Title number seven for Dewi Griffiths at Welsh Cross Country Championships

23/02/2019 00:00, In Cross Country /

Dewi Griffiths claimed a seventh Welsh Cross Country title at Pembrey Country Park on Saturday.

Griffiths was delighted with title number seven

The park near Llanelli offered a fantastic setting for the 115th edition of the championships which utitlised the varied terrain on offer and benefited from near ideal weather conditions which only got better throughout the 11 race programme.

Griffiths’ victory here came just days after returning from altitude training with Welshman Steve Jones. This was fitting as Griffiths now moves a step closer to Jones' recordd nine senior men's titles.

The Swansea Harriers stalwart now feels that he has edged back to the kind of shape which saw him run a 2:09 marathon back in 2017.

'This is one of the titles I appreciate the most' said Griffiths. 'The way last year turned out, I was disappointed to lose my streak but it’s nice to get it back and now it’s one step closer to Jonesy. He set the bar pretty high in these championships so hopefully one day I can emulate that’.

‘In the grand scheme of things it’s another test and I’ve come through it. This was another stepping stone towards London which is the big aim for the spring’.

‘Ieuan and James both ran well and I’m happy with that, it’s shows the kind of shape I’m in’.

International Steeplechaser Ieuan Thomas of Cardiff AACwas the next athlete home, 24 seconds adrift of the 2016 UK Inter-Counties Champion.

Club mate James Hunt was unable to keep his Welsh title finishing third this time followed by Abed Teweldebrhan of Newport Harriers and Guy Smith of Swansea Harriers who finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Thomas and Hunt were backed up by Dan Nash, Stephen Morris, Owen Haswell and James Thie meaning that the visitors from the Welsh capital were convincing team winners, regaining the title they last won at the Glanusk Estate in 2013.

Thomas said; ‘That was a really fun race, I’m not a natural cross country runner but it’s been a good winter so far. When you come up the dunes on the last lap, it really burns the legs’.

‘When you see Dewi is going to be on the start line, you have to resign yourself to being second. I wanted to get as close as I could and I’m really happy with how I ran. It’s great to see that Cardiff won the team race as well’.

‘I’ve got a few 10k’s coming up now with Trafford and the Cardiff Bay Run’.

Worcester AC’s Jenny Nesbitt was untroubled on her way to an emphatic victory in the senior women’s race covering 7,360m in 25:59.

I really enjoyed today’ said Nesbitt. ‘ It means a lot to win a Welsh title on the Cross country. It was where my running started so I’m very pleased with that. It bodes well going in to the Inter-Counties where I’ll be challenging a lot of tough runners with the aim of getting to the World Cross’.

Nesbitt will now chase selection for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, at the trial race in Loughborough in two weeks time hoping for a place in the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team to race in Aarhus, Denmark.

Melanie Wilkins of Winchester & District AC improved on a national bronze medal last year to take away the silverware this year.

Jade Williams was third, running for Aman Valley Harriers, using her track speed to hold off fourth placed Megan Carter Davies of Cardiff AAC. Lauren Cooper closed the first five places running for Parc Bryn Bach RC

Jenny Nesbitt centre with Mel Wilkins left and Jade Williams

Swansea Harriers retained their club title with relative ease ahead of Cardiff AAC and the Swansea B team.

Englishman Conor Smith followed up on his win 12 months ago by storming away from his rivals to take victory once again in the u20 men’s race. Larry Ryan took u17 honours last year but this time claimed the Welsh title at u20 level.

Conor Smith (172), Larry Ryan (171), Ben Thomas (174)

Steeplechaser Ben Thomas was third running for Carmarthen Harriers, the childhood club of senior men’s winner Dewi Griffths. Cardiff man Morgan James claimed the bronze medal here.

There was a dominant display from Ashleigh Willis winning the U17 title and the combined u17 / u20 women’s race outright.

Ashleigh Willis in action

Katrin Higginson became the u20 champion, running for Bridgend AC with Martha Owen of Deeside AAC second in the championships and Rhiannon Kamink of Colwyn Bay AC in third.

Osian Perrin of Menai Track & Field AC was a convincing winner of the u17 men's race. There were also wins for Adam Beer of local club Llanelli AC and Gwenno Goode of Cardiff Archers in the U15 Championships and for Callum Morgan of Maldwyn Harriers and Ceri Griffiths of Newport Harriers at U13 level.