North Wales hero finishes second in top Canada marathon

Jonathan Kettle (right) of North Wales Road Runners with the overall Niagara Falls Half Marathon race winner Jonathan Bradnam

Report by Don Hale

Jonathan Kettle flew the flag for Wales with pride when he finished in second place overall at the Niagara Falls Half Marathon.

The veteran North Wales Road Runner, who has been working away in Canada, celebrated a great effort in some very challenging weather conditions in the October 22 event, but he was pleased to secure 2nd spot and won his MV45 age cat in 1 hour 16 minutes and 55 seconds, in a top-quality race that attracted 1,154 entrants.

Kettle ran hard throughout and finished about two-minutes behind the winner, a local athlete, Jonathan Bradnam in 1.14.51, but he was almost four-minutes ahead of the 3rd placed finisher B Yang in 1.20.40.

After the race, he confirmed: “It was a very cold, rainy, and a windy race on a flat course, with simply amazing views over the falls and the Niagara River.”

Gold medals and podium places for Road Runners at Abergele

Report by Don Hale. Photos by Steve Jeffery

Richard Eccles

Over 200 club and social runners competed in the Abergele 5k and 10k races on the town’s promenade, where a quartet of Road Runners celebrated podium places and won two gold medals.

NWRRC entered two athletes in both the 5k and 10k events, and all recorded unexpected podium finishes with two welcome age category victories and impressive golds for Richard Eccles and Don Hale in the 5k, and two third-placed finishes in their respective age cats for Steve Roberts and Mike Hayton in the latter 10k.

The races were run concurrently over a relatively flat and fast course with all participants welcoming bright sunshine after a week of problematic weather.

Richard Eccles enjoyed a great performance, finishing ninth overall out of 88 entrants in the 5k with an excellent chip time of just 18 minutes and 36 seconds to win his MV55 age cat, and master veteran Don Hale recorded another promising result after injury to finish 33rd, and 1st MV70 with a course PB of 25.05 – his best time for about two years.

Don Hale

Steve Roberts finished 25th out of 136 entrants in the 10k, and was 3rd MV55 in 44.26, whilst another master vet, Mike Hayton, deservedly claimed 3rd MV70 in 59th place in 58.40.

One of Wrexham AAC’s elite runners, Connor Rogers, told Paul Brooks, the North Wales Regional team manager, just before the start of the first race, that he intended to win both distance events, starting with the 5k – and that is exactly what he did!

Following a dazzling display, Connor won the 5k in a fast chip time of 15.53, and the 10k in 34.07, to scoop gold medals in each race.

His club colleague James Yarwood, however, pushed him hard all the way in the first race, but eventually had to settle for 2nd place, after finishing only 26-seconds adrift in 16.19. Tom Carter (Prestwich RC) took the 3rd spot overall in 16.42.

Helen Taylor (Telford AC) was 1st female finisher in the 5k in 18.46, with Tegan Walsh (Wrexham AAC) 2nd in 23.10 and Donna Jones 3rd in 23.56.

In the 10k race with Connor Rogers, claiming 1st place overall, Nicholas Roux finished 2nd in 37.16, whilst Louise Whittingham (Wilmslow RC) finished 3rd overall, and she was also the 1st female finisher in 38.02.

Meanwhile, Amanda Armstrong (Prestwich RC) finished 2nd female athlete in 41.47, and Michelle Gelder was 3rd in 48.56.

*Praise was given to the race directors Chris and Tracey Yorke at RunWales, and to all the volunteers and marshals for a very enjoyable and well-organised event.

Cross-country fixture at Eirias Park cancelled due to flooding

Last Saturday’s (October 21) cross-country fixture planned for Eirias Park at Colwyn Bay was postponed at short notice by Conwy County Borough Council due to extensive flooding to the course and the car parks caused by unusually heavy rain as part of Storm Babet.

Bernie Jones, secretary of the North Wales Cross Country League, sent out an urgent message to all registered and competing runners, running clubs, and associates, as soon as he was informed, at the end of last week.

And on Friday, he confirmed: “Conwy Council have taken the decision to cancel our fixture tomorrow. The car parks are already flooded, and as most of you know the park itself is one of our wettest courses, so with all the rain it’s not surprising that the course, car parks, and surrounding areas are flooded.

“I can only apologise to everyone for the cancellation, but hope you understand. We are reliant on the goodwill of landowners, and we have to work with them to ensure the safety of everyone.”

Athletes battled Storm Babet aftermath at Conwy Parkrun

Report by Don Hale. Photos by Steve Jeffery

Following the aftermath of Storm Babet numbers were well-down at Conwy Parkrun on October 21 as 135 hardy runners battled a challenging and waterlogged 5k riverside course that was riddled with numerous large and unavoidable puddles.

Despite the soggy conditions underfoot most of the mixed ability, and varied aged entrants, still seemed relieved just to get out and run after a week of fluctuating heavy weather including torrential rain and strong blustery winds.

Osian Griffiths eventually took the plaudits for a determined effort as the first male runner home in 18 minutes and 39 seconds, and he additionally won his SM30 age cat, but he was pushed all the way by NWRRC athlete Mark Jessett, only 12-seconds adrift, and 1st MV35 in 18.51, with Lewis Russo in 3rd overall, and 2nd SM30, with a new PB of 19.26.

For the ladies, GOG Triathlete Hayley Turner was the 1st female finisher and 1st VW35 in 23.16, and in 25th place overall.

Hayley was followed by Andrea Cody, who finished 34th, and 2nd VW35 in 25.14, whilst another GOG runner, veteran Liz Evans, claimed 3rd female spot after finishing 40th overall in 25.58, and 1st VW70.

The Road Runners had nine club runners involved and recorded two age cat wins, two second places, and one third.

Mark Jessett led the team back after finishing 2nd overall in 18.51, and Steve Bozier enjoyed a positive run finishing 15th overall, and 2nd MV45, in 22.00, with Karl Morris 19th in 22.29.

Master veteran Don Hale recorded his best time this year once again, finishing 43rd in 26.09, and he won his MV70 age cat.

Nia Lister

And Nia Lister claimed a near two-minute PB of 27.45, and was 3rd VW35.

Daniel Owens (left) and Steve Mason

Ceri Jones was 62nd, and 2nd VW40 in 28.05, and NWRRC popular partially-sighted runner Daniel Owens welcomed another parkrun outing, and he finished 67th, thanks to his guide Steve Mason, with the pair finishing together in 28.56, and Rachel Morris continued her excellent marathon build-up, with a steady performance in 104th place in 33.30.

*Special praise was given to the Conwy run director and her hardworking team of volunteers and marshals. This is the link to the provisional results from Conwy:

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