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Athletics: Clubs hold their own in Castles relay race.

Byline: By GARETH HUGHES

ABERGELE Harriers made their debut in the Welsh Castles Relay at the weekend, sharing in the unique atmosphere of one of the country's most unusual athletics events.

A record 57 teams took part this year in the 20-stage relay from Caernarfon to Cardiff with the Harriers and neighbours Prestatyn being the only North Wales squads involved.

The 200-mile, two-day competition finished in the grounds of Cardiff castle, where the prizes were presented by First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

The final placings are yet to be confirmed, but Prestatyn were in about 32nd place, with Abergele about four places behind. Andrew Jones and Gareth Brandrick finished in the top 10 on their own particular stages for Prestatyn, while Abergele's Darren Blazier was fifth on the long Drovers Arms-Brecon stage.

The only individual winner from the north was Prestatyn's lady captain Glenda Davies, who took the yellow sweatshirt for the first lady veteran home on the Abercynon-Caerphilly leg.

There was a real battle between George Nixon (Prest) and Geran Hughes (Abergele) on the final glory leg, with super-veteran Nixon edging home by about a minute. Hughes is a former chairman of the Les Croupiers club which organises the relay. Two other "locals" who figured prominently were the Wrexham veterans Bernie Jones and Mike Weedall, who were third and second on their respective stages while running for the second-claim club Vale Royal.

Simon Ellis of Tattenhall survived the searing heat to win the Sinclair Steel Carneddau mountain race, finishing a couple of minutes ahead of Mathew Gilbert (Wrexham).

RESULTS: 1 S Ellis (Tatt., M40) 2-20.55, 2 M Gilbert (Wrex) 2-22.21, 3 G Owen (Eryri, M50) 2-25.04. M60: A Oliver (Eryri) 3-09.20. Ladies: 1 A Roberts (Eryri) 3-09.05, 2 P Near (Eryri) 3-10.50, 3 M Oliver (Eryri, L50) 3-35.33. L40: J Edwards (Bro Dysynni) 3-40.10.

TODAY sees the Park Hall 5k at Oswestry, the first event in the annual Pentarathon series.

Two Deeside AC athletes, Adam Banks and Ricky Challinor have been selected to represent Wales at the World Mountain Running Association's youth team challenge in Susa, Italy on June 2 5.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2006
Words:359
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