John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League 2019-2020 - SEASON ROUND-UP

Another action-packed league season has come to an end in a popular club competition...and it has seen hundreds of runners attend across four locations in Wales and England. Season Round-Up.

The league has been going strong for a number of years, attracting athletes - juniors and seniors - from across South Wales and the South West of England. The league, formed in 1963 has continued every year since then and is a good way of making friends from other clubs.

Cardiff, Pembrey, Bristol and Chepstow were the venues confirmed for the past season over five months. Each match saw over 1,000 athletes take part across a range of age groups, starting with the under 11 athletes and going up through under 13, under 15, under 17, under 20 and the seniors which attracted the most numbers.

Cardiff played host to the first of five British Athletics Cross Challenge Series and provided a great opportunity to face the best British athletes.

The opening round of the JC Gwent League was on October 12th 2019 and got off to a storming start at Llandaff Fields in Cardiff. 

The senior races was the highlight of the day with several big names in the line up. There was a one-two for the Cardiff Athletics club with Charlotte Arter and Jenny Nesbitt finishing in first and second in the women's whilst in the men's, the top three were Marc Scott, Mahamed Mahamed and Michael Ward.

Incorporated into round 1 of 5 of the John H Collins Gwent League was the West Wales trials to represent the region in the Welsh Inter Regional Championships at Brecon last November.

A month later, Pembrey Country Park, situated near Llanelli got the opportunity to showcase what it has to offer as one of the most popular cross-country leagues in the UK, returned to West Wales for the fourth year in succession. (9th November)

Local Club, Carmarthen & District Harriers and Carmarthenshire County Council again worked in partnership to bring the fixture back to the county of Carmarthenshire which saw almost 1,450 competitors take part over the ten-race programme. On a demanding course that showcased the counties park and the surrounding areas, the competitors aged 9 to 80 tackled fast grass sections, sand dunes, woods and paths with the course winning praise.

The Senior & Masters Women's race winner Alaw Beynon-Thomas (Swansea Harriers) returned to the venue where she ran her first cross country event.

She commented afterwards: "I was really pleased to take the win.

"As always the course and organisation was great. There was a nice mix of flat fast sections and some tricky hills. I loved coming back here (to Pembrey) as its where I did my first Llanelli Schools cross country competition back in the day.

"Congratulations again to Carmarthen Harriers and Carmarthenshire County Council for hosting a superb event."

In the corresponding age group, it was Morgan Davies who came out on top for the men ahead of Cardiff Athletics duo James Heneghan and Matt Edwards in 2nd and 3rd. This made it a Swansea Harriers double in the senior categories.

"It felt great to take what was my first win at a senior Gwent League," Triathlete Davies from Porthcawl said. "My plan was to basically, race it as a time trial which was good enough for the victory but I'm especially pleased with the performance and how the body felt.

"The course was perfect for a quick day, and still had challenges to break up the rhythm with kicks and the sand dune. Overall, I loved the course and had a great day taking part and watching the other races throughout the afternoon!"

The half way mark of the campaign arrived in the South West of England at the event hosted by Westbury Harriers who put on another great set of races at Blaise Castle in Bristol - 7th December. Athletes made their way around the perimeter of the Blaise Castle fields and woods before there was a grandstand finish opposite the play ground with good spectating views on the home straight.

Following a few weeks of indoor action at Cardiff featuring Wales' top juniors and seniors and a two-month break, the John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League was back on 8th February at the first fixture of 2020 and the fourth of the campaign. It went to a new venue at the Chepstow Racecourse in Monmouthshire hosted by Bristol & West Athletics Club.

The fifth and final fixture was due to take place at Singleton Park in Swansea on St David's Day (1st March), the venue which hosted the Welsh Athletics Cross Country Championships over three years in 2016-2018. After an unprecedented amount of rain, the venue was completely sodden and the course waterlogged in many parts and as a result, was cancelled.

Current standings for both the junior and senior fixtures will stand as the final results.

Awards this season were based on the five fixtures at Cardiff, Pembrey, Parc Bryn Bach, Pontypool and Bristol. The top individuals in all of the age groups are to be awarded with medals as well as the top three teams in all age groups.



Carmarthen Harriers deliver in the Junior Categories...

Despite the busy fixture congestion, Carmarthen Harriers have enjoyed another pleasing season in the league with top half finishes and some medallists amongst them. Pride of place goes to the Novice boys and girls and the under 13 boys and girls who all contributed towards a great campaign, securing silver medals.

It rounded off another great winter season for these youngsters coached by the experienced Neil Thomas, David Toogood., Carol Jones and Delyth Brown.

In addition William Coles, Jac Jones, Iwan Thomas, Ifan Bowen, Amelia Williams and Jessica Norman picked up individual medals for finishing in the top five of their respective age groups whilst Macsen Toogood and Zach Elvy were in the top 10.

Big thanks to all the members and their parents who have supported the league this year and travelled the long journeys across South Wales and Bristol. All team results and athlete recognition are listed below.



Novice Boys: A 2nd (305); B 25th (1394); C 50th (1729)

Under 13 Boys: A 2nd (164); B 9th (794); C 35th (1415)

Under 15 Boys: A 4th (477); B 17th (1003)

Under 17 Men: 13th (724)

Under 20 Men: 10th (386)

SM: 104th (797)

Novice Girls: A 2nd (353); B 40th (1697)

Under 13 Girls: 9th (648)

Under 15 Girls: 15th (793)

Under 17 Women: 20th (473)

Under 20 Women: 11th (377)

SW: 64th (1322)


CLUB ATHLETES / ATHLETWYR Y CLWB P1 - first three matches in 2019

Novice Boys: William Coles, Jac Jones, Tristan Warrender, Joseph Thomas, Ashton Williams, Jimmy Davis, Alexandra Radulescu, Toby Anthony, Tom Morgan, Alex Hill

Under 13 Boys: Iwan Thomas, Ifan Bowen, Macsen Tooogood, Alex Coles, Jake Lynock, Daniel Warrender, James Sloyan, Aron Hedd Jones, Tygan Davies, Liam Upton-Boorman

Under 15 Boys: Frank Morgan, Zach Elvy, Scott Price, Jack Thomas, Steffan Davies, Morgan Williams, Brynmor Peters, Ellis Caddick, Rogan Cox

Under 17 & 20 Men: Dafydd Jones, Ben Thomas, Iestyn Williams

Senior Men: Huw Davies, Peter Moody, Guto Morgans, Jamie Best, Jonathan Cox

Novice Girls: Amelia Williams, Jessica Norman, Gwenan Jones, Martha Morgan, Esme Lynock

Under 13 Girls: Carys Wood, Frances Mackie, Erin Morgan, Ellie-May John, Bessy Hill

Under 15 Girls: Amy Greatrick

Under 17 & 20 Women: Megan Jones, Tanwen Moon, Eva Edwards

Senior Women: Wendy Price, Amanda Toogood, Kate Parker

CLUB ATHLETES / ATHLETWYR Y CLWB P2 - round four in 2020

Novice Boys: William Coles, Jac Jones, Tristan Warrender, Jimmy Davis

Under 13 Boys: Iwan Thomas, Ifan Bowen, Macsen Tooogood, Alex Coles, Jake Lynock, James Sloyan

Under 15 Boys: Zach Elvy, Jack Thomas, Morgan Williams

Novice Girls: Amelia Williams, Jessica Norman, Gwenan Jones, Martha Morgan, Esme Lynock

Under 13 Girls: Carys Wood, Ellie-May John

Under 15 Girls: Amy Greatrick

Senior Women: Kate Parker