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Ystradgynlais man to attempt world record of fastest half marathon in full fencing gear

A man from Ystradgynlais will be attempting a Guinness World Record this week at the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon.

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Aled Hopkins to attempt World Record at Cardiff Half in full fencing gear 1

Aled Hopkins, 22 – originally from Neath – is aiming to become the fastest person running a half marathon in full fencing gear on Sunday (1 October).

He says: “I don’t think it’s been done before but Guinness World Records have said I need to cross the finish line in sub two hours. That’s been deemed the acceptable finish time as there isn’t a record to beat.”

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Aled is a keen fencer, having taken up the sport just under a year ago. He was encouraged to join Cardiff Academy of Fencing by his girlfriend, Erin Corcoran. She is a coach at the club and has also fenced for Great Britain.

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He’s now preparing for the 13.1 mile challenge on Sunday in a field of 27,500 runners:

“I’ll be running in the full fencing outfit which means breeches, a plastic protector which sits across the chest, a plastron which protects you from the fencing blade, a fencing jacket and and a lamé – an electrically conductive jacket which is basically like wearing tin foil. Only thing I’m not running with is the sword,” says Aled.

“The mask is pretty heavy and I have to wear that for the entire race. I can’t remove it.”

The IT consultant for CGI in Bridgend is also a keen runner and is a member of the Run 4 All Neath club. He has also run the Cardiff Half previously, in 2019 and ran a time of 1:24.

And he’s doing it all for a very good cause: “I’m running for Mind Cymru. I try and do two charity events a year and it is a charity close to my heart. They do incredible work and help so many people.”

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In fact, he raised over £800 running the 64-mile Jurassic Coast Challenge last year.

Last year, James Linney from Penarth achieved a Guinness World Record by completing the 2022 Cardiff Half whilst controlling a tennis ball. James, 40, crossed the line in 1:46.08.

This year’s Cardiff Half – the twentieth anniversary edition of the race – takes place on Sunday 1 October and is set to raise more than £3 million once again through partnerships with over 90 charities. It sold out in May with 27,500 spaces runners now registered to be on the start line.

As part of its title sponsorship agreement, Principality Building Society, has teamed up with Run 4 Wales – the organisers of the Cardiff Half – to launch the “Healthy Habits” campaign. It aims to encourage people to adopt positive physical, mental and financial habits.

Adding to the event’s international appeal, it is now a part of the SuperHalfs – an international half marathon series including races in Lisbon, Prague, Valencia, Copenhagen and Cardiff. It challenges runners to complete the five race circuit in 36 months in order to earn a ‘SuperMedal’ and other exclusive prizes.

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You can donate to Aled’s JustGiving page.

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