SUNDAY saw the return of the annual Rack Raid race, a 100-mile 13-stage relay road run around Gwent, linking castles and historic sites, reports VICKY ROBERTS.

Nearly 400 runners in 30 teams from 22 clubs took part, including Spirit of Monmouth.

Vicky Roberts with her children after finishing her leg at Monnow Bridge
Vicky Roberts with her children after finishing her leg at Monnow Bridge. Photo: SoMRC (SoMRC)

First conceived in 1993 by Fairwater Running Club brothers Mark and Steve Lloyd, the race began early in the morning at Grosmont Castle.

Sarah Heath started for Spirit and ran a great race finishing at Skenfrith Castle in 35.42 in fifth overall.

Lee Davies took the second leg to White Castle, and finished in 51.25, where Lucy Macdonald took on the third leg to Abergavenny.

It was a long road on Sunday for Spirit runners
It was a long road on Sunday for Spirit runners. Photo: SoM RC (SoMRC)

An undulating route of 7.5 miles was completed in 56.56 before the fourth leg to The Old Court Moat saw James Hague in his 1st Rack Raid with Spirit pacing himself well up the hills to finish in 53.09 in 15th place,

Vicky Roberts took the baton in leg 5 and ran from the Moat to Spirit’s Monmouth home, finishing first female in 59.02, with her children cheering her over the line on Monnow Bridge.

Stage 6 headed to Raglan along the old road via Dingestow and Llandenny, and Brian Evans raced well but found the heat tough, covering the 12.6-mile leg in 1.38.59.

Linsey Holt was ready at Raglan and stormed leg 7 to Usk, passing many runners on the hill to finish in 45.13.

With the day getting hotter, Julian Howe had the toughest leg, a half marathon 13.1 miles from Usk to Tintern Abbey.

Following many ups he finally had a long descent into Tintern, and thankful for teammates' support with water and encouragement, he finished in 1.58.00 exactly on cut-off time.

From Tintern Abbey, Katie Adams started leg 9 with a three-mile uphill climb to Devauden, and on to Itton and Chepstow Castle, crossing as fastest female on the leg in 1.19.06 .

Leg 10 saw Spirit chairman Barry Burns fly the flag from Chepstow to Caldicot Castle, climbing up past the St Pierre Golf Club and Crick, placing sixth on the leg in 46:06

Kirk Hill next headed for Penhow past Caerwent and towards Magor, finishing in 1.02.29 in plenty of time to beat the cut off.

On the other side of the road James Exton, headed out on leg 12 towards Caerleon Amphitheatre, a 6.6-mile leg which saw him finish in 15th in 50.56.

The final leg headed out into Caerleon and onto a sting of a hill to finish by Castell-y-Bwch, with Claire Finley bringing Spirit home 48:58.

It was a fantastic team event put on by Fairwater Runners and a brilliant day was had by all.

Captain Matt Unsworth supported the team on some legs on his bike and they finished in 19th overall, running the 100 miles in 13.26.01.

Lliswerry A were first home in 10.37.50, beating Parc Bryn Bach A by 27.12

Third were Pontypridd A (11.07), followed by Islwyn (11.44) and Chepstow Harriers A (11.47), with Chepstow B 10th in 12.22 and MonRoss Trailblazers 13th in 12.33.