By Owen Morgan
Dewi Griffiths returned to winning ways at the Welsh Cross Country Championships in Brecon on Saturday – clocking
up a remarkable eighth senior men’s title.
The Swansea Harrier is now just one behind Welsh distance running legend Steve Jones, who has nine national cross
country crowns to his name.
The Carmarthenshire farmer’s latest triumph was a welcome return to form having not won at the event since 2019 due
to a mixture of illness, injury and the rise of new Welsh talent.
But he was back to his dominating best on the challenging 10.35k course in the shadow of the Brecon Beacons at the
Champion Dewi Griffiths pictured with runner up Tom Wood and third placed Dan Nash. Pic: Owen Morgan
Dewi Griffiths Dominates Technical Cross Country Course To Secure Welsh Title
Griffiths soon broke away from the field in the early stages and took advantage of the hills, twists and turns of a
particularly technical section of the course to consolidate his lead.
Once clear, there was to be no catching the Welsh Commonwealth Games 10,000m and marathon competitor despite
the best efforts of Eryri’s Tom Wood and Dan Nash, of Cardiff, who finished second and third respectively.
Griffiths, who finished 15 seconds clear of Wood in a time of 31:39 said afterwards: “I knew the course, what
it was going to be like, you’re trying not to lose time rather than gain time.
“There were so many twists and turns – it was a proper cross country course. I tried to keep a good rhythm and
keep a good effort.
“Luckily, I got away early on, and every lap after that the lead was getting bigger and bigger. So that kept
me motivated and I just kept my head down.
“The last half a lap was comfortable because I knew I had enough of a gap to hold on to.
“It’s nice to win the title again. It’s been a few years since my last one. So it’s nice to come back and win
another one. I’m one away from Jonesy now.
“Hopefully I have a couple of years left in me to get level with him and maybe even surpass him. But I’m delighted
to get another title on the CV.
“When I’m old and can’t run it will be nice look back and think, ‘you know, I was alright when I was a bit younger’!”
‘Alright’ is a typical understatement from the modest Carmarthenshire farmer, who recently started passing on his
running experience and expertise to other local runners as a coach.
Griffiths isn’t just second to Jones – one of British distance running’s all-time greats – in terms of Welsh Cross
A marathon personal best of 2:09.49 means Griffiths is the second-fastest Welsh marathon runner in history. Only
former world record holder Jones is ahead of him at 2:07.13.
Griffiths Set to Take on London Marathon Alongside Elite Welsh Athletes
Dewi Griffiths negotiating some of the twist and Turns on his way to victory. Pic: Owen Morgan
Fittingly, the next challenge for Griffiths is the London Marathon on April 23, where he will takes his place in the
elite field alongside fellow Welsh athletes Josh Griffiths, Charlie Hulson and Rosie Edwards.
Saturday’s scenic cross country course set against the backdrop of the spectacular Brecon Beacons couldn’t be further
removed from the streets of central London, but Griffiths feels his performance at the Penlan arena is a good indicator
of his readiness for the challenge to come.
“I still think I could do with a bit more speed in my legs,” said Griffiths. “But yeah, eight weeks to go to London
and that’s the goal now.
“Things are going alright and hopefully everything I’m doing from here to London will bring me on a little bit more.
“Today shows the strength is alright and that’s what you need for the marathon, so hopefully the legs will be right
on the day.
“I just want to run well, again. I’m not going to put a time on it but anywhere near my PB and I’ll be over the moon.
I want to be back in the ballpark of my best again, and then I can use that as a springboard to hopefully surpass my best.
“That would definitely be something to motivate myself over the summer and winter and springboard for the future.”
On the subject of the future, what are the 31-year-old’s goals beyond the London Marathon?
“Well, you know it’s the Olympics next year, isn’t it? So, I’m getting to that age now where if it’s not this one, it
might not happen. So yeah, that’s in the back of my mind.
“But in the past, I’ve set goals and they haven’t worked out. So I’ve stopped doing that.
“For now, I’m only focused on London and after that I’ll wake up on the Monday morning afterwards and we’ll see what
hand I’m dealt with and we’ll go from there.”
Impressive Performance by Olivia Tsim in Women’s Senior Race at Cross Country Championships
Olivia Tsim, of Pontypridd Roadents, crosses the line to take her first Welsh Cross Country title. Pic: Owen Morgan
The women’s senior race saw an equally impressive performance from Olivia Tsim.
The Pontypridd Roadent’s major obstacle on the way to victory was a slight mix-up in the course set up during the early
stages of the 6.89k course.
However, Tsim kept her head, as the field got back on course and never looked back as she crossed the line in 23:55 –
six seconds ahead of Lucy Marland, of Les Croupiers, and Martha Owen, of Deeside AAC, who was third in 24:33.
Tsim said afterwards: “It felt really good. It was tough. The wind was hard and the hills killed. I was really, really
happy. It’s only my second cross country in 10-and-a- half years, so, yeah, glad to be back to it.”
The senior women’s race also featured the men’s and women’s masters categories, which illustrated the huge age range
amongst hundreds of athletes taking part on the day.
Wrexham AAC’s Peter Norman, who will be 86-years-old later this year, claimed the gold medal in the M85 category.
By contrast, the first race of the day saw under-11 athlete Lewis Durston, of Bridgend Athletics, win the year 5 and 6 boys race.
In between scores of runners from all over Wales, of all ages and abilities, contributed to an entertaining day’s racing.
Amongst the other races, there was a fine win by Joshua Sanders, of Cardiff Athletics, who won the under-15 boys title
in 13:53. Oberon Kearney, of Welsh Anglo Athletes was second in 13:56 with Aberdare Valley AAC’s Garyn Tough third in 14:01.
The girls under-15 title was won by Cardiff Athletics’ Millie Gold, who crossed the line in 14:56, ahead of Abigail Doherty,
of Deeside AAC in 15:04 and Swansea Harrier Holly Humphreys in 15:16.
Joseph Rees Gara, of Wigan and District Harriers and Athletic Club, won the under-17 men’s title in 15:59, from
Carmarthen Harrier Iwan Thomas in 16:08 and Henry Evans, of Newport Harriers in 16.33.
The final race of the day saw Beca Haf Bown, of Menai Track and Field, claim gold in 18:48, ahead of Gwenno Goode, of
Cardiff Athletics in 19:08 and Caitlin Jones, of Aberdare Valley AAC in 19:19.
Full results from all the races on the day can be found on the Welsh Athletics website.