Highgate Harriers win the Welsh Castles Relay – AW

    The event on June 10-11 sees the London club finish ahead of Pontypridd Roadents after 18 hours of action

    Highgate Harriers made amends for their loss to Kent AC last year by holding the advantage for all but one stage in this 22-race long marathon, Martin Duff reports.

    Nevertheless, they were pushed throughout by the Welshmen of Pontypridd Rodents so that their winning margin was less than 10 minutes, at the finish at Cardiff Castle, after more than 18 hours of action.

    Charles Cooper had set Highgate on their way with a stage record 50:45 on the opening 9.1-mile race, beating the old mark by nearly two minutes.

    Another stage record then went to Sale’s Nick Barry on the 10.7-mile second leg race to Criccieth Castle, 25 seconds inside the previous best mark. On this stage, Highgate increased their lead over holders Kent to more than three minutes, before losing it briefly to Pontypridd at the end of the third and then edging back in front after four stages at Harlech Castle.

    Another record came on stage five for Builth’s W40 Donna Morris, who cut more than three minutes from the women’s previous best mark but, up ahead, Highgate opened up five minutes over Pontypridd, thanks to second placed Lewis Greaves but Oliver Williams won the stage with a 50:53 for the 9.6-miles into the seaside resort of Barmouth.

    Highgate then stretched the lead to nearly six minutes on the 10.7- mile run up to Dolgellau after Harry Allan’s 56:55 clocking, as second placed Pontypridd were similarly clear of Kent AC.

    After five stages, women’s section holders Les Croupiers stretched their lead to thanks to W40 Leah Stephens’ 72:05 and were more than 17 minutes clear of Parc Bryn Bach and were also ahead in the vet’s race.

    Pontypridd were not giving Highgate an easy ride and their James Henaghan set a new seventh stage best, by almost two minutes, covering the 10.1-miles mountain stage on to Dinas Mawddwy, with its 449 metres of climbing, in 54:39.

    Peter Chambers lost a lot of time for Highgate but they still led and Sale’s Helen Warburton added a women’s stage best for good measure.

    The individual Highgate stage wins kept coming as Rob Wilson posted another record on the 10.8 miles on to Foel

    As the first day’s racing drew to a close at Newtown, Alice Wright posted a women’s win for Sale but it was Les Croupiers who were ahead in the women’s racing.

    At this half-way point, Euro Cross runner Jake Smith, took Pontypridd to within two minutes of Highgate’s lead despite the Londoners throwing in Alex Lepretre. Hosts Les Croupiers were well ahead in the women’s race and looking a certainty to hold on to their title.

    Jake Smith (Paul Stillman)

    Smith’s time for the half-marathon long mountain stage with its 338 metres of climbing, was a more than useful 65:12. This was ahead of the 2020 English National bronze medallist Linton Talor, who finally put race newcomers Leeds on the leader board, with 68:32, but they were well off of the lead.

    However, they took their first stage at the start of day two through Gavin Chalmers’ narrow win over Meirionnydd’s Tomas Roberts, as Dave Long took Pontypridd even closer to Highgate. His 56:20 was a stage best for a slightly abridged leg.

    Team Bath was second here in the women’s standings and their long serving veteran Amber Gascoyne, the 1996 under-20 Euro Cross bronze medallist, was quickest overall with 67:27.

    Highgate then restored their advantage on the 12th stage to Crossgates, through James Ross’ 57:32 for the 11.2 miles stint and their lead was back up to more than five minutes.

    Leeds won their second stage of day two, the race’s 14th, when Richard Allen improved the record for the 10.8-mile long mountain stage, with its 493 metres of climb, on to Drovers Arms, by well over a minute, with 57:28.

    Richard Allen (Paul Stillman)

    Behind, Highgate stretched their advantage to over nine minutes through Flurry Grierson’s 59:15.

    There was also a women’s stage record for Les Croupiers’ Alaw Evans, whose 66:41 improved the best by nearly two minutes, her third successive annual stage win in this relay.

    Jacob Allen notched up another victory for Highgate over the 12.5-mile 16th stage on to Torpantau, to gain another minute at the top of the rankings before the lead went back to just nine minutes on the next.

    A feature of the second half of the race was that National 12-stage champions Leeds made a better fist of it and were usually in the fastest on each stage and veteran Graham Rush was one to help their cause. However, they were still down in seventh spot overall and an hour off of the lead with three stages left to run.

    A good 18th saw Leeds advance to fifth overall after Josh Lunn’s stage win in a record 45:53, for the 9.1 miles on to Quaker’s Yard, but their strong day 2 came too late for a challenge to overall supremacy.

    Owain Morris then won the 7.7-miler on to Nantgarw for Les Croupiers as, behind, the two leaders were all but evenly matched.

    Finally, Cardiff Castle hove into view and City of Leeds added another stage win through Moha med Abshir, as second placed Piers Copeland took a minute from the Highgate lead but it was too late and the North Londoners ran out overall winners by over seven minutes.

    Holders Kent followed ahead of the Les Croupiers hosts and Leeds in their first venture here were fifth after being ninth of day one.

    Alaw Evans (Paul Stillman)

    Overall (209M): 1 Highgate 18:44:22; 2 Pontypridd 18:52:05; 3 Kent 19:24:44; 4 Les Croupiers 19:34;48; 5 Leeds 19:56:12; 6 Salford 20:04:37

    M40: 1 Les Croupiers 22:23:24; 2 Pontypridd 22:36:57; 3 Ealing E 22:48:59

    King of Mountains: 1 Pontypridd 6:11;28; 2 Highgate 6:17:21; 3 Leeds 6:18:11

    M40: 1 Pontypridd 7:06:37

    Women: 1 Les Croupiers 23:32;12; 2 Team Bath 24;34;46; 3 Sale 24:51:50

    Queens of Mountains: 1 T Bath 7:44:18; 2 Sale 7:51:48; 3 Les Croupiers 7:55:57

    Business Team: 1 Burgess Salmon 24:13:07

    60 teams finished

    Les Croupiers (Paul Stillman)

    Day 1 (June 8)

    Stage 1: Caernarfon Castle to Penygroes (9.1M, 138m): 1 C Cooper (High) 50:45; 2 I Dafyd (Meir’dd) 51:29; 3 M Leigh (Chorl) 51:54; 4 B Harding (Kent) 52:40

    M40: B Butler-Madden (P’prid) 54:29

    M45: D Norman (Alt) 54:54

    Women: L Stark (Les C) 62:29

    W50: J Carter (T Bath) 65:02

    Stage 2: Penygroes to Criccieth Castle (10.7M, 113m): 1 N Barry (Sale) 53:47; 2 C Haywood (High) 54:10; 3 P Graham (P’pridd) 54:52

    M40: T Dudden (T Bath) 59:01

    Women: V Hill (SWRR, W40) 66:49

    Stage 3: Criccieth Castle to Maentwrog (12.3M, 288m):1 D Hamilton (P’pridd) 62:26; 2 M Nicholls (Kent) 63:12; 3 R Poolman (High) 64:38

    M40: T Charles (Chorl) 65:18

    M45: A Fooks (T Bath) 68:35

    M55: L Aherne (P Bryn) 72:41

    Women: A Rose (Llis) 75:45

    Stage 4: Maentwrog to Harlech Castle (9.5M, but short, 149m): 1 J Birmingham (Salf) 47:43

    Women: R Mew (SWRR) 58:34

    Stage 5: Harlech Castle to Barmouth (9.6M, 139m): 1 O Williams (Les C) 50:53; 2 L Greaves (High) 51:56

    Women: 1 D Morris (Builth, W40) 58:17

    Stage 6: Barmouth to Dolgellau; Distance (10.7M, 201m): 1 H Allen (High) 56:55; 2 S Boreham (P’pridd) 57:46

    M40: C Busaileh (Kent) 58:14

    M50: M Collier (Salf) 60:58

    Women: L Stephens (Les C, W40) 62:05

    Stage 7: Dolgellau to Dinas Mawddwy (10.1M, 449m): 1 J Henneghan (P#pridd) 54:39; T Ward (Eyri) 55:49

    Women: H Warburton (Sale) 65:43

    Stage 8: Dinas Mawddwy to Foel (10.8M, 310m): 1 R Wilson (High) 56:41

    M45: S McCarron (Sale) 59:50

    Women: R Rozhdestvanskaya (Sale, W35) 69:30

    Stage 9: Foel to Llanfair Caereinion (8.5M, 98m): 1 S Parkinson (Win) 44:33

    M55: S Chambers (Salf) 49:13

    Women: N Perks (T Bath, W35) 52:33

    W55: S Avery (Chesh Dr) 52;53

    Stage 10: Llanfair Caereinion to Newtown (13.1M, 338m): 1 J Smith (P’pridd) 65:12; 2 L Taylor (Leeds) 68:32; 3 A Lepretre (High) 68:35

    M40: J Savaage (Chorl) 73:57

    Women: A Wright (Sale) 79:05

    W45: A Braham (Ealing E) 82:02

    Day 2 (June 9)

    Stage 11: Newtown to Llanbadarn Fynydd (10.5M, 378m): 1 G Chalmers (Leeds) 56:20; 2 T Roberts (Merr’dd) 56:22; 3 D Long (P’pridd) 57:22

    M40: B Day (Kent) 61:50

    M50: R Grantham (Wirr) 63:32

    Women: A Gascoyne (T Bath, W40) 67:27

    Stage 12: Llanbadarn Fynydd to Crossgates (11.2M, 154m): 1 J Ross (High) 57:32; 2 K Darcy (Salf, M40) 58:34; 3 C Callaghan (Buckley) 59:43

    Women: L Marland (Les C, W35) 65:31

    W40: A Jones (SWRR) 68:31

    Stage 13: Crossgates to Builth Wells (10.6M, 158m): 1 A Bradford (Sale) 56:54; 2 B Hope (Kent, M45) 56:58; 3 A How (P’pridd, M45) 58:03

    M50: D Sheldon (Penarth) 64:44

    Women: N Savill (SWRR) 66:10

    Stage 14: Builth Wells to Drovers Arms (10.8M, 493m): 1 R Allen (Leeds) 57:28; 2 F Grierson (High) 59;15

    Women: A Evans (Les C) 66:41

    Stage 15: Epynt Visitor Centre to Brecon (12.8M, 151m): 1 D Dibaba (Kent) 68:27; 2 J McVann (High) 68:41

    M40: J Walton (Leeds) 68:19

    Women: P Summers (Sarn) 79:23

    Stage 16: Brecon Canal Basin to Torpantau (12.5M, 360m): 1 J Allen (High) 66:28; 2 C Lewis (Les C) 67:39; 3 D Nash (P’pridd) 69:42

    M40: G Rush (Leeds) 70:13

    M45: P Matthews (P Bryn) 70:46

    Women: J Wheeler (P’pridd) 85:30

    Stage 17: Taf Fechan Station, Torpantau to Cyfarthfa Castle (8.7M, 127m): 1 P Faulkner (Salf) 46:41; 2 J Smith (P’pridd) 46:44

    M45: S Deakin (Leeds) 49:03

    M50: R Ross (Les C) 49:27

    Women: S Bowes (Les C, W45) 58:32

    Stage 18: Merthyr Tydfil Rhyd-y-Car Centre to Abercynon (Navigation Park) (9.1M, 123m): 1 J Lunn (Leeds) 45:53

    M40: 1 R Eaton (T Bath) 49:43

    M50: H Evans (P Bryn) 50:24

    Women: M Walker (St Albans) 57:46

    Stage 19: Navigation Park to Nantgarw (7.7, 85m): 1 O Morris (Les C) 41:04

    M45: C Mullin (Kent) 43:20

    M50: S Brace (T Bath) 43:48

    Women: 1 R McKean (T Bath, W45) 50:33

    Stage 20: Caerphilly Castle to Cardiff Bute Park (10.1M, 63m): 1 M Abshir (Leeds) 52:45; 2 P Copeland (P’pridd) 52:58; 3 O Thorogood (SWRR) 53:09; 4 A Jackson (High) 54:02

    Women: L Davis (Llis, W35) 63:20

    W40: L Whittaker (Chesh Dr) 63:39

    W45: K Matthews (DEFRA) 64:27

    » Subscribe to AW magazine here

    Source link

    Related articles



    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Share article

    Latest articles


    Subscribe to stay updated.