Meet the Cardiff Half All Timers: Neil Jones
Of the 25,000 runners who will create history at the 15th anniversary edition of the Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon, Neil Jones will be one of the few who remembers crossing the finish line at the home of Welsh rugby.
The Pontyclun Road Runner used to run 26.2 miles around the Welsh capital from 2003 when a full marathon took place alongside what is now the largest mass-participation event in the country.
Around 1,000 runners across both distances were roared across the finish line in the Principality Stadium. Neil dipped under the four hour mark after a sprint finish across the hallowed turf – and he was hooked on that moment.
“The Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon is the standout event in my running calendar because this is where my running journey started 14 years ago,” said Neil. “The thrill of the last two hundred metres around the iconic Principality Stadium with music blasting and spectators in the middle tier of stadium cheering shouting at loved ones is something that I will never ever forget, and to this day is reason I’m so addicted!
“Watching the event grow has been amazing. It’s also inspired me to keep coming back as a local year after year and I haven’t missed a event since my journey started and don’t think I will ever miss this amazing race!”
The event has gown to accommodate the nation’s running revolution with 25,000 participants from across the world set to take their place on the start line at this year’s race.
Each have their own reasons for running the iconic 13.1 miles around the Welsh capital, whether it be fundraising for charity or for a personal challenge. Neil will be out to prove life begins at 40 as he chases a personal best over half marathon distance at the Cardiff Half.
“I hit the big 40 this year and my aim is to run personal bests in each of the running distances from five km to the marathon to prove that age is a number and if you want anything you can achieve it!
This year, injury permitting, I am hoping to run a 1 hour 15 minute half marathon. My running journey started many years ago with a 3:58 marathon I have just run a 2:46 marathon. With lots more work and time I am hoping this year to be able to run a competitive half marathon and hopefully get close to the 1.15 mark!”