Records tumbled as the 2021 ABP Newport Wales Marathon & 10K returned with its largest field and fastest times.
It was worth the wait after an 18 month covid delay as all four course records were broken on a landmark day for distance running in Wales.
Around 8,000 runners registered for the marathon and 10K events, and hundreds more took part in the Family Mile in cool conditions ideal for fast times. The ‘breathable’ event was the largest mass-participation event to take place in Wales since the beginning of the pandemic.
The flat, fast course lived up to its reputation of delivering personal bests as records were smashed in the 10K event after thousands of participants streamed across the start lines for both races.
Thames Valley athlete Paulos Surafel was on course to comfortably break the previous best time of 29:43 at the halfway mark, but after slowing in the final few kilometres, he managed to take the tape just a second ahead of Matt Clowes’ record time to add to his victories at the Kew Gardens 10K and Windsor Half Marathon. Cardiff AAC’s James Heneghan (29:54) and James Hunt (30:00) took second and third.
Hannah Alderson won gold in the women’s 10K race with a stunning performance to shave 22 seconds off the course record. Cornwall’s Imogen Ward took second in 35:32, 39 seconds ahead of Donna Morris in third.
Then it was time for the climax of the fastest ABP Newport Wales Marathon yet. Triathlon star Adam Bowden led from the front, through the regenerated city centre and through the villages of Magor and Redwick to pass the halfway mark in 1 hour and 10 minutes, and he continued the blistering pace through the Newport wetlands and past the Transporter Bridge to win the men’s title on his marathon debut.
The GB triathlete took a stunning 10 minutes off the previous record set by Chris Bird in 2019, as he finished clear of Ollie Garrod (2:25:59) and Mark Worringham (2:33:37).
Rebecca Gallop lived up to her name as she stormed to victory in the women’s marathon to set the final course record of the day. The Newark runner beat the previous standard by 51 seconds en route to victory ahead of Melissa Gibson (2:51:23) and Jill Collett (2:53:39). Serial winner Richie Powell won the wheelchair marathon in 2:15:04.
Run 4 Wales Chief Executive Matt Newman said:
“We’ve had to be patient over the last 18 months, but the third edition of the event was certainly worth the wait. Record numbers and record times once again proved why the reputation of this event continues to grow.
“It has been a fantastic day for distance running in Wales and for the city of Newport, who once again came out in their droves to support the runners who finally got the chance to shine on the big stage. My thanks go to Associated British Ports for their continued support as title partner, Welsh Government and Newport City Council as strategic partners and all our other sponsors and partners including NSPCC, Healthspan, University of South Wales, Monmouthshire Building Society, Brecon Carreg, Capitol Seat & Skoda, Tata Steel and ICC Wales.”
The third edition of the event partnered with NSPCC, who had an army of 100 runners under their banner. The event, which will have an hour-long highlights show in Welsh on S4C and a 30 minute English package available on Eurosport, Endurance Sports TV, Free Sports and Front Runner Sports, was supported again by Welsh Government and Newport City Council.