It seems that Swansea residents have got the running bug, and with Virgin Money London Marathon taking place this Sunday, we are seeing more and more people lacing up their trainers and taking to the roads to #RunSwansea. Although the Oscar winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones won’t be pulling on a running vest when an expected 8,000 competitors line up for the JCP Swansea Half Marathon on 26th June, it doesn’t mean you can’t!
Whilst the dream of taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon is the aim of so many, the JCP Swansea Half Marathon is an achievable target for people of all abilities, and an ideal race for first timers. Instead of iconic London landmarks, the wow factor in this race will be supplied by the scenery of the beautiful Swansea Bay, fantastic crowd support and great Welsh welcome in one of the UK’s friendliest cities.
What’s the attraction you may ask? Well, with Swansea Bay being a home to grey seals, dolphins and even basking sharks, it provides a world renowned, scenic backdrop…so you can see why visitors are coming from all over the globe again to take part! Why wouldn’t you want to come to a location also known as a sporting mecca thanks to its Premier League football team, Swansea City, and top rugby union outfit, the Ospreys? And that’s just what runners have been doing since the JCP Swansea Half Marathon, the second largest race of its kind in Wales and one of the United Kingdom’s fastest growing half marathons, opened for business in 2014.
Last year 5,000 competitors from 25 nations took part, many of whom live and work in Swansea and regularly run part of the course. Those familiar with the route know it’s fast, flat and is an ideal race for first timers, taking in breath-taking views, historic monuments, and more.
Race Director David Martin-Jewell said: “We have seen a big surge in entries following the World Half Marathon Championships that took place recently and we hope that London will inspire others to take part in our event. Anyone contemplating on entering the race should do so now as places are filling fast. From a runners’ perspective, we are keen to maintain a race that is value for money, one that runners enjoy, and makes them want to come back, year after year. We want to give our runners the best experience possible, and hopefully we achieve that by not only having an excellent course, but by making improvements year on year, such as achieving IAAF status for 2017.”
In 2015, there were thousands of fun runners, plenty of joggers and lots of people raising thousands of pounds for some fantastic charities. But amongst them, were also a strong field of elite runners, which is set to grow again in June.
Last year, Dewi Griffiths, Team GB athlete and race ambassador, sprinted across the Millennium Bridge en route to a city centre finish in front of thousands of spectators. The former Swansea University student’s time of 1 hour, six minutes, 48 seconds was a course record by nearly eight minutes. Ladies titleholder, Emma Wookey of Lliswerry Runners, claimed the women’s prize with her time of 1:17:51. Both have vowed to go faster in 2016, especially after being appointed the event’s first ever race ambassadors.
A wheelchair race was incorporated for the first time last year, and in June the race will see the introduction of two waves of runners to help cope with extra demand for places.
Run the Swansea Half Marathon
There are only 2 weeks left to register for guaranteed postal delivery of race packs; those who register after this date will need to collect their packs from the organisers. To enter and find out more go to www.swanseahalfmarathon.co.uk.