UKA Cross Challenge

The latest round of the winter season's Cross Challenge takes place at Liverpool this coming Saturday 28 November. The significence of this fixture is that Les Croupiers Ladies will be represented for the first time. This is the reward for winning the Welsh Cross Country Title last winter at Builth Wells - for only the third time in the club's history, and the first time for 10 years.

The race at Liverpool is highly significant as it incorporates the trial for the European XC Championships, and Les Croupiers will be represented by Katie Beecher, Libby O'Duffy, Jen Salter and Liz Ashton. 


London Calling - Club Place Draw

The London Marathon may still be five months away (Sunday 25 April 2010) but the ballot for club places is upon on us once again. For those of you unaware of this procedure, this is the number of entries allocated by the London Marathon to clubs dependent upon membership. This year we have been allocated FOUR places and the draw will be made on club night at Llandaff RC this Thursday 26 November at 9.00 PM - immediately following Club Announcements. Those of you who have not yet paid your 2009 club subscriptions need not apply. You need to supply Club Secretary Derek Wiliams with your rejection slip (i.e. proof that you do intend to run) and you need to be an active member - by which we mean competing regularly as we would like to see a return on our investment.

This draw has been vastly oversubscribed in recent years, so if the above criteria applies to you - make sure you get your name in the hat - you've got to be in it to win it!


Libby and Sandy lead Welsh Goldrush

Wild, wet and windy weather greeted the athletes for the 22nd Annual British & Irish Masters Cross Country International at Perry Park, Birmingham last Saturday (14 November). This fixture is very much the highlight of the pre-Christmas Masters Cross Country scene, and the standard is invariably very high. The previous post detailed the Croupiers representation for the weekend.

The ladies race was first, and encountered the worst weather, with heavy horizontal rain at times. Libby O'Duffy had a sensational race, placing 7th in her age category (W40), and was the all-important third scorer for Wales behind Marilyn Kitching (3rd ) and Ann Thomas (4th). Wales thereby had an aggregate score of 14 points, one better than the Republic of Ireland and five better than England.

The enormity of this achievement can perhaps best be highlighted by the fact than this was only Wales's fifth ladies team win in 22 years, and the first in this particularly competitive age category. 

But more good news for Wales was to follow. Sandy Johnston represented Wales in the M60 section as a late replacement. This was due to him having to miss the first Gwent League due to work commitments, but he took the opportunity with both hands, winning the individual bronze medal, and finishing only 12 seconds behind the individual age category winner, Welsh team mate Griff Owens. These two, along with the ever-reliable Dic Evans (8th), closed in on 12 points, a decisive victory over the English 22 points. Again - history reveals the scale of the achievement - as it is not only Wales's 4th male team win ever, but the first since 1989 (when the event was only contested by three nations).

Full results for Croups athletes were as follows:

W40: 7 Libby O'Duffy 25:48

W55: 11 Edwina Turner 31:54

W60: 6 Ann James 32:24

M40: 23 Phil Cook 31:34; 28 Lee Aherne 34:34 (finished in some distress with achilles problems)

M55: 11 Mick Tabor 34:04

M60: 3 Sandy Johnston 35:00

Open Race: Ladies: 8 Maria Zubizarreta 28:28; 16 Julie Scholey 32:37; 20 Gill Murphy 37:03.

Open Race: Men: 28 Rob Jones 33:56

NB All ladies races above were 3 laps (described as 6 km, but probably more)

    All mens race above were 4 laps  (described as 8 km, but probably more)

Well done to all concerned for the ultimate honour of representing their country, but special congratulations to Libby and Sandy on superb performances.


On International Duty

Saturday 14th November sees the annual Home Countries Masters Cross Country International, with England being the host nation this year - the venue being Birmingham. As ever, Les Croupiers will be very well represented, with the following representing Wales:

Libby O'Duffy (F40); Edwina Turner (F55); Ann James (F60); Lee Aherne (M40); Phil Cook (M40); Mick Tabor (M55) and Sandy Johnston (M60).

In addition, the following are named reserves: Julie Scholey (F50); Jane Coker (F50); Sue Neal (F55); Gill Murphy (F55); Richie Bullen (M45); Rob Jones (M50); Mick McGeoch (M50) and Rob Evans (M55).

Congratulations and good luck to everyone involved. Selections were made in the light of the initial Gwent League and North Wales XC league fixtures, with additional reference to relevant road performances like the Cardiff and Swansea Bay 10 km events.



Cardiff Half Marathon - Welsh Championship Results

As can be seen on the results page, we had an enormous presence at this event, and the Welsh Half Marathon Championship results, both on an individual and team basis, reflect the quality of our performances.


Lady 35: Jen Salter (Gold)

Lady 40: Libby O'Duffy (Silver)

Lady 45: Judi Rhys (Silver)

Lady 55: Gill Murphy (Gold) and Annie Conroy (Bronze)

Lady 60: Clare Johnson (Gold)

Men 40: Lee Aherne (Gold)

Men 45: Martin Williams (Bronze)

Men 50: Dave Coles (Gold) and Mick McGeoch (Silver)

Men 55: Mike Murphy (Gold)

Men 70: Erroll Alexis (Gold)


Senior Ladies: Silver (Katie Beecher, Libby O'Duffy, Jen Salter)

                       Bronze (Helen Jessop, Liz Ashton, Judi Rhys)

Vet Ladies: Gold (Libby O'Duffy, Jen Salter, Judi Rhys)

Senior Men: Silver: (Lee Aherne, Stuart Crees, Nick Dukes, Martin Williams)

Vet Men: Gold: (Lee Aherne, Martin Williams, Dave Coles)

Many congratulations to all concerned, and a special thanks to Derek Williams in his capacity of Race Referee and for producing the above information (which also appears on Welsh Athletics website)