Penarth and Dinas Runners battle through the mud in Pontypool cross country race
2:02pm Monday 21st October 2013 in Penarth sport
PENARTH and Dinas Runners started the cross country season off in emphatic style as they battled through the mud in Pontypool on the weekend.
A strong turnout for the club championship race ensured the club picked up much needed points in the Gwent League fixture on Saturday, October 19.
The Gwent League Association chose Pontypool Park to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the running of the league, back in Gwent and back to ‘proper’ cross country running with torrential rain, horrendous hills and lots of mud. A record turnout from club of 14 ladies, just shy of three teams, and nine men did Penarth and Dinas proud. The first 100 finishers in each race were awarded a special memento medal to celebrate Gwent League's Golden Jubilee - Richard Jackson-Hookins, Debbie Evans and Lisa Cleary receiving awards, with Andrea Hurman just missing out.
The weather was looking perfect for cross country running all morning but roughly 15 minutes before the start of the ladies race the heavens opened - flash floods and 'rivers' to run through plus steep hills to get up made the conditions very challenging to say the least. Debbie Evans, back to her terrific form, led the ladies home with a fantastic result of 67th position and 13th in a very strong age category.
Lisa Cleary was next in 92nd, followed closely by Andrea Hurman in 105th. Heather Dennis showed that her triathlon training has been paying off with a great result of 130th. Jane Blethyn was 138th and also 4th in her age category. Ruth Owens was 146th, Yvonne Williams 156th followed by Claire Phillips in 179th on her cross country debut for club wearing her lovely pink new spikes, which didn't look so 'new' after the race!
Lindsey Hunt 182nd was followed by Sally Wilkinson, who did exceptionally well to get round the course in trainers. Stella Sturgess was next in 213th with Andrea Pace and Judy Maragna finishing with their usual speedy sprint finishes in 218th and 219th respiectively. Hats must go off to Emily Luke who finished the very tough course even though she is six months pregnant - what a star!
There were 232 finishers in the ladies race.
Having been promoted to Division One at the end of last season the P&D ladies team finished in 8th position overall. The LV55 team are in 2nd place with LV45, in 4th.
The torrential rain unfortunately flooded the P&D tent, soaking everyone's bags, kit and some cakes.
By the start of the men's race the torrential rain had stopped and the sun began to shine. However, the ladies had churned up most of the course while running their two small laps and two large laps, making the course even more of a challenge.
The men's course was two small laps and four large laps. Richard Jackson-Hookins made cross country on such a tough course look easy, despite a fall and finished in a fantastic 61st position in a very strong field. Clem Clement, after a cautious start, worked his way through the field to finish in 223rd, followed by Chris Seal in 248th position.
It was a close race between Nick Jones and Andy Jones with Nick just finishing ahead of Andy in 258th and 259th place. Rob Wilcox was next in 280th, followed by Marc Durkin in 331st and Andrew Palmer, who looked like he was thoroughly enjoying the course, in 347th place, followed by Paul Furlong in 358th in a very strong field of 379 finishers.
Support was also provided by P&D's youngest fan, nearly three-month-old Alyssa Jones.
The men's team finished a very credible 4th in Division Three
The next Gwent League fixture is on Sunday, November 10, in Bridgend
Penarth runners also enjoyed success in the Abingdon Marathon on Sunday.
Gary Brown enjoyed a personal best by 13 minutes with a time of 3.08.24 in 122nd place, Chris Nellins in 3.22.24 in 214th, Malcolm Bradley achieved a PB and a Good For Age time for the London Marathon in 2015 with 3.35.42 in 300th and Sara El-khatib, who also ran the Loch Ness Marathon just three weeks ago, finished in 4.39.10 in 642nd.
Richard Willmot also achieved an impressive PB of 3.13.05 in the Amsterdam Marathon on Sunday.
Two Penarth runners also took part in Women Running Penarth's ‘All Soles’ run on Sunday.
Yvonne Williams came 2nd in the 5k race around Cosmeston, while Mandy Barrington came 5th out of a total of 32 runners.