Not even the Royal Wedding, FA Cup Final, or temperatures that peaked at 20 degrees could stop the hundreds of athletes that flocked to the third edition of the Royal Welsh Trail Running Festival, hosted as part of the Spring Festival at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells.
A series of six races offered something to everyone in superb conditions, culminating in the Welsh Inter-Regional Welsh Trail Half-Marathon Championships. The youngest runners in the Toddlers 50 metre dash at the start of the day were two-and-a-half, while 81-year-old Tom Harrison earned special praise for completing the half-marathon in 2 hours, 47 minutes.
“This was our third year working in collaboration with the Royal Welsh Spring Festival and the growth in numbers proved to us there is a demand for an event of this stature in what are truly spectacular surroundings,” said Run4Wales CEO, Matt Newman.
“The spirit of the day was probably best summed up by the Like family from Pontypool. Their twin sons, Artie and Billy, won the Toddlers Dash at the start of the day, Dad, Jon, then came home in third place in the 10K and Mum, Harri, was in the winning East Wales team in the half-marathon.
Support of Principal Partner Castell Howell Foods was vital – with roots deep in the Welsh countryside, the event fits perfectly with their company values and they were delighted to be involved for the first time in 2018. The hundreds of participants had good reason for being grateful to Official Partner Radnor Hills, who kept everyone hydrated in warm conditions, Lead Charity Prosate Cymru, who kitted each and every runner out with a sweat band and Wild Trail, who provided a nutritional bar at the finish line.
The 10K races saw convincing victories for Rob Davies (Amman Valley Harriers) and Georgia Dando (Bridgend AC). Davies came home more than three minutes clear of defending champion Tom Jones, of Carmarthen, to take the title in 38:45 with Jon Like a further 29 seconds back in third.
Dando dominated the women’s race in similar fashion, ending with a 1 min, 52 cushion over Daneen Hughes to win in 48:24. Annabel Wagstaff, of Windle Valley Runners, was third.
Another female veteran, Lliswerry Runners’ Sandra Chipper, took the title in the Half-Marathon race as she led East Wales to the team title in the Regional Championships. Chipper led from start to finish to complete the course in 1:33.36 to beat Rebecca Chapman by three minutes and seven seconds. Sally Munro, from Darth Coastal Runners, was third.
Stroud AC’s Jack Turner was the early leader in the men’s race, but he slipped back to fourth as the action heated up. That left Pontypridd’s Jack Blackburn to storm through and win by more than a minute in 1:20.58 from Steve Littler, with local runner Jonathan Pugh in third.
2018 Royal Welsh Trail Half Marathon
Men: 1, J Blackburn (Pontypridd Roadents) 1:20.58; 2, S Littler V40 (Wesham) 1:22.01; 3, J Pugh V35 (Builth & District) 1:23.11; 4, J Turner (Stroud AC) 1:24.19; 5, R Woods V40 (Builth & District) 1:24.40; 6, G Brown V 35 (Penarth & Dinas Runners) 1:26.55; 7, I Lloyd V55 (Swansea Harriers) 1:27.05; 8, R Foster V35 (Lliswerry Runners) 1:27.12; 9, G Payne V45 (Sarn Helen) 1:27.54; 10, J Jones V40 (Unattached) 1:30.22
Welsh Masters Championships
V35: J Pugh (Builth & District); V40: S James (Ogmore Phoenix Runners); V45: E Morgan (Les Croupiers); V50: D Cascarina (Cornelly Striders); V55: I Lloyd (Swansea Harriers); V60: C Nellins (Penarth & Dinas Runners); V65: D Goodall (White Rock)
Women: 1, S Chipper V45 (Lliswerry Runners) 1:33.36; 2, R Templeton (Unattached) 1:36.43; 3, S Munro (V40 (Darth Coastal Runners) 1:40.45; 4, A Nixon V60 (Forest of Dean AC) 1:41.08; 5, N Collin (Lliswerry Runners) 1:43.25; 6, S Wilder V35 (San Domenico) 1:45.41; 7, J van Beijnum V35 (Les Croupiers) 1:49.01; 8, J Rees V40 (Rhayader RC) 1:49.44; 9, H Like (Ponty-y-Pwl & District Runners) 1:51.23; 10, D Chick F50 (Port Talbot Harriers) 1:54.33
Inter-Regional Team Champions (Women): East Wales (Chipper, Collin, Like)
Welsh Masters Championships
V35: S Wilder (San Domenico); V40: S Munro (Darth Coastal Runners); V45: S Chipper (Lliswerry Runners); V50: A Herman (Penarth & Dinas Runners); V 55: D Chick (Poet Talbot Harriers); V 60: A Nixon (Forest of Dean AC)
Welsh Trail Running Festival 10K
Men: 1, R Davies (Amman Valley Harriers) 38:45; 2, T Jones (Carmarthen AC) 42:00; 3, J Like (Ponty-y-Pwl & District Runners) 42:30; 4, S Roberts (Croft Ambrey RC) 43:04; 5, C Phillips (Unattached) 43:15; 6, M Cook V35 (Unattached) 44:34; 7, S Parry V35 (Unattached) 45:07; 8, S Rees V45 (Rhayader RC) 45:30; 9, T Davies (Unattached) 46:02; 10, S Williams V55 (Parc Bryn Bach RC) 47:03
Women: 1, G Dando V40 (Bridgend AC) 48:21; 2, D Hughes V35 (Wye Valley Runners) 50:09; 3, A Wagstaff (Windle Valley Runners) 51:43; 4, S Knill V40 (Unattached) 52:05; 5, R Stuart (Aberystwyth AC) 53:32; 6, C Prince (Barston Hill Dodgers) 53:25; 7, J Hayde V35 (Wye Valley Runners)54:30; 8, C Tanner V35 (Run4All Neath) 54:50; 9, J Evans V35 (Merthyr RC) 55:19; 10, G Troelsen V50 (Builth & District) 55:38