Report by Don Hale
A team of 12 top athletes from North Wales took part in a scintillating Inter-Counties competition against rivals from Cheshire, Staffordshire, and Shropshire last Sunday, which was held in baking temperatures within the Nick Beer 10k Memorial race.
The North Wales team claimed 1st place and were comfortable winners of the men’s race, with the women’s team narrowly beaten into 2nd position following a close-fought encounter.
A team of six competed for honours among 23 male entrants, with the women’s team having the same number of representatives within some 20 participants.
And although the first places in both the male and female races went to elite runners from Shropshire, they were only able to claim the runners-up spot for the men, whilst finishing last in the Ladies event.
Matthew Costello (Shrewsbury AC), who was representing Shropshire, was the 1st male runner home over the very hilly and challenging course around the Great Orme in 33 minutes 31 seconds, with Scott Nixon (Ellesmere Port) 2nd in 34.04 and 3rd Ted Flynn (Cardiff AC) in 34.04.
The prize placings for the host county saw Ricky Challinor (Cardiff AC) 4th in 34.10, Martin Green (NWRRC) 5th in 34.11, and Bryn Woodall (Colwyn Bay) 6th in 34.19, whilst Louis Lermite (Run Free) finished 13th in 36.15. There were just four counters needed for victory.
For the women Lauren Cooper (Shrewsbury AC) from Shropshire, was the first female runner home in 37.22, with Wilmslow AC athlete Claire Clancy representing Cheshire, in 2nd place, with Kelly Butler (Birchfield Harriers AC) from the Staffordshire team, finishing 3rd in 39.05.
The North Wales ladies packed well for 2nd place overall, with Amie Bagnall (Dragons) 5th in 40.23, Tracy Rogers (Buckley) 8th in 41.19, Rachel Shipley (Abergele AC) 9th 42.12, Carla Green (NWRRC) 13th in 42.54, and Jen Adams 18th in 45.36, with Claire Wyn Jones (Deeside) finishing in 20th place in 48.40.
Two special awards were given to the most outstanding male and female performances, which were handed to the talented Shrewsbury and Shropshire team members Matthew Costello and Lauren Cooper, who had both won their team races.
*The final team results included: Men’s race: 1st North Wales 14 points, 2nd Shropshire 30 points, 3rd Staffordshire 47 points, and 4th Cheshire 67 points.
*In the Ladies race the results were: 1st Cheshire 25 points, 2nd North Wales 35 points, 3rd Staffordshire 36 Points, and 4th Shropshire 48 points.