After the Red Kite Summer Series kicked off with a record number of runners at Nant yr Arian, the follow up at the historical Ras yr Hafod trail race on 3 May was just as successful.
Ras yr Hafod was first held in 2010 by mid Wales running legend and coach Dic Evans, and has been a firm favourite with local trail runners ever since. The two lap hilly course has varied slightly over the years, but has always taken in the scenic footpaths of the beautiful Hafod estate near Pontrhydygroes.
After a big turnout at Nant yr Arian a fortnight earlier, there was a similar record number of runners at the Hafod with a programme of various junior races through to senior during the evening.
Winner of the opening year 3 and 4 one mile race was Sarn Helen junior, Ellis Herrick, repeating his victory in the series opener, with Erin Jones first amongst the girls. The year 5 and 6 race was won by another promising Sarn Helen runner, Leighton Davies, with Paige-Lily Williams first of the girls. Eva Davies of Carmarthen Harriers dominated the year 7-9 race and was the outright winner with Ben Hall of Sarn Helen second and leading home the boys.
The Seniors race once more saw a fine turnout from local clubs including Aberystwyth AC, Sarn Helen, Aberystwyth University Harriers, Builth and District RC, Meirionnydd and Maldwyn Harriers.
The Aberystwyth Uni Harriers were certainly out in force and it was two of their runners, who have been training as part of the Dic Evans training group in Aber, that battled it out for the win. James Price, who was fifth at the opening race of the series, and clubmate Joe Robson were neck and neck as they completed their first lap. They had taken the top two steps of the podium at the Red Kite Challenge 10k a few days earlier, and it was once more Robson that proved the stronger, taking the win in 36:13 with Price finishing in 36:37.
Former Olympian, Andres Jones, was third making a rare appearance in a time of 37:14.
The ladies race was a repeat of Nant yr Arian with Ffion Price of Builth and District (38:16) taking the win and adding another victory to her Welsh Trail Running Championship crown won at the Red Kite Challenge half marathon a few days earlier.
It was indeed a 1, 2, 3 for Builth and District ladies with Kate Jones taking second place in 44:26 closely followed by Joanne Rees in 44:38, who was also first in the F45 category.
Other category wins were claimed by Dylan Davies (M35) and Andres Jones (M45) both of Sarn Helen, Mel Hopkins (M55) and Clive Williams (M65) both of Aberystwyth AC, Dee Jolly of Sarn Helen (F35), Gunvor Troelsen of Builth and District RC (F55) and Chris Thomas also of Builth in the F65 category.
“It was another fantastic evening at the Hafod, and we’re so thankful to everyone for coming out to support the race” said Race Director Owain Schiavone.
“It’s been another tough ask for us to put on this race with Dic still in hospital recovering from his stroke, but he was really pleased to hear how well it went at the Hafod and we’re proud to have kept this great little race going without him this year. Hopefully he’ll be back next year as I know this race is close to his heart.
“Again, we’d like to thank the local clubs for their support, and also to our friends at the Hafod Estate National Trust, to the Hafod Church committee and to Raynet for all their help.
The third race of the Red Kite trail Summer Series will be hosted by Sarn Helen running club will take place at Long Wood in Lampeter on Wednesday 21 June. Keep an eye on the Red Kite website for further details – http://redkite-barcudcoch.org.uk/
Ras yr Hafod 2023 – Full Results