The city of Swansea was booming and basking in sunshine this weekend with thousands of fans being drawn in for a concert on Saturday at the Liberty stadium, then ending the weekend with a high when swathes of runners and spectators celebrated the FIFTH anniversary of the multi-award winning JCP Swansea Half Marathon.
Officially the UK’s Best Half Marathon for the second consecutive year, and Wales’ largest summer race, its easy to see why the flat, fast and scenic 13.1-mile course attracts runners of all levels including; first-timers, charity runners, club runners and elite athletes from all over the globe.
The starting line-up was dominated once again by Swansea Harriers men’s field but the course record was smashed by Cardiff AAC; Matt Clowes; beating Welsh Champ and third time winner Dewi Griffiths by 3 seconds, in a time of 64:43. The competition was fierce in both the male and female elite field with Swansea Harrier Josh Griffths finishing closely behind in second place in a time of 66:10. Followed by Phillip Matthews, also a Swansea Harrier who took third place, in a time of 69:35.
The women’s field were equally as strong, and the winner; Tracy Barlow of Thames Valley Harriers set a new female course record in an impressive time of 73.51. Runner up Laura Graham of Mourne AC finished closely behind in second place, in a time of 75:57, with North Belfast Harrier Gladys Ganiel taking third in 77:23.
Runners were happy to be joined by wheelchair athletes who started the race before the main field; with all time champ Richie Powell, who took first place in a time of 62:04, followed by Les Hampton of Cheltenham & County Harriers, Ron Price, and Stehanie Benac. JCP Solicitors were announced once again as the 2018 Corporate Champions, winning with their best 5 team runners; Matthew Reynolds, Rob Warlow, Benjamin Griffiths , Rebecca Bennett and Aled Jones.
This year saw thousands of runners achieving Personal Bests on the newly designed course, which has is said to be flatter that previous years. Runners were ringing the PB bell at the Race Village all day and thousands celebrated their achievements on social media on a day that had near perfect running conditions. Thanks to the team of race pacers provided by Xempo Race Pacing. The race set off from the iconic Brangwyn Hall in Swansea and was started by Hayley Davies from JCP Solicitors. Welsh singing star Ros Evans sent the runners on their way by singing a rousing rendition of the Welsh National Anthem at the start of the race, whilst bands played along the route to keep the motivation going.
The race proceeded on fully closed roads past Swansea Castle and along the magnificent six-mile stretch of Swansea Bay towards Mumbles, with views of the iconic pier and lighthouse. Runners were cheered on by charity supporters, volunteers, fundraisers and spectators along the route, and were helped across the finish line at Swansea Museum by a lively and supportive crowd.
It was a day of records and achievements alongside some substantial charity fundraising, with more charities wanting to be part of the race than ever before. The headline charities included; Alzheimer’s Society, Cancer Research UK and Maggie’s Cancer Care. Other charities affiliated with the race included: ABF Soldiers Charity, Mind, Wales Air Ambulance, Bloodwise, Cancer Research Wales, Noah’s Ark Childrens Hospital, Diabetes UK, Tenovus Cancer Care, Fundraising for Steps, and Paul Popham Fund. It’s expected that this year’s race will have raised more funds for charity than it has, since its very first year five years ago.
In addition to the main event was the Family Fun Dash that once again proved to be a popular part of the day, allowing over 100 young runners and families to experience the thrilling atmosphere of a big sporting event in the city. Dash runners took off from Swansea Castle taking in the last 1k of the half marathon route, crossing the official finish line at Swansea Museum before cheering the main field of runners of the big race.
Results – JCP Swansea Half Marathon 2018
- Matt Clowes (Cardiff AAC): 64:43 – NEW COURSE RECORD
- Josh Griffiths (Swansea Harriers): 66:10
- Phillips Matthews (Swansea Harriers): 69:35
- Tracy Barlow (Thames Valley Harriers): 73:51 – NEW FEMALE RECORD
- Laura Graham (Mourn AC): 75:57
- Gladys Ganiel (North Belfast Harriers): 77:23
Richie Powell: 62:04
JCP Solicitors: 5 fastest times between; 01:20:51 to 01:44:22.
Charity Team winners:
Wales Air Ambulance: 5 fastest times between; 01:23:16 to 01:35:51.
The full results and race day photos are available on the website www.swanseahalfmarathon.co.uk.
Race Director David Martin-Jewell said: “Today was always going to be a challenge for me and my team as well as those running the 13.1 miles. As a runner and with a team of runners working behind the scenes, we always try and to meet the high expectations for participants. The new start and finish along with being the 5th anniversary of the JCP Swansea Half Marathon, makes it more special for us.
Our aim is to deliver first class running events and with the changes made to the route and improvements undertaken behind the scenes, I feel as though this was something special for our great city. We are thrilled with the turnout and feedback we have received so far for this year’s race, and hope that we have been able to take the event to another level.
It was fantastic to see the streets of Swansea filled again with competitors and spectators of all ages and abilities, which created a brilliant atmosphere during the event. We would like to congratulate every single person who crossed the finish line for their phenomenal effort and achievement.”
“Our sincere thanks go to all our sponsors and partners for their on going support throughout the year, it has been a pleasure to work alongside such well regarded companies who helped us to stage the 5th anniversary JCP Swansea Half Marathon. We are incredibly grateful to our crew of volunteers who ensured that the day went as smoothly as possible from the build up, to the finish, everyone did a fantastic job! We need to thank the city for residents affected by the road closures for their patience and assistance during these crucial times. Our thanks also go to everyone who sponsored our runners to raise incredible sums for charity, to all those who came out today to cheer on the athletes, and of course to all the runners who chose to #RunSwansea. It was an incredible day for our city and I am honoured to be a part of that.”
JCP Solicitors remains to be the title partner and founding sponsor of the Swansea Half Marathon and has confirmed their commitment to the race until 2019. Other sponsors and partners of the 2018 race include; Matthews & Co chartered accountants, HMT Sancta Maria, Race Nation the race entry platform, and Home from Home self-catering holiday agency. Event delivery and hydration partner of the event is Welsh favourite Brecon Carreg, which provided water for every runner along the route.
The team behind the event are proud to announce that this year’s race will be televised on Channel 4 on July 7th from 7am (provisional) so everyone involved will be able to watch all the highlights of the day on TV as well as international sports channels from this date.
The date for the JCP Swansea Half Marathon has already been set for next year and will take place on Sunday 23rd June 2019. Early bird entry is now open, with standard entry frozen at £30 (+booking fee), or £28 (+booking fee) for affiliated runners until 31st August. Entry from this date onwards will rise to £35 and £33 respectively.
To sign up or find full results and photos go to www.swanseahalfmarathon.co.uk You can also like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/SwanseaHalf and follow @Swansea_HM #RunSwansea #FromTheCityToTheSea on Twitter to stay up to date with all the latest news and updates.