Clubs will compete for places at the ERRA National Autumn Relays
The Welsh Road Relay Championships head to Pembrey Country Park near Llanelli on Sunday.
The 52nd edition will be likely to benefit from better weather conditions than runners experienced 12 months ago when Swansea Harriers dominated the event at the picturesque Coastal Park.
Clubs will compete for places at the ERRA National Autumn Relays with automatic entry no longer guaranteed for Welsh clubs. This is likely to make the senior races more competitive as clubs look to guarantee their spots for the national showcase in Sutton Park three weeks later.
Swansea Harriers were comfortable men’s winners last time when Josh Griffiths and Jon Hopkins shared the fastest leg honours over the 5480m route around the park.
Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Cardiff 10km champion Jake Smith and third-placer Ciaran Lewis will lead a strong Cardiff team which also features Morgan James and James Vincent.
Swansea captain Marc Hobbs is an ever-present at club events in Wales and will spearhead his clubs campaign in the senior men’s race. Track specialist Jon Tobin will be in action and should be among the candidates for the fastest leg. Former UK Inter-Counties cross country champion Dewi Griffiths is among his team entries but it’s not known whether the 2:09 marathoner will be in action at Pembrey.
In any event, both clubs are likely to progress to the ERRA National Relays on October 6, which both have won in recent years.
Aberdare Valley AAC were the third team in 2018 and also appear strong on paper along with Pontypridd Roadents.
The Harriers were also comfortable winners in the women’s race last time but are likely to face strong opposition from a Cardiff team that has been unstoppable recently, with achievements including a team title at the British 10km Championships in London.
The Cardiff team here are equally as strong, led by 2019 UK Inter-Counties cross country champion Jenny Nesbitt and Welsh 5km champion Clara Evans. The pair were second and third at the Cardiff 10km two weeks ago ahead of some top English challengers.
Swansea’s women appear to be weaker than usually expected and than they were 12 months ago when they took victory ahead of Lliswerry Runners and Bridgend AC.
Cardiff athletes Ben Reynolds, younger brother Jacob and Lloyd Sheppard will form a very strong partnership in the under-17 men’s race. Reynolds was part of their winning trio last year for this age-group.
Menai Track & Field and local club Carmarthen Harriers took all the titles across the under-13 and under-15 age-groups last time. Newport Harriers, Cardiff Archers and both Swansea Harriers and Cardiff AC are also likely to feature near the front throughout the day.