Friday 25th May was a day of temperamental showers and gloomy winds, that was until 6pm and the race preparations, warm ups and registration started for the annual Ras Y Llychau began. Sarn Helen member and event organiser David Thomas always seems to please the weather gods and year after year glorious weather is a given; the skies cleared and the roads dried up just in time for the fiercely fast and competitive kids race to start.
An outstanding performance by Sarn Helen’s Jessica Bruce at Ras Y Barcud Coch put her on top of the ladys race and also gained her an invite to the prestigious Trail Running Championships in France where she proudly represented both club and country. She placed 1st lady with a time of 2:00:45 on Saturday 5th of May in the gruellingly hard half marathon organised by Dic Evans and held over the mountains surrounding Devils Bridge, resulting in her completing an equally tough 26k trail race in Brittany on Saturday 19th May; this time in the royal red Welsh colours.
A beautifully sunny May Day Bank holiday can only mean one thing amongst the valleys and villages of west wales- a scenic and fast Sarn Helen Race! This year, Monday 7th May, was an original and a first as the closure and merge of all the local primary schools meant a brand-new event, Ras Dyffryn Cledlyn, held from the superb new school in the heart of Drefach which was fantastically supported by locals, pupils, families and resident businesses. The races along with the BBQ, cakes and generally pleasant atmosphere drew in big crowds with a total of over 175 children and adults taking part and earning their medals.
One week later and the winds had cooled, the skies had dulled and the weather was, to be put simply, perfect for running. One week later, April 29th, also dawned the inaugural ABP Newport Wales Marathon and with 5 Sarn Helen on the start line it was a pleasant day of excitement and apprehension. A storming performance from Caryl Wyn Davies came as no surprise seeing that 2018 so far has been full of PB’s and promise. This was the young athletes 8th marathon to date and her experience along with her dedication made for a very special day. Her outstanding time of 3:13:15 was the fastest pace a female Sarn runner has achieved for some time and placed her 6th lady overall, 4th in the Open Lady class.
April 22nd, Virgin London Marathon time has been and gone but for those who ran, the recovery road is long and usually painful. Immense heat made running tough for all competitors and the difficult conditions were reflected in people’s times and for some, unfortunately, their enjoyment.
Two off road events held on the same day (April 7th) meant a parting of company for some teammates albeit temporarily. The Rivers family, Simon Hall and mud lover Dan Hooper travelled south to take part in the rescheduled Ras Dewi Sant Half Marathon organised by Man-Up Uk while Dee Jolly, Mitchell Readwin and CarwynDavies travelled east to race along Sugar Loaf Mountain in Mynydd Du’s 7 mile fell race.
Four Sarn Helen men travelled some distances to take part in four different half marathon events through the month of March, with all posting some great times around some beautiful cities. Severe weather has resulted in the cancellation and down scaling of many events this month but despite this ‘The Big Half’, a brand-new event in the centre of England’s Capital, prevailed and drew some enormous crowds on March 4th. Our firefighting senior male, Terry Wyn Jones made it to the start line and was pleased to finish the 13.1-mile run (and warm up!) in a time of 1:54:40.
Sarn Helen has ended the usually dreary month of Feb on a particular high with some outstanding results in the cross country, on the roads and along the trails. A mentionable feat was the launch on of the new Llanerchaeron Parkrun on Feb 10th, a free weekly 5k timed event that is safe and suitable for the while family and was supported by Clwb Rhedeg Sarn Helen and runs in conjunction with the National Trust. A dedicated group of volunteers, many of whom are active members of Sarn Helen, are responsible for getting the event up and running and after only 3 weeks has seen near 200 walkers, joggers and runners take to the trails. For more information on how you could take part or volunteer please see the Llanerchaeron Parkrun website.