WELSH CHAMPIONSHIPS 2021: Local boy takes gold.

Report by Ian Pierce

A small, but perfectly formed, contingent from Sarum travelled to the head of the Welsh Valleys to take part in the 2021 Welsh Championships. The two day event, held on Merthyr Common, originally scheduled, had – like the Tokyo Olympic Games -been considerably delayed from 2020 due to Covid-19, and bad weather.  The event was spared the worst of the forecast heavy showers which made for two enjoyable days of running.

The middle distance competition was run on the southern part of Merthyr Common on Saturday. SARUM’s David Battison (M75) put in an exceptional performance by competing in the M70 class and winning that course. SARUM’s Dave Mullins (M70) also put in a strong challenge, coming in third.

Day 2 of the weekend was the long distance championship and was run on the northern part of Merthyr Common, an open moor with fine contour details and an abundance of pits and depressions. Much of the area was covered in heather that tended to blur the features and which called for care with both compass and pacing. This resulted in courses that presented a good navigational challenge that caught many of us out.

SARUM’s Peter Hambleton (M75) had an excellent run coming third overall on M75, but first Welshman home, beating his nearest rival by about 6 minutes to become M75L Welsh Champion. Peter’s wife, Joan, also had an excellent run, coming just 38 seconds behind her class leader.  Unfortunately this would not have counted towards a medal; despite having Evans as her maiden name, Joan is English! Peter was pleased to have won on home territory, having been born just a few miles down the road in Merthyr Tydfil.

A version of this report appeared in the Salisbury Journal on16/09/2021