The city of Swansea was booming with thousands of runners and spectators today (Sunday 25th June) as they celebrated the fourth edition of the multi-award winning JCP Swansea Half Marathon.
The flat, fast and scenic 13.1-mile course continues to attract runners of all levels including first-timers, charity runners, club runners and elite athletes from all over the globe. This year saw a record of forty-three nationalities represented at the race that is officially the UK’s Best Half Marathon, and Wales’ second largest race of its kind. It was an historic day for the race with the men’s course record beaten, by third time winner; Dewi Griffiths in a time of 64:48:06.
The men’s field was dominated once again by the Swansea Harriers, but the team had stiff competition from our Irish counterparts, when Michael Closhisey finished only 44 seconds behind the winner in a time of 65:33:01. Followed closely by Sean Hehir who took third place, in a time of 66:36:08.
The women’s field were equally as strong, with all three finalists finishing within minutes of each other. The winning lady was Claire Gibbons-McCarthy, also from Ireland, who completed the race in an impressive 74:34:05. Runner up Rachel Felton of Run-Fast took second place, in a time of 76:35:04, with Welsh athlete Caryl Jones winning third in 77:52:05.
Runners were happy to be joined by the widely publicised London Marathon hero Matt Rees (of Swansea Harriers) and the athlete he helped cross that finish line; David Wyeth (of Chorlton Runners). The pair were reunited at the race along with 25 other elites athletes who made up the field. It was an emotional finish for English wheelchair athlete Eddie Clampin, who took first place in a time of 2:23:58, followed by Stehanie Benac and Richard Batchelor. JCP Solicitors were announced as the 2017 corporate champions, winning with the fastest combined time of their best 5 team runners.
Record numbers of PBs have been well documented on social media with thousands beating their previous times on a day that boasted near perfect running conditions with thanks to the team of race pacers provided by Xempo Race Pacing. The race set off from Oxford Street in Swansea city centre and was started by Hayley Davies from JCP Solicitors. Welsh singing star Ros Evans sent the runners on their way by singing with the all-female Mum’s the Word adult choir at the start of the race, whilst bands played along the route and at Castle Square.
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 fundraisers and spectators along the route, and were helped across the finish line on Oxford Street by a lively and supportive crowd. City spectators were also entertained by acts on stage at Castle Square organised by Swansea BID, contributing to the all-round fantastic atmosphere of the event.
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 and Cancer Research UK. Other charities affiliated with the race included: ABS Soldiers Charity, Mind, Swans Community Trust, Wales Air Ambulance, Action for Children, Maggies, and Barnardos Cymru. It’s expected the 2017 race will have raised more funds for charity than it has, since its inception.
In addition to the main event was the Family Fun Dash, introduced last year it 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 on Oxford street before cheering the main field of runners of the big race.
Results (provisional) - JCP Swansea Half Marathon 2017
1. Dewi Griffiths (Swansea Harriers), 01:04:48
2. Michael Clohisey (Raheny AC), 01:05:33
3. Sean Hehir (Rathfarnham WFAFAC), 01:06:36
1. Claire Gibbons-McCarthy (Ireland), 01:14:34
2. Rachel Felton (Run-Fast), 01:16:35
3. Caryl Jones (Swansea), 01:17:52
Eddie Clampin; 02:18:59
JCP Solicitors: 5 fastest times between; 01:22:21 to 01:40:26.
Race Director David Martin-Jewell said:“We are thrilled with the turnout for this year’s JCP Swansea Half Marathon, which has proved to be our biggest and best event yet. It was fantastic to see the streets of Swansea filled again with competitors and spectators of all ages, which created a fantastic 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 prestigious companies to stage the 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. 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.”
JCP Solicitors remains to be the title partner and founding sponsor of the Swansea Half Marathon and has confirmed their commitment to the race for the next two years. Other sponsors and partners of the 2017 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 partners of the event include; Brecon Carreg as hydration partner, providing water for every runner along the route and global brand ASICS.
The date for the JCP Swansea Half Marathon has already been set for next year and will take place on Sunday 24th June 2018. 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.