North Wales Road Runner Martin Green competed with the “elite of the elite” in the Mid-Cheshire 5k at Kingsley – one of the first major live races since lockdown last March.
Train driver Martin was soon on track and hit top-speed on this lightning-quick course around leafy country lanes.
He finished in 111th place in last Friday’s event, yet recorded a fantastic time of just 16 mins 08 secs – a mere 6 seconds off his PB – and claimed the 3rd MV45 cat prize in his age category in a high-quality race run under restrictive Covid-19 conditions.
Martin later confirmed: “It was great to be back racing again” – and even shared the exact same time as two other rivals in a mad-dash express finish, with just 2 seconds separating six top runners.
His current fitness and speed were also verified by a pre-race warm-up lap of 19.54.
The event attracted nearly 300 top athletes including South African international marathon star Gerda Steyn from the Nedbank Running Club, who was 1st Senior Female (78th overall) and finished just 6 seconds off the course record in 15.44, narrowly beating her rival Samantha Harrison of Charnwood by just 4 seconds.
The pace and results were incredible with 36 athletes dipping under 15-minutes, and a further 67 runners finishing under 16-minutes.
It was won by Adam Craig from Inverclyde AC in 13.52, and just 2 seconds separating the next three runners, with Omar Ahmed from Birchfield Harriers 2nd in 14.08 and Nigel Martin of Sale Harriers 1 second adrift in 3rd.
Medals galore at virtual 5-mile Welsh Championships
Ten athletes from NWRRC took part in the Spillane & Co, Abergele virtual 5-mile dash over the busy Bank Holiday weekend, which also formed part of the annual North Wales Road Race Championship.
Six team members claimed podium positions, and collected a bagful of gold, silver and bronze medals, whilst also recording some great individual times in an unusual “non-live” event.
Due to current pandemic conditions, all entrants this year had to complete individual runs, and then submit online verification of timings.
The event was won by Ryan Davies from Wrexham in 26 mins 36 secs, with Jen Adams from Buckley claiming the top women’s prize (11th overall) in 32.23
Llyr ApGeraint-Roberts, fresh from his duathlon success of the previous weekend, was the first club runner home in 6th place in 29 mins 59 secs, and claimed a prestigious gold medal as the 1st MV45 cat winner.
Steve Roberts was 24th in 36.03 for 2nd MV55 and collected a silver medal.
Kay Hatton enjoyed a great run as 11th female runner, 30th overall in 38.26, and earned a deserved bronze medal as 3rd FV55 in her cat.
Veteran Kevin Slattery was another excellent gold medal winner in 31st place, and shared the exact same time and 1st M65 cat position with a rival in 38.41. His son Ian, although not a club member, was 9th in 31.44 and 3rd MV35.
Former member Cheryl Frost ditched her treadmill for a real run and finished 33rd overall, and was 12th female in 38.47 for 2nd FV50 cat, and another veteran Don Hale, won a surprise bronze medal as 3rd M65 cat, 42nd overall in 41.08.
Helen Hannam dodged the crowds on the prom to celebrate a big finish as the 17th female, 43rd overall in 41.33.
Kelly Alford was 43rd overall and 19th female, and she also won a silver medal as 2nd FV35 cat. Her partner Cai Roberts finished 49th in 43.58, and Rachel Morris was 58th overall, and the 27th female runner in 56.13.
Spillane & Co, North Wales 5-mile championship medals at Abergele: Male results: M45. Gold: Llyr ApGeraint-Roberts 29.59: M55: Silver: Steve Roberts 36.03: M65: Gold (joint): Kevin Slattery 38.41: M65: Bronze: Don Hale 41.08 Female results: F35: Silver: Kelly Alford: F55: Bronze: Kay Hatton 38.26.
Last minute dash for Steve at Cilcain Mountain Race
Steve Bozier headed for another tough hill event again on Monday following a promising debut last week in a precarious downhill dash, this time trying his luck at the historic Cilcain Show Mountain Race.
The popular annual run is believed to be the oldest fell race in Wales and first began in 1960 as a traditional fell race, and has been staged every year since 1973, starting from the showground, before climbing 360m plus up Moel Famau.
This year marked its 60th anniversary, but like most outdoor races at present, the organisers had to make some urgent safety adjustments due to pandemic restrictions.
And in addition, the usual course was shortened from 7.5 kms to about 5.30 kms, with entrants tackling a challenging route, including a muddy start to the highest local peak and back.
Strict social distancing and staggered starts were implemented with all runners given specific start times and set-off individually, or in small groups, as a time trial.
Due to the heavy Bank Holiday traffic however, Steve became delayed en-route and only arrived at the last minute, and barely had time to tie his shoelaces before starting at his allocated time slot.
Despite all this, he still ran exceptionally well and finished 35th out of 117 finishers, recording a good time of 33 mins 7 seconds.
He later said: “I arrived late because of the traffic and literally had to run to the start to make my time slot. If I had managed to get a warm-up, I might have shaved a minute or two off,” adding: “It was a much harder ascent than I thought, but smashed the descent.”
The competition was fierce throughout with two Under-18 athletes finishing in the top three podium positions including teenager Matthew Knowles from Lancs & Morecambe, who won the race in a remarkable time of 23.08, followed by Lewis Roberts 2nd from Eryri Harriers in 25.10, and Joel Gomes from Wrexham AC 3rd in 25.48.
For the ladies, Tracy Rogers from Buckley AC stormed home to claim the top female prize in 32.20.
Charlotte peaked at practice event
Charlotte-Rose Wilton-Jones spent time last weekend completing a gruelling 5-Peaks challenge as part of her training and practice for the forthcoming Welsh 3000’s event.
The popular NWRRC runner who loves to climb, walk, and run the hills, fells and local mountains, took just 7 hrs 30 mins to tackle the tough terrain of Tryfan, Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr, Y Garn, and Elidir Fawr.
Three Peaks in a week for race couple
Event organisers and former NWRRC members Chris and Tracey Yorke also took to the hills last week to complete a daring 3-Peaks challenge.
Starting on Monday with Moel Siabod, they did a 10k run on Tuesday, Snowdon on Wednesday, and Scafell Pike on Thursday, before travelling to Scotland to finally master Ben Nevis last Saturday.