Rain early on race morning cleared to leave ideal racing conditions for the cross country season opener in the Welsh Capital.
The men’s race saw Marc Scott and Mahamed Mahamed form a leading group of three along with Cardiff man Mike Ward.
Scott had showed his Cross Country pedigree last December with a ninth place finish at the Spar European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg.
The trio shared the lead for much for the race but with Scott using his track speed to go clear of Mahamed meaning the Southampton man recorded a third consecutive second place finish in Cardiff.
Ward did indeed finish third, making a welcome return to racing in the capital following an Athletics scholarship at Bradley University in Illinois.
Jonathan Glen of Inverclyde AC was next to finish with Cardiff man Ciaran Lewis closing out the top five.
‘It was a good ace there today with proper conditions after the 10 races that came before it’ commented Scott.
‘It’s what I came here to do, to have good competition around me, run hard and make sure that the other guys run hard too. It was good to get out there and get my name back on the Cross Country circuit. I’ll wait and see what happens for the season’.
‘I went to the world championships and obviously not had a break yet so I will have a break at some point but the Europeans are at the back of the mind’.
Arter performing on home turf
Local girl Arter was an emphatic winner of the women’s race, timing her move perfectly and decisively pulling clear halfway through the final lap.
Her winning time of 21:31 for the 6,400m course saw her run seconds faster than the time recorded by 2018 winner Anna Moller before going on to take the European U23 title in December.
Arter had begun as a favourite following a fastest leg run at the ERRA National road Relays last weekend to lead her Cardiff team to victory. She had been looking for a strong start to the Cross Country season and will now hope to emulate her 2018 win at the European Trials in Liverpool.
Cardiff Club-mate Jenny Nesbitt is the current Inter-Counties Cross Country Champion and similarly timed her move well to finish clear in second.
Norwich AC’s Iona Lake was third with Jessica gibbons of reading AC just outside the podium places.
‘I’m really happy with how today went’ said Arter. ‘It’s always fun to start the Cross Country season here in Cardiff and it was great that Jenny and I could get first and second’.
‘My aim going in was to chill with the group for that first lap and if I felt good, to try to pull away on the second lap and it pretty much went to plan. I felt really strong and just kept working hard on the second lap to try to get as big a lead as possible’.
‘I need to go in to Liverpool in the best shape possible and try to book my place on the team for the Europeans. Once you’re there, anything can happen and I will just try to get as close to the medals as possible’.
Competitive youth events
Four of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team from the IAAF World Championships in Aarhus contested the u20 men’s race but it was Inter-Counties Champion Matt Willis of Wrexham AAC who soared clear for victory to announce himself as the man to beat this season.
Last season’s Cross Challenge Series Champion Zakariya Mahamed was next to finish followed by English National Champion, Rory Leonard.
Saskia Millard of Herne Hill Harriers took under 20 women honours ahead of club mate Charlotte Alexander and Cera Gemmell of Team East Lothian.
Beatrice Wood of City of Salisbury AC was the U17 women’s winner with Flynn jenkins won a hotly contested U17 men’s race.
Kiya Dee of Highworth RC won the U15 girls title with Lewis Sullivanof Saint Edmund Pacers some way clear in the U15 boy’s race.
Zoe Gilbody of Chiltern Harriers and Henry Sheffield of Cirencester AC took u13 titles.