The annual Red Kite Challenge series took place last weekend in soaring temperatures at the scenic location of Devil’s Bridge, just outside of Aberystwyth. The race offers senior runners a chance to race either a 10k or half marathon route that snakes through the beautiful Cambrian Mountain range, scaling some challenging hills and trails along the way. This year’s event also hosted the West Wales and Welsh Age Group Championships as well as the WMRA International Youth Cup trial race for the under 17 age group.
The day started with the junior age group races and saw a number of fine performances from some of Wales’ most promising trail and fell runners. In the u15 boys race, Deeside’s Matthew Anthony was the dominant winner as he took victory from Rhys Hardman (Bridgend AC) and Jac Hockenhull (Cardiff AAC). It was a far closer contest in the u15 girls race as Eden O’Dea (Wrexham AC) claimed victory ahead of Abbi Parkinson (Menai Track and Field) and Erin Andrews (Bridgend AC).
In the u17 men’s WMRA Youth Cup trial race, Aberdare’s Joseph Reardon produced a fine performance to take victory from Max Dunford (St. David’s College Runners) and Cai La Trobe-Roberts (Menai Track and Field). Meanwhile in the u17 women’s race it was another win for Deeside AC as Gwyneth Parry crossed the line ahead of Jenna Bagnall (Prestatyn Running Club) and Emily Hanlon (Colwyn Bay). The u20 women’s race was won by Rhiannon Kamink (Colwyn Bay) with Cara-Leanne Farley (Run 4 All Neath) finishing second.
Attentions then turned to the senior races, with race organiser Dic Evans making a touching speech before the race, paying tribute to the late John Collins and John Chidlow. Ceredigion MP Ben Lake was also present to start the senior race and make the presentations to the junior athletes after their respective events. The senior half marathon and 10k events saw an excellent turnout of over 150 runners, with many traveling from across the country to be a part of the event. With temperatures soaring to over 25 celsius, it meant the challenging course was made even more difficult for the athletes.
The men’s 10k race was won by Aberystwyth athlete Owain Schiavone, with Andrew Poole (Sarn Helen) finishing second and Norman Biggs (Aberystwyth AC) third. In the women’s 10k race, u20 athlete Chloe Leek crossed the line first ahead of Isobel Dawson (TROTS) and Anne Mynott (Colwyn Bay). Meanwhile, in the half marathon event it was experienced welsh international Rob Samuel (Eryri Harriers) who won the men’s race ahead of Daniel Bodman (Aberdare Valley) and David Bruce (Bristol & West). Sarn Helen’s Jessica Bruce was victorious in the women’s race as she took victory ahead of Lauren Cooper (Parc Bryn Bach) and Nerys Jones (TROTS).
It was evident how much effort and hard work the runners had put in to get around the challenging course on such a sweltering day, but the warm weather also provided some stunning scenery that overlooked the Cambrian Mountain Range. In an event that welcomed runners from all corners of the country, the Red Kite Challenge provided a challenging but enjoyable experience for those involved and provided the junior athletes with an opportunity to go on and be selected for their country at the WMRA Youth Championship in Italy on June 16th.