Sale Harriers and Les Croupiers RC take the honours at the Welsh Castles Relay
The famous Welsh Castles Relay takes place over 20 stages, starting in Caernarfon on Saturday morning and winding its way South, with a rest stop on Saturday evening in Newtown.
The race then restarts early on Sunday morning, culminating 10 stages later in the shadow of Cardiff Castle late on Sunday afternoon.
A record 67 teams took part in the 36th edition with overall male and female titles at stake along with master honours and a business house category to be decided.
The race awards prizes for ‘king of the Mountains’’ stages as the race passes through both the Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons National Parks. A special ‘’Jeff Wood’ award is made in the memory of the founder member and stalwart of Les Croupiers RC who collapsed and died at the event in 1998. Parc Bryn Bach’s Lee A’herne was the recipient this year as the first master 50 on the chosen stage.
Manchester club Sale Harriers dominated in the men’s race, retaining their overall title with relative ease and a winning margin of 51 minutes. Host club Les Croupiers RC were second ahead of local rivals Pontypridd Roadents, a further 6 minutes back.
Sale Harriers’ Team Manager Chris Donnelly said; ‘’it’s an amazing weekend and everybody wants to be involved’’. We won it last year and we’ve won it again. 20 stages is a long way and we’re delighted to have the title for another year’’.
The women’s race was a far closer contest but it was the 2017 champions, Les Croupiers that again came out on top. Serpentine last won the event in 2015 and were second this time.
Sale Harriers had led at the end of the first day but settled for third as the race reached the Welsh Capital.
Les Croupiers Team Captain Ainye Kenny commented; ‘’It means so much to win this for the third year in a row. The team did really well particularly in these really hot conditions’’.
‘’We had a massive lead to make up after the first day so it just goes to show that you should never give up’’.The Welsh Castles Relays are a 2 day, 20 stage, 211 mile staggered relay race, held mostly on road but with many hills and mountains on route from Caernarfon to Cardiff with an overnight stay in Newtown. It is organised by Les Croupiers Running Club, Cardiff.
Teams compete in one of four categories – Open, Ladies, Vets and Business House. Races within races are also a key feature as individuals try to bag individual stage wins and teams battle it out for both the overall category awards and the special mountain stage prizes. There are six mountain stages in all and three team mountain stages prizes: the Kings (Open), Queens (Ladies) and Monarchs (Vets).