It was a weekend for reorganised races with both Llanelli Half and the Nick Beer 10k taking place having previously been postponed during the stormy February weather. The weather was not exactly pleasant this weekend but good enough for the show to go on!
Llanelli coast is well known for being one of the windiest place in the world (perhaps a slight exaggeration!) but it can get quite windy down there. However this did not deter two of Wales’ fastest marathon runners of recent time (Dewi Griffiths and Natasha Cockram) from lining up.
It was therefore no surprise that Commonwealth Games athlete, Swansea Harrier Dewi was the first across the line with a gun to tape solo win in 66:52, a great time in tough conditions. This race backs up his 65.53 half marathon in London last weekend and carries on his return to fitness ahead of the London Marathon in April where he will chase Olympic qualification. Dewi was followed home by Luke Williams of San Domenico, sneaking in under 70 minutes in 69.55, taking a big chunk out of his previous PB of 72.00. Completing the podium was Swansea Harriers’ Matt Rees (aka the Welsh Runner) in 71.04 who is also building well towards London.
Race favourite Natasha Cockram (Micky Morris Racing Team) was the 1st woman home, winning in comprehensive fashion in a superb time of 75.27 finishing 5 minutes in front of 2nd place Carys Hughes from Cardiff AAC in 80.35. Rachel Davies, Swansea Harries, was the 3rd woman home in a time of 83.37. Natasha finished 3rd in Llanelli in 2019 and this performance signified a large PB, although she has run faster over the marathon distance when clocking 2.30.49 in Dublin last year. Cockram, the Welsh Marathon record holder spoke to running review Cymru after the race:
‘It was tough out there because of the conditions but I was fortunate to get in with a good group of guys and we worked together to keep the pace as consistent as possible which was a massive help! Today was just about getting back out and racing and also to use it as gel practice in preparation for the Olympic marathon trials in April.’Natasha Cockram (Llanelli Half Winner 2020)
Cockram also informed us that she is in the process of relocating to Norfolk (along with her horse and dog) in order to give herself an opportunity to train on a full time basis. We wish her all the best in her build up to the London Marathon and look forward to following her progress.
Athletes in North Wales attacked the shorter, hilly race of Nick Beer 10km. First home was Eryri’s Dilwyn Powell-Jones in a time of 34.51, he was followed home by Ifan Dafydd and Stephen Skates (Prestatyn) in 35.08 and 35.23 respectively. Lydia Sharpe (Durham/Eryri) took the honours in the women’s race with a time of 39.08. 2019 Snowdonia Marathon Eryri winner Andrea Rowlands (Eryri) was second in 41.31 and Rachel Shipley (Abergele) 3rd in 42.55.
The final British XC Challenge fixture at Loughborough gave some of the finest Welsh Regional athletes the opportunity to compete against the best in the incorporated Inter-Counties Champs. James Hunt, representing South Wales finished his cross country season with an impressive 4th place finish behind GB European XC championship representatives. Hunt has always shown great potential over the country, with 2 Welsh XC titles to his name and numerous domestic wins in the past but this cross country season has seen the Bridgend man stepping up to compete with the best athletes in the UK with this showing securing him 4th place overall in the British Cross Challenge. Megan Carter-Davies running in the colour of West Wales was the best of the Welsh women in 18th and was followed closely by Lauren Cooper in 22nd running for East Wales.
There was also notable performances from the Welsh juniors with Iwan Thomas (u13 boys) and Frank Thomas (u15 boys) both running for Carmarthen Harriers / West Wales finishing 3rd and 4th respectively in the overall British Cross Challenge Series. Certainly ones to look out for in the future.