We had been lucky with the mainly dry weather leading up to the event. On the night, it was dry but cold & very windy, though that wind combined with the underfoot conditions may have helped produce the fast times.
After last year’s record entry of 248, it was a delight to record another big field, with the entries reaching 246. That final total included many familiar names as well as a number of ‘first-timers’. It was again particularly pleasing to see so many women competing.
In recent years, Peter Ryder (Cardiff AAC) has won the event on four occasions in the previous six years while Daniel Bodman (Aberdare Valley) won in 2013 and has twice been the leading junior man home. Both had run major marathons shortly before this year’s race but, even at their best, it is doubtful whether they would have finished close to this year’s winner, Harry Jones (Mynyddwyr de Cymru). . His winning time of 43:45 was the fastest since Andrew Hunt (Cardiff AAC, 43:33) won in 2007 – when there were only 104 competitors!
It was good to see the north Walian back in action. In his younger days, as a pupil at Bryn Eilian in Colwyn Bay and as a student at UWIC, he showed real promise and, at the age of 25, the Penarth-based athlete has many good years ahead of him.
Despite running the first 16 miles of the London marathon on the Sunday, Daniel Bodman still had enough left in the tank to claim second spot (44:55), 55 seconds ahead of a second Mynyddwyr de Cymru athlete, Chris Jones (45:50), who held off the challenge from Peter Ryder by seven seconds. Peter had finished 21st in the Greater Manchester Marathon earlier in the month.
Thomas Burden (unattached), a top five finisher for the last three years, slipped down to sixth this year in a time of 47:29, just outside his best of 47:08 set in 2014.
In 2013, Pentyrch resident Nick Comerford (M45, 48:00), a past Welsh senior cross-country champion, was the first master athlete to finish. Last year another Pentyrch resident, Sam Ryall (Pontypridd Roadents, M40), improved on his 2013 time by over a minute and a half to finish seventh (48:55) while evergreen Peter Coles (Pontypridd Roadents, M50) was the leading athlete over 50, the eleventh successive year that Peter has been the first finisher in his age group
This year, Peter regained that ‘first vet’ to finish title, coming home 16th in a sub 50 minute clocking (49:43).
In 2012, there were 27 women competing. The number increased to 48 in 2013 while, last year, there were 61. We had a new total this year - 63, including 40 seniors. For the last three years, the first woman to finish has been Niki Morgan (Chepstow Harriers, W45), but her unbeaten sequence came to an end this year when former junior winner Clara Evans (Pontypridd Roadents) improved her 2014 time (59:15) by just under six minutes (53:31), finishing 40th to claim the win on her first appearance as a senior. Niki was still the first woman over 40, the Chepstow Harrier placing in 63rd with56:04.
There were five other women in the top 100, including Alice Bedwell (Mynyddwyr de Cymru). Alice, the first woman to finisher in 1987, 1992 and 2002 as well as being the first veteran on six occasions, just missed out on the top 100 last year, finishing 103rd in 1 hour and 52 seconds, while, this year, she was 99th in 59:39, again taking the over 50 award.
The Pentyrch race awards were presented on the night by race organiser John Gough.
It was good to see the support from local clubs – Les Croupiers, Pontypridd Roadents, and San Domenico – as, for the seventh consecutive year, the event included the South Wales Regional Hill Running championships, with individual and team medals on offer. Following a post race scrutiny of the entries, the provisional regional results are listed below.
Although neither the Pentyrch event nor the South Wales regional championships currently includes a section for over 60 athletes, it was a delight to see two long-time supporters of the event (now competing in the over 60 category) – Mike and Gill Murphy – featuring in the Les Croupiers teams which gained regional medals. Well done, both – and long may you continue to compete!