The youngsters representing Wales at London Mini Marathon races

The youngsters representing Wales at London Mini Marathon races

WELSH Athletics have named their team of thirty-six who will head to the Virgin Money Giving London Mini Marathon races in 2019.

The Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon takes place on Sunday 28th April 2019 and is the official British Athletic three-mile road championships for young athletes aged between 11 and 17.

The race is open to entrants from the nine regions of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, and teams from all 33 London Boroughs.

It kicks off the day’s action in the English Capital as early as 8.40am before the main 26.2 mile London Marathon starts half an hour later.

Wales has a strong heritage in this event with notable wins at both Team and individual level in previous years, including in 2006 when Dewi Griffiths was the individual winner, and part of a team including Adam Bitchell, Rowan Axe and Joshua Harris who won team Gold.

Welsh Athletics are committed to continuing this tradition by ensuring they send the brightest talents from across the country to experience this high-level competition.

A new selection was in place this year as each of the four regions in Wales held time trial events in January over 3000m.

The winners from the South, East, West and North were guaranteed a selection spot whilst the final two spots were decided on the fastest times across the under 13, under 15 and under 17 age groups.

A total of five club athletes in the Dyfed district received the news recently that they’ve been selected to compete in the upcoming event, along with three reserves. For two, they will look forward to picking up their first Welsh vest and making their debuts in the English Capital.

The Under 15 boys has plenty of experience in the team which will include Carmarthen Harriers duo Liam Edwards and Dafydd Jones along with 2019 Welsh Cross Country Champion and Llanelli AAC’s Adam Beer.

Iori Humphreys (Pembrokeshire Harriers) has been named as one of the reserves should a space arise. All four have been in fantastic form over the country this winter and will aim to use the event experience to their advantage.

It has been a great cross-country season for the Carmarthen Harriers’ under 13s in the Gwent League and two of the group will join their Welsh teammates for the road trip to London. Zach Elvy and Jack Thomas both ran quick enough times in the time trials earlier this year to be selected.

Ffion Ouseley (Pembrokeshire Harriers) and Frances Mackie (Carmarthen Harriers) are the first two reserves in the under 13 girls’ category and will be ready should they be called up to the team.

For the majority of the squad, it will be an opportunity for them to test themselves against the best in Great Britain & Northern Ireland, competing against the other Celtic nations, the powerful English regions and athletes representing each of the London boroughs.

The London Mini Marathon is over the last 3 miles of the main 26.2 mile course. Hundreds of the next generation will take centre stage, following in the footsteps of their heroes including the likes of Mo Farah, Shelly Woods and David Weir.

The route takes in one of the London Marathon’s most famous stretches before they run across the iconic finish line on the Mall having started at London’s Old Billingsgate.

In the team competition at the last edition in April 2018, Wales’ best scoring team came from the under 17 boys, who came in 4th place. Meanwhile, other positions recorded in the other races included two sixths, two eighths and a ninth overall.

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This Weekend (Saturday 23rd March), thirty-six Welsh Schools athletes along with a management team of seven will head to the annual SIAB Schools Athletic Board Cross Country International which in 2019 is hosted by Irish Schools in Dublin (Santry Demesne)

The Welsh schools squad will go up against athletes from our Celtic neighbours in Ireland and Scotland along with the powerful English runners.

A number of experienced athletes in the team will be looking to impress alongside debutants making their first appearance on the International stage. It will give them an opportunity to test form against the cream of cross-country talent from across the UK and Ireland.

Athletes heading to the International to wear the red vest of Wales have been selected following the Welsh Schools National Cross-Country Championships, in Brecon on 13th February where the leading finishers that day were automatically chosen to be involved in this end-of-season International event for school years 8 to 11.

There will be individual Junior and Intermediate races between English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish Schools as well as a new 4 x 1500m relay in the upper age group, where an additional 2 boys and 2 girls will be invited to participate and contest this additional element.

Wales’ team includes Beer, who finished as the second Welsh athlete in 7th at the 2018 edition in Nottingham and Humphreys who was 15th at the same fixture. They will both contest the Inter Boys’ 6,000m distance.

Jones will also make the journey and start in the mixed 4 x 1500m lap relay alongside his country teammates – Griffiths, Parkinson and Callow.

Bro Myrddin’s Frank Morgan eased to victory at the selection race in Brecon in February and after competing in the East Midlands 12 months ago, will fancy his chances in the upper year of the age group.

Rhys Llewellyn (Haverfordwest High) will join Morgan in the junior boys’ race following his seventh-place finish in Mid Wales. Ioan Cressey-Rodgers is a reserve in this category.

Harriers coaches Delyth Brown and Carol Jones are among the Welsh team managers for the trip to Northern Ireland later this week.

The team departs from South Wales early on Friday morning for the journey to Holyhead with pick-ups along the way.

All team members will then cross the Irish Sea together using the 2pm Irish Ferries sailing into the port at Dublin. Team HQ for the weekend will be at the Holiday Inn which lies just a short work from the course.

Report by Nathan Jones

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