The 2018 Welsh Castles Relays will take place this weekend as clubs from around the United Kingdom compete in the 2-day, 20 stage relay race starting in Caernarfon on Saturday and ending in Cardiff on Sunday. Teams compete in one of four categories – Open, Ladies, Vets and Business House, but the races within each category 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).
The Welsh Castles Relays started as a response to a Welsh Tourist Board Initiative and was launched after the conduction of a pilot run in 1982 to test its feasibility. The race has always started in Caernarfon and finished in Cardiff, with an overnight stop in Newtown. This year there will be a record 67 teams competing – 46 in the Open Category, 9 in the Ladies, 7 in the Masters and 5 in the Business Houses. Each category is incredibly competitive; with last year’s open race being won by Sale Harriers for the first time from their close neighbours and rivals Salford Harriers. Les Croupiers have won the last two editions of the ladies event but will face a tough fight with 10 times previous winners Serpentine and the emerging talent of Ealing Eagles. Les Croupiers will also be defending their Masters team title, with likeliest challenges coming from Team Bath and Swansea Harriers. Main sponsors Burges Salmon LLP have won the last four editions of the Business Houses competition, and will face teams from the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, South Wales Police and Turner Broadcasting this weekend
There are two types of Castles leg – hard and very hard. The very hard ones make up the six Mountain Stages (a la Tour de France) and there are separate individual and team awards in recognition of their severity.
Castles Relays Master of Ceremonies, Mick McGeoch, commented ‘The Welsh Castles Relay is the greatest relay on the planet!’ and urged spectators to come out and watch as the runners make their way down through Wales on Saturday and Sunday. In addition, he encouraged viewers from South Wales to convene at Blackweir, Cardiff around 3:30p.m on Sunday afternoon for the race finish and presentation.
More information on the Welsh Castles Relays can be found here
Welsh Athletics wishes to thank Mick McGeoch for his Castles Relays preview.