13th April 2021

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Harriers Celebrate 70 Years

THE Ivy Bush Hotel in the heart of Carmarthen Town Centre has been the host venue of the Carmarthen Harriers Annual Dinner and Awards Evening for several years and the 2018 edition returned there on Friday (Nov 2).

Carmarthen and District Harriers Athletics Club was established in 1948, exactly 70-years-ago. Ffoshelig Coaches, Castell Howell, McDonalds, West Wales Freemasons Provincial Council, the Rotary Club of Carmarthen, Tywi Rotary Club of Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire County Council, UK Athletics, Welsh Athletics and Sport Wales are to be thanked for their continued support during the year.

In successive years saw it took place on the Friday during the school October half term holidays as well as on bonfire weekend.

The room was once again full of athletes, members, friends, parents and guests as around 170 people attended the dinner to meet and celebrate the successes of the club. It was a celebration for the work of its members during the year along with thanking those who work hard in front of, and behind the scenes.

The room looked superb with the club colours of red, yellow and black clear to see everywhere you looked.

During the three-hour event, there was the chance for athletes and parents alike to get together and make friendships whilst enjoying the activities on offer, including a two-course meal, awards, speakers, raffle and a lot of fun.

It has been a season of great results and performances from the club’s youngsters and seniors in the past 12 months with the biggest success including coming second in the 2018 Welsh junior U15 league (Louise Arthur League) in the overall competition for both boys and girls.

It was a special occasion in the 2018 edition, as the club was celebrating its 70th Anniversary year having been formed in 1948. It was when RB Evans was the Chairman between the period 1948 to 1981 before current President Dr Hedydd Davies took over from 1981 to 2018.

The Ivy Bush has now been the club’s destination for the past eight years. The first ever dinner took place at the Boars Head in Lammas Street, Carmarthen.

Since 1980 it has moved around between Carmel, Bancyfelin, Gwenllian Cydweli and the Trinity College.

In that long time, the likes of Lynn Davies, Colin Jackson, Jamie Baulch, Rhys Williams, Matt Elias, Dewi Griffiths, Steve Brace, Angharad Mair, Steve Perks, JJ Williams, Mike Delaney, Lynette Harries, Hedydd Davies, Fred Bell, Roy Bergiers, Wayne Griffiths, Mike Walters, Gwynne Griffiths, Peter Hughes-Griffiths, John H Collins, Berwyn Price, Wynford Leyshon, Claire Williams, Steffan Hughes and Malcolm Arnold have all been past speakers of this annual event.

In attendance on the evening was Peter Hughes-Griffiths (Carmarthenshire County Council Executive Board Member for Leisure); Emlyn Schiavone (Mayor of Carmarthen); Mansel Charles (Chair of Carmarthen County Council) and his consort, Bethan Charles-Davies.

Former Harrier and guest speaker from 12 months ago, Dewi Griffiths came back to his roots where it all began, after giving a great speech and advice in 2017.

Griffiths was joined by another four stars made up of Wales and British middle distance and throwing athletes. They were Josh Griffiths, Jake Heyward, Caryl Jones and Claire Williams, four having started their athletics careers at Carmarthen Harriers. Having competed since for their local clubs, Welsh Schools, Wales and by now Great Britain in some of the biggest competitions in the World, it was great to hear their interesting stories and how they have developed into what they are now.

The five took part in an inspiring question and answer session, led by Edward Morgan. This was a great opportunity for the parents and coaches, as well as the young athletes to ask questions and listen to experiences that they might have not heard about before. The Commonwealth Games, World championships, British championships and other training and competition facts were shared as well as a few interesting off-athletics topics.

Dewi Griffiths:

“I was excited to be back at the Carmarthen Harriers dinner. I remember being sat in the audience listening to some of the greats and being inspired of hopefully following in their footsteps. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of the 70 year celebration.”

“After a difficult year with injury, it was good to be able to put the Welsh vest back in at the Cardiff Half for the Commonwealth championships. The aim for the rest of the year is the qualifying and running well at the European cross country before starting preparations for a sprint marathon.”

“Carmarthen Harriers played a huge part of me developing as an athlete and I wouldn’t have been able to succeed without the encouragement of the club throughout the years and still does to this day. I wish the club another happy 70 years in the future.”

Josh Griffiths:

“I was really excited to have been invited as a guest to the Carmarthen Harriers dinner. I remember attending the dinner as a youngster training at the club, so to be able to come back as a guest is a big honour. It was great to see some of the achievements of club members both young and old.”

“This year started off really well with a 10K PB of 29:28 in Telford, I followed that up with a half marathon personal best to take 7th place at the Big Half in London. I then headed out to Australia to compete for Wales in the Commonwealth Games, this was a great experience and even though the race didn’t go to plan due to the soaring 33C heat, I was still able to place 15th at the Commonwealth Games. After returning home, I placed 9th at the London 10K in May and 4th at the British 10K in July. The second half of the year was more successful as I was able to take 2nd place at the Dublin 10 Mile race in a new PB, I then followed that up with another personal best at the Cardiff Half Marathon before my best race of the year, a 7th place finish at the Dublin marathon (28th October – last week) in a time of 2:16, which puts me 2nd on the 2018 UK rankings.”

“Carmarthen Harriers has been great to me over the years. When I first joined at the age of 14, I joined a group which was both hard working and fun at the same time, this helped me gain a love for the sport, and it’s great to see Carol and Delyth still down the track these days working harder than ever to help their athletes improve. These days I coach myself so the majority of training is done alone, however it’s really motivating to see all of the youngsters working hard when I come down, which helps me be able to complete my training too.”

Jake Heyward:

“It was a pleasure to be invited as a guest to the Carmarthen Harriers Dinner. It has been an unforgettable year for me as an athlete at the age of 19 with European Gold, coming out on top as a highlight. My next race will be at Burgos before the Euro Cross Country Trials at Liverpool (24th November)”

“The best advice I could give younger and upcoming athletes is to enjoy what you do and believe in yourself.”

Caryl Jones:

“It was an absolute honour to be invited to the Carmarthen Harriers dinner, it’s great to go back to where my career as a runner started. There are so many people to thank in Carmarthen Harriers who helped the process of making my dreams achievable”

“This whole year has been remarkable. The main highlight has to be the Commonwealth Games as I finally achieved my childhood dream and represented Wales at the highest level.” (Gold Coast Games Marathon)

“My advice to all the young athletes is to enjoy and not put pressure on yourselves and believe in yourselves, if you are willing to work hard, anything is possible.”

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Claire Williams:

“I was very pleased to be invited to speak at the dinner tonight. Having represented Carmarthen Harriers throughout my career in athletics and been involved with the club for a number of years, it was a great pleasure to be involved in such a special occasion and to witness all of the clubs successes over the past year. Congratulations to all of the wonderful young athletes, their families, coaches and club officials.”

“My best career moments include experiencing the British crowd at the 2012 Commonwealth Games in London, where I won a bronze medal at London 2012 in the discus. My other highlight is throwing a personal best at the Loughborough International.”

“The biggest piece of advice that I could give to any young athlete is to “be kind to yourself”. If I had realised the difference that makes, and if I’d been conscious of how I spoke to myself and worked hard on being kind to myself (because it’s something that you have to work on), then I would have been a different athlete. Whilst Sport is a wonderful thing to be a part of, competitive sport can be a difficult journey.”

“Be proud of yourself that you’re trying and working hard, be complimentary of yourself when things go well and be kind to yourself when they don’t.”

At the beginning, two special awards were presented to Hedydd Davies for his long outstanding services to the Carmarthen Harriers Athletics Club since the start in 1948. He was the recipient of the RB Evans Award recognised by the committee for club services but then also received an award to thank him for all his hard work and helping athletes of all ages succeed in the sport.

Hedydd was an excellent middle- and long-distance runner and represented Wales on thirty occasions over more than twenty years, most notably in the marathon at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and in six consecutive International Cross Country Championships. Hedydd won nine Welsh senior championships – including four marathon titles during his career. Between 1961 and 1964, he triumphed in four consecutive Welsh championships in the 3000m steeplechase. Hedydd is a former President and Treasurer of the Welsh Athletic Association and has covered many positions at national and international matches for Welsh Athletics and Great Britain.

A total of more than 60 other awards across 20 categories were made on the evening – from the athletes themselves to volunteers and coaches. Repeat and new awards either returned or were introduced including the club record awards to recognise those who broke club records during the year, in particular on the track. Four athletes ranging from under 13 to under 20 were the recipients of these.

Making presentations throughout the evening to all recipients were: Dewi Griffiths, Joshua Griffiths, Jake Heyward, Caryl Jones and Claire Williams, Emlyn Shiavone, Mansel Charles and Hedydd Davies.

2018 AWARDS / GWOBRAU 2018

2018 Bursary Awards: Frances Mackie, Chloe Hale, Carys Wood, Dion James, Liam Upton-Boorman, Soffia-Mai Davies, Casi Gregson, Alex Coles, Macsen Toogood, Martha Morgan, Mati Morgan, Nia Seren Thomas, Ellie-May John, James Sloyan, Rogan Cox, Ellis Caddick, Megan Roberts

2018 Club Record Award: Alicia Samuel (100m & 200m); Cordelia Walker (Javelin); Dafydd Jones (1500m); Ben Thomas (2000m Steeplechase)

2018 Welsh Champion & International New: Beca Roberts

2018 Welsh Champion New: Wendy Price, Nia Williams, Jac Walters, Dafydd Waters, Archi Morgan, Jack Tremlett, Cordelia Walker, Osian Roberts

2018 Welsh Champion & International Repeat: Frank Morgan, Ben Thomas, Gordon Orme, Alicia Samuel, Daisy Thompson, Lili Church, Iestyn Williams, Danielle Jones, Tomos Rees, Lauryn Davey, Dafydd Jones

2018 Welsh International Repeat: Peter Moody, Paul Clarke, Liam Edwards, Iwan Glynn, Glen Elsdon, Ioan Cressey-Rodgers

2018 Welsh Cross Country Relays Team Champions: Ioan Cressey-Rodgers, Jack Thomas, Scott Price, Frank Morgan

2018 Welsh Road Relays Team Champions: Ifan Bowen, Jake Lynock, Iwan Thomas, Jack Thomas, Frank Morgan, Liam Edwards, Dafydd Jones

2018 Gwent Cross Country League Team Champions: Iwan Thomas, Ifan Bowen, Jake Lynock, Alex Coles, Macsen Toogood, James Sloyan, Liam Upton-Boorman

2018 Richard Wyer Memorial Throws Award: Morgan Batten

2018 Ossie Morgan Memorial Hurdles Award: Sadie-May Mason

2018 Carmarthen Harriers Outstanding Achievement Award: Owain-Hari Davies, Erin Morgan, Nia Williams, Kacper Krawcewicz, Ellie Loweth, Megan Roberts, Elen Williams, Sophia Reid-Thomas, Jessica Lee, Steffan Davies, Harri Howells

2018 Young Volunteer of the Year Award: Gareth Thompson

2018 Club Service Award: Philip Mackie, David Toogood, Lee Sloyan

2018 Ernie Jones Memorial Award: Alicia Samuel

2018 J Eirwyn Walters Memorial Award: Ben Thomas

2018 RB Evans Award: Dr Hedydd Davies

2018 Special Award: Emily Shawyer

2018 Junior Club Captain Award: Dafydd Jones, Nia Williams

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