MORE than 200 runners braved wind, rain and mud at Humble by Nature near Penalt, as the Spirit of Monmouth club hosted the second Gwent Leisure Centre League match on Sunday.

Torrential rain had left the fields soggy, with standing water in places, which soon turned into sporadic patches of deep mud as 214 runners from nine clubs waded through the 4.5-mile course.

Monmouth School for Boys maths teacher Huw Evans, representing Parc Bryn Bach, excelled in the difficult conditions to take second overall and the over-50 class.

Club mate Jon Like crossed first in 28.24, with Huw 27 seconds back, followed by third Parc runner Sam Jones in 29.58.

Jeff Wharlock of Lliswerry Runners was fourth and fastest over-55 in 30.16, followed by Laurence Humphreys of Fairwater Runners in 30.53 and Tim Batchelor of Chepstow Harriers in 31.05.

Harriers’ Jonathan Carter was second fastest over-50 in 12th in 32.42, with club mate Tim Marshall taking the over-60 class crossing in 15th overall in 33.05 just seven seconds and one place ahead of Chepstow’s Dickie Hudd, who was third in the over-50 class.

Fastest woman was Liswerry’s Antoinette Dumayne, who made it home in 32.37 in 11th overall, followed by clubmate Liz Dimond in 33.21.

Harriers’ Sarah Bell took the over-45 women’s class in 35.13, while Spirit’s Katie Adams was the over-40 winner in 35.28.

Chepstow’s Rob Hook was third fastest over-55 man in 36.45, pipping club mate Cherry Fowler by just one second, who was third in the over-50 women’s class.

Just six seconds further back, Harriers’ Niki Morgan landed the over-55 women’s crown in 36.52, while club mate Neil Grant was fastest over-70 man in 41.00 and fellow Chepstow runners Jane Roscoe and Louise Crockett were second and third quickest over-55 women in 43.16 and 44.41 respectively.

Harriers’ Stephen Owen was also second fastest over-70 man in 45.22, with club mates Barbara Maddison third fastest over-60 woman in 48.35 and Bridget Davies second fastest over-70 woman in 53.06.

An event spokesperson said: “Spirit of Monmouth Running Club played host to the second GLCL cross-country league race of the season on Sunday, using a fantastic Penallt course, again by kind permission of Tim and Sarah at Humble by Nature.

“It really was challenging but, deep down, it was great fun – with plenty of smiles (at the end!) and a great hubbub in the Pig & Apple where many warmed up with coffee and cake.”

Spirit finished fourth in the women’s team event and had 15 runners in all in action, including Lucy Macdonald 37.36, Brian Evans 37.39, Mat Styles 37.52, Sarah Baker 38.40, Emily Harrison 39.04, Vicky Roberts 39.46, Martin Blakebrough 39.57 and James Exton 41.34.

Other Harriers times included Doug Briggs 34.18, Matthew Lawson 34.41, Charlie Bendall 34.51, Andy Hughes 34.53, Jamie Goddard 36.04, Rob Hook 36.45, Ross Howells 37.17, Lisa Jeffrey 38.10, Rob Beves 39.15, Neil Smith 39.43, Ceri Richards 40.20 and Richard Newhouse 40.26.

Full results at GLCL Information Group’s Facebook page.