By Owen Morgan
Welsh endurance athletes will be concentrating on the 10,000m distance this weekend, whether that is on the road or the track.
On Saturday, a number of Wales’ top runners will be heading for London’s Parliament Hill track for the prestigious Night of the 10,000m PBs.
The following day sees the roads of Caerphilly host a high quality Welsh 10k Championships in the shadow of the town’s famous castle.
Several of those competing in London already have the Welsh nomination standard across a number of distances for this summer’s Commonwealth Games.
But this weekend’s event also incorporates the 10,000m Great Britain trial for the World Athletics Championships, also being held this summer.
Places are also up for grabs at the European Athletics Championships – another major event being held this summer.
The women’s A race boasts a strong Welsh contingent, who will be going up against the likes of former winner Eilish McColgan.
— Welsh Athletics (@WelshAthletics) May 11, 2022
Cardiff clubmates Charlotte Arter and Clara Evans have the Commonwealth Games nomination standard at 10,000m and marathon respectively, while the Wirral’s Emily Kearney also has the marathon standard.
Also named in the start list for the A race is Pontypridd Roadents athlete Olivia Tsim, although she may now be racing in Caerphilly the following day.
The men’s race also has a Welsh interest featuring Swansea Harrier Kris Jones, who has the Commonwealth Games nomination standard over 10,000.
He will be joined by Cardiff-based athlete Jake Smith, who has soared to prominence in recent time.
The men’s B race, which is one of eight graded races across the day, features Cardiff athletes James Hunt, Dan Dash and Mike Ward, along with veteran mid-Wales athlete Andy Davies, who has the Welsh Commonwealth standard in the marathon.
The event will also see two hugely prestigious shorter races in the shape of the Emsley Carr Mile and the Millicent Fawcett Mile.
One of the favourites for the latter will be Melissa Courtney-Bryant, who won bronze for Wales over 1500m at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.
The Poole AC athlete, who has the Birmingham Games’ nomination standard at 1500m, recently returned to competition following an injury absence of more than a year.
Courtney-Bryant finished third over 5,000m at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Stanford, California, where she clocked 15:25.90 – another Commonwealth Games nomination standard.
The Emsley Carr Mile will feature Piers Copeland, who has Commonwealth Games standards at both 800 and 1500m.
The Pontypridd Roadents’ athlete finished fifth in last year’s race and won the British Indoor 1500m title in February.
Action from the Night of the 10,000m PBs will be broadcast live on the BBC Red Button.
Big names competing in the @NightOf10kPBs on May 14th 🤩
— British Athletics (@BritAthletics) May 6, 2022
The following day, 2,500 runners of all abilities will hit the streets of Caerphilly for the Bryn Meadows Caerphilly 10K, which incorporates the Welsh 10K Championships.
Among those leading the race for the men’s title is likely to be Dewi Griffiths, who is targeting a marathon spot at the Commonwealth Games.
The Swansea Harrier has enjoyed a busy first few months of the year competing on the road, track and cross country, including a win at the Birmingham Half Marathon.
Cardiff Athletics duo Matthew Edwards and Lloyd Sheppard-Brown will also be looking to feature at the sharp end of the race.
In the women’s race, Lauren Cooper will be amongst the favourites with a personal best of 34:46.
The Parc Bryn Bach athlete has recently returned from the United States where she has been training and competing over the 3,000m steeplechase.
Alaw Beynon-Thomas, of Les Croupiers, will also be hoping to be in the mix boasting a personal best of 34:57.
The 10k race begins at 10am with a 2km getting underway at 9.15am.