ATHLETES have found that it’s good to be back!

Seventy two runners turned out for the first Green Green Grass of Home race since 2019, and the interruption of Covid, on July 20.

Organised by Denbigh Harrier Tony Benton, this short summer evening race takes in some challenging vegetation as well as the usual ups and downs of a fell race.

The bracken this year was unusually dense and required a slight route modification in order that the runners could follow a sheep track as they made their way up the ascent.

The corresponding descent was across open heath with a choice of following a faint, rarely trodden path or simply springing over the heather.

Lawrence Eccles (Penny Lane Striders) led the field home in 41.32, pursued by Ieuan Belshaw (Eryri) in 41.47 and Joel Gomes (Wrexham).

First lady home was U23 Beth Rawlinson (Wolves & Bilston) in 48.38 with Buckley's Haley Evans finishing in 52.47 and Susan Fourie (Run Free) in 53.06.

Four Denbigh Harriers also ran finishing in the following positions: 18, Victor Belshaw 52.44; 32, Mel Morris 57.17 (1st V45); 46, Duncan Jones 62.32; 57, Lee Evans 65.36.

Wednesday evening saw three members of Denbigh Harriers travel to the Horseshoe Pass to run the Ponderosa fell race.

The race starts uphill on a mile or so of track ascending 850 feet to the top of Cyrn y Brain.

The two-mile descent is fast through the heather on the moors, and down green, grassy footpaths followed by a steep, uphill, lung-busting climb for more than half-a-mile to the finish.

Tony Benton finished 44th out of 88 runners in a time of 37.47 and he was the fourth over-60 man.

He was closely followed by Lee Evans, who had a great run to finish first female over 45 in 46th position overall in a time of 38.07.

Menai Baugh, finishing as the second female over 60, was 62nd overall in a time of 40.54.

Denbigh Harriers Mel Morris, Katy Baugh and Sioned Lloyd made the journey down to the Brecon Beacons Fell Race; a race well established in the Welsh Fell Running calendar and this year a counter in the WFRA Welsh Fell Running Championships. They were joined by Emily Retallik whom they’ve hopefully persuaded to join!

This is a long race of just over 19 miles with approximately 5000ft of ascent and entails self navigation and running to seven mandatory checkpoints (including Tor y Foel, Corn Ddu, Pen y Fan - the highest mountain of the south - and Cribyn) from Talybont Reservoir dam.

This was always going to be a tough challenge - just 39 competitors made the start line and only 32 finished due to the rugged terrain, tough cutoffs and difficult navigation.

After the first hot climb, the cloud and drizzle descended leaving it almost impossible to see more than a few metres ahead on the hills so the Harriers' girls made the wise decision to stick together to pool their navigational skills.

It was gruelling. The climbs felt endless, the sparse field meant there were patches where they were completely alone in the mist, but it was also the best of races; great camaraderie, excellent organisation, lovely marshals and beautiful, varied terrain.

There were DNFs and disqualifications among the competitors, but the ladies crossed the line together in 4-45.46, not only smiling but as winners of the ladies' team category.

Results: 22, Emily Retallick (7th female); 23, Katy Baugh (8th female); 24, Sioned Lloyd (9th female); 25, Melina Morris (10th female).

Harrier Katherine Edwards took part in the Aintree half marathon race on Sunday - her last half marathon ‘race’ was the Great North Run four years ago, so it had been a while!

It was a fairly flat course consisting of four laps of the race course with the sun coming out just before the start, which made it very warm.

On the back of virtually no distance training Katherine finished in a great time of 2-19.04 (chip time 2-17.46).