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Half marathon returns to Swansea after two-year break

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There were moments of anticipation, excitement, and joy at this year’s JCP Swansea Half Marathon event.

Runners took to the city’s streets to participate in the seventh edition of the race, which is traditionally held in June. They braved the 13.1 miles in slightly cooler conditions which were perfect for running.

After Hayley Davies, CEO of JCP Solicitors, set the runners on their way, she said: 

“It was fantastic to see everyone back at the start line and enjoying such a wonderful event for the city. It is always inspiring to see others taking part, whether it’s their first event, a personal challenge, or raising money for charity. Today was an extra special day full of emotions for everyone as it marked the return of the biggest running event for the region.”

The JCP Swansea Half Marathon was last held 28 months ago in June 2019, and last year was set to be the greatest event the organising team had ever staged.

Managing Director of Front Runner Events, David Martin-Jewell, said: “It has been such a challenging time for us as event organisers, but we have pulled out all the stops to ensure that the event could run as smoothly as possible. We are thrilled to have been able to deliver the JCP Swansea Half Marathon and hope that our runners loved being back to experience race day once again!”

The events sector has been one of the most severely affected industries during the last 18 months, so it was important that the event was just right for everyone involved. There were some changes as to be expected in a post-Covid-era, with everyone asked to register a negative lateral flow test result before participating. There were also a few changes to the route this year, but it remains one of the flattest half marathon routes in the UK.

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Just over 3,000 runners attended the event, which had previously attracted a field of 6,000 from all over the World. Many chose to run virtually this year in their own towns or cities wearing their official race number and were still part of the excitement online.

The elite field remained competitive as always, with wheelchair record holder Richie Powell shaving a few seconds off his record time that was gained in 2016 and finished the race in a staggering 60:54. He was followed by Ron Price in 2nd and Leslie Hampton in 3rd for the wheelchair racers.

Samuel Goodchild of Cornwall AC won 1st place in the men’s race in a time of 1:09:28. 2nd place was taken by David Green of Rugby & Northampton AC, in a time of 1:011:09 and in 3rd place was Michael Roderick of Tri Hard Harriers achieving a time of 1:11:22.

The women’s race was equally competitive, and 1st place went to Commonwealth Games and Team GB athlete Sonia Samuels in an impressive 1:14:09. 2nd place went to Georgia Holden Edwards in a time of 1:19:59 and 3rd place went to Hayley Munn of Rugby Northampton AC in 1:20:05.

Also taking part was Welsh TV presenter, endurance adventurer and athlete Lowri Morgan. She’s well-known for presenting Scrum V and the World Rally Championships and an avid runner that’s not afraid of a challenge. This year was the first time Lowri had participated in the JCP Swansea Half Marathon.

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She commented: “I love running in Swansea, it’s such a beautiful city with an amazing coastline, so it’s an absolute delight to be finally taking part in the event! I’ve wanted to participate since it first started back in 2014, but with it being staged in the Summer, my training has never allowed me to. It’s been a tough time for everyone these last couple of years, so it feels great to be back at events, and this one is certainly one I’ll aim to be back for next year!”

Hundreds of charity runners took part in the event for good causes, raising awareness and much-needed funds for their chosen charities. Since so many events had been cancelled during the last 18 months, fundraising is still taking place for the event charity partners; Maggie’s Swansea, Cancer Research UK, and Diabetes UK Cymru so runners fundraising pages will remain open for the few weeks yet.

Team spirit was in full flow as seven companies took on the Corporate Challenge. There was some stiff competition as the teams at Matthews & Co, HMT Sancta Maria, Brecon Carreg, Carmarthenshire Actif, Arvato Bertelsmann and Swansea University were unable to beat off the team at JCP Solicitors.

Other keen runners were sporting their club vests or wearing fancy dress, including the very special Captain Beany, who makes an appearance at the race every year!

David Martin-Jewell added: “The JCP Swansea Half Marathon is more than just a race it’s about bringing people together to share their challenge and experience. It’s about teamwork, helping the running community achieve their goals in both a mental and physical capacity, providing a platform for charity fundraising and providing volunteering opportunities for people in the city. These are all the reasons we love what we do and hope that we can continue to deliver great events for many years to come.”

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The organising team behind the JCP Swansea Half Marathon, Front Runner Events, continues to work tirelessly alongside their trusty team of volunteers, dedicated sector heads and event partners who all help deliver an event Swansea can be proud of. The team continue to work closely with the founding headline sponsors, JCP Solicitors and long-term partners Matthews & Co and HMT Sancta Maria. The event hydration partner remains to be the Welsh favourite Brecon Carreg.

(Lead image: Front Runner Events)

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Swansea.com Stadium get championship overhaul thanks to a South Wales painting firm

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Swansea City’s Swansea.com Stadium recently underwent an external decorative overhaul with Wardle Painters to improve the stadium’s aesthetic by making key repairs. 

Officially opened to fans in South Wales in July 2005, the stadium’s external paintwork had a warranty in place before major maintenance was expected to be required. However, just two years later, problems began to appear.

Its refurbishment was in the making for some time, starting with initial contact with the original suppliers to understand how this project would be addressed and how the processes and procedures would integrate with the day to day running of the stadium. Following this initial review, Wardle Painters was officially awarded the project contract in Autumn 2020 to refurbish all four stands. 

Gordon David from Swansea City FC said: “Swansea.com Stadium is a home away from home for our loyal Swansea City fans and it was important that we were able to turn to Wardle Painters to refurbish the external steelwork. We’re thrilled with the results and it’s fantastic to see the stadium look as good as new.”

Starting with an initial clean of the entire structure to remove algae and built-up grime, Wardle Painters was responsible for surface preparation and application of the protective coating system. It was determined that some areas required intense surface preparation which consequently meant specialist procedures and precautions had to be undertaken, meaning the Wardle team needed to hold the necessary accreditations to carry this aspect of the works safely.

Speaking of the work at Swansea.com Stadium, Nigel Curtis of Wardle Painters explained: “Like every piece of work we undertake, quality was of the utmost importance to us. Perhaps even more so on this project as this was our first major stadium renovation.

“Throughout the process, the paint supplier made independent audits of our work as well as a final inspection where it was concluded that the work carried out exceeded the recommended specification and was of a very acceptable standard. Our team worked tirelessly on the project and we’re very proud of the result.”

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Starting in September 2020, the project took just 11 months to complete.

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World Triathlon Para Series event can be a ‘game-changer for sport in Swansea’

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Double Paralympic medallist George Peasgood feels Britain’s first-ever stand-alone World Triathlon Para Series event in Swansea can be a game-changer for his sport in the city.

The world’s best paratriathletes will descend on South Wales on Saturday 6 August 2022 and return to the city through to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

The racing will take place at Prince of Wales Dock in Swansea and form part of a wider Para Sport Festival in the region.

“It’s a big thing to have a standalone event for paratriathlon in Britain,” he said.

“It’s about raising the awareness of the sport and using the momentum we’ve got from Tokyo and trying to showcase it.

“The home crowd feeling is special. Friends and family can come and watch me race and it will be amazing to be with all the people who have helped me over the years.

“Coming out from Tokyo with two medals was phenomenal and something I’ll cherish forever. It has been a surreal year and it’s taken a while for it to sink in.”

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Paralympian George Peasgood met a city delegation at Swansea’s SA1 ahead of the event next summer (Image: UWTSD)

Jonny Hamp, British Triathlon Director of Events, added: “It’s a fantastic announcement to be able to make.

“We’ve been working for a couple of years now on our major event strategy, and paratriathlon has been a key focus for what we’ve wanted to do and to be able to make this announcement today is a testament to the amount of work that’s been put in by a number of people over the last couple of years.

“We’ve got an incredibly successful paratriathlon team and so to be able to provide increased profile for the existing team and to provide inspiration for future paratriathletes to develop into the next world-class programme athletes is a fantastic opportunity for the sport in this country and that’s what we hope for the event to do over the next three years.”

Peasgood did the double of triathlon silver and cycling time trial bronze in a fantastic second Games in Japan. He also won European silver in September on his return to racing.

The 26-year-old is already targeting Paris 2024 and completing the set of Paralympic medals.

“I’ll be trying to get into my prime in Paris and Los Angeles (2028),” he said.

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“I’ve got a silver and bronze, I want that gold now. To get a gold medal, or to get in a position where I feel like I can again, and the goal will be to go to Paris and win.”

The Swansea event will be delivered by British Triathlon in collaboration with UK Sport, World Triathlon, Welsh Triathlon, the Welsh Government and Swansea City Council in what will be a first for the national governing body.

Paralympian George Peasgood met a city delegation at Swansea’s SA1 ahead of the event next summer (Image: Swansea Council)

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism for Swansea Council said: “It’s great for both the people and the city of Swansea to have the World Triathlon Para Series here.

“It will focus greatly upon the city, and the course going around our maritime quarter, past our new arena around Swansea Bay. It’s probably the most picturesque triathlon in Britain.”

Tom Rogers, Partnership Manager at Disability Sport Wales, said: “For Swansea, it’ll show it off as an accessible city, and show off what is possible for a disabled person locally.

“That event can be linked into wider opportunities for local children, young people and adults to provide that range of competitive and participatory opportunities around the event as well.”

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Welsh Triathlon CEO, Beverley Lewis, said: “From our perspective, we have two aims for this event.

“One is to show to children, young people, parents and coaches that they can be inclusive and they can support this kind of activity. The other one is then to provide the opportunities so that everyone can get engaged.”

Ian Walsh, Provost of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, said: “With our main campus here in the heart of the city, we think it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and participation in sport by showcasing the very best para-athletes here in the city centre.

“We’re very excited about the opportunities for our own students to engage in the events and also to be inspired to take up sports as part of not just their studies but for a healthier lifestyle.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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IRONMAN announces Swansea as new host city for IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon

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IRONMAN announced today that it will add a brand-new event to its 2022 global race calendar with the IRONMAN® 70.3® Swansea triathlon in Wales.

The inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea triathlon will take place on Sunday, August 7, 2022 with general registration opening on November 9th at 2pm GMT. 

Athletes and spectators can expect a fantastic route in a race destination offering scenic beauty with the historic dockside, Gower Peninsula and the rolling green hills, pastures and rich agriculture of Rural Swansea. Athletes and their family and friends can also enjoy the views along the sweeping waterfront of Swansea Bay, Mumbles, and the beautiful Gower Peninsula.

“We are really excited about the addition of an IRONMAN 70.3 race in Swansea as our athletes have been eagerly anticipating the establishment of such an event in Wales for some time.  Swansea was an obvious choice with its outstanding natural beauty and a thriving tourist destination, catering to both internationals and locals alike,” said Declan Byrne, Regional Director of IRONMAN UK and Ireland.

“Our hope is that IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea has the same positive impact on the region as IRONMAN Wales has had on Pembrokeshire.”

The success of IRONMAN Wales is significant as the event has been a huge catalyst for the growth of triathlon in the region. The event led to a significant growth in fitness and tourism in Pembrokeshire, including a major increase in triathlon clubs.

The Welsh government noted this impact and worked with Swansea Council The IRONMAN Group to bring the IRONMAN 70.3 event to Swansea.

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The IRONMAN 70.3 event comes to Swansea on Sunday 7 August 2022 (Image: IRONMAN)

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said; “I’m delighted that the Welsh Government has been able to support IRONMAN 70.3 – and that Swansea has been announced as one of the new events across Europe. Wales has a long relationship with IRONMAN – with the success of IRONMAN Wales being a catalyst for the growth of the sport in the area.  This event will further raise Wales’ profile as an events host – and provide an economic boost to the region.  I am also pleased with the collaborative work that is taking place with British Triathlon and Disability Sport Wales and in relation to other events that are happening at the same time in Swansea.”

The IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea event on Sunday, August 7, is part of a series of events that will celebrate para sport in the UK. A World Triathlon Para Series event will be held in Swansea the day before on Saturday, August 6, utilising some of the same courses that IRONMAN athletes will experience. A wider para sports festival will be held in Swansea throughout the week of the August 1, with several para sports events taking place at various locations around the city.

Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said: “Competitors, friends and supporters will be assured of a warm welcome in Swansea. It will be the perfect match of a sport that’s booming and a city that’s going places thanks to its people, culture, location and its £1bn city centre regeneration.”

The IRONMAN course will include a 1.2 mile swim at the Prince of Wales Dock (Image: IRONMAN)

Athletes participating in IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea will take on a 1.2-mile (1.9km) swim at the Prince of Wales Dock before cycling a one-loop 56-mile (90km) bike course. Athletes will cycle through the Mumbles along roads that hug the Gower’s coastal clifftops before cycling out through Rural Swansea before heading back along Swansea Bay into the city. From here they will return to Swansea as they prepare for transition in the Maritime Quarter beside the Rive Tawe. Lastly, athletes will take on a 13.1-mile (21.1km) two loop run course which takes them from the city centre, out past the new eye-catching gold-coloured Swansea Arena, towards Mumbles before heading back towards the finish line at the Marina.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “Ironman 70.3 Swansea adds to the city’s growing portfolio of high-quality events, including the annual Wales Airshow, Singleton Park concerts, and the Admiral Swansea Bay 10k. It’ll draw thousands of spectators, many Welsh athletes among those coming from many other places – and it’ll bring a welcome uplift for our fantastic tourism and hospitality sectors. The Ironman 70.3 will help make that weekend a very special one for Swansea sport, with Britain’s first-ever standalone World Triathlon Para Series event taking place here on Saturday, August 6.”

IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea will be an age-group race and will offer qualifying slots to the 2023 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship taking place in Lahti, Finland on August 26 – 27, 2023.

For more information on IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea, visit www.ironman.com/im703-swansea

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(Lead image: IRONMAN)

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