*Report by Don Hale. Photographs by Steve Jeffery and Tom Roberts.
North Wales Road Runner Carla Green led the way for her Welsh club during an exciting International virtual relay challenge last weekend with the prestigious Spanish outfit, Fondistes Penedes Running Club (FPRC), from Vilafranca, near Barcelona.
Carla was part of a mixed team of athletes, who each flew the flag for Wales during a unique and combined event that included competition both with, and against, their Spanish counterparts.
She played a starring individual role as a worthy member of the winning team, and was also the 1st Welsh runner to finish, in addition to being the 1st F45 cat winner, and the 3rd fastest female overall. And to top all that, Carla also recorded the 2nd best female age performance percentage.
This unique competition was organised by NWRRC chairman Kevin Slattery and Raimon Palau from FPRC. It was originally intended that a squad from this top overseas club would visit Llandudno this summer for a friendly exchange, and for some competitive races, but due to the recent pandemic, alternative arrangements had to be considered.
NWRRC club chairman Kevin Slattery (above) who also was a member of the winning team
Although these clubs are about 1,200 miles apart, and probably a mile apart in terms of winter temperatures, with just a few degrees above zero in Wales, compared to about 15 degrees in Spain, some twenty runners from each club ran a 5k leg on safe routes close to their own homes, whilst still subjected to Covid-19 restrictions.
The teams were compiled by officials from both clubs based on similar times over this agreed distance, and comprised of two members from each club competing as a mixed team of four.
Ages ranged from young men and women, to pensioners, with the results based on the overall finishing teams of each team, and their age performance percentages. FPRC entered six ladies, and fourteen men, whilst NWRRC had four ladies taking part, and sixteen male entrants.
Some of the North Wales team who competed with and against the Spanish running club
The Catalan club understandably entered a very strong team, and had seven of their athletes in the top-ten placings overall, and it was noted that all ten runners dipped under the 20-minute marker.
Despite this fierce competition, three NWRRC athletes had exceptional runs, with Jonathan Kettle, Richard Eccles, and Steve Bozier, the only available members, realistically able to challenge this elite pack.
Jonathan finished 3rd, with Richard 4th, and Steve 9th; but quite amazingly, and against such quality opposition, the small Welsh club recorded seven age-category wins, in addition to three second-place finishes, and one notable 3rd position!
For the Spanish club, their outstanding individual winner was Fran Paton who recorded an incredible time of just 16 mins 44 secs for his 5k leg, and he was less than a minute ahead of his colleague Iban Perez in 17.30, and Gabriel Herrera 5th in 18.30.
Fran Paton (above), the outstanding Spanish winner of the individual race against the Welsh club
Vicente Gill and Manuel Galvez were part of the winning relay team along with Carla Green and Kevin Slattery; and for the ladies, Maria Oloya was the 1st female runner, and 1st F45 cat winner (10th overall) in 19 mins 58 secs, with Luci Barrio 2nd female, and 1st F40 cat winner (16th overall) in 20.46, followed by Eva Sauleda 4th female, and 2nd F45 cat (26th overall) in 22.55.
Vicente Gill (above) and (below) Manuel Galvez - two Spanish members of the combined winning team with Carla Green and Kevin Slattery from NWRRC.
NWRRC official, runner, (member of winning team), and event organiser Kevin Slattery, paid tribute to FPRC, and was delighted by the results and response from this friendly encounter.
He said: ‘Team-9 won by just 5-seconds and had the best age-related performance.
‘And as there was to be a prize in each category, we thought it would be right to award prizes to the second quickest team, and the second best age-related performance team, which was Team-4.’
He praised Spanish club official Raimon Palau, who helped Kevin to sort out the teams, but explained that, unfortunately, due to illness, he was then unable to run.
Kevin added: ‘The main Fondistes’ race organiser was Joan Luque, who said they stage a September event with around 750 runners, and a 10k in February with up to 2,000 entrants. Joan also ran in the relay, and compiled all their team results.’
Joan Luque, a runner and the team organiser from the Fondistes Penedes Running Club
Plaudits were also deservedly given to John and Kay Hatton for working out all the overall team and age percentage results, and for their help on the day; together with hard-working, start and finish Marshall Liz Driscoll, as many club runners completed their relay legs, with essential social distancing, on Llandudno promenade last Saturday morning.
OVERALL TEAM RESULTS
The overall event involved ten-teams of four, and barely 5-minutes separated the first finishing team from the last, with age percentages ranging from 65.03% to 71.04%.
The competition was won by Team-9 in a total time of 1hr 26 mins 10 secs, and the team included Vicente Gill and Manuel Galvez from FPRC, plus Carla Green and Kevin Slattery from NWRRC. This team also obtained the best overall age-category result with 71.04%.
The overall event team winners finished just 5-seconds ahead of the 2nd placed TEAM-1, in 1-26-15. The team included Fran Paton and Quima Baena from FPRC, with Richard Eccles and Jim Michael representing NWRRC. They recorded a percentage of 70.81%.
TEAM-8 finished 3rd in 1-26-34: Thilo Schilebener and Luci Barrio represented the Spanish club, with Stuart Culverhouse and Kevin Higgins recording good times for the Welsh club.
1. Team 9: Time 1.26.10: Average team: 71.04%
Vicente Gil (M45. 20.09), Manuel Galvez (M45. 22.56), Carla Green (F45. 21.18), Kevin Slattery (M65. 21.47).
2. Team 1: Time 1.26.15: Average team: 70.81%
Fran Paton (M45. 16.44), Quima Baena (F50. 29.44), Richard Eccles (M50. 18.18), Jim Michael (SM. 21.29).
3. Team 8: Time 1.26.34: Average team: 69.18%
Thilo Schilebener (M50. 20.36), Luci Barrio (F40. 20.46), Stuart Culverhouse (M45. 20.36), Kevin Higgins (M55. 24.36).
4. Team 4: Time 1.27.02: Average team: 70.89%
Santi Hervas (M40. 18.45), Dioni Mansalve (F50. 24.18), Dave Spofforth (M35. 20.14), Kay Hatton (F55. 23.45).
5. Team 6: Time 1.27.38: Average team: 66.34%
Alex Pacheco (M40. 19.29), Cele Lopez (M60. 23.41), Richard Scamans (M45. 22.32), Ben Hudson (M45. 21.56).
6. Team 2: Time 1.27.51: Average team: 66.64%
Gabriel Herrara (M30. 18.23), M Jose Navarrete (F40. 27.50), Jonathan Kettle (M45. 17.58), Hannah Griffith (F45. 23.40).
7. Team 5: Time 1.27.52: Average team: 69.66%
David Bertran (M30. 19.09), Eva Sauleda (F45. 22.55), Steve Roberts (M55. 21.31), Don Hale (M65. 24.17).
8. Team 7: Time 1.28.34: Average team: 66.85%
Mari Olaya (F35. 19.58), Jaume Morato (M50. 22.36), Steven Poupart (M35. 21.47), Tony Gibson (M60. 23.52).
9. Team 10: Time 1.28.22: Average team: 68.64%
Jaume Bertram (M60. 20.59), Lluis Balague (M45. 22.56), Jon Doe (M45. 20.13), Pat Finney (M60. 24.14).
10. Team 3: Time 1.31.12: Average team: 65.03%
Iban Perez (M30. 17.30), Joan Luque (M55. 25.40), Steve Bozier (M40.19.55), Helen Hannam (F45. 28.07).
Kay Hatton with Hannah Griffith in the International relay challenge
*The NWRRC individual age category results included: Richard Eccles 1st M35, Dave Spofforth 1st M35, Jim Michael 1st Senior Men, Steve Roberts 1st M55, Kevin Slattery 1st M65, Carla Green 1st F45, Kay Hatton 1st F55. Steve Poupart was 2nd M35, Kevin Higgins 2nd M55, Don Hale 2nd M65, with Hannah Griffith 3rd F45 cat.
A big finish from Helen Hannam
Steve Roberts(above) battled hard against the elements on a freezing promenade at Llandudno
* Highest percentages: 1st - TEAM-9: 71.04%: 2nd - TEAM-4, 70.89%: 3rd -TEAM-1: 70.81%:
* The highest individual percentages included: TEAM-1, Fran Paton (FPRC) 84.73%, Team 1, Richard Eccles, NWRRC. 80.59%, and Team 2, Jonathan Kettle. NWRRC. 78.91%:
* Top male Spanish runners: (1st). Team 1. Fran Paton 16.44. 84.73%: (2nd). Team 3. Iban Perez 17.30. 74.91%: (3rd) Team 2. Gabriel Herrera 18.23. 71.13%
* Top male Welsh runners: (1st) Team 2. Jonathan Kettle 17.58, (2nd) Team 1. Richard Eccles 18.18, (3rd) Team 3. Steve Bozier 19.55:
*Top female times: (1st) Mari Olaya F35. 19.58. 74.89%: (2nd) Luci Barrio F40. 20.46. 73.83%: (3rd) Carla Green F45. 21.18. 74.99%:
Female team comparisons:
(4) x NWRRC female runners: (1st) Carla Green F45. 21.18, (2nd) Hannah Griffith F45. 23.40, (3rd) Kay Hatton F55. 23.45, (4th) Helen Hannam F45 28.07.
(6) x Fondistes Penedes female runners: (1st) Mari Olaya F35. 19.58, (2nd) Luci Barrio F40. 20.46, (3rd) Eva Sauleda F45. 22.55, (4th) Dioni Monsalve F50. 24.18, (5th) Maria Jose Navarrete F40. 27.50, (6th) Quima Baena F50. 29.44.
Mari Oloya, the Spanish winner of the Ladies race
Male team comparisons:
(16) x NWRRC (Wales) male runners: (1st) Jonathan Kettle M45. 17.58, (2nd) Richard Eccles M50. 18.18, (3rd) Steve BozierM40. 19.55, (4th) Jon Doe M45 20.13, (5th) Dave Spofforth M35. 20.14, (6th) Stuart Culverhouse M45. 20.36, (7th) Jim Michael SM. 21.29, (8th) Steve Roberts M55. 21.31, (9th) Steve Poupart M35. 21.47, (10th) Kevin Slattery M65. 21.47, (11th) Ben Hudson M45. 21.56, (12th) Richard Scamans M45. 22.32, (13th) Tony Gibson M60. 23.52, (14th) Pat Finney M60. 24.14, (15th) Don Hale. M65. 24.17, (16th) Kevin Higgins M55. 24.36.
(14) x Fondistes Penedes (Spain) male) runners: (1st) Fran Paton M45. 16.44, (2nd) Iban Perez M30. 17.30, (3rd) Gabriel Herrera M30. 18.23, (4th) Santi Hervais M40. 18.45, (5th) David Bertran M30.19.09, (6th) Alex Pacheco M40. 19.29, (7th) Vicente Gil M45. 20.09, (8th) Thilo Schilebener M50. 20.36, (9th) Jaume Bertran M60. 20.59, (10th) Jaume Morato M50. 22.36, (11th) Manuel Galvez M45. 22.56, (12th) Lluis Balague M45. 22.56, (13th) Cele Lopez M60. 23.41, (14th) Joan Luque M55. 25.40.
OVERALL - COMBINED RESULTS: *(Wales v Spain Inter-club challenge):
*NWRRC v Fondistes Penedes RC.
1. Fran Paton (Spain) M45:16.44. 84.73% (1st M45).
2. Iban Perez (Spain) M30:17.30. 74.91% (1st M30).
3. Jonathan Kettle (Wales) M45:17.58. 78.91% (2nd M45).
4. Richard Eccles (Wales) M50: 18.18. 80.59% (1st M50).
5. Gabriel Herrera (Spain) M30: 18.23. 71.13% (2nd M30).
6. Santi Hervais (Spain) M4:18.45. 72,80% (1st M40).
7. David Bertran (Spain) M30:19.09. 68.46% (2nd M40).
8. Alex Pacheco (Spain) M40:19.29. 70.06%(3rd M40).
9. Steve Bozier (Wales) M40:19.55. 68.53%
10. *(F). Mari Olaya (Spain) F35:126.96.36.199% (1st female & 1st F35).
11. Vicente Gil (Spain) M45: 20.09 70.36% (3rd M45).
12. Jon Doe (Wales) M45: 20.13. 70.13%.
13. Dave Spofforth (Wales) M35: 20.14. 65.14% (1st M35).
14. Stuart Culverhouse (Wales) M45: 20.36. 68.82%.
15. Thilo Schilebener (Spain) M50: 20.36. 71.59% (1st M50).
16. *(F). Luci Barrio (Spain) F40: 20.46. 73.83% (2nd female & 1st F40).
17. Jaume Bertran (Spain) M60: 20.59. 76.44% (1st M60).
18. * (F). Carla Green (Wales) F45: 21.18. 74,99% (3rd female & 1st F45).
19. Jim Michael (Wales) Sen Men: 21.29. 61.02% (1st Sen Man).
20. Steve Roberts (Wales) M55: 21.31. 71.42% (1st M55).
21. Steve Poupart (Wales) M35: 21.47. 60.05% (2nd M35).
22. Kevin Slattery (Wales) M65: 21.47. 77.00% (1st M65).
23. Ben Hudson (Wales) M45:21.56. 64.64%.
24. Richard Scamans (Wales) M45:22.32. 62.92%.
25. Jaume Morato (Spain) M50: 22.36. 65.26% (2nd M50).
26. * (F). Eva Sauleda (Spain) F45:22.55. 69.70% (4th female & 2nd F45)
27. Manuel Galvez (Spain) M45:22.56. 61.81%.
28. Lluis Balague (Spain) M45:22.56. 61.81%.
29. * (F). Hannah Griffith (Wales) F45:23.40. 67.49% (5th female & 3rd F45).
30. Cele Lopez (Spain) M60: 23.41. 67.72% (2nd M60).
31. * (F). Kay Hatton (Wales) F55: 23.45. 75.98% (6th female & 1st F55).
32. Tony Gibson (Wales) M60: 23.52. 67.20% (3rd M60).
33. Pat Finney (Wales) M60: 24.14. 66.18%.
34. Don Hale (Wales) M65:24.17 (2nd M65). 69.07%.
35. (F). Dioni Monsalve (Spain) F50:24.18. 69.63% (7th female)
36. Kevin Higgins (Wales) M55: 24.36. 62.46% (2nd M55).
37. Joan Luque (Spain) M55: 25.40. 59.87% (3rd M55).
38. * (F). Maria Jose Navarrete (Spain) M40: 27.50. 49.04% (8th female).
39. * (F). Helen Hannam (Wales) F45: 28.07. 56.81% (9th female)
40. * (F). Quima Baena (Spain) F50: 29.44. 56.91% (10th female).
Spanish relay runners Alex Pacheco (above) and (below) Quima Baena
Pictured (above) Steve Poupart and (below) Jim Michael