SPIRIT of Monmouth Running Club's Vicky Roberts travelled to Pembrey to take on her first ever Ultra marathon at the weekend.

The St Illtyds Ultra – a 50k/32-mile trail race – went across multi-terrain and spectacular scenery, including canals, woodlands, hills, rivers, bluebells, and old ruins, with views over Port Burry harbour.

Vicky said she felt ready after recently taking on the London Marathon, but also nervous knowing it wasn't going to be quite as flat.

Starting at the Burry Port Yacht Club, she tagged alongside a male runner and ended up running the whole distance together with him, supporting each other all the way.

Rob was a local and knew the course which gave Vicky every confidence to get to the finish line.

Runners climbed nearly 4,000ft of elevation and were lucky to have the weather on their side.

Vicky finished the ultra in 6 hours seven minutes, coming across the finishing line as fastest woman and seventh overall out of some 70 runners.

And presented with the 1st female Welsh Coast Runners trophy, a tired but delighted Vicky said: "It's a race I will never forget, but I've got the t-shirt, I've got the medal and I've got the trophy, so I think I'll stick to slightly shorter races in the future."

Bank Holiday Monday also saw the return of the popular Devauden Races, with 2.4km, 5km and 10km runs plus a 60m 'Dash' for the under 6s, which was a regular fixture before the pandemic.

And they're off – the start of one of the Devauden Races.
And they're off – the start of one of the Devauden Races. Photo: SARA. (SARA)

This year's event was organised by the Severn Area Rescue Association, which has a lifeboat station at nearby Beachley, as a fundraising event, in partnership with the Devauden Hood Memorial Hall Committee.

The rain held off although that did not prevent the infamous rocky gully being muddy and slippery

Once the 136 runners were up that (and before they had to descend it to get back to the hall) they enjoyed a tour of Chepstow Park Woods, where the bluebells were out in force.

The headline 10k race was won by Tim Bachelor of Chepstow Harriers in 39mins 10secs, followed by Lewis Muno in 39.47 and Nick Haslam in 43.41.

Katie Waller was fastest woman in 44.12, followed by Laura Davies in 46.56 and Kate Oxenham in 47.36.

U14 Lily Siena showed the boys the way home, winning the 5k in 24.03, two seconds ahead of Sebastian Lyne, followed by Ross Walker in 24.45 and teenager Albert Howe another two seconds back.

U13 Bella Smith was second female in 27.09, with Paige Douglas third in 29.51.

Elliott Hanratty headed the 2.4km race in 9.10 by just two seconds from Dougie Wallwork, with Sebby Carwardine third in 10.04.

Ivy Vaughan, an U10, was quickest female in 10.45, followed by U11s Ruby Liddingyon and Heidi Crab both in 11.47.

After the races, the 1st Shirenewton Scouts provided refreshments back at the hall.

Race Director Brian Oxenham said: “We are very grateful to the Hall Committee for the opportunity and will have made around £1,000 this year to support our search and rescue work.

"We were delighted that the race went well, and this lovely event is back on the map.

"We fully intend to put the event on again next year, provisionally on May Bank Holiday Monday again.”

Meanwhile, two MonRoss Trailblazer runners took part in the 9.9-mile Cwmdu Fell Race in the Black Mountains, climbing more than 3,000ft in the process.

In a field of 37, Rich Foster finished eighth overall and first in his over-45 class in 1.34.33, while Martin Woodhead finished 23rd and second in his over-60 category in 2.01.52.

Some of the runners enjoyed a bluebell social run at Staunton last week
Some of the runners enjoyed a bluebell social run at Staunton last week. Photo: MonRoss Trailblazers (MonRoss Trailblazers )

MonRoss, Spirit of Monmouth and Forest of Dean Athletic Club based at Five Acres are also linking up over the summer for a series of weekly social runs.

A spokesperson said: "Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting out, these runs are designed to be inclusive, fun, and a great way to explore the beautiful Forest of Dean area.

"These social runs start at 6.30 pm unless otherwise agreed upon and typically cover 5-7 miles.

"We offer at least two different paced groups to accommodate various abilities, ensuring everyone can participate comfortably.”

For more information on routes, dates and meeting points, see the clubs' social media and websites.