Cape Wrath Challenge

Meirionnydd Running Club athlete, Graeme Stringer, in action at the recent Cape Wrath Challenge
Photo by Pete Marshall

Breaking new ground recently were a team of athletes affiliated to Meirionnydd Running Club who headed to the town of Durness in the county of Sutherland, the Scottish town being the most North Westerly inhabited locality on the British mainland.

The purpose of the trip to the Highlands was to partake in the Cape Wrath Challenge, a series of races held in and around the area which, in turn, attracted athletes from throughout Britain eager to take on the athletic challenge combined with a week of Scottish hospitality.

The week started with a half marathon road race which also incorporated a 10k event. Taking on the half marathon and finishing in exactly the same time of 1hr 45.27mins were the Ganllwyd based couple of Andrea & Frankie Vaughan. A trio of athletes took on the 10k challenge and leading home the Meirionnydd contingent was Nich Bradley of Dolgellau in 47.56mins, with Graeme Stringer of Llanelltyd and Sioned Jones of Brithdir following in respective times of 49.34mins & 55.35mins.

The following day, the same five athletes lined up at the start of the 5.5 mile Sangomore Loch Meadaidh Hill Run. On this occasion, it was left to Frankie Vaughan to lead home the Meirionnydd 'clan' in 39.32mins, followed by Nich Bradley in 40.48mins, Andrea Vaughan in 41.38mins, Graeme Stringer in 44.02mins & Sioned Jones in 49.28mins.

The challenge continued with the Year of Culture Round Durness Event, athletes choosing between an 8.4 mile course or the slightly shorter 6 mile distance. Choosing the former were Frankie Vaughan, home in 1hr 06.24mins, Andrea Vaughan home in 1hr 08.28mins & Sioned Jones home in 1hr 22.43mins. Choosing the latter was Graeme Stringer, covering the distance in 49.02mins.

The week closed with the Cape Wrath Marathon, the 26.1 mile event being completed either individually or in relay teams of 2 or 3 competitors. The Vaughan's of Ganllwyd ran in the 2 person relay event, with Andrea Vaughan running the slightly shorter 1st leg in 1hr 32.07mins with Frankie Vaughan completing the remainder in 2hrs 00.39mins. Their combined time of 3hrs 32.46mins gave them the added bonus of runners up spot in the 2 person event. In the 3 person event, Sioned Jones gave the Meirionnydd trio a solid start, completing her section in 1hr 55.32mins, Graeme Stringer ran the middle leg in 1hr 42.31mins whilst Sara Noble made her Meirionnydd Running Club competitve debut as she completed the final leg in an excellent time of 46.47mins, to give an overall finishing time for the 3 person team of 4hrs 24.50mins.

The Meirionnydd contingent returned home vowing to return to the Highlands again in 2010 for what was a most enjoyable week.

Closer to home, Dewi Roberts of Blaenau Ffestiniog finished in an outstanding 4th place at the inaugural Abersoch 10k event. His finishing time of 38.56mins also gave the Bro Dysynni athlete the added satisfaction of victory in the Male Over-40 category.

Finally, a trio of locally affiliated athletes were recently in action in Oswestry at the popular Park Hall 5k Road Race. Safely back from Scotland was Frankie Vaughan, home on this occasion in 21.16mins, whilst the Bro Dysynni duo of Barrie Jackson of Bala & Malcolm Taylor of Criccieth claimed 2nd and 3rd spot in the Male Over-65 category with respective finishing times of 24.45mins & 27.52mins.