Four members of North Wales Road Runners Club won age-related podium placings within a high-quality field of national athletes during last weekend’s Welsh Athletics virtual 5-mile relay challenge.
With almost 900 entrants competing overall, including 26 teams of eight runners, the NWRRC team finished 15th overall, with the top four male and female finishers from each club counting towards team scores.
Due to strict Covid-19 restrictions, social distancing regulations, and recent freezing temperatures, the event was staged as a time-trial over four days, with all athletes having to complete their runs individually, and on their own preferred courses.
This prestigious event attracted some superb performances and some very close finishes between club rivals, with 16 seconds separating Richard Eccles and Troy Kettle; and just two seconds between Stuart Culverhouse and Steve Bozier, with the latter runner being only 22 seconds ahead of Richard Scamans.
In the Ladies race, Kay Hatton finished 16 seconds ahead of Charlotte-Rose Wilton-Jones, whilst Hannah Griffith and Helen Hannam battled for a 7 second difference. Twenty-three seconds separated M65 veterans Kevin Slattery and Don Hale, and Charlotte later pipped Kevin by just one second.
Jonathan Kettle though, was the first club runner home again in the 5-mile challenge in 19th place following an excellent run in 28 mins 34 secs, and was 4th in his M45 age category.
The four podium placings however, went to Richard Eccles who finished in 31.06, and 68th overall as 2nd M50 cat; teenager Troy Kettle was hot on the heels of his father Jonathan in 31.22, in 73rd place, and 3rd U20 cat; with Lesley Goodson 2nd W55 cat, 233rd overall in 36.21: and Kevin Slattery 3rd M65 vet, 335th overall in 39.19.
The male team scorers were: Jonathan Kettle, Richard Eccles, Troy Kettle and Stuart Culverhouse; with Lesley Goodson, Kay Hatton, Charlotte-Rose Wilton-Jones and Hannah Griffith, representing the ladies.
The full club results include: 19th Jonathan Kettle (28.34), 68th Richard Eccles (31.06), 73rd Troy Kettle 31.22), 128th Stuart Culverhouse (33.21), 129th Steve Bozier (33.23), 212th Richard Scamans (35.45), 224th Gethin Wyn Jones (36.07), 233rd Lesley Goodson (36.21), 326th Kay Hatton (39.02) and 7th W55 cat; 334th Charlotte-Rose Wilton-Jones (39.18), 335th Kevin Slattery (39.19), 345th Don Hale (39.42) and 5th M65 cat; 388th Hannah Griffith (41.01), and Helen Hannam 391st (41.08).
*Two junior runners who are the daughters of senior club members, competed in other mixed relay events for Colwyn Bay, with Lucy Charlick enjoying her debut in the U11 girls and boys time-trial race over a mile in 8 mins 29 secs to finish 16th; and Mia Morris ran in the U15 girls and boys time-trial race, finishing 30th in 16 mins 12 secs.
*The top-team positions for the 5-mile race were awarded to 1st Lliswerry Runners in 4 hrs 2 mins 29 secs, with Chepstow Harriers 2nd in 4.05.45, and Bridgend 3rd in 4.07.52. NWRRC were 15th overall in 4.40.05, and Denbigh Harriers also ran very well as 6th team overall in 4.21.22.
The 5-mile individual race was won by Paul Graham from Pontypridd Road Runners in a remarkable time of 24.58, with a close dash to the time-line by his fellow team mates James Peters (26.18) and Sam Gregory (26.24) in 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
- Next weekend will see local runners competing in the Welsh Athletics 1-mile virtual dash, and the North Wales 10-mile virtual challenge.