Welsh Castles Relay 4th - 5th June 2016
Janneke van Beijnum
This year's Welsh Castles Relay was a hot and sweaty affair as summer had most definitely arrived in Wales. Even the red dragon couldn’t be bothered to venture out of his cave but 40 Sale Harriers were out in force, hunting for yellow t-shirts as they battled against 61 other teams to cover over 200 miles in 2 days. The event runs from Caernarfon to Cardiff in 20 legs with 6 classed as mountain stages. Passing 22 castles and 16 forts along the way, the atmosphere was electric as we were cheering, rehydrating runners, taking photos, and marshalling along the way. The Sale Harriers Men managed to accomplish the 211 miles in 20:59:05 (4th place) and the ladies finished in 5th place.
The first stage win was for EMMA FINNEY during the 3rd leg. Whilst she and CALLUM ROWLINSON (3rd place) were bravely tackling this first mountain stage, the minibus stopped in Tremadog for a fish & chip lunch where we got a great view of the race. Victory continued as TIM KENNEDY won the fourth leg. This was followed up by another yellow T-shirt with GARY (2nd, 1st vet) and LYNDA ROWLINSON. As well as being the first Vet, Gary won this year’s WCR 'Jeff Wood' Memorial Award - given every year to the first over 50 vet to finish the nominated 'Jeff Wood stage'. The 2nd place of ROB JOWETT in leg no 6 was another great performance for the Sale Harriers men's team.
Leg 7 was the next mountain stage and saw GAZ RAVEN win with JANE THOMAS finishing 3rd lady after a very tough race. In the last leg on Saturday (another mountain stage), NIGEL MARTIN finished in 3rd place. The relentless sun had had a huge impact on many runners. Some were forced to pull out. Unfortunately, HELEN ARMITAGE was one of them. Having lead the ladies for much of the race, Helen was forced to stop with the finish in sight. However, the next morning, she cheerfully joined us in good health on the Caravan of Running.
Sale Harriers had a good start to Sunday with excellent performances at the 7am mountain stage with another leg victory by DANIEL KASHI while ANNE CHINOY who finished in 2nd place but a minute faster than last year. Third time lucky? Get your t-shirt next year Anne. Our journey across the Welsh hills continued as we approached one of the most dreaded stages. “Keep calm, it's only Drovers” HAYLEY ASHBY thought and she nailed it! Brilliant running which resulted in another yellow t-shirt and a dragon for young Thomas. Newbie ANIFE TURCHIN actually enjoyed her lovely run and managed to arrive in 3rd place in stage no 15 with ANDREW CARLIN in 5th place.
All in all, it was a fantastic weekend!!! A special thank-you to CHRIS DONNELLY (organising the boys' team), EDDIE EDWARDS (girls' team), DAVE RODGERS (top coach!), JERRY SMITH (cruising the minibus across Wales). Finally, thanks to all runners, family and friends who joined us anywhere along the route for contributing to a brilliant WCR weekend.
For full results, see http://www.welshcastlesrelay.org.uk/results/2016/index.html
Posted 13/06/2016 20:12