Mid Wales’ premier trail running event The Red Kite Challenge, held at Devils Bridge on 29 April, was hailed a huge success by the race organisers.
Well over 200 runners from all over Wales and beyond took part on the day over the Junior, 10k and Half Marathon races which included Welsh and West Wales Championship races.
With Race Director and local running legend Dic Evans being kept in hospital having suffered a severe stroke over Christmas, the organisational duties had been taken on by a group of his coached athletes this year. However, the event was made all the better by the fact that Evans was able to attend for a few hours during the day, and was able to hand out their prizes to the successful juniors.
The racing began with the Under 13s race which was won by John Gibby of Newport Harriers. He was soon followed by the winner of the girls race, Martha Bown of Menai Track & Field.
Second race of the day was the under 15s which was a closely fought battle between Alfie Evans of Deeside AAC and Rhys Pladdy of Cardiff AAC. Evans ultimately won the battle with Pladdy only 14 seconds behind him. First of the U15 girls was Josephine Hurst of Deeside AAC followed by Madison Hughes of Maldwyn Harriers.
The third and final of the junior races was the under 18s and, with it also being a selection race for the Welsh international team, the stakes were high. First across the line was top junior Iwan Thomas of Carmarthen and District AC, who was followed by clubmate Finley Bruce and then Aled Breeze of Maldwyn Harriers completing the podium. Winner of the girl’s race was Beca Bown, older cousin of Martha, of Menai Track & Field. She was followed by MacKenzie McCourt of Maldwyn Harriers in second and Cara Scott of Menai Track & Field in third.
The main event of the senior schedule was the Half Marathon which once more attracted some of Wales’ best trail runners with it also being a selection race for the Wales team to compete in the Trail de Guerledan in Brittany.
As race favourite, it was no surprise to see Jacob Tasker of Ogmore Phoenix dominating the field and storming home first in a time of 1.35.13. The next runner would be over three minutes behind him, but it was still an impressive run by local youngster Ollie George of Sarn Helen, still only 18 years old, finishing in 1.38.25. Completing the podium was Jake Collier of Keswick AC in 1.38.49.
Tasker also won Welsh Championship gold with George taking silver and top fell runner Wyndham Turner of Builth and District claiming the bronze.
It was a only a slightly closer battle in the women’s race, with last year’s winner Ffion Price of Builth and District once more coming out on top finishing the course in 1.53.34. Katie Reynolds of Eryri Harriers was second in 1.55.44 with Kitty Robinson of Club Run Wales completing the podium in 1.58.52.
There were also men’s category gold medals for Tom Turner of Builth and District (M35 – 1.49.27), Owain Schiavone of Cardiff AAC (M40 – 1.41.26), Daryl John of Pembrokeshire Harriers (M45 – 1.45.04), David Warren of Cardigan AC (M60 – 1.57.51), Glyn Price of Sarn Helen (M55 – 2.00.25), Edward Davies of Maldwyn Harriers (M65 – 2.12.49) and Raymond Sharratt of Rhayder and District Harriers in the 75+ category in 3.30.53.
Ladies’ age category gold medals were won by Clara Davies of Amman Valley Harriers (W40 – 2.08.10), Wendy Price of Amman Valley Harriers (W45 – 2.05.04), Lynwen Huxtable of Aberystwyth AC (W50 – 2.10.52), Kay Hatton of North Wales Road Runners (W60 – 2.35.09), Margaret Morgan of TROTS (W65 – 3.00.37), Rose Thomas of Rhayader & District (W70 – 3.06.48) and fantastic Margaret Oliver of Eryri Harriers (W75 – 3.15.50).
Starting off at the same time as the half marathon was the 10k which, although half the distance, includes the two toughest climbs of the half marathon course. Overall winner was Joe Robson of Aberystwyth University Harriers in 53.34, followed by clubmate James Price in 55.31 and Mark Horseman of Pontypridd Roadents in 56.35.
17-year-old Beth Rawlinson of Wolverhampton & Bilston AC was the winner of the women’s race in a fantastic time of 57.37. Fellow under 20 Maddison Griffiths of Maldwyn Harriers was second in 1.03.35 with Dee Jolly of Sarn Helen third in 1.05.29.