A selection of former Champions will contest the 117th Welsh Cross Country Championships at Pembrey Country Park near Llanelli on Saturday.
Caryl Edwards (nee Jones) of Swansea Harriers is the outstanding entry in the women’s race and is always a tough competitor with a 71:18 best for half marathon to her name. Her most recent title on the country came at Singleton Park in 2016 where she overcame Andrea Whitcombe in one of the greatest contests that these Championships have seen.
Steeplechase specialist Lauren Cooper (Parc Bryn Bach) will perhaps be the most likely to challenge her along with Kate Roberts of Swansea Harriers and Alaw Beynon-Thomas of Les Croupiers.
Sioned Howells (Swansea Harriers) and Donna Morris (Builth & District) are regular newcomers in comparison but have also been performing well in recent months.
Several in the hunt for the men’s win
Defending Champion James Hunt (Cardiff Athletics) returns from injury and will look to retain his Senior Men’s title but will face opposition from seven-time champion Dewi Griffiths (Swansea Harriers) and in-form Cardiff Athletics club-mate Dan Nash.
Hunt’s first Welsh Cross Country title came in 2018 at Singleton Park with 2:09 marathoner Griffiths taking the honours in 2019.
A win on Saturday would signal a first Welsh title on the country for Nash who recently became a father and who in December improved his 10km P.B. to 29:25.
Guy Smith (Swansea Harriers) is predominantly a track performer but also has form off-track, finishing fifth at these Championships in 2019.
With Cardiff club mates Matt Edwards and Mike Kallenberg also performing well of late, the team from the Capital will be the favourites for the team title that they won emphatically in 2020.
Club honours here are unlikely to go anywhere other than to Swansea Harriers.
Local man Dafydd Jones (Carmarthen Harriers) will have gained confidence when finishing as the top Welsh scorer at the Northern Ireland International Cross Country in Belfast last month. This may give him the psychological edge over Cardiff duo Ben Miles and Lloyd Sheppard-Brown who will also be in action.
Moli Lyons (Cardiff Athletics) won the Welsh Schools Cross Championships in Brecon two weeks ago so will find herself amongst the favourites in Pembrey. Ellen Mary Kearny of Wirral AC will be racing on Saturday and is the younger sister of Welsh Marathon ace Emily.
Libby Hale (Swansea Harriers) and Bryony Boyce (Cardiff Athletics) will face-off in the U13 Girls Race. The former was the winner at the British Athletics Milton Keynes Cross Challenge and the pair both took victories in Brecon but in different age-groups on that occasion.