Man v Horse 2019

The stormy weather of the early morning abated for us to run this iconic race, which takes in 22 miles of off largely off road trails over the hills of mid Wales. The rain may have stopped but the ground was still drenched making for tricky running conditions. If the long distance, the energy sapping mud and the 4000ft of ascent the course threw at us wasn’t enough, there were also 60 horses and riders to negotiate, who came past after the runners 15 minute head start, in varying degrees of control proximity and speed.

Steve Flowers was first home for WVR in a time of 03:15 followed by Ian Winstance (3:23), Jeremy Jehan (3:27), David Klotz (3:30). Pete Flynn and Laura Tootel finished within a minute of each other with Pete edging it at (3:32). Then came Ward Linney (3:52) before Paul Davis, Shaun Hoys and Paul Kemp crossed the line together at 4:12. Last but no least was Simon (4:47) who has now run each relay leg in previous years and today the whole thing. All that is left for him now, is to ride a horse round :-)

A terrific race and a good turnout for the Club. A race I’d definitely encourage people to try next year.

Belfast Marathon - 5th May, 2019

Our very own "travelling wilburys" have been a bit coy about their exploits in Belfast last week, but all 4 completed the marathon, which was over-distance, as you may have seen on tv. However, they all completed the race and their times are below. I can imagine what the post-race celebrations were like, but Paul Davies and Lea Wood were fit again for Run Hereford yesterday.

Paul Davies M45 03:30:03
Lea Wood MO 03:40:24
Paul Kemp M40 03:47:07
Shaun Hoyes M55 03:58:48

Well done boys!

Wye Valley at the London Marathon

Congratulations to all 10 Wye Valley Runners who completed the 2019 London Marathon. First back for the club was Ian Sockett, in his world record winning T-shirt. First lady was Gintare, formerly of the shire. Well done Gintare. The “even-paced running” award goes to Brent Lowson, who amazingly recorded identical split times for the two halves. Also suggest that he was taking it easy! Sub 4 hours next time Brent. Full results below.

The ballot for the club place(s) for the 2020 race will take place as usual at the AGM in November. Keep an eye out for entry details.

Evans, Antony (GBR)



Flynn, Peter (GBR)



Gaigaliene, Gintare (LTU)



Livingston, Rebecca (GBR)



Lowson, Brent (GBR)



Meadows, Jonathan (GBR)



Miles, Maria (GBR)



Sims, Clare (GBR)



Sockett, Ian (GBR)



Wathen, Andrew (GBR)



Zurich Marathon - April 28th 2019

That's marathon number 11 and the letter Z ticked off on my alphabet quest. Not my quickest time as the time started to slip away in the last 10k but it was my 3rd so I'm back in the right ball park with a 2:48:00 (my watch said I went under and ran 26.4 miles) but finished 41st in a big city marathon.
The course and conditions were perfect nice and cool and the swiss turned off the sprinklers almost as soon as the race started. We did a little loop of the city before the 10k runners peeled off and left the marathon to head off down the lake as part of an out and back. There are barely any climbs worth mentioning, the only cruel part was at 24 miles when you are within sight of the finish line it send you up into the city for a mile before heading back in a serious dick tease moment but overall a race I highly recommend.
Even got myself on swiss TV and a shoutout wearing the wye valley runners vest loud and proud


Race report from Gozo

Brian and I have just completed the 10k race on the beautiful island of Gozo. Closed roads, well organised and amazing views of the coast, the old villages and gorgeous countryside . Fast downhill start and then some undulation and a tough uphill finish. Hot and sunny with a cool breeze. We finished in 54. 30 and 54.43, no PBs but I won my age category and the first foreign lady trophy too! Off to celebrate now..

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Cardiff Bay 10k

What better way to mark the start of spring that with a little jaunt down to Cardiff bay for the 10k. Having heard about this fast, flat course this year i wanted to give it a go to shake my legs out after doing lots of long distance marathon.

Got down there early only to be stuck in all the traffic trying to park. This would probably be one of the worst things about the race, so if you do intend on doing this race next year please allow plenty of time.

After not getting time for a proper warm up i jumped straight into my pen to realise i had forgot my watch, i guess this race would be done on feel. Fortunately my training partner Matt James was there and if i could keep up with him i would put in a good time.

It was a fairly cramped start and took about a mile before you could really settle down into a rhythm, but you soon found yourself running in a pack at what i hoped was a good pace as the route meandered out along the bay. The route was definitely pan flat the biggest elevation was jumping the curbs to get around some of the runners. It was a little twisty with 2 hairpin turnaround points. There was also a fair amount of wind out by the bay as you would expect but nothing compared to Rhayader which is now the new benchmark, but with so many runners around and a staked field it was easy to find shelter and use them to slipstream, before you ended up back in the main bay area with all crowds cheering you on to finish in front of the secret torchwood entrance.

Despite the start i absolutely loved this race. It is very fast and with such a strong it is easy to get dragged along by quicker runners and i ended up finally setting a new 10k pb after 2 years of trying of 35:38

I managed to see a few Wye Valley Runners names down.

Rachel Toolan 55:00

Robert Gilligan 51:26

Amy Gilligan 51:26

Emily Davies 50:24

Lynne Compton 47:26

Some very times by all there, definitely a race ill be doing again next year.

Weston Super Half

After last years cancellation due to the beast from the east, i wanted to give this race a try again this year.

The first year it has been held under new organisation, this half marathon started at 10:15 am on the seafront in beautiful sunshine which was in complete contrast to last year. The first thing to say was that the organisation was top notch. There was timed areas for everyone to start in, these unfortunately were not enforced and as the race gets bigger this is something they may need to look into. There also looked like there may have been a shortage in toilets but having a hotel room 300 metres from the start line didnt affect me either.

The race started on time and led us around a little 2 mile loop to bring us back to the start which was obviously a way of making up the distance. After this it led us onto the beach for 3/4 of a mile, which is great on holiday but not when you are chasing a time, we then proceeded out of Weston heading up away from the coastline slightly which had a series of sharpish climbs before looping back round to do another 3/4 of a mile on the beach to take us back on to the Weston promenade back to where we started completing a 7 mile loop before heading the other way up the sea front. We got some fantastic support for the 2-3 miles along the sea front before tackling a climb heading out, keeping that in the back of my mind knowing that at the end of this loop it would be a fast downhill finish back into the promenade before finishing on the Weston pier, and they even removed the turn styles for us.

I asked about the bit on the beach and they said that was only because of road works which will make this a quicker course.

Overall i enjoyed my race, i ran a 1:18;23 finishing 6th, i know there is quicker courses out there but not many offer fish and chips on the beach afterwards.

Rhayader Round The Lakes

After the unseasonably warm and sunny weather of the previous week, winter returned to greet the 12 strong contingent of Wye Valley Runners, who were in Rhayader on the 2nd March to take part in the Round the Lakes races. There were two distances on offer; 30km and 5 miles, with 10 WVR completing the long race and 2 the shorter version.

Our two 5 mile racers were Jan Edwards and Brian Symonds who were bussed out, along with 146 others, to the start on the shores of the Garreg-Ddu reservoir in the Elan Valley. On paper the race looks to take in a fast, largely downhill route back to Rhayader but with a few nasty little hills in the last few miles, coupled with the wind and rain it was to be a tough race. First home was Jan in 39:21 and Brian close behind in 40:34, both of them finishing first in their categories and well up the field overall.

The remaining 10 Wye Valley contingent set off at just after 13:00 for the full 30km loop in a field of over 500 runners, starting and finishing in Rhayader. After a fast largely downhill tour of the town the race headed off up the 4 mile climb over the Penrhiw-wen pass and into the 40mph winds that were the stand out feature of the day’s race. With the big first climb completed the route takes a largely downhill course along the Elan valley and looked to be a fast section of the race. The strong headwind had other ideas! At the front end of the race, which was more spread out, Steve Flowers had to battle through the headwind on his own, but further back, the field split into distinct groups of runners working together to take it in turns to take the brunt of the wind and to shelter behind each other. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced quite such a profound slip streaming effect while running before. I’d be on someone’s shoulder thinking that they were going too slow, I’d move out to overtake and almost get stopped dead by the wind.

After about 13 miles the course dropped further into the Elan valley and the wind eased a little for the last 5 miles into town.

First home for WVR was Steven Flowers in 8th place overall in 2 hours 5 minutes. 20 minutes later and in quick succession, came David O’Brien, Ward Linney and Laura Tootell, separated by less than 2 minutes, with Laura taking first place in her category. Another trio of WVR, this time within 30 seconds of each other, were Clare Sims, Paul Kemp and Nick Preece at around the 2 hour 37 mark, then followed Maria Miles, Anthony Evans and Ann Pritchard.

Great running by all in what proved to be very tough conditions on an interesting and scenic course, and big congratulations to Jan, Brian and Laura for winning their respective races.

Midland Counties Cross Country Championships - Newbold Comyn, Leamington Saturday 26th January, 2019

Thirteen intrepid WVRs (9 lads and 4 ladies) made their way to Leamington last Saturday to take part in a classic event, the Midland Counties cross country championships. It is more years than I can remember since we had a mens and ladies team taking part in this high class competition.

The journey was uneventful (with only one toilet stop!) and on arrival we proceeded to put up the club gazebo to provide some shelter from the anticipated rain. The weights were placed on the gazebo legs, as it was already starting to get a bit windy. Boosty and I then went back to the minibus to bring kit bags etc , while Laura and co. collected the numbers. On returning to the club tent area, I politely asked who had moved the gazebo. There was a not so polite reply! In the 5 minutes that we were away, there had been a freak gust of wind, which had lifted the gazebo off the ground (weights and all) and it had performed 2 cartwheels before settling in its new location. We decided to lower the gazebo legs to reduce the height, which would still give us shelter for our kit. Unfortunately only Boosty and Jodie were able to stand in the “mini tent”

Drama over, the other runners started to arrive and the ladies got ready for their race. The course was fairly straightforward, being 2 laps of the common and adjacent redundant golf course. The addition of the golf course made for a much more interesting course than I remember at this location ( 20 years ago!), with the undulations making for a challenging but fast course of around 8k in length. On the first lap, Laura had made a steady start and was soon followed by Jodie, who always finishes strongly in cross country races, Jane was not far behind, with Cath completing the team just behind her. On the second lap, Laura began to tire, but still held her position well to come home in 57th place, with Jodie catching every step of the way down the finishing straight, only one place back. Jane was next in 122nd and Cath followed in 136th. The standard at the sharp end was very high, with first runner home under 30 minutes, but all of our ladies ran really well, all achieving very respectable finishes in a field of 263. A special mention for Cath Watkins, who stepped in at the last minute to make sure that we had a team, resulting in a 12th place out of 33 complete teams. For a club of our size, this was a truly outstanding performance, which put many bigger clubs to shame. Well done girls!

About an hour later, it was the lads turn. Three laps and 12k this time. Also the largest field of the day with over 400 starters. On the first lap, Steven was first WVR and then a gap to Peter Nugent and Richard running together. Lea wasn’t far behind and Peter Flynn, running strongly came next. A smiling and relaxed David Klotz was 6th counter, backed up by consistent Ward Linney, then Boosty and Lewis, running, I believe, only his second cross country for the club. Positions were unchanged on the second lap, with Steven looking strong and Richard tracking Peter Nugent, every step of the way. Lea was beginning to suffer, with Peter Flynn impassive and gaining ground. Dave, still smiling was still the last counter for the team. Only Boosty looked like he really wasn’t enjoying the day! As the ladies gathered at the finish to cheer the lads in, we were just in time to see the winner sprint home, comfortably clear, in an incredible 38.20.

First home was, as expected Steven in 104th place, having a much better run compared with his recent performances. Some 2 minutes later, Peter appeared down the finishing straight, but was passed by Richard, who had followed him for almost the whole race. Nice one Rich! Peter, you need to work on your sprint finish! There was a little wait before Peter Flynn arrived, having passed Lea in the finishing straight. Only 1 second separated these two. We didn’t have to wait too long for Dave to close in the team. Ward was close behind, looking like he could do at least another two laps! Coming in just over the hour mark was a very tired looking Boosty, with Lewis, still running strongly, only about 100m behind. The mens team also did exceptionally well, finishing 18th out of 33 complete team. It is worth noting that one of our larger neighbours, Cheltenham Harriers, could not field a complete team, so this was all the more impressive by our boys.

I have been to many of these championships as a competitor, but have never enjoyed one more than this and it was a privilege to be chauffeur and support to such a great bunch of athletes. This augurs very well for the future of Wye Valley Runners as a truly competitive running club. 4 teams next year?

Report by Martin Flowers

Full WVR results:

WVR Results.JPG
All team.jpg
Ladies Team (L to R) - Laura Tootell, Jodie Newell, Cath Watkins (hiding) and Jane Hayde. Also Naomi Prosser - WVR for the day!

Ladies Team (L to R) - Laura Tootell, Jodie Newell, Cath Watkins (hiding) and Jane Hayde. Also Naomi Prosser - WVR for the day!

Ist WVR lady Laura Tootell

Ist WVR lady Laura Tootell

Second WVR lady Jodie Newell

Second WVR lady Jodie Newell

First WVR man Steven Flowers

First WVR man Steven Flowers

Wye Valley Runners Invade the Welsh Hills

A large contingent of Wye Valley Runners crossed the border at the weekend to race in the Welsh hills.

 Elan Valley 10 Mile Race

A 12 strong team headed to Rhayader to take part in the Elan Valley 10 mile race. It's a tough, undulating course on quiet country lanes and the runners efforts were rewarded by the stunning scenery. The sun even made an appearance on the drive there, and stayed for the day.

Richard Williams continues to have a strong first year as a Wye Valley Runner finishing in an impressive 5th place overall. Next across the line for the club was Ryan Chidlow then Tony Champkin, Lara Seal, James Vidler, Lynne Compton, Malcolm Edwards, Emily Davies, Brian Symonds, Becky Humphries, Sian Champkin and Robert Vidler. Jan Edwards was also in attendance as chief supporter and principal photographer.

A good turn out and some great results at a race that comes highly recommended by those that attended, so it looks like we might need to hire a bus next year.

The Beacons Ultra

 Meanwhile, further south in the Brecon Beacons, I was taking part in the Beacons Ultra. This is a 46 mile race starting and finishing in Talybont on Usk and takes in 2 laps of the Beacons. Simon Oliver was supposed to be joining me for this one but unfortunately injury prevented him from doing this one. 46 miles isn't the sort of distance to attempt while injured, so he made the wise choice and hopefully will be back fitter and stronger for next year's event.

The loop covers a mixture of terrain including canal path, forest track, open fell side and the roman road pass over the mountains. The long climb up Tor y Foel proved to be the toughest section, especially on the 2nd lap when I had 27 miles in my legs. I have to admit that it broke me a bit, but I managed to keep plodding on and eventually found my 2nd wind. I was again beginning to flag at the 40 mile mark but the long descent from the top of the roman road and a large lump of cake (Ultras are basically picnics with a bit of running thrown in!) at the final checkpoint was enough to get my legs turning over at a more respectable pace all the way to the finish.

I finished in 8 hours 49, a few minutes slower than the year before, but nicely within the 9 hour target I set myself, pretty much running from sunrise to sunset on what turned out, after a misty start, to be a stunning sunny autumn day.

This is a well run event that gets bigger every year, attracts a strong field and is also suitable for those attempting their first ultramarathon. For those that think that 46 miles is a silly distance to run, there is also a marathon distance race on offer over similar terrain.


WVR at the Elan Valley 10 Mile Race

WVR at the Elan Valley 10 Mile Race

WVR at the Elan Valley 10 Mile Race

WVR at the Elan Valley 10 Mile Race

The mist clearing on the Roman Road climb during the Beacons Ultra

The mist clearing on the Roman Road climb during the Beacons Ultra

Happy to be at the finish of the Beacons Ultra

Happy to be at the finish of the Beacons Ultra

Dublin Marathon

It was a very fresh Sunday morning where 2 Wye Valley Runners joined in the second biggest marathon in the UK and Ireland with over 20000 participants. To say it was fresh might be an understatement as experienced runners were wearing there free hats and keeping on extra layers right up until the last second when cheap discard able layers would be thrown to the side where spectators look like they are under attack.

For me i could only find one problem with this marathon, the start was complete chaos. They split the race downs into waves but after that it was a free for all. You had 5000 runners in a free for all and not joining the start line in respective to the pace they want to run, which even lead to some runners running outside the course trying to find space and then attempting to jump a hedge once they realised there mistake.

After a couple of miles the race settled down and it led you out of the town through an massive park with long straight roads which cut straight through. Even in this remote part of the race the support was fantastic with crowds lining the streets almost the entire 26.2 miles.

I wouldnt say its the most scenic if routes as this stayed fairly residential but the walls of noise was better motivation than a breathtaking backdrop. This is the flattest marathon i have with a 700 feet of climbing, but none of these were severe climbs and if you tackled the hills properly and relaxed coming down the other side they barely even registered as an inconvenience.

The last 5k felt like you were running into a headwind, which may been the effect of running over 23 miles or an actual headwind, but at this point you just hit a wall of noise and were spurred on by the shouting, giving every last bit of effort and leaving it all out there.

I was delighted to get my times back on track and after a poor start i ran 2:49:04 and finished 236th, Cath managed to keep her times tumbling with another pb 3:40:11.

My overall verdict would be if you cant get in London this is a great 2nd choice, it might lack the iconic sights of London but the atmosphere and goody bags start to make amends capped of by copious amounts of Guiness make it a no brainer for your diaries.

Loch Rannoch Half Marathon - Sunday 14th October 2018

Siân & Tony ran the Loch Rannoch Half Marathon
The course was flooded the night before the race, they had to change the course over night as parts of the course were under water.
The new course was very undulating but very scenic along the shores of Loch Rannoch.
It was a lovely Sunny ☀️ cool day which made perfect running conditions.
Siân finishing in 1hr 59mins getting her best time this year & a brilliant sub 2hrs
Tony finishing in 1hr 38mins also getting this years best time.

Race report courtesy of Tony Champken

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Cardiff half marathon - Sunday 7th September 2018

Its the second biggest half marathon after the Great North Run.The weather was cool at first but the sun emerged and it was perfect conditions.There were big crowds all the way round and a fantastic atmosphere.
We had a good Wye Valley turnout but it was tricky getting everyone together for photos.Our first boy home was Steve Flowers, with Peter Nugent not too far behind and Paul Davies (AKA Dad) was 3rd! Clare Sims was our first girl across the line and Cath Watkins next,with Lucy Mason close on her heels, first time at Cardiff for Lucy.
Brian Symonds won his age category again, by a very wide margin.
Thanks to Jason Smith for his support on the day and the Nugent family too.Good to see Lucy Smith competing again !
The times of our runners and some associated athletes are as follows :

Steve Flowers 1:20:11

Peter Nugent 1:29:05

Paul Davies 1:33:09

Clare Sims 1:34:06

Shaun Hoyes 1:40:27

Cath Watkins 1:41:37

Lucy Mason 1:44:00

Paddy Nugent 1:44:14

James Vidler 1:45:04

Jan Edwards 1:51:23
Ann Pritchard 1:53:07
Brian Symonds 1:54:25
Debi Clifford 1:58:45
Lucy Smith 2:06:25
Hollie Francis 2:06:31
Robert Vidler 2:20:53
Chris Walden 2:43:31

Well done all !

Race report courtesy of Jan Edwards

Cheltenham half marathon - Sunday 30th September 2018

Tony & Siân ran the Cheltenham Half Marathon, on a cool bright day starting and finishing at the racecourse. The race was well supported by the locals all the way round. 
Siân finished in a great 2:00:00 just missing by 1 sec for under 2hrs. !!!😱
Tony finished in 1:39:01 obtaining an Elite time for the over 60s Which Qualifies for a free place next year. 

Report courtesy of Tony Champken


Lake Vyrnwy half marathon - Sunday 9th September 2018

Jane Hayde & I drove the long journey up to Lake Vyrnwy on the 9th Sept to do the half marathon. We were persuaded to do this one on account of it being flat, unlike most of our local races!
After completing the Worcester half back in May in the boiling hot sunshine, I was hoping for better weather conditions as the heat slowed me down & I didn't achieve the time the time I wanted. We left Hereford in the sunshine & as we drove nearer, the clouds built & much to our delight it began raining!
I personally thoroughly enjoyed the flat course & for once, not having to dread what kind of incline was potentially waiting around the corner! I'm sure the view of the Lake was gorgeous if you could see it through the cloud & drizzle!
It was well organised & well supported & you were given a t shirt & a medal at the end. I would recommend it to anyone in pursuit of a PB, if you don't mind the travelling. 
I was thrilled to have achieved a PB of 1 hour 37 mins, knocking a minute off my previous time 2 years ago!

Report courtesy of Becki Ansfield

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Salomon Glen Coe Skyline - Sunday 16th September

On 16th September 200 runners assembled in Kinlochleven to race the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline. The field comprised some of the best mountain runners from around the world, including Killian Journet, fresh from winning his World Skyrunning title the day before.

The field also included two Wye Valley Runners, Dan Lewis and myself (Ward Linney) who had spent a good chunk of the summer running up and down the biggest hills we could find, to prepare for what would be 21 miles of mountainous terrain, including 9000 feet of ascent and sections of moderate rock climbing all thrown into the mix.

As we stood in the start pen, slightly awed by the company, the rain lashed down and the wind howled to properly introduce us to the Scottish Highland weather. A lone piper belted out Flower of Scotland to add to the already buzzing atmosphere, the starting hooter was sounded and we were off.

The first 6 miles were relatively straight forward as they followed the large West Highland Way path and they lead us to the most difficult section of the race. Curved Ridge, a grade 3 scramble or moderate rock climb, which took us from the base of Glen Coe to the high point of the day on the summit of Buachaille Etive Mor at 1022 meters.

We then had to battle our way through the 50-60 mph winds that were whipping over the summits for a couple of miles before dropping back down to the relative shelter of the valley.

We didn’t stay low for long though as after wading through the river there was another steep climb up the 2nd mountain of the day, the 925 meter peak of Buachaille Etive Beag. This time up slippery, muddy terrain rather than rock. Dan was well ahead of me by this point and Killian had already finished!!

The next valley crossing included a feed station so the final climb of the day was well fuelled by cheese sandwiches though no less painful on my now cramping legs. The Herefordshire winter cross country league prepared us well for the final descent as it included a couple of miles along a wet, muddy and very slippery ridge before getting back onto the West Highland Way path and a fast few miles back to the finish.

Dan was the first Wye Valley Runner home in 05:34:05 and I came in at 06:38:49. We were both happy with our races and glad to be a part of an amazing international event.

To show you what we were up against, Killian Journet won overall with a time of 03:37:15. Incredible!


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Worcester 10k - Sunday 16th September 2018

A select few WVRs ventured over to Worcester to take on this City centre race which is rapidly gaining in popularity. First to finish was Rob Gilligan in 45.51, with Lynne Compton following in 48.23. Becky Humphries completed the WVR results in 51.14.

There is also a half marathon as part of the days racing, but I couldn't see any WVR finishers.

Race report courtesy of Martin Flowers