Event Feature: Ammanford Town Centre attracts over 600 runners to recent double-header... Print
Written by Nathan Jones   
Monday, 23 July 2018 19:30



All roads for sporty schoolchildren from Ammanford and the surrounding areas in the Amman Valley and Carmarthenshire led to the Amman Valley Leisure Centre, Ammanford on Monday evening (11th June) for the 2018 edition of the Ammanford Junior Fun Run, an event which has continued to go from strength to strength. With a total of five age groups and 8 different races, there was something for the whole family to enjoy in the Amman Valley festival of running.

Under new organization, the event for the third year in succession altered slightly to past years, with a separate race for the reception children and under. Starting with the younger ages, parents, friends and guardians were able to run alongside the little ones before smiling their way through to the finish line to collect their well deserved medal.

They completed one lap with the remaining four categories over a distance of 2 laps of the track (800m) with the finish under the inflatable arch in the middle of the field. Due to the large numbers, most of the age groups were split into two with a race each for boys and girls. Other category age groups included years 1 & 2, years 3 & 4, years 5 & 6 plus a comprehensive schools event for years 7 and 8.


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Once again in 2018, the junior fun run was kindly sponsored by Noelwyn Daniel & Sharon Daniel at Healthy Life Activities, who provided all the magnificent medals and trophies along with full race commentary.

The sponsor from Healthy Life Activities, Daniel said: "Healthy Life Activities are delighted to be sponsoring and supporting this excellent event. We are keen to see as many youngsters as possible lead a healthy lifestyle and these events are a great way for the children to become active and enjoy themselves at the same time."

Every finisher on the evening received a finishers medal and in addition those who finished in the top three of the Year 1-8 were also presented with a trophy on conclusion of the racing with many staying on to cheer the athletes who had made it onto the podium.

The conditions were perfect for a great evening out with the sun strongly shining over the Amman Valley LC facility, having avoided the heavy showers that was not too far away. The crowds turned up to support this local event in Carmarthenshire which has become one of the most well attended events for primary school children. The interest shown with schools and others this year was clear to see in the entries received, with a record number of 380 children turning up to enjoy the occasion and the race day atmosphere. They were all cheered on by spectators and families who lined the side of the track, looking on at all the smiling faces as they achieved their goals. The most number of finishers was found in the Reception & Under and the Year 3 and 4 age groups.


Year 1 & 2 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 1 a 2: 1 Seren Bowen (Y Dderwen) 2 Macey Smith (Parycrhun) 3 Fflur Moon (Rhydaman)

Year 1 & 2 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 1 a 2: 1 Iestyn Rees Jones (Rhydaman) 2 Logan MacKenzie-Jones (Y Fro) 3 Cian Morris (Rhydaman)

Year 3 & 4 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 3 a 4: 1 Jessica Norman (Llansteffan) 2 Martha Morgan (Teilo Sant) 3 Soffia-Mai Davies (Nantgaredig

Year 3 & 4 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 3 a 4: 1 William Coles (Rhys Pritchard) 2 Jac Jones (Nantgaredig) 3 William Harnett-Jones (Llandovery College)

Year 5 & 6 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 5 a 6: 1 Nell Davies (Ffairfach) 2 Elsie Taylor (Y Bedol) 3 Candice Clancy (Ffairfach)

Year 5 & 6 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 5 a 6: 1 Macsen Toogood (Teilo Sant) 2 Ifan Bowen (Y Dderwen) 3 Alex Coles (Rhys Pritchard)

Year 7 & 8 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 7 a 8: 1 Amy Tucker (St John Lloyd) 2 Amy Greatrick (QE High) 3 Maisy Miller (Morriston)

Year 7 & 8 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 7 a 8: 1 Owain Thomas (Dyffryn Aman) 2 Jack Thomas (QE High) 3 Sion Davies (Dyffryn Aman)


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Four weeks later down the road at the Recreation Ground Rugby Club, it was turn of the seniors as nearly 300 took part in the Annual Ammanford 10K Race as the fun run season continued in the Amman Valley.

Entries could be done online this year for the very first time, and over 200 of those as well as runners who entered on the day made it a great occasion from the 15 year olds right up to the veteran 60 on a very hot Sunday morning. Organised by Amman Valley Harriers Athletics Club, A new organising team were in place for the 2018 edition and it was again kindly sponsored by the Ammanford Lions Club who provided the trophies and numbers. They were assisted at the finish line by Councillor J.Mansel Charles, Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council and his Consort, Bethan Charles-Davies who presented the finishers medals.

The prize money was kindly sponsored by Llys Cennen Solicitors with age group trophies up for grabs in several categories from open male & female through F35, M40, F45 and M50 up to the F55 and M60, meaning everyone had something to play for. In addition, the winning male and female team trophies were also presented with three per team counting. Every finisher received their finishers medal with bottles of water provided by our friends at Brecon Carreg.

As has been the case over the past few races and weeks, conditions were on the warm side in the low to mid 20 Celsius even at the new time of 10am in the morning, when the athletes got underway on the main road near to Ammanford Park.

Event Organiser, Rob Davies told us: "Today's race has been a great success. We had online entries for the first time this year which has proved to be really popular with 275 runners today. The heat made it tough going which certainly warranted the extra water stations! Thanks to our 3 sponsors Ammanford Lions, Llys Cennen Solicitors and Brecon Carreg. Next year's race is set to be even bigger, see you there!"


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The ever popular race. described by many as one of the best road races around at the present time, was on open roads and took runners on a scenic route starting on the Iscennen Main Road. Passing the Bonllwyn Green and surrounding areas, they headed to the half way mark at Llandybie and Bleanau before returning down the country lanes via Aberlash. At the 8K point, runners re-joined the main road and re-traced their steps back to the finish line outside the Ammanford Bowls Centre, where family and friends were waiting to cheer them on.

Despite the climb heading out on the first part of the course, it was a route that suited novice and club runners alike and it was great to see participants of all ages and abilities getting involved in an event which has continued to go from strength to strength for more than 20 years by now!

This event was made ever more popular and successful by incorporating the West Wales Road Running Championships, which was welcomed back this year after a number of years out. It certainly attracted good numbers of club athletes in particular to this element from Port Talbot Harriers, Amman Valley Harriers, Llanelli AC, TROTS, Sarn Helen, Run4All Neath, Neath Harriers, 3M Gorseinon, Sospan Road Runners, Aberdare Valley, Carmarthen Harriers, Vegan Runners UK and Les Coupiers just to name a few!


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Matthew Rees (Swansea Harriers) took this year's win in a time of 33 minutes and 49 seconds and has been a popular figure since the London Marathon in 2017, where he stopped to help fellow runner David Wyeth across the line as they entered the final straight after 26.2 miles of running. It was great to see Matthew back at this local West Wales race, many congratulations!

Commenting on his win, Swansea Harrier Rees said: "It was a fantastic race and I was delighted to win. It was a very hot morning and I adjusted my pace goals to take this into account. It was a challenging course and that made it all the more fun. I love racing local events, the organisation was great, the marshals so friendly and I will definitely be back next year."

His club teammate Marc Hobbs followed in runners up spot (34:31) with Port Talbot Harriers' Ben Williams crossing in third (35:03) to make up the top three and win the West Wales Road Running Championships medals in the process. Following them in the top 10 also were the following: Dai Kennan (Llanelli AC 35:13); Sion Price (Sarn Helen 35:20); Daniel Triggs (Neath Harriers 35:26); M40 champion Daniel James (Run4All Neath 36:42); Craig Foley (Port Talbot Harriers 37:14); Tom Sinton (RTN 37:25) and Steven Williams (Llanelli AC 37:31). Other winning male winners in the other age groups were: M50 Simon Tonks (Vegan Runners UK 40:45) and M60 Alan Davies (Llanelli AC 38:11)

Over to the female, and coming 34th overall, Rhodie Jones (Unattached) was the first athlete back home in 41:09. She was followed over the line by Michelle Cole (3M Gorseinon RR 42:20) and Wendy Price (Carmarthen Harriers 42:41). In the West Wales Championships, Cole was announced as the F35 champion as well as West Wales gold, with the silver going to Caryl Wyn Davies of Sarn Helen (43:10) and bronze heading to Port Tabot Harriers and to Deb Chick (44:23). Judith Oakley (Vegan Runners UK 45:21) was the F45 winner with Chick claiming the F55 title.

Swansea Harriers took team gold in the men's thanks to their one-two finish in Rees & Hobbs. Raul Reismann in 18th was home as the third scorer. Meanwhile, the Amman Valley Harriers' women's enjoyed home advantage as they picked up the female team winners - Clara Davies, Tanwen Randell-Davies and Helen Janney.

Rhian Thomas, President of Ammanford Lions as well as the rest of the team, who sponsored the event and also presented trophies added: "We were very pleased to sponsor the Ammanford 10K Run once again this year. The event gets bigger every year and this year the turnout has been fantastic."


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Reporter & Event Images: Nathan Jones