Pembrey Country Park has been chosen to host major athletics championship events in an exciting new partnership with Welsh Athletics.
The park has built a strong reputation for major sporting events in recent years, including athletics, cross country and all-terrain cycling, and last year played host to a successful Gwent Cross Country League which drew a huge crowd of runners and spectators.
In this new partnership, Welsh Athletics has committed to holding a number of events in Carmarthenshire for the first time, including the prestigious National Cross Country Championships, previously held in North Wales and Swansea.
Securing the event is a big coup for the park, which is also set to hit the sporting limelight in September when it hosts the ‘Grand Depart’ of the Tour of Britain, bringing some of the world’s best elite cyclists to the county in September.
Alex Donald, Competitions lead for Endurance events at Welsh Athletics, said: “Welsh Athletics are delighted to be able to work in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to bring our flagship Cross Country event to West Wales next year.
“Pembrey provides the ideal setting and great facilities to host the race, and athletes can expect a fun, scenic and challenging course around the park. The Welsh Cross Country Championships has a rich history and we’re looking forward to seeing our top endurance athletes across all the age ranges come here to test themselves and compete for National honours next February.”
The news has been welcomed by local athletes, including Team GB athlete Caryl Jones, GB Youth International Ben Thomas and Swansea Harriers runner Dewi Griffiths – who all hail from Carmarthenshire.
“Pembrey Country Park is on my doorstep so is an ideal place to train,” said Caryl. “I’m excited about this partnership which will see more major athletics events held here in Carmarthenshire.”
Ben Thomas added: “The landscape and facilities that the park offers make it a great venue for cross country championships. It will be great to have home advantage and the support of a local crowd during these competitions, I’m really looking forward to it.”
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “Pembrey Country Park is fast becoming the major sporting venue in Wales and we are delighted to have secured this commitment from Welsh Athletics which will attract huge numbers to the park. This is an exciting development, which – alongside the fantastic cycling opportunities we are bringing to the Park – really puts Carmarthenshire first place on the map for sporting events.”