Ultradistance triumph for Belgian runner

WITH the early spring-like conditions attracting many more supporters and officials than usual, the 28th annual Barry 40 miles track race at Jenner Park was another resounding success.

In an another amazing spectacle of endurance running, 15 out of the 20 starters completed the distance, a glowing testament to the preparation and tenacity of everyone involved.

As usual, the race showcased the appeal of ultradistance to all ages and all abilities. Some were running further than ever before, whilst others were using it as preparation for even more strenuous activity. The athletes also came from far and wide.

The race winner, as last year, was Belgian Pieter Vermeesch. Pieter led from gun to tape and, although slowing somewhat in the second half, the margin of victory, at 28 minutes and 2 seconds, was the greatest in the history of the event. His winning time was 4:24:57.

In second place was Jason Dickinson, from West Wales, thereby winning the Welsh ultradistance title. Jason only started running around five years ago, and this was the longest distance he had tackled. His was a brilliantly executed piece of pace judgment, very hard to achieve over this distance.

Third was Zoltan Lesi, one of three Hungarian athletes in the race, and they all completed the distance. Zoltan had to fight all the way to hang on to third place, but the accompanying support from family and friends made for one of the most endearing features of the race.

Jayne Angilley, from Redruth in Cornwall, decisively won the women's race, and the Welsh women's title in her first visit to the Barry 40.

An additional feature was the appearance of two well known Welsh actors, Richard Harrington and Mark Lewis Jones, who were both using the race as part of their preparation for next month’s Marathon des Sables. They ran together for the first 30 miles before Mark inched ahead, but both acquitted themselves really well and looked strong throughout.

Although ultra running is ultimately about the athletes, the support crew, in all their different roles, were just as important. Thanks, therefore, go to all the lap recorders, timekeepers and officials, feed station helpers, paramedic Martyn Morgan, Gary and Pip Hyatt for refreshments, ground staff Mike Dodds and Nick Collins and the Vale of Glamorgan Council, photographer Paul Stillman, and everyone else who gave their time and their support.

Placings were: 1, Pieter Vermeesch (male, aged 37), Garden City Runners (Bel), 4:24:57; 2, Jason Dickinson, M46,TROTS, 4:52:59; 3, Zoltan Lesi, M36, Unattached (Hun), 5:08:42; 4, Tony Hooper, M39, Cleethorpes AC, 5:13:42; 5, Andras Kulcsar, M36, Unattached (Hun), 5:16:21; 6, Mike Feighan, M48, South West Road Runners, 5:17:42; 7, David Coles, M54, Les Croupiers, 5:18:26; 8, Rasmivan Collinson, M45, Sri Chinmoy AC, 5:22:38; 9, George Nicholls, M44, Prestatyn RC, 5:27:01; 10, Mark Lewis Jones, M49, Unattached, 5:42:24; 11, Tamas Szikszay, M36, Unattached (HUN), 5:43:27; 12, Richard Harrington, M38, Unattached, 5:53:57; 13, Jayne Angilley, F51, Cornwall AC, 5:56:33; 14, Paul Tranter, M48, RSPB Staff Association RC, 6:01:23; 15, Rory Coleman, M52, Les Croupiers, 6:19:38.

Retirements: Jeremy Mower, M48, Gloucester AC, 127 laps in 4:09:47; Dave Headon, M53, Les Croupiers, marathon in 3:18:25; Angela Champion, F37, Les Croupiers, 20 miles in 2:36:20; Robin Gardner, M56, Road Runners Club, 66 laps in 2:12:58; Loretta Daley, F48, Les Croupiers, 42 laps in 1:29:20.

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