The championships and inter-area challenge went ahead on Saturday in the grounds of the Rhug Estate, despite the impending lock-down on such events. The weather was as good as you could get at this time of year, matched by a real cross country course. Everything went according to plan thanks to the work of Lord Newborough and his staff, Gareth Hughes as Race Director assisted by members of Prestatyn Running Club, Bernie Jones as Race Referee, Mel James as BMAF Cross-Country Secretary and Alex Rowe and myself on results.

There was a 75% turnout which was to be expected given the current national circumstances but there were quite a few others who would have liked to be there when so many other events were being cancelled. The wind, uphill sections and a stream to cross several times took their toll on many runners but those in good form revelled in the conditions and made the most of last kilometre downhill and a clear run to the finish. The stream was not a major problem to cross but one person slipped on the way out and got a mud bath for their efforts.

Race 1 was 6 km for the women and the M65+ categories. Highlights were the head to head battle between the two leading ladies with Elizabeth Renondeau just pipping Joanna Marsden for victory and then a little way back two fast-finishing 80-year old’s Roger Harrison-Jones and David Tomlinson doing the same, crossing the line almost together, in their efforts to win their age group. Dave Butler knew what he had to do and duly delivered a strong performance to win the M65 category more than a minute ahead of his rivals. There were W35, W45 and M65+ categories in the teams event, with Prestatyn gaining medals in all categories. The women from the Rhug Estate staff, who made up the majority of the Prestatyn women’s teams, were most surprised and pleased, having only been persuaded to join Prestatyn specially to be able to run in the championships whilst the Prestatyn men’s team consisting one M70 and 2 M80’s just beat the Wrexham team of one M70 and 2 M80’s! Elizabeth Renondeau ensured Vale Royal won the W35 teams category , whilst the W45 category was won by Halesowen.

Race 2 was 8 km for the younger men and they did not have the same head to head battles. The race was led initially by Philip Tedd from Thames Hare and Hounds but he was overtaken by Ross Houston from Central AC, who was 45 secs clear at the finish. THH did however win the M45 team category, whilst Corstorphine AAC and Swansea Harriers won the M35 and M55 team categories respectively.

We also had the 5th Annual Inter-Area Challenge combined with the Main Cross Country Championships for the first time. This helped get a large turnout from Northern Masters, Midland Masters and Welsh Masters but the result was difficult to predict because this event uses age-graded performances as the basis for the scoring, since there are not enough runners in each age category to get a fair result any other way. When the result was announced, the only runners left were four men from Northern Masters who hoped they had done enough to win. Their persistence paid off as they were the winning team when the men’s and women’s results were combined, even though WMAL and MMAC had won the men’s and women’s teams respectively, and they were rewarded by being able to take the Bob Belmore Trophy home with them.  The wooden plaques we awarded for the first time this year for the best age graded performances were also very closely contested – Monica Williamson and Alastair Walker just came out ahead of Angela Copson and Dave Butler/Ben Reynolds respectively. Alastair Walker’s victory was only confirmed after the scoring was adjusted for the actual race distances run – race 1 was measured at 5.8 km and race 2 at 8.2 km. Alex Rowe will arrange for the framed certificates to be given to the 20 members of the NMAC winning team and MeL James has the plaques to send out.

Full results are on the BMAF website and also on Run Britain. My photos from the race can be found via the link and I can provide individual finish line photos to anyone who wants them. There will be more photos on the Prestatyn RC Facebook page. 

Peter Kennedy
BMAF IT Manager

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