British Athletics Cross Challenge & John Collins Gwent Cross Series off to a great start - Cardiff Report 13/10/18 Print
Written by Nathan Jones   
Sunday, 14 October 2018 17:23

On a weekend interrupted by wet and windy weather in the far South West of Wales resulting in a number of event cancellations, here's a round-up of what did go ahead on Saturday and Sunday...

Llandaff Fields in Cardiff played host to the first British Athletics Cross Challenge leg along with the re-named John Collins Gwent Cross Country League on Saturday, 13th October 2018.

With Storm Callum having disrupted events in West Wales, including a large number of weekly ParkRuns cancellations, the Welsh capital got away with the worse of the conditions and stayed mostly dry for the majority of the event, as it got the green light and go ahead.

The British Athletics Cross Challenge series got off to a storming start in Cardiff on the first leg of five throughout the 2018 and 2019 season. The main senior races victories and early season form went to Sale & Manchester Harriers' Charlie Hulson whilst Denmark's Anna Moller claimed the women's title. Defending his title in his home city, Jake Heyward showed his class to stride away after a tight and tatical first lap to claim under 20 men's victory, coming home to a loud Welsh cheer.


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For the second time in succession, the Cardiff Cross Challenge was back in Llandaff having been held across the city in Bute Park over two decades. For the first time, the event included an international element with organisers having attracted European athletes in addition to the top British athletes that already contest the races annually.

The event has previously welcomed many, if not most of the top British endurance runners including a large number of UK Inter-Counties Champions such as; Frank Tickner, Peter Riley, Andy Vernan, Louise Damen, Jess Judd and Dewi Griffiths.

In addition, it has hosted several European Cross Country champions including; Hayley Yelling, Charlotte Purdue and Gemma Steel.

With Cardiff Cross offering the first outing of the cross country season for many, it was a first test against some of the best athletes from across the continent before the European Trials in Liverpool later in November. Milton Keynes, Belfast and Loughborough will also host Cross Challenge Fixtures in November, January and March respectively.

Saturday's eleven-race programme began with the U11 Novices at lunchtime before the Seniors, out in their hundreds as usual were the last to tackle the park's course shortly before 3pm.


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Weather wise despite the strong winds, it was a great course with a number of downhill, fast and interesting sections! The drive up the M4 on Saturday morning saw torrential rain and strong winds across West Wales but over in Cardiff, the conditions stayed dry and ideal, however a little warm for the runners with temperatures rising to 20 degrees Celsius during the afternoon. Underfoot conditions were not too bad either making it a great day out for the competitors, officials, volunteers and the vocal spectators who lined the route to support.

In addition to the Cross, Saturday's meeting incorporated the first of five re-named John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League and saw clubs from all over South Wales and South West of England attend the season's opener on an action-packed day. Those clubs involved in the league were in attendance with each athletes scoring points in a series that has gone from strength to strength. The league will return to Pembrey in mid November before Tredegar, Bristol and TBC venues will welcome the other matches by the start of March 2019.

At Pembrey the West Wales Cross Country Championships will also take place. PLEASE NOTE - selection will be made at this event in preparation for the Welsh Inter-Regional Cross Country Championships at Llandrindod in December. More Details on this will follow on the Pembrey Website Event Details in due course.


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The Carmarthen Harriers cross country squad got off to an encouraging start having travelled through difficult conditions to get there. The under 11 and under 13's should be in the leading pack at this early stage of the campaign.


FULL RESULTS / CANLYNIADAU LLAWN: from the overall Gwent League

Under 11 Boys / Bechgyn O Dan 11: 1 Macsen Toogood; 3 Daniel Warrender; 4 Liam Upton-Boorman; 16 Alex Coles; 25 William Coles; 28 Tristan Warrender

Under 11 Girls / Merched O Dan 11: 7 Jessica Norman; 10 Ellie-May John; 19 Martha Morgan; 25 Esme Lynock

Under 13 Boys / Bechgyn O Dan 13: 4 Ifan Bowen; 5 Iwan Thomas; 7 Zach Elvy; 18 Steffan Davies; 19 Jake Lynock; 22 Rogan Cox; 29 Ellis Caddick; 41 Brynmor Peters

Under 13 Girls / Merched O Dan 13: 5 Frances Mackie; 15 Chloe Hale; 16 Amy Greatrick; 33 Carys Wood; 44 Bessy Hill; 66 Nel Davies

Under 15 Boys / Bechgyn O Dan 15: 3 Dafydd Jones; 7 Frank Morgan; 8 Liam Edwards; 35 Ioan Cressey-Rodgers

Under 17 Men / Bechgyn O Dan 17: 22 Archi Morgan

Under 17 Women / Merched O Dan 17: 10 Eva Edwards

Under 20 Men / Bechgyn O Dan 20: 2 Ben Thomas

Under 20 Women / Merched O Dan 20: 10 Ellie Kiff

Senior Men / Menywod: 133 Kate Parker; 138 Lisa Forest

Senior Women / Dynion: 5 Kyran Roberts; 14 Peter Moody; 273 Huw Davies; 305 Paul Lynock; 345 Jonathan Cox


For the British Athletics Cardiff Cross Challenge Results, go to here:

For the John Collins Gwent Cross Country League First Match Results, go to here: (Posted during the week)

For the YouTube Event Highlights published by Carmarthen Harriers from all eleven races out on the course, go to here:

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In the other activity to go ahead on Sunday, 14th October was that at the Swansea University Indoor Athletics Track. Swansea Harriers Pole Vault coaches Islwyn Rees, Jane Hosgood and Craig Guite ran a Pole Vault Development Day using the fantastic facilities. It was open to any under 13 to under 20 athlete with any level of experience and those who wanted to give it a try.

The workshop provided the opportunity for coaches to work in teams, enabling them to share ideas whilst working with athletes of their selected group and ability.

This free of charge day experienced the progressive nature needed by pole vaulters from the winter, through competition preparation for the indoor and outdoor seasons.

In the morning, they looked how to start, how to hold the pole, which take-off leg to jump from, how to run with the pole, the take off and swing through along with some other basic techniques.

After the lunch break, the group of West Wales youngsters worked on short run ups, correct take off distances, lengthening the run up and the art of which pole to use and when. The day ended with a discussion and question about what can be done to help with the development of pole vault within Wales. Those in attendance reported that the first session was a great success and a number of valuable techniques were learnt.

Elsewhere, the Aberystwyth Twin Peaks (Ras Dau Gopa) went ahead with stunning views of Aberystwyth on Sunday afternoon. Here's the results:


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