SPIRIT of Monmouth Running Club had eight members in action at the Newport Marathon Festival on Sunday, reports VICKY ROBERTS.

New member Sian Fielding joined Julie Gee and Julian Howe running the Newport 10k, which started and finished in the heart of the city on Usk Way.

Julian finished strongly in 44mins 08secs followed by Julie and Sian who raced together supporting each other, crossing in 67.03 for new PBs.

Brian Evans, Martin Blakebrough and Paul Simpson opted for the half-marathon, braving the cold wind with an early start.

Brian managed to finish as first Spirit in a great time of 1:33:55, with Martin just 22 seconds behind, crossing before Brian after starting slightly earlier for 1:34:17.

Paul wanted a sub-2 race and gained a much better result finishing in 1:54:12.

Two Spirits also ran the Newport Marathon – a 26.2-mile route devised by double Olympic marathon runner Steve Brace, taking in views of iconic landmarks, such as the city’s Transporter Bridge, historic city centre, the riverfront and International Sports Village, as well as the natural scenery and coastal wildlife of the Gwent Levels.

Rachel Waters had trained hard and was glad to see marathon day finally arrive, completing the course in 4:21:32.

Rachel Walters ran the marathon distance. Photo: Spirit of Monmouth RC
Rachel Walters ran the marathon distance. Photo: Spirit of Monmouth RC (Spirit of Monmouth RC)

She admitted she was pleased to complete the challenge, but some of the country lanes felt tough and never ending.

Elizabeth Sim also ran alongside her friend, who was wanting to finish her first marathon.

With Elizabeth's support and determination they pulled it off and managed to cross in 6:03:14, with big smiles on the line.

SoM were also seen out running the Bluebell Blunder on Sunday, a Wye Valley race at Bigsweir hosted by Rogue Runs and won by Tim Batchelor of Chepstow Harriers in 28.51, with Jane Faram of Southville RC fastest woman in sixth in 32.49.

Some of the Spirit runners who took on the Bluebell Blunder
Some of the Spirit runners who took on the Bluebell Blunder. Photo: Spirit of Monmouth RC (Spirit of Monmouth RC)

Sarah Heath, Claire Finley, James Exton, Maixent Gaillard, Jeremy Creasey, Andy Clifton and Nick Sloper joined the 123-strong field running sections of Offa's Dyke and trails alongside the beautiful bluebells.

Part of Spirit's club championship, with points up for grabs, Sarah finsihedin 36:45 for 17th, first over-60 woman and fifth female.

Claire, recovering from the London Marathon, finished 23rd in 39:36 for second-over 40 woman.

James was hot on Claire's heels and crossed seconds behind in 25th in 39:40.

MonRoss Trailblazers were also in action, Catherine Finlay finishing 27th overall and third over-40 woman in 40:55, Emma Davies 40th overall and second over-50 woman in 43:16, and Rosie Davies 57th overall and fastest junior woman in 45:58.

Spirit's Cathy Fletcher also ran the Clun Valley half-marathon, with just over 2000ft of elevation, heading through woodland, muddy tracks and trails.

Cathy felt good, but a rookie error following people in front who took the wrong path added an extra two miles!

"It's character building when it doesn't quite go the way you plan,” she admitted, but still knocked 20 minutes off her PB.

Renske Bouwens also took part in an off-road duathlon in Delamere Forest, bagging third in her age and fourth woman.