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Everything You Need to Know About the Newport Wales Marathon

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The ABP Newport Wales Marathon is returning this Sunday, set to be the largest mass participation event to take place in Wales in 2021. 8,000 people have signed up to run the marathon, 10K or family mile races which were originally scheduled for April 2020. 

The race will be delivered as a ‘Breathable Event’ – providing a great event day experience and atmosphere with a focus on responsibility and safety. A number of measures will be in place to help keep people safe and prevent the spread the Coronavirus.

Simon Brown, Divisional Port Manager for Wales & South West, at ABP commented:

We are delighted that the ABP Newport Wales Marathon and 10K is returning this year. This event is a fantastic community event. We are really looking forward to the day and wish all participants the very best.’

When are the races?

The event takes place this Sunday, 24 October. The Marathon will start at 09:00, the 10K at 09:45 and the Family Mile at 12:30.

Where is it happening?

All races will start on Usk Way in Newport near the University of South Wales building. The event village is situated on the river front in front of the University of South Wales building (opposite the Friars Walk Shopping Centre).

Can I still enter?

Registration for all three races are now closed and no on-the-day entries will be available.

Where does the marathon race go?

The route for the ABP Newport Wales Marathon was devised by double Olympic marathon runner Steve Brace and is one of Europe’s flattest marathon races.

It starts and finishes on Newport’s vibrant riverfront and offers iconic landmarks, like the city’s Transporter Bridge and the stunning scenery of the surrounding Gwent Levels – with coastal wildlife and picturesque medieval villages.

The single loop route takes runners past the University of South Wales and the bustling Friars Walk shopping centre before heading over the SDR Bridge, through the east of the city and into its rural areas, then on towards the village of Magor in Monmouthshire. Here, runners can expect a carnival atmosphere around the main village square.

Supporters will have the perfect opportunity to catch a glimpse of their loved ones and elite runners in the medieval town of Redwick, before runners head back towards the revamped city centre.

Before a sprint finish along the River Usk, runners will get the chance to take in the coastal wildlife on show at the Gwent Levels and Newport Wetlands – one of the UK’s most popular bird watching sites.

You can see a map of the route here.

Where does the 10K race go?

It starts and finishes on Newport’s vibrant riverfront, with a flat and fast course passing some of Newport’s most iconic landmarks and the recently revamped city-centre (including the SDR Bridge and Transporter Bridge).

It adds an exciting extra dimension to the ABP Newport Wales Marathon, giving runners of all abilities the chance to be a part of one of Wales’ largest weekends of running – without having to complete the challenging marathon distance.

You can see a map of the route here.

What is the weather foreacast?

The weather forecast is looking typically Welsh, with a chance for some light rain showers and a moderate breeze expected. The temperature will be mild.

What is the best way to travel to the race?

Competitors are encouraged to plan their journey in advance and be aware that some road closures will be in place on the morning of the race.

With so many participants and spectators travelling to Newport over the race weekend, one of the most reliable, stress-free and cost-effective ways to travel and avoid congestion is by travelling by train in advance of race day and make a weekend of it.

An official Park & Ride service for the race will be in operation, based at the Office of National Statistics which is easily accessible from the M4 Motorway. It will operate between 06:00 and 18:00. All spaces are now sold out, but other car parks are available in the city-centre.

For travel and parking advice click here.

Will there be road closures in place?

Some road closures will be in operation to facilitate the safe passage of participants. A list of road closures and interactive google map to help plan your journey can be found here.

What COVID safety measures will be in place?

A full COVID-19 specific risk assessment and operational plan has been put in place in recognition of the continued risk of transmission and the responsibilities of event organisers to minimise risk.

Although current Welsh Government guidance no longer requires restrictions on maximum numbers or the implementation of social distancing or mask wearing, a number of measures will be in place for the protection of staff and participants.The event venue has been redesigned with additional space created throughout and the size of start pens significantly increased to allow participants to create space between themselves and others.

Staff, suppliers and event officials will wear face coverings when close to others and runners will be encouraged to wear them in crowded areas.

A dedicated cleansing team will regularly clean touch points throughout the event site including toilets, door handles, barriers, drink stations and pen entry points – with hand sanitiser points provided for runners across the event.

All staff will need to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test before arriving on the event site and have no symptoms of COVID-19. Runners will be encouraged to take personal responsibility by taking a lateral flow test 24 hours before the event.

Volunteers on water stations will be wearing gloves and passing sealed bottles to runners.

Runners will be asked to limit the number of spectators they bring along to the event, with those who do attend encouraged to avoid busy areas around the start and finish line.

Full details on all of the measures in place can be found here.

Is there an elite race?

Dewi Griffiths (28:37) Paulos Surafel (29:16) and Hannah Alderson (35:01) will head the fields for the 10K. Adam Bowden (debut), Ollie Garrod (2:25:32), Robert Laing (2:27:17) Jill Collett (2:47:38), Melissah Gibson (2:51:32) and Emma Navesey (2:54:32) are favourites in the marathon.

Read the full elite preview here.

Are there any inspiring runner stories?

Proud Dad Mark Bricknell has waited 18 months to run the ABP Newport Wales Marathon for the NSPCC, but will now have a running partner – his daughter, Megan, who was stuck in New Zealand during the first stages of the pandemic.

A group of waste operatives are taking part in the ABP Newport Wales 10K thanks to Healthspan on Sunday.  Event partner Healthspan are donating all of their free spaces in R4W events to key workers this year, in thanks for keeping us going during the pandemic. At the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay Run last month they gifted free spaces to Royal Mail workers.

Will there be atmosphere around the route?

Although runners are being asked to limit the number of spectators they bring to the event, there will still be a fantastic atmosphere around the route with a number of course entertainment stations.

Dedicated course entertainment points will offer musical encouragement to runners, at various points along the route.

In 2021, there will be entertainment from:

Transporter Bridge – Samba Galez (Wales' longest running samba band)

Magor Square – The Offshoots

North Row – Tune Trucks

Southern Distributor Road – Wonderbrass

There will also be PAs playing music at water stations in Goldcliff, Nash Road and Redwick.

Will money be raised for charity?

NSPCC are the Lead Charity of the event and have 100 fundraisers signed up across the marathon & 10K. They’ll be running to support the fight against child abuse in Wales and the UK. There will be a number of other charities and good causes represented.

Will it be on TV?

The race will once again be televised around the world. A one-hour Welsh language programme will be broadcast on S4C on the 29 October at 20:00 and will also be available to view via the BBC iPlayer.

A 30-minute English language programme will also be produced, broadcast from December via a number of channels and steaming services. The multi-platform coverage will feature on over 37 channels to millions of potential viewers across the world in countries such as Ireland, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Brazil, Spain, Switzerland and the USA.

Find out more here.

Who are the event partners?

The event would not be possible without the support of Associated British Ports (ABP), Welsh Government and Newport City Council. Other event partners include Healthspan, the University of South Wales, Monmouthshire Building Society, Capitol SEAT & SKODA, the Office for National Statistics, Friars Walk Newport, Tata Steel, Brecon Carreg and ICC Wales.

Their support throughout the pandemic and in the lead up to the race has meant it is possible to stage the event in 2021.

What will runners receive when they finish the race?

Every marathon & 10K runner will receive a commemorative medal and event t-shirt upon finishing the race.

The marathon medal this year features the Newport Wave statue and is the first R4W race medal to feature a disabled athlete. The 10K medal has been inspired by Newport’s SDR bridge and forms a matching set with other 2021 events in the Healthspan Wales 10K Series this year including the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay Run and R4W Virtual 10K.

The designs were unveiled with help from a group of staff from ABP South Wales. Check out the designs here.

Can you track runners around the race?

The Run 4 Wales App on iOS and Android can be used to inspect the route pre-race and live track participants on the day with full Google maps functionality.

Find out more or download the app here.

Race Day Guide

A full lowdown of all the important event information can be found here.