News for the local press and more

17-20th May  Summer rebellion ultra, caerphilly 10k and more.

Julian Howe at Summer Rebellion

A huge degree of endurance, grit and determination saw Spirit of Monmouth runner, Julian Howe, emerge as the joint-winner of one of the most beautiful but demanding ultra marathons in the UK. Julian set off on the “Summer Rebellion” ultra marathon from Knighton, Powys, at 7pm on Friday evening with 135 miles and a total of over 25,000 feet of ascent ahead of him.

The route follows the entirety of the Glyndwr’s Way National Trail which loops through Machynlleth, ultimately finishing in Welshpool.  It was a long and exciting race with Julian running in 2nd or 3rd place for the first half. The leader was to drop out at the 107 mile mark, but a couple of mishaps cost Julian some hours and miles, leaving him well adrift of a new leader. However, through miles 100 to 120, he managed to close the gap and ultimately the two front runners ran into their third night, crossing the line together after 3am on Monday morning, in a time of 56hours 8 minutes. Julian is shown here holding the winner’s trophy, looking remarkably fresh, all things considered!

In Caerphilly, Natasha and Meryon Roderick took on a pretty tough 10K and finished together in a creditable 47.55.   The festival of running at Forest of Dean saw Emma Griffiths continue her determined return to running and in Builth Wells, Phil Griffiths took on a beautiful 10K route at the Royal Welsh Trail Running festival. An one race missed last week… Allan Meek and Luke Felton ran Tewkesbury half in 1:28 (first in age group!) and 1:42 respectively.

11/12th May  –  Hereford half,  10K hereford, lymington, brecon beacons, spirit park run
A thousand runners took on a range of distances at the “Run Hereford” event on Sunday, including seven Spirit of Monmouth runners in the half marathon. We had some really good performances with most getting in the top six finishers in their age-categories. In 8th place overall was Rob Nicholls in a superb 1:21:36, followed by Matt Unsworth (1:33), Ali Phillips (1:52), Steve McMenemy in his first half marathon who ran an excellent 1:53, Marina Wright (1:55), Andy Hillis (1:58) and Jon Moody (2:01). Alison McMenemy just missed breaking the 1hr barrier in the 10K by a few seconds. Elsewhere,  Louise Camacho enjoyed her first 10K trail race in the Brecon Beacons, whilst Toby Wales travelled to Lymington and ran a fast 10K.
On Saturday, the monthly “Spirit Park Run” was held. Here, members travel together to a Park Run event, to run and eat cake together. This month, it was not a long journey a dozen members ran at Forest of Dean. If anyone wants to benefit from the social and/or coaching and competitive side of running in the club, please get in touch. Details at
5/6th May  –  Newport Marathon, newport 10k, cardiff 5k, bristol 10k, dragon Back 100m ultra
27/28th april  –  london marathon, whitebrook wind-up and world championship duathlon!!
Stuart Penny, had the honour of representing Great Britain, competing in his age-group at the ITU [International Triathlon Union]  Duathlon World Championships on Saturday 27th April. The event, which took place in Pontevedra, Spain, comprised a 10km run, a 36km cycle and further 5km run, with Stuart coming home in an excellent 9th place from the 38 truly international competitors. Indeed his running prowess was demonstrated by having the 3rd quickest time for the two run elements combined. Well done Stuart!!
On Sunday 28th, three Spirit of Monmouth members joined the 40,000 runners for the Virgin London Marathon, with success ranging from very good to outstanding!  Martin Blakebrough (3:39) easily beat his previous London best, whilst Emma King and Madeleine Newcomb both smashed the qualifying times for automatic “good for age” entries into next year’s race. Madeleine clocked 4:40 (an amazing twenty minutes inside the qualifying time) whilst Emma took a whole 16 minutes off her previous best time to achieve 3:33. Congratulations!
Much closer to home, six club members tackled the challenging “Whitebrook WInd-up” races. In the 10K event, Brian Evans was first male “Spirit” home, in 9th place overall, with Phil Griffiths being our second male.  For the ladies, Laura Grey was our first runner back in an excellent 52:38, followed by Nerys Chaplin and Cathy Fletcher.  In the even tougher half marathon event, Jeremy Creasey was 9th (2nd in age category) in a very good time of 2hr 1 minute.
24th april
Starting on 9th May, a running course to take you or your friends from 5k to 10k in just a few weeks.

Find out more about this course HERE

Easter weekend – 20/22 april

The Gilwern Grunt is one of the most loved and most challenging of local races, ascending a total of 1,500ft over its 8 miles. There’s a need for scrambling up and down some tough terrain, with one steep climb assisted by ropes.  But the atmosphere and the views over Blaenavon are fantastic. Some great pictures.

Mex Gaillard (1:23) was the first of five Spirit of Monmouth runners to complete the course.  Claire Jackson a minute behind, then Marina Wright in 1:33, Andy Hillis and Rod Wyatt (both 1:40)
Elsewhere, a mention for Emma King who took a minute off her Park Run PB to achieve a great 21:09 (and third lady finish) at Parc Bryn Bach.
13th-14th April

Spirit of Monmouth runner, Rich Foster (right), produced a remarkable performance to achieve a podium finish in the Great Welsh Marathon in Llanelli on Sunday.  Rich’s personal best time of 2:49:05, in breezy conditions, was enough for a superb 3rd place. Unsurprisingly, this was also enough to be first first veteran runner.    Absolutely brilliant run Rich.  Congratulations.

Kymin Dash…   What an event!  I think we’re all super proud to have put on such a great race – with particular thanks to the race committee who invested so much time in making it happen.  Results can be found through the Kymin Dash page on this website – with an open Kymin Dash facebook page also available there, which has loads more photos and stories.

Plenty of work goes into making these events a success.  It was great being part of it.

Spirit Park Run – 13th April.   Steve McMenemy’s idea to have a monthly park run, where we’re all invited to meet up a nominated park run, got off the ground with a trip to Pontypool (pic below). This is going to work!  Second Saturday of the month, unless stated.

6th-7th April

Manchester Marathon, Offa’s MT 10K, Magnificient Eastnor Castle 7, Devon Coastal Trail.

A busy weekend of racing just gone. In no particular order…

At the Manchester Marathon, there was real elation for Karen Barratt, who has knocked loudly on the door to a 4-hour marathon several times but today smashed through it at the seventh time of asking. Alongside her, Sophie Williams also had a fantastic day, slashing 19 minutes off her previous best to also beat that important 4-hour mark – the two Spirit of Monmouth ladies clocking 3:57 and 3:55 respectively.

Closer to home, four Spirits raced the tough Offa’s MT 10K event, organised by our friends at Chepstow RC.  Stuart Penney ran superbly to take 3rd place overall, and clearly fastest in his age group.  Nerys Chaplin, Jeremy Creasey and Mex Gaillard all ran really strongly to claim second place in their respective age-categories, and this was enough for the three men to take second place in the Male Team standings.

Three other tough races saw Lucy MacDonald, Cathy Fletcher and Sally Williams take on the Magnificent Eastnor Castle Seven; an undulating 7 miles rural course over footpaths, tracks and through woodland culminating in the ‘Orrible’ climb to the Obelisk! Lucy was 4th woman home and Cathy 12th out of a field of 53 women. Down in Devon, Claire Jackson also took an excellent 4th place in the rather hilly Devon Coastal Trail race and new club chairman, Toby Wales, clocked 1:41 in the Devizes half marathon.

Forest of Dean Half Marathon, Cardiff Trail Half, Ashby 20 & Merthyr Half.

Wychavon Trail Ultra

Spirit of Monmouth 10th Anniversary

Brecon Beacons Marathon and Gwent League Parc Bryn Bach

Gwent League & Llanelli Half

GLCL XC – Penallt