SPIRIT of Monmouth Running Club’s Keith Penny celebrated his 70th birthday in style in the Epona 100-mile ultra race – a mental and physical rollercoaster with breathtaking views of Wales, reports VICKY ROBERTS.

With an accumulative ascent of 17,500ft, Keith tackled 23 mountains over two days - Sugar Loaf, Skirrid Fawr, The Blorenge, Gilwern Hill, Blaen Onneu, Mynydd Llangynidr, Pant y Creigiau, Bryn Melyn, Tor y Foel, Table Mountain, Pen Cerrig Calch, Pen Allt Mawr, Pen Tywn Glas, Mynydd Llysiau, Pen Trumau, Waun Fach, Pen Y Gadair Fawr, Rhos Dirion, Twmpa, Hay Bluff, Twyn Llech, Black Mountain, and Sugar Loaf for a second time before hitting the finish line.

He started at 6am on Saturday and was supported along the way by past and present running friends from Spirit.

Keith Penny crosses the line after 100 miles
Keith Penny crosses the line after 100 miles (SoMRC)

Elizabeth Sim joined him on the night stretch and said: “It felt incredible to be part of Keith's adventure."

Visibility in the dark was tough, but with great company and a great mindset, Keith made it through the night.

Presented with a surprise birthday cake and being sung Happy Birthday to more than once he kept his 'Spirits' high, crossing the finish in an outstanding 34 hours, well inside the cut off.

Keith said: “Age is not a barrier to challenging yourself... What matters is doing the best you can.”

Spirit duo Brian Evans and Martin Blakebrough also travelled to Germany at the weekend for the Wiesbaden City half marathon.

raced the Wiesbaden half marathon
Brian Evans and Martin Blakebrough raced the Wiesbaden half marathon (SoMRC)

The two-day event saw nearly 7,500 runners aged five to 83 from 29 nations take part in many different races.

Brian and Martin took part in the local Park run in Maaraue in the morning as a warm-up run before their evening half marathon, which started in Wilhelmstrasse and finished at the Bowling green.

Brian had a great run finishing in 1 hour 37mins 56secs for fifth in his age category, while Martin won his age-group in 1.41,57.

Meanwhile, Spirit’s Andrew ‘Spud’ Davies enjoyed "the toughest weekend ever” in the Tenby Long/Short course weekend, along with four friends from Monmouth RFC in aid of the Ted Senior Foundation.

Andy 'Spud' Davies
Andrew 'Spud' Davies went the extra mile for the Ted Senior Foundation (SoMRC)

After months training, the weekend arrived along with sunshine and Spud took on his first challenge on Friday evening, a 1.2-mile swim in the Tenby sea which started North of Goscar Rock, which he finished in 51.55.

Saturday saw a 70-mile bike ride on a tough but rewarding course that tested the athletes to their limits amid some incredible scenery, with Spud finishing in 6.12.30.

On Sunday, it was time for the run, where Spud trusted his training, took on the hills and ran his first half marathon in 2.51.59.

Spirit of Monmouth members congratulated all the guys from the Monmouth RFC’s ‘Crazy gang’ who took part in raising funds in memory of former player Ted (thetedseniorfoundation.enthuse.com/pf/the-crazy-gang).

Also on Sunday, Sian Fielding took part in the Blade runner, a 6.6-mile race orgnaised by Islwyn Running Club.

The route took in some beautiful scenery with mixed terrain and lots of hills as she finished in 1.11.37.