By James Candy
Team GB marathon man Josh Griffiths is aiming to continue his 10K winning streak at the ABP Barry Island 10K on Sunday.
The Swansea Harrier is in pole position for the Healthspan Wales 10K title after racing to victory at the inaugural Healthspan Porthcawl 10K last month.
Griffiths kicked on in the last kilometre to triumph in 29 minutes 54 seconds, and will be out to clock another sub-30 performance at another of South Wales’ iconic seaside locations.
The man he beat to take the Porthcawl title, James Hunt, will be out to get revenge on the Island. The 2018 Welsh Cross Country champion will be hoping to use his experience on the undulating course to make up the four second gap that separated the two that day.
Cheltenham’s Phil Wylie and Exmouth Harrier Tom Merson are the two other members of the field to have dipped under the 30 minute mark, and both will be battling to claim a podium place on Sunday morning.
In the women’s race, Cardiff AC star Clara Evans will be out to make a breakthrough performance over 10K in Wales after racing to a third placed finish at the London 10K earlier this year.
But she will face stiff competition from another Healthspan Porthcawl 10K champion in Natasha Cockram, who made a smooth transition from the marathon to the shorter distance to claim her first 10K triumph of the year in 34:51.
Returning champion Rachel Felton will not give her crown up without a fight and will be looking to go one better than her previous Healthspan Wales 10K Series race at the ABP Newport Wales 10K, where she finished second.
Distance running fans will remember the name Carl Thackery from his heyday in the 1980s and 1990s.
The former long distance specialist won team silver at the 1992 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in 1992 before claiming individual and team bronze a year later in 1993.
But on Sunday, his daughter Calls gets her chance to shine on the roads of Barry Island.
And the former University of New Mexico runner will be hoping to spring a surprise on the rest of the field after winning the 2019 Great Grimsby 10K earlier this year.
The second edition of the race will also incorporate a Masters International clash between England and Wales.
Race Director Steve Brace said: “The challenging course at Barry Island makes for a pair of fascinating races. Josh Griffiths will know all about the nature of the route after coming home in third last year and he will be hoping it takes some of the other runners by surprise.
“There will be plenty of fierce competition at the front end of the race before more than 3,000 runners aim to overcome their own personal challenges and set new personal bests.
“It’s shaping up to be another fantastic festival of running, so I would encourage the local community to come out and roar the participants along the course.”