FOR the second year in succession, Welsh Athletics hosted its popular Welsh Club Road Relays Championships for all age groups in West Wales at Pembrey Country Park on Saturday (Sep 22).

The championships came just three weeks after some of the World’s best cyclists began their journey at the same venue in the Tour of Britain earlier this month.

Wet and cool conditions greeted the athletes from early morning until late afternoon and despite a flat and fast course with the exception of a climb at the first 200m, the wintry elements certainly tested the runners at times as they made their way around the course.

These championships, which have also descended on Llandow Circuit Track and Ynysangharad Park in Pontypridd in the past, saw its best turnout to date for several years. More than 25 clubs and nearly 200 teams from all four corners of Wales entered in time of the closing date in mid-September.

Races included a primary school challenge, full junior programme, men’s, women’s and veteran’s races, as the likes of Swansea Harriers, Cardiff AAC, Newport Harriers, Carmarthen Harriers and Menai Track and Field returned to defend their respective titles won in the 2017 edition.

The event provided the chance for both established and up and coming endurance runners in Wales to compete against each other in a competitive team format. Also, it was hailed as a great opportunity to showcase the county’s athletic talent against Wales’ best.

Varying in distances by age group from 1,540m up to 5,400m, the relays used a brand new course this year and took full advantage of the excellent new National Closed Road Cycling Circuit and surrounding parkland which had recently opened earlier this year.

The course took runners on a scenic and traffic free route around the Cycle road with an out and back extension increasing the distance for the older age group. Under 13’s and Seniors were run in a team of four, while the Under 15’s, Under 17’s and Masters categories were contested as a trio of athletes.

Swansea Harriers, Cardiff AAC, Cardiff Archers, Menai Track and Field and Carmarthen Harriers were among the 2018 champions.

Swansea Harriers’ senior teams comfortably retained their respective titles in style to repeat last year’s success.

Photos: Byron Williams and Nathan Jones.

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