Tracy and Ruth conquer the mountains!

Nene Valley Harrier’s Tracy McCartney and Ruth Jones showed that ‘there ain't no mountain high enough’ for them last weekend. The pair of golden girls both won long distance races in the Welsh mountains despite being used to training on much more forgiving terrain.

McCartney took part in the high profile, televised Snowdonia Marathon on Saturday, and on a cold wet day the mother of two withstood all that mother nature could throw at her, winning by a minute on one of Britain's most scenic and challenging courses.

Stilton based McCartney, a self employed personal trainer, planned to run the first few miles alongside her main rival but, finding the pace too slow decided to push on, earning her a confidence boosting early lead.

After the first 5 miles, which was mainly uphill on the Llanberis Pass, McCartney led by over a minute, though being the race leader was not without its disadvantages, as she ran much of the race behind a motorbike, which as well as carrying a cameraman was spewing out diesel fumes. The international triathlete emphasised her superiority over her rivals throughout the race, and by mile 23 boasted a lead of 3 minutes over second placed Joanne Nelson of Darwen Dashers. Though the last few miles were a struggle, due to tiring muscles and a steep climb followed by a treacherous descent, the Nene Valley Harrier was not to beaten at this late stage, and held on to win in a time of 3:08.47. Her delight at the finish was apparent as she said:

“This is brilliant, I really wasn't expecting to win this! Wow, what an event. Coming round the last corner and hearing the whoosh of the crowd as they cheered me to the finish is a sound I will never forget. I cried and laughed my little legs to the finish line not having a clue what to do with so many cameras in my face. I’II be back next year for sure to try and defend my win”.

Ruth Jones won the rather lower profile Ron Skilton Half Marathon on Sunday. The race, held in the stunning Cambrian Mountains in mid Wales was Jones’s first race win of the year. She went about it the hard way taking the wrong turn at one stage, hurtling down a steep hill which she then had to climb to get back on the course. Fortunately her mistake was not costly as she'd built up a handsome lead by that stage.

Jones lives and breathes running and, as a journalist, spends the time when she's not running writing about her sport. After the race Jones reflected, ‘this was the hardest race I've ever done, mountains, fells, bogs and rocky sheer drops. I'm so pleased to have won it”.

Like McCartney, she intends to return to Wales next year to defend her title.

Barry Warne