The 2018 Welsh Cross Country Championships will take place at Singleton Park in Swansea on Saturday 24th February.
Dewi Griffiths recorded a sixth consecutive Welsh Cross Country title on Saturday to move a step closer to Steve Jones' record of nine in total.
The championships in Swansea were lucky to escape the fierce storms that had been predicted for the weekend with only light rain for much of the day.
The course at Singleton park has a great history of hosting Cross Country racing and is always a popular venue because of it’s undulating terrain and scenic landscape.
Dewi Griffiths claiming his sixth title as a senior
Dewi Griffiths was never likely to be stopped in the senior men’s race and the Uk Inter-Counties Champion took victory by over a minute.
Behind Griffiths, the silver medal went to Ryan Mcflynn of Mickey Morris Racing Team, running incredibly well to overcome Iolo Hughes (Sale Harriers), who sealed the bronze medal.
Griffiths also led his Swansea Harriers team to a dominant win in the team category.
He was clearly delighted afterwards, stating; ‘’In 113 editions of the Welsh Cross Country Championships I’m the only one to have won six in a row and I think that is something that I’ll only truly appreciate when i’ve retired’’.
The women’s race saw a first title for the relatively unkown Beth Kidger of Brighton Phoenix.
Beth Kidger pictured at the finish
Clara Evans (Pontypridd Roadents) had been amongst the pre-race favourites but had to settle for second on the day.
Lucy Marland was next home in third, leading her Cardiff AAC team to take the title away from defending champions Swansea Harriers.
Kidger commented on the conditions saying; ‘’ The course was tough and very muddy, a real cross country course’’.
She added; ‘’I went in to the race not knowing what to expect but with a target in my mind of getting into the top three. I was a dedicated junior but have not been competing properly since the age of 17’’.
‘’Winning the Welsh title was a great achievement for me and has given me a massive drive to make a real comeback. It was fantastic to win my first national’’.
The start of the senior women's race
Ciaran Lewis improved on his silver medal from last year to win the U20 men’s race ahead of Gareth Griffiths (Tipton Harriers) and Matthew Williams (Pem brokeshire Harriers).
Cari Hughes (Menai Track & Field) was another UK Inter-Counties Champion in action on Saturday. Her title last March came at U17 level but the talented North Walian was unstoppable in the U20 women’s race this time.
Heidi Davies (Brecon AC) was second for her Brecon AC club with Bethan Evans (Cardiff AAC) in third.
English Schools Champion Matthew Willis (Wrexham AAC) won the U17 men’s race with Carys Bill securing an U17 win in the ladies equivalent age group and leading her Cardiff AAC team to a comfortable victory.
Mike Spill (Menai Track & Field) claimed victory by just six seconds in a competitve U15 boys contest with Welsh Schools Champion Mia Roberts (Deeside AAC) retaining her Welsh title in the U15 girls event.
Cardiff AAC duo Jacob Reynolds and Eden Williams took the U13 boys and girls titles respectively.
The championships also incorporates the Welsh Masters Cross Country Championships.
Angus Mclean (Swansea Harriers) retained his M35 crown from 12 months ago. Martin Shaw (Brecon AC) claimed the M40 title and Eamonn Kirk (Swansea Harriers) won the M45 category.
Mike Pfeiffer (Brecon AC) improved on his silver medal from last year at M50 level. Ifan Lloyd (Swansea Harriers) kept his M55 title with Alan Davies of Llanelli AC crowned as M60 champion.
Ron Morris (San Domenico), Gordon Orme (Carmarthen Harriers ) and Dave Martin (Rhondda AC) took M65, M70 and M75 honours.
The women's race saw Katie Beecher (Les Croupiers) claim the M35 win and Sarah Kearney (Wirral AC) take M40 honours.
Sandra Chipper (Lliswerry Runners), Sue Watson (Les Croupiers), Angharad Mair (Les Croupiers) and Fiona Davies (Pontypridd Roadents) took the W45, W50, W55 and W60 titles respectively.
Swansea Harriers took the mass participation award, with 41 athletes in the senior / masters races.
Pics by Paul Stillman