Whilst the homeland was taking a battering from Storm Dennis over the weekend with many events cancelled the Welsh team were over in Spain taking part in the Barcelona Half Marathon. One of the first big city half marathons of the year, a stellar field was assembled including sub 60 man Abrar Osman as well as a large contingent of Brits and Welsh. In the ladies event the leading entrant was last year’s champion Roza Dereje of Ethiopia, who ran 1.06.01 last year.
First home for Wales was Swansea Harrier Kristian Jones in 63.09. Kris has been running brilliantly recently having won the Stirling Cross Challenge ahead of Olympian Andy Butchart. Kris recorded a huge 46 second PB and averaged an eye watering 4.45 minute miles around the course! Next back was marathon specialist Josh Griffiths (Swansea Harriers) with a time of 63.33. This was a big PB for Josh with his previous best being 64.23 set in the Czech Republic in 2019. Having recently run a rapid 28.41 10km in Paris it appears that Josh is in fine form running into the London Marathon and will be hoping to push for an Olympic berth. Paul Graham of Pontypridd Roadents, running his first road race in the Welsh vest continued his great improvement in securing a huge 45 second personal best with a very good time of 66.33. This was off the back of a sub 40 clocking and win at the Lliswerry 8 a couple of weeks ago.
Other Welsh men running well were RAF man Mike Kallenberg (Cardiff AAC) setting a PB of 66.09 and Ben Butler-Madden of Pontypridd Roadents with 72.48 and Vet 50 athlete Nick Griffiths of Amman Valley running 79.17.
There was also some huge performances from the Welsh ladies. Leading the team home was Cardiff AAC athlete Charlotte Arter in a rapid 70.00 to take 6th place overall behind a strong east African contingent. This was not quite a PB but a brilliant run nonetheless and puts her 3rd best in the UK for 2020 over the half behind Charlotte Purdue and Steph Twell. Fellow Cardiff AAC athlete Clara Evans also ran a great race to finish in 72.29, a PB of around 20 seconds. Both athletes appear to be in excellent form having been training overseas recently. Rachel Davies (Swansea Harriers) ran well for 81.11, around a 40 second PB.
Well done to all running and safe travels back in Storm Dennis!