John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League Pembrey Coverage: Harriers Endurance Runners go from strength to strength at home match! Print
Written by Nathan Jones   
Saturday, 10 November 2018 18:46

Host club report from today's match in Pembrey...Adroddiad y trefnwyr o ddigwyddiad heddiw ym Mhen-Bre...10/11/18


Pembrey Country Park, situated near Llanelli got the opportunity to showcase what it has to offer earlier today on Saturday, 10th November as the re-named John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League returned to West Wales for the third year in succession. Local Club, Carmarthen Harriers and Carmarthenshire County Council again worked in partnership to bring the fixture to the county of Carmarthenshire which saw nearly 1,400 competitors take part over the ten-race programme.

The league - formed in 1963 has continued across South Wales and the South West of England every year since then and attracts the best cross country runners from Wales and England.

A fantastic venue in Carmarthenshire that hosted the first leg of the Tour of Britain Cycling Event followed by the Welsh Athletics Road Relays Championships back in September, the course changed back to cross country running. Set inside 500 acres of woodland, and alongside eight miles of golden sands near Cefn Sidan Beach, it has everything to provide a perfect family day out, weekend camping break or a relaxing holiday in idyllic surroundings.



With races featuring the under 11 athletes right up to the seniors and masters categories, almost 1,400 athletes of all abilities and experience, as well as a big turnout of spectators descended on Pembrey Country Park. Competitors and clubs had travelled from all over Wales including Pembrokeshire, Brecon, Swansea, Cardiff and Brecon, and across the bridge from the South West of England such as Bristol and further afield.

This match came just four weeks after the opening round at Llandaff Fields in Cardiff, where the league played host with round 1 of the British Athletics Cross Challenge Series that day. The remaining three matches are to come next month at Bryn Bach Park, before Pontypool and Bristol conclude another season's campaign.

After a very wet and windy Friday evening across the country which resulted in flooding in some parts of the West, underfoot conditions at the park have always been great and held up well. This was no different! Any mud was hard to find with conditions ideal for cross country running - showery and cool with a strong breeze around majority of the course. Even the rainbow made an appearance above as the under 15 boys' race got started!



A team of eight were out on the course as early as 7am as the morning rain came down, finishing off the setting up and ensuring that everything was in place. An extra thanks to them.

This was no basic course around a sports field. On a demanding course that showcased the counties park and the surrounding areas, the competitors aged 9 to 80 tackled fast grass sections, sand dunes, woods and paths with the course winning praise. The course had excellent spectating views for those who came out to watch on Saturday afternoon, whilst participants had the chance to take in some breath-taking sights around the route overlooking Carmarthen Bay.

The action all got underway early on Sunday morning with the stars of the future kicking off the day's programme in the novice age groups. This was followed by the under 13, under 15 and the combined under 17 and 20 races. In the latter part of the afternoon, the Senior & Masters Women were out on show with the Senior Men & Masters Men concluding the day's racing. As has been the case over the last few years, more and more seniors have continued to get involved from all corners and abilities with over a total of 313 finishers in the senior women's race. Over 400 senior men took to the start line of the final race, with a provisional 405 crossing the finish line, which has been described as one of the biggest turn outs. From a junior point of view, a total of 558 youngsters were also in attendance and enjoying the race day atmosphere from under 11 to under 20.


Cardiff AAC's Ciaran Lewis was victorious in the Senior Men's Race on his first appearance for over five months. After a close first lap, Lewis measured his run to perfection and was able to run away from the rest of the field and claim victory by around 50 metres from his nearest rivals.

He spoke with Nathan Jones at the finish and reflected on the day's work. "The course was great, nice and fast with a few sharp hills and corners, which broke up rhythm of the race. I'm over the moon with the result having been my first race back since an Achilles injury in June. This was a really big confidence boost to get back to winning ways."

"The Gwent League races are always a good choice as no matter what time of year, the standard is always strong, and I'd much prefer to treat it as a race rather than a training session. I'm going to focus on having an indoor track season this winter, mainly at 3000m, but I will be returning to Pembrey for the National Championships in February as I enjoyed it so much today!"


Meanwhile, It was a much closer one in the Senior Women's event. Coming out on top was Sian Edwards (Swansea Harriers) who was followed closely by her clubmate Alaw-Beynon Thomas. Third place went to the Westbury Harriers club.

Edwards commented: "I normally prefer a course with plenty of hills and mud but this was my first cross county of the season so the Pembrey course provided a nice transition to the country from the roads. There were just enough bumps to keep it interesting and with the wind on Saturday it was quite not nice having too many other obstacles to battle against. I've never been to Pembrey before but I'm looking forward to going again. It was a great location."

"I'm really happy with my performance. I've taken a bit of a step back from training due to injuries and increased work commitments so I'm just running for the love of it at the moment but that seems to be paying off! It was a tough day out there and I knew the other girls would be chasing me down so it was a matter of pushing on all the way to the finish but that's what I love about racing - you always find that little bit more than you would on a regular day."

"I love the team atmosphere that you get at the Gwent Leagues. There are always good numbers from the majority of clubs and I think that creates a really nice atmosphere for the entire day. I'm hoping to get many more races in but at the moment I'm just enjoying my running, taking each week as it comes and trying to keep myself in one piece. The only race I have firmly in my diary is the Christmas Pudding Race at Merthyr Mawr early in December."

One of our volunteers, Edward Morgan did an excellent job as announcer but also interviewed a few of the winners and others which was a great way to get everyone involved.




Neil Thomas, Senior Outdoor Recreation Manager at Pembrey Country Park, said: "Carmarthenshire County Council was delighted to welcome athletes and spectators to Pembrey Country Park for the third John H Collins Gwent League fixture of the 2018/19 Season. Its successful partnership with Carmarthen and District Harriers continues to jointly attract major events to one of Wales' top visitor attractions."

"It was a challenging but fast course through flat parkland, forest trails, man-made hills and a little bit of sand! It was designed to be accessible for all runners of all speeds and abilities."

In addition to runners scoring points for their clubs, Pembrey also hosted the West Wales & East Wales Cross Country Championships. Medals were awarded to the top three athletes to finish in all categories.

These were selection races ahead of the upcoming Welsh Inter-Regional Cross Country Championships to be held at Llandrindod Wells on Saturday 8th December.

If you received a letter at the finish, you must return it no later than Wednesday 21st November. After this date, reserves will be called up to the team. More details will follow on this IR event in due course.



Carmarthen Harriers Athletes Results & Round-Up:

In a turnout of over 50 runners thanks to the hard work of Team Managers Cressy Morgan and Jamie Best, it was a great opportunity for many of the newer and established athletes to compete at their home match. A range of ages from the novices, juniors and senior athletes turned out in big numbers which was great to see. The Novice Boys was one of them, where twelve boys wore the vest of Carmarthen H. Elsewhere in the next age group up, ten were in under 13's action and were all rewarded for their efforts.

Macsen Toogood made it two from two in the Novice Boys whilst Ben Thomas took victory on home turf in the Under 20 Men. Other top 10 placings came from Daniel Warrender, Liam Upton-Boorman, James Sloyan (Novice Boys), Frances Mackie (Under 13 Girls), Ifan Bowen, Iwan Thomas, Zach Elvy (Under 13 Boys), Liam Edwards, Frank Morgan (Under 15 Boys)

Da iawn pawb a diolch i bawb wnaeth yr ymdrech i gymryd rhan...Well done everyone and thanks to all those who made the effort to compete. Our Novices and under 13's in particular continue to go well in the league table and will hold onto the top 3 going into the half way point in the season. We expect to see a few individuals also going well in the top positions.

All the Athletes and positions...


Under 11 Boys / Bechgyn O Dan 11: 1 Macsen Toogood; 2 Daniel Warrender; 8 Liam Upton-Boorman; 10 James Sloyan; 11 Alex Coles; 20 William Coles; 28 Tristan Warrender; 38 Jac Jones; 54 Harri Jones; 57 William Davies; 77 Jimmy Davis; 85 Tom Morgan

Under 11 Girls / Merched O Dan 11: 15 Jessica Norman; 20 Ellie-May John; 27 Martha Morgan; 33 Esme Lynock; 73 Lybbi Greatrick; 114 Jemima Taylor

Under 13 Boys / Bechgyn O Dan 13: 4 Ifan Bowen; 5 Iwan Thomas; 6 Zach Elvy; 11 Jack Thomas; 16 Steffan Davies; 21 Rogan Cox; 22 Jake Lynock; 24 Ellis Caddick; 48 Brynmor Peters; 78 Tygan Davies

Under 13 Girls / Merched O Dan 13: 3 Frances Mackie; 11 Chloe Hale; 16 Amy Greatrick; 20 Erin Morgan; 21 Faye Jones; 43 Carys Wood; 64 Nel Davies

Under 15 Boys / Bechgyn O Dan 15: 7 Liam Edwards; 8 Frank Morgan; 21 Scott Price; 24 Ioan Cressey-Rodgers

Under 15 Girls / Merched O Dan 15: 29 Tanwen Moon

Under 17 Men / Bechgyn O Dan 17: 29 Lewis Jones; DNF Archi Morgan

Under 20 Men / Bechgyn O Dan 20: 1 Ben Thomas

Senior Men / Menywod (Overall): 76 Jack Tremlett; 173 Jamie Best; 238 Huw Davies; 260 Dafydd Bowen; 302 Jonathan Cox; DNF Paul Lynock

Senior Women / Dynion (Overall): 32 Wendy Price; 136 Kate Parker; 177 Mel Best; 224 Lisa Forest


For the John Collins Gwent Cross Country League Second Match Results, go to CLICK HERE

A short YouTube video has gone up on the Carmarthen Harriers page of some footage we captured throughout the day. CLICK HERE to watch

For some club media coverage from our home JC GL match on Saturday, go to these social media pages. Much more can be found via these platforms: InstagramFacebookTwitter

Have a read of the full report over on the Llanelli Online Website, CLICK HERE



Overall, the day was a resounding success with athletes and clubs commenting on their satisfaction with the venue and course. Pembrey Country Park have been successful in bringing the Welsh Athletics Cross Country Championships to the facility on Saturday 23rd February.

Hosting any sporting competition takes a lot of work ahead of and on the day: Carmarthen & District Harriers Athletics Club would like to thank all club members, Carmarthenshire County Council, Actif Sir Gar, Pembrey Country Park, Gwent Cross Country League, Dyfed Powys Police, St John Ambulance Llanelli, - Carmarthen & Swansea, our local caterers and all Harriers course marshals and volunteers who all contributed towards a superb day.

We hope that all clubs, athletes and spectators enjoyed your visit to West Wales and had a safe journey home.


Next Saturday Evening, we'll be bringing you action from the Welsh Inter-Schools Cross Country Championships, where the 42nd edition heads to Penlan Arena in Brecon (17th November).

Report & Photos: Nathan Jones