24/02/2022 00:00, I Mewn
Cross Country /
The 117th Welsh Cross Country Championships return to Pembrey Country Park this weekend. The 11 race programme starts at 11:00am with the Primary School Races and concludes with the U20 Men’s Championship race at 15:10.
After having to cancel the event last year due to COVID, it is set to be a fantastic day of racing with many battling it out to become crowned Welsh Cross Country Champion.
The 7.3km race will be held over two large laps of the course, with plenty of opportunity for the women to race it out for a top spot on the podium. Athletes to look out for include Lauren Cooper of Parc Bryn Bach who finished 2nd in the 2020 Championships. She will be coming into the race with an eye on crossing the finish line first and going on her current form it looks like a very plausible feat. Cooper will not have it all her own way, with 2018 Commonwealth Games Marathon runner Caryl Edwards (Jones) of Swansea Harriers also on the start list. She won this race back in 2016, so a win this weekend would mark a return to domestic dominance.
Alaw Beynon-Thomas (Les Croupiers) was 6th in 2019, but has shown good form recently in the Gwent League’s, placing 4th in Brecon and 3rd on this course in Pembrey just before Christmas. Don’t sleep on her!
It is hard to look past Swansea Harriers and Cardiff Athletics as the two teams battling it out for the team prize - it might be a close competition, so look out for the top 4 scorers!
In the longest race of the weekend, being 10.3km, the Senior Men’s race is set to be a cracker! Welsh Inter Regional Champion from 2021, Matthew Edwards (Cardiff) looks to be one of the favourites on the entry list. But watch out for 2019 champion Dewi Griffiths (Swansea), who although beaten by Edwards in the Inter Regional Championships, is the 2019 Welsh Cross Country Champion as well as a Great Britain representative at the European Cross Country Championships.
They are likely to be challenged by reigning champion James Hunt (Cardiff) who has strong pedigree over the mud, finishing 9th in the Cardiff Cross Challenge last October. Recent dad, Dan Nash (Cardiff) could be looking to race this weekend too, and he has been in cracking form as of late. Running 29:27 over 10km just a few weeks ago, as well as taking a victory at the Brecon Gwent League ahead of Edwards late last year, he is likely to be giving everyone a run for their money! Michael Kallenberg (Cardiff) many also show his presence at the front of the race, he recently finished 2nd in the RAF Match cross country championships.
Again it looks to be a tight battle between Cardiff and Swansea for the team title… watch this space!
Moli Lyons (Cardiff) won the Welsh Schools Cross Championships last weekend and comes into this race in fantastic form. It will be likely that she will be heading the field, but look out for Ellen Mary Kearny (Wirral) who won the Welsh Junior Championships over the 3,000m last summer. Eden O’ Dea (Deeside) could also feature at the front of the field, after a strong showing in the North Wales Senior League two weeks ago.
It will be hard to look past Swansea for the top team, but anything can happen on the day!
Ben Miles (Cardiff) will come into this race looking to feature near the front. After a 33rd place finish at the BUCS cross country championships as well as a 30:00 10km clocking, he will be a force to be reckoned with. Don’t discount Lloyd Sheppard Brown (Cardiff), also within the top 50 at BUCS the other weekend, he won the U20 Welsh Inter Regional Cross Country Championships last year.
Watch out for the Cardiff team too, they look to take the team prize… can anyone challenge them?
Libby Hale (Swansea) and Bryony Boyce headline the U13 girls race. With both athletes having run Welsh Age Group records indoors so far this season, as well as both winning their respective age groups at the Welsh Schools Cross Country Championships, this is the first time that they will come head to head with each other. It is set to be a great battle between the two up and coming athletes.
In the U15 girls race, Beca Bown (Menai) will look to continue her winning streak, after winning her age group at the Welsh Schools Cross Country Championships. Cara Scott (Menai) also races, third in the same race just a couple of weeks ago. Fourth placer Mali MacDuff (Cardiff Archers) might also put up a challenge in the hunt to be crowned champion.
Welsh Indoor U17 1,500m Champion Ceri Griffiths (Newport) looks to tackle the cross country scene for the first time this year, but will be challenged by Caitlin Jones (Aberdare) who placed 5th in the recent Welsh Schools Cross Country Championships. Sophie Knoyle (Cardiff Archers) is also set to race – she finished just one place behind Knoyle.
In the U13 boys 6th place finisher in the recent Welsh Schools Cross Country, John Gibby (Newport) looks to be in a strong position to battle for the top spot. Rhydian Lloyd Francis (Bridgend) might also look to challenge.
The U15 boys event Joshua Sanders (Cardiff) will look to go two for two in the winter championships after winning at the Welsh Schools event. Miguel Jenkins (Menai) is also entered as well as 4th placer Kerby Beltran (Cardiff). It looks like there is a battle to be had!
U17 man Aled Breeze (Maldwyn) looks to come into this race as favorite, but look out for team mate Callum Morgan (Maldwyn) who finished closed behind him in the Welsh Schools Cross Country.
It is hotting up to be a fantastic day, with what is expected to be some very close races! Don’t forget to bring your cowbells and get set for an exciting succession of races.
More information on the day can be found here.