Chepstow Harriers hosted the first race of a series of five in the Gwent Leisure Centre X-Country League on Sunday, reports VICKY ROBERTS.

Nine running clubs made up from the old county of Gwent take it in turns to put on five closed road races of about four to five miles – road in the Spring and Summer months and X-C in the Autumn, Winter months .

Spirit of Monmouth had a brilliant start to their GLCL X-C season with 14 members taking part in the tough three-lap course around the beautiful Piercefield Park grounds.

The runners enjoyed the four-mile, hilly and muddy terrain which also featured a cold, muddy water feature at the end of each lap, that runners had to run through.

The SoM men ran well with Barry Burns coming in first Spirit in 30:37 to finish third in his age category.

Kirk Hill came next in 31:58, followed by Martin Blakebrough, who although carrying a niggle managed to finish in a good time and gain points for the team.

Brian Evans, James Exton, Maixent Gaillard, Andy Hillis and Rod Wyatt also made their way around the course with their numbers the right way around and without losing any shoes, each gaining valuable points for the Spirit men’s team.

The Spirit women were on fire again gaining fifth overall ladies team out of a total of 17 full ladies teams.

Lucy MacDonald took the female lead after watching her daughter Alexis run a brilliant race in the Children’s X-C race beforehand, where the youngster came in 11th overall female and fifth in her age category.

Lucy then followed suit and also gained fifth place in her age category, crossing in 33.17.

Vicky Roberts ran well following Lucy throughout the run and finished second female Spirit home in 33.43, followed by Sarah Baker who really enjoyed the challenging route, crossing just 15 seconds back.

Renske Bouwens, Marina Wright and Linsey Holt also all put in solid performances on the muddy terrain for the women’s team to gain high scores.

Spirit of Monmouth thanked Chepstow for hosting a great first X-C race and look forward to their next GLCL X-C in November, hosted by Caerleon.

For more information or to join up go to or contact [email protected].