News for the local press and more
16th March – fission 20/20, glcl, east wales, big relay, newport half, gwent league and covid-19 coronavirus
COVID-19 update: – In light of the government’s advice to avoid all unnecessary social contact, we have taken the decision to suspend all club activities until further notice, with immediate effect. We will investigate if there is another way to hold the AGM. If not, this will be postponed until club activities start again.
Please continue to use Facebook as a way of staying in touch.
We’ll be back as soon as we can.
Stay safe everyone.
Toby, Sophie, Ben, Sian, Stuart, Linsey, Emily & David.
And here, below, is how this news update looked before the above announcement ripped up the front page!
With so many big Spring races, including our own Kymin Dash, falling victim to the growing COVID-19 crisis, Spirit of Monmouth’s busy March schedule has very much been the storm before the calm.
24 february: Welsh cross country champs, Pontypool 10k, mallards pike, 3 castles… and cool fashion.
Spirit of Monmouth got back to running after the recent flooding disruptions, with Stuart Penny travelling over to Pembrey County Park on Saturday for the Welsh Cross Country Championships. In a great, high quality race, Stuart finished just 2 seconds behind the 3rd placed MV55 runner, so close to a coveted age-group podium finish.
Also racing at the weekend, Steve and Alison McMenemy took on the annual Pontypool Home Run 10K, with Alison doing particularly well to be second lady in her age group. Elsewhere, a healthy contingent of SoM members (including first-timer Cass Kedward) had a very sociable run, travelling over to Mallard’s Pike, Lydney, to support Martin Blakebrough who was making his debut volunteering as a Park Run Race Director.
And on the topic of sociable running, Nerys organised a 16 mile muddy, hilly 3 castles loop, with plenty of member joining her on Sunday morning. Some nice photos doing the rounds. Oh… and talking of nice photos… check out the trendy tracky bottoms!
10 February: GLCL, Rogue Run, Skittles, Gwent LeagUe, Lliswerry8
The recent weather has been perfect, if you like deep mud and standing water in your cross-country racing. And Spirit of Monmouth runners have been out in force.
Eleven runners travelled to Pontllanfraith for a GLCL fixture (2/2/20) with Jade Rayner, Lana Brown, Rachel Burret, Ruth McCarrol and Cass Kedward experiencing the joys of cross-country for the first time. The Ladies’ team, led by the speedy Faye Johnson, Vicky Roberts, Sophie Williams and Cathy Fletcher finished in an excellent 3rd place overall. Only a couple of men running though… Jeremy Creasey and Rod flying the flag… but that left the men in last place on the day.
Last Tuesday, after club (4th), we had a great quiz and skittles night, and a bite to eat and a few beers at the Royal Oak. Quietly more competitive than any race.
On Thursday night (6th), eleven more donned head torches for the Rogue Runs night race through the woods and fields of Chepstow and there was success again as the ladies (Lucy MacDonald, Vicky Roberts, Cathy Fletcher, Renske Bouwens) took the team prize – James Exton, Claire Jackson, Linsey Hold, Bernie Cloete, Cass Kedward, Andrea Robertson and Sally Williams all thriving too.
And twelve runners were at Chepstow racecourse for Saturday’s Gwent League fixture. Great results again with the men, Stuart Penny leading home Brian Evans, Rob Nelson, Mex Gaillard and Jeremy Creasey, consolidating their grip on 3rd place in Division 4. The Ladies fared even better, with Faye Johnson finishing in a phenomenal 5th place in a large, high quality field; the team finishing 2nd on the day, and with one race to go, they stand a hair’s breadth outside the promotion places, with Division One in their sights.
I really should have mentioned the Lliswerry 8… I know Vicky got a massive PB… and I think we had 3 other runners… but I’ve run out of time!
20 January – doynton hard half, Gloucester HM
30 December – Wye Wander
16 December – Awards dinner
Any Spirit of Monmouth member will tell you that, whilst running and coaching are central, what sets this club aside is the social aspect and camaraderie. This was perfectly illustrated at the annual awards dinner on Saturday night. Whilst the head coach will be tearing his hair out at the lack of coordination shown during the ceilidh, there was no shortage of laughter and fun in the lovely surroundings of Drybridge House.
The awards presentation that preceded that mayhem saw chairman Toby Wales reviewing the year. As always there were many individual milestones achieved but the continued progress of the club was well illustrated by more ‘Couch to 5K’ and 5K-10K courses run to bring new people into the sport, and also a huge upturn in participation in league races and an unprecedented numbers of club runners selected to represent the East Wales region in national competitions. And, as in previous years, the club has organised several ‘open’ races and helped raise thousands of pounds for local charities.
As always, a few special performances and contributions were recognised with awards, and for 2019 these were as follows: Runners of the Year (based on performance at 10 nominated races through the year) were Matt Unsworth and Marina Wright. Best individual performances were Rich Foster and Emma King for 2:43 and 3:33 marathons respectively. Most Improved runners Mex Gaillard and Sophie Williams. Best GLCL league performances Brian Evans and Lucy MacDonald. Club member of the year (voted by membership) – Ben Burnett. The New to Running Achievement Award went to Paul Middleton. ‘Fun’ award (for his obsession with cakes) Mex Gaillard and last but by no means least the Chairman’s award went to Steve and Alison McMenemy. If anyone might like to join the club, please find details at www.spiritofmonmouth.co.uk
25th november – howling bull, gloucester 10k
18th November – Welsh inter-regional cross country championships, glcl blackwood, brecon ultra, floods
It was a proud day for Spirit of Monmouth when an unprecedented ten members, who had all earned selection to represent East Wales, ran in the 21st Welsh Inter-Regional Cross Country Championships in Penlan, Brecon on Saturday.
The East Wales Ladies, including our very own Faye Johnson, Alex Wilson, Laura Grey, Sophie Williams, Lucy MacDonald and Emma King, had a magnificent day. They beat the other three regions to Gold in all four age categories (an unsurprisingly, overall gold also), with Faye finished in 5th place in the race, and Alex winning an individual prize for finishing third in her age-category.
It was overall Gold for the men too. Rob Nicholls, Stuart Penny and Adrian Tew were all part of age-category Gold winning teams, with Rich Foster the first Spirit home, contributing to an excellent silver for the MM35 age-category team.
Elsewhere, the following day, there was club league GLCL cross-country action and, remarkably, seven of the ten runners were out again, this time ploughing through the mud near Blackwood. Faye showed her quality, coming third overall in the women’s race, and Alex, Stuart and Laura finishing 1st, 2nd & 3rd in their respective age categories. Ten ladies ran the race in total, along with six men, with the Ladies taking an excellent overall 2nd place of the 9 clubs competing and the men showing their strength by propping up the leaderboard from the bottom!
Finally, a note for Julian Howe who successfully completed a 47 mile ultramarathon in the Brecon Beacons, which is no mean feat in these conditions!
More flooding meant difficult running conditions for many of us over the weekend. hopefully can add a couple of pics.
11th November – c25k graduation !!! cirencester half, severn bridge, bonfire night, pembrey XC, cardiff trail half marathon
text from Beacon article to add – re C25K. (photo below)
Lots of other running too. Claire Jackson knocking out a quick duathlon (splattered face from the cycling) and a night run on the Severn Bridge. We had the Gwent League at Pembrey – not our biggest representation ever, but Emma King and Sophie were flying the flag the girls and Jeremy, Martin, Brian and Stuart for the boys. We had a great club night running up the Kymin to watch the fireworks from above – and four intrepid runners ran 13.1 miles in the Cardiff trail half marathon – and can be seen in the photo finishing in a dramatic dead heat!
4th november – trellech beacon dash. NY Marathon, Spirit Run
Spirit of Monmouth Running Club, with Trellech’s Babington Centre, organised the 3rd annual Trellech Beacon Dash on Sunday, a beautiful 10K race through woodland, farmland and trails. The race was run in sunshine, with Rob Gordon of Mynydd Du winning in a remarkable time of 40:38 despite some lovely muddy conditions. A few minutes behind, there was a tight race for the male podium places with Darren Ould taking second and FoD’s Andy Horlick just edging out club-mate Dan Sandford for third.Although SoM members were on marshaling duties, this year five members were able to run and our own Faye Johnson was equally dominant in the Ladies’ race, winning in 45:43, followed by Katie Adams and Pontypool’s Lisa Erickson. In all, over a hundred runners enjoyed the day, with more prizes (all kindly supplied by PULPT Cider) going to age-category winners: Simon Darke, Duncan Loughrey (Mynydd Du), Rachael Wheeler (FoD), and Jan Edwards (Rhondda Valley) – See more photos on the TBD page
Well done to our other SoM runners who did us proud… Mex Gaillard, Abbie Buckley, Claire Jackson and Nicky Jaques – but particularly well done to Ben and his fellow team of organisers… and to everyone who gave up their time to marshal the event… so allowing it all to happen.
Meanwhile, over in America, Marina Wright and Toby Wales & Mandy ran the NY Marathon… amazing experiences, for sure.
The previous Tuesday, we had our annual “Spirit Run” somewhat disrupted by the bad floods. Unable to take our usual Halloween run through the spooky woods to Symonds Yat, we still dressed up, ran around town and ended up in Spoons for a meal together.
Just a reminder that this week, we have an early start to the Tuesday run (for Bonfire Night) and following it up with drinks at The Gatehouse afterwards… We’ve also got the C25K group graduating this week, finishing at our monthly Spirit Park Run at Pontypool on Saturday. Gwent League XC on Saturday too. See the “What’s on this week” page in the Member Info section of the website.
28 October – blaze the biblins, snowdonia marathon, stroud half and dublin marathon
Blaze the Biblins was the big local race of the weekend, and Faye Johnson came out victorious… first lady home with Rob Nicholls, Nerys Chaplin, Ali Phillips and Jeremy Creasey all flying the flag.
In North Wales, Sophie Williams and Emma King performed heroically in the challenging Snowdonia Marathon, whilst international travellers George Smith and Vicky Roberts took on the Stroud Half and David Mather ran the Dublin marathon.