A large Westbury Harriers contingent crossed the bridge last Saturday for the second Gwent League fixture at Penlan, near Brecon, in the foothills of the Beacons. On a mild and ultimately not-too-wet day, but with the 'going' definitely on the muddy side, there were some excellent performances across the board from our men, women, boys and girls.
Once again the ladies led the way in participation. In the words of team manager Tamsin:
"Well done to our 20 ladies who took part in today's Gwent League. A little wetter and muddier than the first fixture but a great turnout and some fantastic results. Thank-you all for turning out as it will have all helped our team scores.
Katie Hughes led the ladies home in 26th, with Kirstie Hamilton-James hot on her heels in 28th. Jayne Pemble 45th, Jennifer Stevenson 49th, Vicky Waters 56th, Alison Rogers 62nd, Tamsin Elson Chick 69th, Alison Osborne 125th, Clare Eskell 127th, Rebecca Taylor 150th, Helen Sawyer 159th, Shirley Hume 161st, Linda Phillips 201st, Marilyn Palmer 221st, Sarah Gould 234th, Eithne Noonan 281st, Nicola Derrick 271st, Victoria Sloan 303rd
Tony Jeffries 160th (V70 male)
A special mention to Jeni for getting in the top 50 for the first time ever. A warm welcome to Becky who has recently joined the club and did brilliantly for her first outing in Westbury colours. Nice to see Vicky and Alison back to the squad after time out for injuries/baby. And great to see Nicola back for more in her second Gwent League. Well done to Svetlana and Emma for being sensible, which we all know is difficult for us runners, hope you both feel better soon."
After 2 rounds the ladies' senior team lies in a superb 3rd place out of 79 complete teams, while the so-called "vets" teams are dominating their categories: V35s, V55s and V65s all in 1st place, with the V45s not far off in 4th place.
The men had 13 runners out in a large field of 426 which featured the stellar presence of Dewi Griffiths of Swansea AC, UK Inter-Counties XC Champion, Olympic hopeful and fresh from his recent marathon debut in Frankfurt (in a tidy 2:09:49). He just edged the race, by a minute and a half from his 3 Swansea club mates, but Oli Beale was first Westbury Harrier home again in an excellent 24th place. The men's A team consolidated their overall position of 10th in Division 1, and amongst the vets the best placed are the V45s in 4th, with V35s 8th and V55s 6th
Oli Beale 24th, Alex Hamblin 44th, Alan Uren 71st, Robin Phillips 119th, Richard Noble 135th, Ken Ham 150th, Ewan Paton 171st, Ewan Kilgour 174th, Mark Dutton 181st, Paul Harrod 182nd, Geraint Torrington 281st, Julian Bailey-Gard 335th, Mike Harris 339th.
On the junior side, there was a good overall turnout of boys and girls, and an unprecedented number of race winners and runners-up.
Amongst the girls, the novices led the way with a staggering 13 runners in a field of 132 (nearly 10%..). Laura Chance recorded a superb win, with Elen Ruck just 10s behind in 4th place, and Erin Davis 7th. Overall Westbury Harriers claimed 8 of the top 30 places, but everyone (too many to list here!) ran really well and the future of the girls' teams looks extremely strong.
The U13 girls had 6 runners in a strong field of 80, with coach Jason very pleased that they all improved on their runs in Cardiff. There were top 20 finishes for Tanaya Ghosh and Abi Woodworth, and the team remains in 4th place overall. Well done also to solo U17 runner Phoebe Gould who finished an excellent 7th. Like the novices, the U15s continue to top and dominate their category, with the unstoppable Dalis Jones claiming her second successive victory. There was also a superb second place for Rosie Hamilton-James, and very strong remaining placings of 7th (Kate Howard) 10th (Rhiannon Paton) 25th (Lottie Livesey) and 27th (Tilly Spinny).
In the boys' races, coach Neil noted that participation rose geometrically as one went up the age groups from novice to U17 (1-3-5-7), so a special well done for solo novice Finley White. There were impressive overall victories for Seamus Robinson (U13) and Abdi Hassan (U17), a brilliant 2nd in the U15s for James Harrod, and generally strong running overall. With their impressive strength in depth (5 runners in the top 20) the U17s lead the way in their team standings. The U15s lie in a close 2nd in theirs.
Many thanks to all coaches, parents and volunteers who helped make this another very successful and enjoyable away day. Geraint's drinks, cakes, snacks, pasties (and even cider? - for non-runners, of course) were hugely popular and are becoming a regular 'thing'. What further reason do you need to come and take part in the next round, at Pembrey Country Park near Llanelli, on 3rd December? All are welcome, and every finisher contributes points.