A record of over 1,000 runners took to the scenic trails of Mid Wales on Sunday to make the 2017 Royal Welsh Trail Running Festival the biggest yet.
The countryside surrounding the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells played host to a series of challenging but scenic trail races across valleys, fields, woodland tracks and stunning forestry.
Experienced runners challenged themselves to one or two laps in the main race, but there was something for everyone with Toddler Trail and Family Trail races kicking off the day’s proceedings.
The biggest prizes of the day went to Daniel Bodman of Aberdare Valley AAC who led his club to the Welsh title. Bodman is the chairman of Aberdare Valley and was followed home by his club secretary Matthew Evans with Sarn Helen’s Sion Price taking third place.
Bodman said: “This is my first Welsh title and it’s a special day, especially as the club won the team title as well. It was a great course, and a perfect day for running.”
The women’s race was a triumph for Natasha Cockram of the Mickey Morris Racing Team. Recently returned from an American university and back to full fitness, she won in impressive style. She commented: “this is only my second race back after a long period out with injury, and it felt good to be running again. I just hope I can carry on and maybe make the Welsh Championships on the track in Cardiff next month.”
Lauren Cooper of Parc Bryn Bach was second with Faye Johnson of Pontypool and District taking bronze. Emily Lagamarsino of San Domenico took third in the open race.
The 10K race turned into a birthday triumph for 17 year-old Thomas Jones of Carmarthen Harriers, who came home in 39:43 to win, with more than two minutes between him and David Richardson of Aberdare Valley in second. Roger Farrington, of Maldwyn Harriers was third. The Carmarthen Harrier’s victory made it a special day for the Jones’ family, his father, Brian, is the president of the Royal Welsh Show. The women’s 10K race was won by another Carmarthen Harrier Liz Tremlett with Pontypool & District athlete Samantha Toop in second and Cardiff AAC’s sixteen-year-old Laura Wright in third.
Finishers crossed the line to be greeted with a bespoke wooden medal and a finishers’ t-shirt inspired by lead charity partner Wales Air Ambulance. Competitors were re-fuelled at the end of the race by Wild Trail snacks, whose locally sourced, natural ingredients proved a hit.
Matt Newman, Run 4 Wales Chief Executive, said: “The Royal Welsh Trail Running Festival has grown into an event for runners of all ages and abilities. It has been fantastic to celebrate trail running in the heart of the country while the Royal Welsh Spring Festival showcases everything great about rural Wales. It was especially fantastic to see such a good turnout from clubs across Wales.
“We would like to thank lead charity partner Wales Air Ambulance as well as Radnor Hills and Wild Trail for being at the forefront of an unforgettable festival of running. We’re looking forward to seeing the event grow even further in future.”
Steve Hughson, Chief Executive of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, who ran the 10K commented: “the Trail Running Festival is a great edition to the Spring Festival and I’m really happy to see that the numbers more than doubled from our inaugural event two years ago. It’s been wonderful to see so many spectators backing up the runners as they crossed the finish line.”
Race results and photos will be posted at www.rwtrailrunningfestival.co.uk.