Aberystwyth Athletic Club runners certainly put our little town on the map wherever they go and this recent weekend was no exception.
The BMAF Cross Country International was held recently at Tollcross Park, Glasgow. It was a special weekend of athletes representing their country with teams of 80 men and women from each of the British home countries and Ireland.
It is no mean feat to be chosen to represent your country and it was great to see Aber AC’s Tracey Breedon and Owain Schiavone pulling on the red vest of Wales and competing in the 6km and 8km races respectively.
Although Australian by birth, Tracey felt great pride in being offered the opportunity to represent her adopted country.
She said: “This was my cross country debut and I felt so honoured to have been selected to represent Wales I just wanted to do my best. It was a freezing cold day, but perfect for running.
“The course however, did involve a lot of twists and turns and a couple of short, sharp hills, which were quite slippery - ideal for cross country running.
“In the end I was very pleased with my time of 25.09 which meant I was the 3rd Welsh lady over the line in the W45 (Country Team) category. The support I have had from Aber AC colleagues has been tremendous and while this was my debut for Wales I really hope there will be many more to come!”
Coming back to Wales and a local race that is a firm favourite is the Dyfi 8, an eight mile or eight kilometre race in the beautiful Dyfi Forest, north of Machynlleth. In the 8k race Aber AC had one sole entry but that did not deter Rachel Lilley in winning her age category in a time of 1.03.05.
In the eight mile race Rachel’s partner, Ivan Courtier, led the Aber team home in a time of 1.03.05 securing 2nd in his age category with Louise Barker not too far behind winning her age category in a time of 1.05.12. Cameron Pope crossed the line in 1.19.05 with Christiane Kloos finishing in 1.26.13 and Hannah Dee completing the course in 1.29.46.
Although the weather was bleak it was great fun according to Louise Barker: “We always say that in this part of Wales there are some many great opportunities for varied trail running and this is another wonderful local race that takes advantage of the challenging mid Wales terrain. The weather did as we would expect in November but that just makes it more fun and everyone who turned out had a great time in a well organised race. Roll on next year!”
The highly competitive and now world tour level Cardiff Cross Challenge was recently held in the capital city on a still and sunny day, a perfect day for racing. Aber AC’s Janos Vranek made the long trek south and was accompanied by some of his Aberystwyth University Harriers friends.
Janos said: “In such a big race it felt like little Aber against the world. It was a tough race and a bit painful, but fun in the end – and it is all good experience – and it’s onto the next one.”