THE Sarn Helen 16.5 mile hill race is the oldest race organised by the Sarn Helen running club as it dates back to 1979.  It continues to be a challenging race, with quite a bit of elevation in the Lampeter hills, coupled with challenging terrain at times and this year, scorchingly sunshine was thrown into the mix.

That did not hamper Aberystwyth Athletic Club’s Owain Schiavone who made it a hat-trick of wins in this race finishing in a time of 1.58.09, quite remarkable considering the conditions, Ian Evans came in sixth overall in a time of 2.23.06.

The organisers also offered a relay option this year for teams of three and Aber AC’s Stephen Thomas, Dave Humphreys and Deian Creunant completed the course in a time of 2.48.35.

For Owain Schiavone, an enjoyable win in one of his favourite races: “I have said before that I believe this to be one of the classic local races, and one that is steeped in history.

Owain with his victory shield
Owain with his victory shield (Pic supplied)

“It has everything from a varied terrain, plenty of elevation and an opportunity to really go for it on some of the downhill stretches.

“If I’m honest the heat did add to the challenge today with many of the climbs so exposed with no shade but it make for spectacular views, when I had the chance to look at them. Another wonderful day out.

Moving southwards and to our capital city where the increasingly popular Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10k was held.

Edd Land led the Aber team home in 36.47 but only just as Paul Williams was hot on his heels in 37.52 and securing first place in his age category. Lina Land crossed the line in 51.02 with Julie Williams completing the course in 1.09.30.

Paul Willams enjoyed the experience in a strong field: “This has become a very popular race, with over 4,000 runners and strong athletes as can be seen from the winner Omar Ahmed finishing in a time of 28.47.

“So to see two Aber AC athletes in the top 100 is a great achievement. As with many running events in the capital the atmosphere is great especially when you have such a sunny day, although that is better for the spectators than the runners!”

Moving northwards and Ras y Gader, the Cader Idris mountain race, is recognised as one of the toughest fell races in Wales, and viewed by many as a classic "must do" race in the calendar.

Five hardy souls from Aberystwyth took on the challenge in the spring sunshine with Richard Anthony leading the Aber contingent home in a time of 2.00.22. Dave Powell finished in 2.11.00, Balazs Pinter 2.24.29, Molly Harvey 2.26.28 and Ceris Williams completed the course in 2.41.15.

A good but challenging event according to Richard Anthony: “The race starts in the heart of Dolgellau before climbing steadily to the Pony Path, from here it kicks up sharply to the near 3,000ft summit of Cader.

“Whilst Aberystwyth was bathed in a refreshing sea mist the sun was beating down relentlessly on the windless slopes of Cader.

“Thankfully the stunning vistas offered from the mountain and the bountiful support made the descent pass in no time before being roared on back into the centre of Dolgellau. A real must do race for any Mid Wales runners!”

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