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Relay glory for Cardiff

Sunday 22 November 2015

At today's Welsh Cross Country Relay Championships, held in cold but otherwise perfect conditions in Bridgend, Cardiff fielded numerous teams and finished in medal positions in almost every age group.

The senior women's and men's teams brought the day to a perfect finish to win both championships, Charlotte Arter bringing the ladies home to a comfortable win and Jon Hopkins running a stunning last leg to take the team from third to first place.

          Lucy Marland, Charlotte Artur & Kath Marshall

Other gold medal relay performances came from the under 15 girls while the under 11 boys also took the team prize in their one lap straight race.

    Jessica Wadey, Kiara Frizelle, Sofia Vella & Carys Bill

In the first race of the day, the under 11 primary schools girls' race, Jemima Robinson built on her Gwent League form to take the silver medal, the team coming fourth. The primary schools boys' race saw Henry Spencer take third place and lead the Cardiff A team to the gold medal with team mates Rhys Blow 5th and Elis Finlayson 6th. The B team was 4th and the C team 8th.

In the under 13 girls' relay, Cardiff teams were 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th. The boys were second through Iwan Smith, Carwyn Hastings, Gethin Evans and Lloyd Jones.

The under 15 girls team (Jessica Wadey, Sofia Vella, Carys Bill and Kiara Frizelle) scored a very convincing win; not surprising as Carys ran the fastest leg of all the teams, Jessica the second fastest, Kiara the third fastest and Sofia the fifth. A very strong team. The Cardiff B team was 6th. The under 15 boys could not quite match the girls, despite a typically gutsy last leg by Morgan James, and had to be content with the silver medal. The boys' B team was 8th.

The under 17 women (Emily Griffin, Laura Wright and Naomi Reid) and men (Antonio Peacock, Jac Smith and James Vincent) both secured silver medals, with the women's B team in 4th and the men's B team in 6th and C team in 8th. Naomi Reid ran the second fastest women's leg and James Vincent did the same in the men's race.

The day concluded with the eagerly awaited senior races which were expected to be decided between traditional rivals Cardiff and Swansea, with Swansea perhaps being the fancied winners. The women's race turned out to be a convincing win for Cardiff. 800m specialist Kath Marshall led off for Cardiff and handed over within striking distance of Swansea's Andrea Whitcomb. Lucy Marland took the second leg and opened a gap over Swansea that was never threatened, Charlotte Artur bringing the team home by a wide margin and running the fastest leg of the race. The B team of Charlotte Gaughin, Emily Brown and Jessica Heggarty were an excellent third and the C team fifth..

The senior men's race was very different. Ciaran Lewis ran an excellent opening leg to keep the team within 50m or so of the leading Swansea and Cardiff Met runners. Second leg runner Matthew Edwards, still not fully recovered from Glandular Fever, slipped back, leaving Tom Marshall a lot to do. Tom managed to close the gap but last leg runner Jon Hopkins took over some 100m behind the second placed Cardiff Met but 200-300m behind Swansea. By the end of the first 2k lap Jon had closed down the Cardiff Met athlete but was still 100m or more behind the leader. With 800m to the finish, Jon took the lead and brought the team home to a convincing victory with the fastest leg of the day. The B team was 10th.

And last but not least, Cardiff's masters team was fourth.

It was great to see so many Cardiff vests competing especially with such success. Congratulations to all.

The official results can be viewed here.