Wales’ Mini Mo Farahs Get Ready For Three-Mile Taste Of London Glory

Dozens of Welsh youngsters will be heading to across the border to take part in the Virgin Money Giving London Mini Marathon on April 26.

While the likes of Natasha Cockram and Josh Griffiths take part in the main Virgin Money London Marathon, a 36-strong team of Welsh teenagers will compete in the mini version.

Boys and girls teams of six – plus with two reserves – have been selected to represent Wales in each of the Under-13, under-15 and under-17 categories, thanks to their performances at the recent Welsh Cross Country Championships in Pembrey.

They will run in the Mini Marathon which is British Athletics’ official three-mile road championships from London’s Billingsgate to The Mall – the final three miles of the main marathon.

The event draws together the nation’s best young runners from the nine regions of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and will include teams from all 33 London Boroughs.

They will be following quite literally in the footsteps of the likes of past Mini Marathon winner Mo Farah along with Josh Griffiths, who competed in the event back in 2008.

The Swansea Harrier, who went on to win the British Championship at the 2017 senior London Marathon, told the mini marathon website that he has fond memories of taking part in the junior event.

The Carmarthenshire runner who went on to compete at the 2017 World Athletics Championships marathon said: “I had only started running three years before.

“Well, that’s when I first joined a club. I had got my first Welsh vest in 2009 and then a second one in 2011 but the mini marathon was always another of my big aims as a junior athlete. I had watched it on TV and it looked pretty cool.

Griffiths earned his place in the mini marathon in the same way as the current Welsh team members have.

Josh Griffiths. Pic: Owen Morgan

“The Welsh Schools Cross-Country Championships were the qualifiers,” Griffiths explained. “I really wanted to qualify in 2010 but I didn’t run well enough to make the team.

“I knew that 2011 would me my last shot because I would be too old afterwards and when I got in it was really exciting.”

Griffiths, who finished in 20th place against the best age-group athletes in the country said: “I was really happy with how it went because I didn’t expect to finish that high up.

“The distance was a bit of a new one at the time for me but I was happy with the time. And just the experience of running in front of those crowds was something amazing and not what I was used to back at home in Wales. I had never known anything like it!”

Griffiths’ Welsh squad finished second in the team standings. His Swansea Harriers team-mate Liam Lloyd was 11th and Cardiff’s Elliot Slade 13th.

“It was a good team that year,” Griffiths said. “And it was a great experience travelling down as a team and staying in a hotel the night before. It was all a new experience and I really enjoyed it.”

That experience sparked a desire in the young Griffiths to compete in the full London Marathon in future – a dream he realised in spectacular style.

“It was an eye-opener for me,” he said. “I remember watching the main race and thinking ‘I want to do that’. I didn’t know when I would do it, but I knew I wanted to do it at some point.”

Six years later, Griffiths stormed through the field to finish in a time of 2:14:49 and qualified to represent Great Britain in the World Championships in London.

Cardiff athletes Fiona Bostock and Nia Clatworthy (blue vests) and Eden O’Dea (right) will be competing at the London Mini Marathon.

Since then he has gone on to represent Wales at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and later this month he will represent Great Britain at the World Half Marathon Championships in Poland.

This year’s Welsh London Mini Marathon competitors hoping to emulate Griffiths are:

Under-13 boys: Ifan Bowen, Carmarthen Harriers; Iwan Thomas, Carmarthen Harriers; Henry Dawes, Newport Harriers; Macsen Toogood, Carmarthen Harriers; Jacob Welsh, Deeside AC; Rhys Caygill, Pembrokeshire Harriers. Reserves: Joseph Murphy, Brecon AC; Clement Gordon, Castle School, Pembs.

Under-13 girls: Amy Garrod, Newport Harriers; Mackenzie McCourt, Maldwyn Harriers; Ruby Herdman, Brecon AC; Iona Roderick, Cardiff AC; Beca Bown, Menai Track and Field; Josephine Hurst, Deeside AC. Reserves: Anna-Rose Merchant, Cardiff AC; Maisie Parry,Deeside AC.

Under-15 boys: Ben Hughes, Cardiff AC; Aled Tumelty, Swansea Harriers; Frank Morgan, Carmarthen Harriers; Rhys Llewellyn, Pembroke Harriers; Aneurin Read, Rhymney Valley; Aled Breeze, Maldwyn Harriers. Reserves: Joseff Morgan, Menai T&F; Charlie Hurdman, Cardiff AC.

Under-15 girls: Sophie Knoyle, Cardiff Archers; Maddison Griffiths, Maldwyn Harriers; Abigail Davies, Neath Harriers; Gwenno Goode, Cardiff AC; Bethan Hardman, Cardiff Archers; Jessica Evans, Cardiff AC. Reserves: Lily Williams, Newport Harriers; Eden Edwards, Deeside AC.

Under-17 boys: Rhys Hardman, Cardiff Archers; Bryn Woodall, Colwyn Bay; Osian Perrin, Menai T&F; Lloyd Sheppard, Cardiff AC; Finley Hines, Neath Harriers; Adam Beer, Llanelli AC. Reserves: Edward Woodhead, Deeside AC; James Griffiths, Neath Harriers.

Under-17 girls: Fiona Bostock, Cardiff AC; Samia Jones, Menai T&F; Eden O’dea, Deeside AC; Mia Goddard, Cardiff AC; Nia Clatworthy, Cardiff AC; Ash Willis, Swansea Harriers. Reserves: Elin Griffiths, Newport Harriers; Rheagan Edwards, Deeside AC.

 

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