produced shockingly quick times on the treadmill. Bethan Apglyn is on target to make big gains in her marathon performance this year, so opted to stay indoors and complete a virtual 5 miles in Finland (apparently snow-free!) taking just 34:54. Impressive head scarf Beth, shame about the top!

Meanwhile back outside, Sarah Lees fought the conditions and an undulating course out of Dinas to post a sparkly 40:32, underpinning some consistent training of late. Her time was good enough to bag a spot in the Women’s scoring four, too, at least until Monday. Men’s Captain Kit Lambert put in a swash-buckling performance with 6 laps around Oystercatcher/Plymouth Park in Penarth, to record a solid 34:31, booking his slot in the scoring team. Kath Petersen plugged away to a solid 42:59 through Cosmeston, life had gotten in the way with no entry completed, but a fine run all the same. Those Lliswerry long sleeve tops are obviously a hit! 😂😉

Fortunately some of the snow had disappeared by Sunday morning, but it was still bitterly cold with a very strong wind blowing in from the Bristol Channel.  Gideon and Arabella Calder opted for a similar course to Kit Lambert’s, wisely sheltered from some of the wind….they recorded 40:35 and 44:56 respectively. Louise Hunt, like Malcolm, had been out for an earlier recce, but saved her form for a stonking run up the Taff Trail, with 37:22 good enough for 2nd slot in the Women’s scoring four.

If you thought Beth running in virtual Finland was pretty cool, her good friend Joe Turner was pounding the streets just outside Belgrade! Looks pretty cold (-1 C), but Joe managed to scorch round in 34:28, and claim 2nd spot in the Men’s cabin.

Mandy Barrington and Paul Mitchell were considerably closer to home and decided (independently) to take on the Bay/Barrage loop. Quite similar times too…Mandy took 46:22, Paul 45:36, well done both!

So that brings us to Monday, and a very much more temperate day, which seemed to attract a phalanx of old boys! Kevin Chalke was the star turn, with a smooth, controlled 33:16 along stretches of Port Road, presently 2nd fastest in the M55 rankings; and 2nd spot in the Men’s scoring four. Chairman Simon Williamson has been nursing a lower back injury for the last 10 days, so was understandably nervous about pushing things too hard on slippy roads over the weekend. He returned a solid 36:45, not far behind fellow M60 Brian Law who recorded 36:18. Malcolm Bradley emerged from under his duvet to post a brilliant 38:23, and knock Ron Morris off the top spot in M70 by a handy 30 seconds. Emma Healy chose an out and back course to Cosmeston and was rewarded with a time of 46:38. The Broughton family were out in force over in Rhoose…Julie is returning from injury and was pleased with 44:19, husband Mark pushed out a solid 41:19, but star at the breakfast table tomorrow was young Sam…a cracking 39:46, which we reckon is worth sub-50 for 10k…great running! Steven Barker ditched his bike-guiding duties to run a highly-respectable 37:38 out from Cosmeston and back in the dark.

At this point the Club position was hovering around the mid teens in the overall rankings, but that was before Kaarina Ruta got down to business! Kaarina only seems to know about two different paces…fast and super-fast. She launched herself from her home in Sully towards East Barry and back again, to cover 5 miles in 34:19 (3rd fastest P&D) and when her time was uploaded tonight it moved the Club up from 17th to 12th. Bravo, well done that runner!

Finally we must mention the incredible Debbie Rees. She turns out for all the Club challenges, whatever the weather, whatever the time of day. Deb is famous for leaving her runs to the last minute, but today she got out mid-afternoon. Only one problem, she ran 8 miles instead of 5! But a credible time of 47:19 for 5 miles noted, however it then took a lot longer to get it uploaded on the results system! Thank you very much for your dogged perseverance Deb, you’re a star!

Most P & D times can be seen at the top of the page, but full team results can also be found here.

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