On Sunday, two Croft members went south instead of west to the Breiddens. ‘Costa del Bridgend’ was our destination and through the mist of the Beacons into the valleys a beautiful sunny day came out. Bridgend was the start of the winter x-country season for the Gwent League, attracting runners from the South, East (including Radnorshire) and West Wales’ clubs, as well as Bristol, Bath, Taunton etc. All ages race and a fair number turn up with the main race field looking a bit like a carnival with tents from each region and from the larger clubs.
The course was quite flat, it followed a sequence of circuits over rugby, football and boggy fields beside the Ogmore river, with a twist of hill when slipping through a gap in a stone wall. The men’s race repeats the trip thrice (10km), for women its twice (6km). Due to the un-seasonal warmth, ground conditions were very dry and even the boggy bits failed to hinder, just a brisk wind along a river section caused a bit of bother.
I find you do need to get a look at the start line in these races as they get a bit crowded with 171 women runners in the senior lady’s race and 291 in the senior men’s. I got my start position and tried to keep place throughout the race finishing 30th in a time of 27.41 and 2nd FV45, Mark got caught up at the start of his race within the stampede and has a few spike wounds to prove it, but went on to put in a solid performance coming in at 112th in a time of 39.30 (a good minute and half quicker than last year).