Griffiths Faces Tough Defence of title in Swansea
Dewi Griffiths can expect a Superhero among his challengers when he goes to the line to defend his JCP Swansea Half Marathon title on 26th June.
Swansea Harriers’ Great Britain international aims to become the first man to record back-to-back victories in the race but Paul Martelletti is keen to prevent another home victory for 24-year-old Griffiths.
New Zealand born Martelletti wore the distinctive red and blue webbed costume of Spiderman to set a unique record at the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon.
But the London based long distance specialist, who now runs for his adopted country, is more than a gimmick.
His world record run as the fastest man in a superhero costume was followed by 22nd place at last month’s Virgin Money London Marathon when he clocked 2hrs 17 mins, 26 seconds.
In addition, Martelletti, 36, has won races over the 13.1 mile distance this year in Brighton, Watford, Tunbridge Wells and Los Angeles. His half marathon personal best of 64 mins 18 seconds puts him fractionally behind title holder Griffiths who himself is in superb form having won the British, Welsh and Inter Counties Cross Country Championships this year and set a new half marathon PB at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships whilst representing Great Britain.
Cardiff based Michael Kallenberg, a serving RAF man, is also no stranger to the marathon and will look on the JCP Swansea Half Marathon as something of a sprint!
Coached by James Thie in Cardiff, Kallenberg came third at the 2015 ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon which Martelletti won, before finishing eighth and second European at the World 50K Championships in Doha last December.
Angus Maclean (PB 68:25) and Josh Griffiths (PB 66:28), second and third respectively behind Griffiths last year, add depth to the Swansea Harrier team and return to see if they can close the gap on outstanding race favourite and popular inaugural race ambassador.
Lliswerry Runners’ Emma Wookey’s withdrawal through injury has opened the door for the coronation of a new ladies’ champion.
Certainly, Wookey, 14th overall in 2015, is devastated by the decision but who can take advantage of her absence?
Hannah Walker, 25, is the fastest female entrant with an impressive 71:50 from the 2012 Bristol Half Marathon. The Run-Fast athlete achieved a more modest 78:12 at the Vitality Hackney Half Marathon this May but was first woman and 17th overall.
Jess Parry-Williams, third female and four places and 70 seconds behind winner Wookey at Swansea last year, will also take up the gauntlet.
The 35-year-old Les Croupiers athlete was ninth female at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff in March.
Ellie Davies (personal best, 76:29) shouldn’t be underestimated. On the track, the Brecon runner won the British Universities 10,000 metres title earlier this month (May) and finished fifth female at this year’s Vitality Bath Half Marathon back in March.
Rachel Felton raced the Admiral Swansea Bay 10K in 2014, placing third lady, and then taking fifth at last year’s Cardiff Half Marathon with 73 mins 42 secs.
The Stroud based, Shaftesbury Barnet AC star was subsequently named in Great Britain’s squad for the World Half Championships finishing in 76:36. Wookey’s winning Swansea time from 2015 was 77:51.
Already the second largest 13.1 miler in Wales, the 2016 JCP Swansea Half Marathon will attract a record extending 8,000 field this summer. It will take place on fully closed roads and is quickly becoming a firm favourite amongst the running community.
Entries for the award-winning JCP Swansea Half Marathon are currently still open but general places are expected to sell out before the end of this week.
Public places cost £33 for affiliated athletes and £35 for non-affiliated runners, which includes a fully marshaled course on closed roads, medal, technical t-shirt, on route entertainment, post-race massage and goody bag for all finishers.
Starting and finishing in the city centre, the route takes runners along Swansea Bay to The Mumbles and back, featuring six miles of stunning coastline, beautiful views and fantastic crowd support.
Go to www.swanseahalfmarathon.co.uk for further race details and to secure your place on the start line this June.
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