The John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League
Our thanks go to Jeff Aston for transcribing all of these fixture dates and venues from original lists, and to various contributors for their memories. If you can contribute your own memories for particular fixtures, or if you know any of the missing dates and venues (back in the 1960s), please Let Us Know. If you have any archive photographs of classic league moments, we would also love to see them.
Notes (Hover over Memories for More) Contributors to memories: Pete Morris (PM), Mick McGeogh (McG), Derek Osborne (DO), Neil Miller (NM), Pat Gallagher (PG). If you can contribute, please email your recollections, address above.
Memories PM: My first race (I think) was at Gilwern in October 1965 and, in over 100 races, there were many courses - like Singleton, Weston, Exeter and Heath Park - which I always enjoyed running.
Memories PM: I appreciate that current health & safety considerations mean that the bridge over the river Ogmore is a particular concern but my view on the course used at Bridgend in recent years is not as challenging as the one used 40/50 years ago, which incorporated the hill and fields on the other side of the river.
Memories McG: My first participation was in the Boys race at Newbridge Fields, Bridgend in October 1970 (for Barry Boys Comp). I always hated Bridgend - far too muddy, especially when the local farmer ploughed his fields, seemingly for us. But that's why the league is so good - 5 very different races, different conditions, something for everyone. I believe I have completed 190 races and 1 DNF over 50 seasons.
Memories PG: I think I ran my first Gwent in 1977 a very unfit Pat. From then I ran the Gwent every XC season
|1979-1980||1||06-Oct-1979||Bishop Vaughan School|
Memories PG: My favourite was the old Bridgend course followed by the old Blaise course both very testing. Always wanted to walk at the of the recently ploughed field at Bridgend but the team manager always stood at the top behind the hedge to scream at me!!
|2||27-Oct-1984||Blaise Castle||See video page!|
|1985-1986||1||05-Oct-1985||Cardiff - Heath Park|
|3||30-Nov-1985||Cardiff - Fairwater|
Memories PG: Race I remember most was at Barry 1986. [My daughter] Lynne won the novice girls race and I won the senior ladies. NM: At the final fixture at Swansea, Pat won overall lady and vet, while daughter Lynne finished runner up novice girl.
|2||25-Oct-1986||Cardiff - Fairwater|
|5||14-Mar-1987||Cardiff - Heath Park|
|4||06-Feb-1988||Cardiff - Fairwater|
|5||12-Mar-1988||Cardiff - Heath Park|
|1988-1989||1||08-Oct-1988||Cardiff - Heath Park|
Memories NM: I think this was the fixture which included Bleadon Hill, making it more of a fell race that a cross-country run!
|4||Heath Park, Cardiff||Cancelled (Threat to Daffodils)|
Memories PG: I was leading overall seniors lady at Carmarthen. It was very wet and muddy and I looked like a duck; hate wet slippery mud, I came 3rd so lost the overall - ugh! Nicky [Haines] and I still talk about that race at Carmarthen
Any photos? DO: Do we have any pics of people plunging into the stream in Exeter? On one occasion we had to run a few yards up the stream. Not quite as deep as Cantonian, Cardiff (the ski slope course!) on one occasion when there had been a fair bit of rain.
|3||28-Nov-1992||Forest of Dean|
|3||25-Nov-1995||Forest of Dean|
|3||30-Nov-1996||Forest of Dean|
|3||29-Nov-1997||Forest of Dean|
|4||07-Feb-1998||Parc Bryn Bach, Tredegar||
Memories DO: The 1998 'Tredegar' fixture was at Bryn Bach Park, organised by Brecon AC! Not the course that was used in 2018 but on the North West of the park - very wet and muddy with a fairly strong wind - no change there then!
Memories NM: The portaloos weren't picked up until the Sunday morning, by which time some (presumably) errant youths had burnt them down. A protracted legal case followed, which is why there were no fixtures at Blaise Castle for several years after that.
|1998-1999||1||04-Oct-1998||Cardiff - Llandaff Fields|
Memories DO: One of the senior women was shot in the rear at Exeter - and when the police took the lad to his father there was apparently no blame to attach to the youth but the father wanted to sue the male runners who dragged the kid out of the bushes and handed him over to the police. We didn't go back to Exeter after that!
|3||04-Dec-1999||Bristol - Hengrove|
|2000-2001||1||14-Oct-2000||Dare Valley County Park Aberdare|
|2||04-Nov-2000||Bristol - Hengrove|
|3||02-Dec-2000||Bracelands Forest of Dean|
Cancelled (Foot and Mouth Disease) NM: Although it affected cattle and sheep rather than humans, the 2001 UK outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease is the only event in modern times that remotely compares to the Covid-19 pandemic. Farms, footpaths, parks, and many parts of the countryside were closed for months on end. Viral plumes could carry for miles, and in the end more than 6 million cattle and sheep were slaughtered before the disease was brought under control.
|2||03-Nov-2001||Dare Valley County Park Aberdare|
Memories DO: The farm course used the year after foot and mouth was definitely in the top 10 hardest courses!
|2||02-Nov-2002||Dare Valley County Park Aberdare|
|3||01-Dec-2002||University of Bath|
|2||02-Nov-2003||Leckwith Stadium Cardiff|
|3||30-Nov-2003||University of Bath|
|2||31-Oct-2004||Leckwith Stadium Cardiff|
|3||05-Dec-2004||University of Bath|
|5||12-Mar-2005||Tredegar House Newport|
|2005-2006||1||15-Oct-2005||Leckwith Stadium Cardiff|
|3||04-Dec-2005||University of Bath|
|2006-2007||1||14-Oct-2006||Leckwith Stadium Cardiff|
|2||12-Nov-2006||University of Bath|
|2||11-Nov-2007||University of Bath|
|4||09-Feb-2008||Penlan Leisure Centre Brecon|
|2||09-Nov-2008||University of Bath|
|4||14-Feb-2009||Penlan Leisure Centre Brecon|
|2||08-Nov-2009||University of Bath|
|3||06-Dec-2009||Hestercombe Gardens Taunton|
|4||13-Feb-2010||Penlan Leisure Centre Brecon|
|4||12-Feb-2011||Penlan Leisure Centre Brecon|
|2||13-Nov-2011||University of Bath|
|4||11-Feb-2012||Penlan Leisure Centre Brecon|
|2||10-Nov-2012||Parc de Pugh Brecon|
|4||09-Feb-2013||University of Bath|
|5||02-Mar-2013||Penlan Leisure Centre Brecon|
Memories NM: We went back to Pontypool in 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the league; The course was hilly and made very slippery by some intense rain showers. DO: Those who didn't have spikes or fells were sliding back down one of the banks (when they were meant to be going up!). NM One runner made 4 attempts to get up the first bank, and several seniors also 'spun off' on a tight bend at the end of each lap, having no choice but to 'let go' through the spectators and down a bank.
|3||08-Dec-2013||University of Bath|
|4||08-Feb-2014||Penlan Leisure Centre Brecon||
Memories NM: This now legendary event was held in a severe gale and continuous rain. No tents survived, and we were lucky that all participants did. The storm had been forecast for further east, but made a direct hit on Brecon.
|2||09-Nov-2014||Cardiff - Llandaff Fields|
|3||06-Dec-2014||Penlan Leisure Centre Brecon|
|2||08-Nov-2015||Cardiff - Llandaff Fields|
|5||05-Mar-2016||Penlan Leisure Centre Brecon|
|2||12-Nov-2016||Penlan Leisure Centre Brecon|
|2017-2018||1||14-Oct-2017||Cardiff - Llandaff Fields|
|2||11-Nov-2017||Penlan Leisure Centre Brecon|
|5||03-Mar-2018||Blaise Castle||Cancelled (Wales snowbound)|
|2018-2019||1||13-Oct-2018||Cardiff - Llandaff Fields|
|3||02-Dec-2018||Parc Bryn Bach||
Memories NM: This was the first time at what could have been a very scenic venue on the top of the moors, but alas it was wet and windy all day. One of the club tents was blown into the lake, where it was left abandoned.
|2019-20||1||12-Oct-2019||Cardiff - Llandaff Fields|
|5||01-Mar-2020||Singleton Park, Swansea||Cancelled (Course Waterlogged)|
|2020-21||All||All Fixtures Cancelled (Covid-19 Pandemic)|