Born in Hereford, she qualified to run for Wales while studying at Aberystwyth University – along with her identical twin sister. Between them the twins, in either their club vests of Cardiff AAC or the red vests of Wales, revolutionised distance running in this country. They became the fans favourites and the commentators’ nightmare because it was often impossible to identify who was who so similar were their looks and running styles.
By now I’m sure you have identified who we are describing. She is of course the lady who held the Welsh 3000 metres record for 15 years and still holds the 5,000 and 10,000 metre records having first broken them way back in 1984. Her 10,000 metre time of 31.55.30 was a British record and is still the 11th fastest in UK history.
She announced her arrival on the international stage in 1983 with a victory in her first competitive race in the National 10 Mile Road Race Championships. She followed that up with a momentous triumph in the Paris-Versailles 17k road race in 58 minutes and 29 seconds.
Her track performances saw her win two UK titles at 5k and a silver and bronze at 3k. She also won the Women’s AAA 10k title in 1988. She also won seven medals at Welsh senior Championships between 1500-10,000 metres, winning the 10,000 metre title in 1989.
She won a bronze medal over 10,000 metres at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and was also a finalist in the same event at the European Championships in the same summer. Her Welsh record time of 31.55.30 was set in finishing ninth at the 1987 World Championships in Rome and she also competed at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
Over the country she reigned supreme, winning the Welsh title conjointly with her twin sister in 1985 and 1986 and on her own in 1984 and 1987. She won a hat-trick of European Champion Club Cross-Country titles, leading Cardiff to team glory in 1984, and took the English National title at Birkenhead in 1985. She was twice winner of the British cross country title in the fight for selection for the World Championships and won the silver medal in both the individual and team events for Team GB in Auckland in 1988.