Runners from Swansea Harriers took the individual honours in both the men’s and women’s races at this years Glynneath Boxing Day 5 mile road race.
Overall winner of the race was Kris Jones of Swansea Harriers. This former junior world orienteering champion took the field apart winning by over 300 metres. 26 year Jones was delighted to finally win the Glynneath 5 after attaining high positions in previous years. Despite the high winds that slowed down the runners he came home in a very creditable time of 25.40.
The second runner to finish in 29.30 was local boy Iestyn Harrett, this is the first time in the 29 years in which the event has been run that a local runner has finished in the top three, much to the delight of race organizer Arthur Phillips and local celebrity Max Boyce who started the race. 22 year old Harrett, an international triathlete is currently a member of the Great Britain triathlon squad based at Loughborough University
In third place we had the most consistent runner in the history of the race, Richard Gardiner of Aberdare Valley AC. Leading the veteran runners home, the 42 year old police sergeant has previously won the race three times and placed highly on several occasions. He can still achieve great times over the course, finishing in 26.45.
Alaw Beynon-Thomas of Swansea Harriers was the first lady home in 29.00. She has also moved up a few steps having previously finished 2nd and 3rd. She was 14th overall in the strong field over over 280 runners. This 24 year old is an international athlete of great repute. Her time in this race has only been bettered by former world champion triathletes Non Stanford and Helen Jenkins.
22 year old Clara Evans of Pontypridd Roadents was runner up in the ladies race in 29.38 with Lucy Marland of Cardiff AAC completing the podium places in 30.06.
The youngsters were not overawed by the elite runners. The under 18 male award went to Joseph Lloyd-West at 15 years of age, he completed the course in 35.30. This young Neath Harrier finished well ahead of the other under 18 runners. The under 18 female award went to Awen Lewis of Neath Harriers in 35.41, at 16 years of age she has always run excellent races at Glynneath, again a clear winner of her age group.
The 281 field included runners from all over the U.k., The majority being from South Wales but runners also travelled from Crawley, North Somerset, Otley, Sunderland and Hastings. A surprise entry were 4 runners from New York, USA, all from the same American club.
The Glynneath 5 Boxing Day race is firmly on the map. The club that provided most runners was the newly formed Run4All Neath who entered 26 runners. The events were hotly contested. The open team award went to Aberdare Valley AC led by Richard Gardiner. The veteran team award was split between Port Talbot Harriers and Run4All Neath who achieved the same scores.
The ladies award was won by 3Ms Gorseinon for the fourth time. This strong team of talented lady runners, Michelle Cole, Caroline Sandles, Lisa Williams and Sharon Trotman won the trophy easily.
The winners of the age categories were Joseph Lloyd-West, Awen Lewis, Richard Gardiner, Mandy Morris, Craig Williams, Caroline Sandles, Mike Pfeiffer, Angela Gail Thorpe, Terry O’Brien, June Avery, Walter Hill, Linda Waller, Cyril Walters, Gwyneth Parry, Jack Tremlett and Elizabeth Tremlett.
The outstanding performance trophy was awarded to Mike Pfeiffer of Brecon AC. The 50 year old veteran runner finished in 10th position in a time of 28.18. This international runner was a clear winner of his age category and was chosen as the outstanding runner by a panel of experts.
Race report in the Evening Post