IT PROVED A quiet weekend for Spirit of Monmouth Running Club, but a weekend for the Spirit men to shine with the start of the X-Country season at the first of the Gwent League races at Pembrey Country Park, reports VICKY ROBERTS.

The John H Collins Gwent Cross-Country League is one of the largest leagues in the UK, drawing more than 60 clubs from South Wales and South West England.

Julian Howe, the sole Spirit runner out facing the XC on Saturday along with 181 other starters in his age category managed to complete the stunning 9.15k course at Pembrey country Park, finishing in 102nd in a time of 42:mins 21 secs .

Julian really enjoyed the race and hopes to get a full Spirit team out at the next event at Llandaff fields in Cardiff.

Sunday saw three more Spirit men out taking part in the Hereford & Borders Winter X-C league at Builth Wells – along with 200-plus keen runners from around the Hereford and border area. Martin Blakebrough had a super run and enjoyed the course at Fforest fields and came across the finish line in 54:48 to gain a podium first place in his age category.

Brian Evans put in a great effort after his marathon relay in Munichk and managed to finish the XC race in 59:32 .

Maixent Gaillard said: “It was a great course, proper cross country, hills, scenic, real showers and tasty cakes.”

Better still he brought the men’s team home finishing in a time of 64.48.

Fellow local club MonRoss Trail Blazers had success with Laura Lelievre second woman overall in 52.39, Emily Harrison second over-40 in 56.52, and Emma Davies third over-50 in 65.45.

The ladies team of Laura, Emily, Sophie Williams (64.16) and Rebecca Foster (64.47) placed third overall.

Gavin Jones impressed with ninth overall in 43.59, followed by Rob Potter in 52.04, Andy Stephens in 52.13 and Mike thurgood in 63.37.

Anyone interested in running can take a look at Spirit of Monmouth RC’s website or contact [email protected].

A club spokesperson said: “We are a friendly and fun club – with a nice competitive edge, and a great social heart.

“Also we are affiliated to Welsh Athletics and cater for a wide range of running abilities.

“So, whether you’re an experienced marathon runner, 5K lover or you prefer to just run for fun, you’re very welcome to join.”