Dewi Griffiths and Emma Wookey, men’s and women’s title winners at the 2015 JCP Swansea Half Marathon, are celebrating again after receiving New Year’s honours.
Swansea Harrier Griffiths, 24, and 22-year-old Wookey of Lliswerry Runners have accepted invitations from Race Directors, David Martin-Jewell and Nick Francis, to become the rapidly growing event’s inaugural race ambassadors.
Both are now even more determined to defend their respective crowns when the third staging of the scenic, fast and flat JCP Swansea Half Marathon takes place on June 26, 2016.
And the long distance stars are keen to help grow the race – already the second largest 13.1 miler in Wales – which will attract a record extending 8,000 field this summer.
“I am really happy to be offered the job,” confirmed Rio 2016 Olympic hopeful Griffiths, keen to improve on last year’s record winning time of 66 minutes 48 seconds.
“I am proud to run for Swansea Harriers and I am proud of my roots in West Wales. It is great to be able to give something back to the sport and the area. If I can help inspire the next generation from the club or West Wales then that’s what I am hoping to do, “ explained the former Carmarthen Harrier.
“There was always going to be pressure because I am defending champion and the one everyone wants to beat. But whether I was an ambassador or not, I would want to go out and run to a good standard and hopefully be good enough to win again. I definitely think there are a couple more minutes to come off. I ran well last year but I think I could have ran even better.
“If there is good competition then I am sure that will push me on to go faster again,” added Griffiths, who represented Great Britain at the World and European Cross Country Championships in 2015, helping win a team bronze at last month’s latter event in Hyeres, France.
Wookey has also enjoyed a successful last 12 months. She added the Newport and Severn Bridge Half Marathon titles to her maiden Swansea success in 67 minutes 51 seconds (14th overall) and also finished second female on her marathon debut in Bristol.
She and Griffiths will compete at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff in March. But Wookey is just as excited by the prospect of racing again in Swansea three months later.
“It’s a great time of year for an event like Swansea because there aren’t many half marathons around that time. It appeals to so many people and I find it really rewarding to see others achieve their goals at events like that. I feel absolutely honoured to become an ambassador. David and Nick have been incredibly generous. I really want to help and get others involved in what I know will be a fantastic event once again.”
“I’m not a full time athlete and work every day,” explained Wookey “I am just like everyone else. So, I want to show the JCP Swansea Half Marathon can appeal to everyone: from club runners looking for fast times, to charity fundraisers and first timers too. It’s got something for everyone and I think that no matter what your goal, it’s the perfect event for it.
“There will be a little more pressure to defend my title now I am an ambassador though I try not to put too much pressure on myself. However, there are some cracking female athletes in Wales and I always know I will be in for a good race when I see them on the start line.”
Race Director David Martin-Jewell commented:
“We are delighted to be working with such a high calibre athlete as Dewi Griffiths and we see massive potential with Emma Wookey making huge strides in the UK Running scene. We are looking forward to working with both athletes closely and we are very proud for them both to be JCP Swansea Half Marathon ambassadors”.
The JCP Swansea Half Marathon takes place on Sunday 26th June 2016 on fully closed roads and is quickly becoming a firm favourite amongst the running community. The flat fast course is perfect for beginners, first time half marathon runners and charity runners, whilst attracting a large elite field from Wales and beyond to #RunSwansea. The race is also a finalist at The Running Awards for the second year in a row and it keeps growing in both size and popularity.
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. A total of 8,000 places are available for 2016.
Go to www.swanseahalfmarathon.co.uk for further race details and to secure your place on the start line, like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/SwanseaHalf and follow @Swansea_HM #RunSwansea #FromTheCityToTheSea on Twitter.