THE Great Welsh Marathon took place in Llanelli on Sunday (Apr 14), with over 1100 athletes taking part across two races.
The third edition of the Great Welsh Marathon & Half Marathon organised by Front Runner Events was hailed an overwhelming success, with a record number of runners taking on both sold-out races.
Despite the windy Welsh weather, the runners taking on this year’s race were supported by hundreds of volunteers who turned out in their numbers to cheer the athletes. The event has almost doubled in size since 2018 and included many first timers, charity runners and club runners.
This year, the race also welcomed the largest international field so far, with over 15 nationalities represented, with some travelling as far as Australia, India, and the USA. Although the Llanelli coast may not have the tropical climate of California or Perth but it certainly has it’s own Welsh charm and stunning coastline.
One runner commented: “My friends and I thoroughly enjoyed the race, it was challenging but brilliant. My friends travelled over from San Francisco to visit and take part in the race.
It was their first marathon and first time visiting Wales. It was a great experience and excellent course with plenty of marshals on the route helping you along the way.”
Local running clubs provided a team of race pacers helping many runners achieve their personal best’s and hitting their target time on the day.
The fully marshalled race took place on the Millennium coastal path, included Brecon Carreg water stations, energy gel stops, bespoke medal, a technical finisher t-shirt and goody bag for all race finishers. Runners were also able to benefit from a much-needed pre or post-race massage provided by Gower College Swansea.
Both the full and half marathon started at Festival Fields, Llanelli before heading out to Burry Port, where the runners turned and headed back along the Millennium Coastal Path to Machynys and then back to Festival Fields.
General feedback has been fantastic, as runners took to social media to share their successes and photos with friends. The race, which was a regarded as a complete success saw lots of personal best times achieved, with the top 3 male half marathon course records beaten and most notably; the women’s first place half marathon winner shaved an impressive 12 minutes off last years record.
Results (provisional) – Great Welsh Half Marathon 2019
1. Luke Williams (San Domenico) 01:14:19
2. Dean Summers (Llanelli AC) 01:16:43
3. Finn Arentz (Unattached) 01:17:29
1. Melanie Wilkins (Winchester) 01:18:18
2. Carys Mai Hughes (Cardiff AC) 01:21:19
3. Amy Evans (Clwb Rhedeg Pontardawe RC) 01:33:29
Results (provisional) – Great Welsh Marathon 2019
1. Gethin Davies (Unattached) 02:45:44
2. Joseph Murray (Unattached) 02:46:13
3. Richard Foster (Spirit of Monmouth) 02:49:05
1. Katie Warren (Unattached) 03:04:47
2. Lizzie Diamond (Lliswerry Runners) 03:12:07
3. Crystal Goecker (Harrogate Harriers & AC) 03:12:15
The winning team of the Corporate Challenge was Carmarthenshire Actif Sport and Leisure, who also took the crown at the 2019 Llanelli Half Marathon. The full RACE RESULTS and official photos are available on the website: www.greatwelshmarathon.co.uk
Race Director, David Martin-Jewell said: “The Great Welsh Marathon and Half Marathon has grown in its size and stature since we took it over in late 2016, we are thankful to the local runners who continue to support us across all of our races, however it has been fantastic to see the number on international runners travelling to Carmarthenshire to take on the Great Welsh races.
“We have a strong team of Sector Heads and volunteers who continue to assist us at each of our events, without them, we would not be able to hold such successful events so we would like to thank them for their help and support.
“We would also like to thank Brecon Carreg (Hydration Partner) for supplying water for the runners during and after the event. Also, a huge thank you to Carmarthenshire Council for continuing to support our events and letting us showcase what Carmarthenshire has to offer.”
The event was supported by a number of local businesses, event delivery partners and also received backing from Carmarthenshire County Council Event Support Grant in 2019.
The 2020 Great Welsh Full and Half Marathon will take place on Sunday, April 5, 2020, and will have a NEW route starting and finishing in the magnificent Pembrey Country Park.
Runners will be delighted to know that registration is now open, and they can reserve their place on the start line, just head to: www.greatwelshmarathon.co.uk
Further details and full race results can be found on the website, and you can also keep up to date with news and see the latest photos by liking the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/GreatWelshMarathon or follow @WelshMarathon #RunCymru #WalesLovesRunning on Twitter.
If you are inspired by the Great Welsh Marathon and Half Marathon, why not sign up to the 2019 JCP Swansea Half Marathon which takes place on Sunday, June 23.
Personal bests recorded at running events
THE Welsh Athletics calendar saw a series of midweek Endurance and Sprints open meetings held over the summer months at four South Wales venues – Cwmbran, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. These events have helped club athletes of all ages secure personal best times by the help of pacers.
The sprints open saw 100m and 200m take centre stage whilst the endurance side saw athletes run over 800m, 1500m, 3000m and 1500m steeplechase disciplines.
More than twenty new lifetime bests were set as twenty-five athletes from Carmarthen Harriers, Pembrokeshire Harriers and Llanelli AC athletics clubs competed throughout the series.
Swansea University Athletics Track welcomed 100 endurance athletes to the third fixture of the MDAL Welsh Milers endurance open meeting on Wednesday, July 31. The conditions near Swansea Bay were ideal for distance running and for running quick times on a bright evening.
In one of the many standout performances, Frank Morgan improved on his Carmarthen Harriers under 15 boys 1500m club record, running 4:10.38.
Results: Dafydd Jones (800m) 2:00.04, Liam Edwards (800m) 2:00.24, Jonathan Williams (800m) 2:01.69, Callum Campion (800m) 2:04.21, Iwan Wilson (800m) 2:24.97, Danielle Franklin (800m) 2:31.74, Rogan Cox (800m) 2:40.96, Frank Morgan (1500m) 4:10.38, Tomos Rees (1500m) 4:25.02, Iwan Thomas (1500m) 4:52.56, Jake Lynock (1500m) 5:04.37, Amy Greatrick (1500m) 5:17.83 and Frances Mackie (1500m) 5:35.00
Two weeks later (Wednesday, August 14), Macsen Toogood (800m) 2:25.55, Amy Tucker (800m) 2:47.65, Callum Campion (1500m) 4:20.21, Carys Jones (1500m) 5:07.45 and Jake Lynock (1500m) 5:17.97 headed to round four and the final Welsh Milers open at Spytty Stadium in Newport.
Cardiff International Sports Stadium was the venue for three Welsh Athletics Run with the wind sprints events in May, June and August.
Competing on the new blue track in the Welsh capital at Leckwith, the meetings featured many of Wales’ top sprinters and up-and-coming future stars. Athletes ran against those that were the same ability in mixed age groups, meaning that there would be a great opportunity to pick up some personal bests.
Results: Lewis Evans (100m) 11.22 & (200m) 23.09, Liam Topp (100m) 11.49 & (200m) 23.46, Jamie Topp (100m) 13.22, Luke Thomas (100m) 12.39 & (200m) 23.40, Ellie Loweth (100m) 13.20 & (200m) 26.74), Thaia Davies (100m) 13.47, Ella Wintle (100m) 12.59, Lucy Wintle (100m) 13.72 & (200m) 27.55, Harrison Wheeler (100m) 11.80 & (200m) 23.78, Rhodri Roberts (100m) 13.34 & (200m) 27.42, Danielle Franklin (100m) 13.49 & (200m) 27.91 and Joseph Franklin (100m) 14.33 & (200m) 30.58
Wanderers slip to defeat
CARMARTHEN Wanderers slipped to defeat on Saturday (Aug 17) as they were beaten by league leaders Swansea in a low scoring encounter.
With rain in the air, Swansea were invited to bat first and their hosts restricted them to 133-9 in their 50 overs.
However, the Wanderers were unable to reach their target as they were bowled out for just 70.
Brad Wadlan and Jake Roberts got the visitors off too a good start as they shared 43 runs for the first wicket.
Owain Binding made the breakthrough as he bowled Roberts on a score of 17 and Iestyn Scourfield then bowled Wadlan on a score of 36 to leave Swansea on 60-2.
Thirteen more runs followed before Adnan Ghori was stumped by Ifan Knott off the bowling of Ian Hughes.
Steven Mills was then brought on to bowl and he trapped Gareth Hayden leg before before also bowling Nathan Jones for a second-ball duck.
That left Swansea struggling on 88-5 but Connor Miles and Thomas Haden shared 28 runs for the sixth wicket.
Miles had made a patient score of 25 but was then ran out by Liam Rogers as the visitors looked to put more runs on the board.
Gareth Thomas then had Haden stumped by Knott on a score of 12 before Thomas took the catch to dismiss Callum Jenkins and give Robbie Crawford his first wicket of the day.
Thomas then bowled Mike Hayden as he finished with figures of 2-16 and in doing so, took his 100th Premier League wicket.
That left Swansea on 119-9 but Ioan Webber finished unbeaten on 12 to see Swansea to their total.
Despite the low score the Wanderers knew they would need to bat well if they were to stand a chance of winning the game but they soon found themselves in trouble.
Leighton Walters was bowled by Adnan Ghori and Steven Mills was bowled by Brad Wadlan as the hosts slipped to 14-2.
That became 24-3 when Wadlan caught and bowled Owain Davies.
Swansea continued to pick up wickets and next to fall was Gareth Thomas after being bowled by Jake Roberts.
Wadlan then trapped Darrel Griffiths leg before and Connor Miles bowled Owain Binding to leave the Wanderers reeling on 37-6.
Robbie Crawford and Ifan Knott then looked to get their side moving as they shared 31 runs for the seventh wicket.
Crawford top scored with a knock of 20 but he couldn’t go on as he was caught by Ioan Webber off the bowling of Gareth Hayden.
Osian Webber then bowled Liam Rogers for a duck before Hayden bowled Knott on a score of 10.
Hayden then brought the game to a close when he had Ian Hughes caught by Miles to leave Carmarthen all out on 70.
Swansea’s win saw them gain promotion to Division 1 while Carmarthen remain fifth after their seventh loss of the season.
On Saturday (Aug 24), Carmarthen travel to second from bottom Newport Fugitives while Swansea are at home to bottom side Panteg.
Davies brought in for Wales
WALES have made three changes to their side to face England in Cardiff on Saturday with Jake Ball, James Davies and Dan Biggar coming into the starting XV.
Ball comes into the second row alongside captain Alun Wyn Jones with Davies coming into the back row alongside Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty.
James will also line-up alongside elder brother Jonathan Davies for the first time in a Wales jersey. (The last pair of brothers to play alongside each other for Wales was Jamie and Nicky Robinson in 2006).
Dan Biggar comes into the starting line-up and will partner Gareth Davies at half-back. The rest of the backline remains unchanged with Hadleigh Parkes partnering Jonathan Davies in midfield and Josh Adams, George North and Liam Williams comprising the back-three.
Wales have also named an unchanged front row with Nicky Smith, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis all starting.
“This weekend is another opportunity for us to take the field, test ourselves and continue our preparation for Japan,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
“It is a little over five weeks until we kick off our campaign in Toyota against Georgia and it is important we are fully prepared and rugby-ready by then.
“We were disappointed to get the loss last weekend so it is important we step it up on Saturday and put in a big display in front a of a packed Principality Stadium.
“The squad are looking forward to getting back out there, taking another step towards the RWC and putting in a big performance.”
Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones and Dillon Lewis provide the front-row cover with Aaron Shingler and Josh Navidi completing the forward contingent. Aled Davies, Jarrod Evans and Owen Watkin are named as the backline cover.
Wales Team To Face England: Saturday, August 17 (KO 14.15 Channel 4/Sky Sports):
15. Liam Williams (Saracens) (56 Caps)
14. George North (Ospreys) (84 Caps)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (74 Caps)
12. Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (16 Caps)
11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (11 Caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (71 Caps)
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (42 Caps)
1. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (29 Caps)
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (65 Caps)
3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (41 Caps)
4. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (33 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (C) (Ospreys) (126 Caps)
6. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (9 Caps)
7. James Davies (Scarlets) (3 Caps)
8. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (32 Caps)
16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (19 Caps)
17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (13 Caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (13 Caps)
19. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (18 Caps)
20. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (16 Caps)
21. Aled Davies (Ospreys) (17 Caps)
22. Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) (1 Cap)
23. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (14 Caps)
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