A look ahead to Sunday’s seaside race

Josh Griffiths and Caryl Jones will headline the JCP Swansea Half Marathon on Sunday June 24, when they will chase maiden victories at the seaside race, writes Alex Donald.

Griffiths was the 2017 British marathon champion and competed at his first Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April. The Swansea Harrier was third on his last outing at this race in 2016 but has improved considerably since then.

Cardiff AAC’s Matt Clowes is the most likely to upset the party for Griffiths and is the fastest athlete on paper with a best of 64:38. He is also the only man in the field to have run under Dewi Griffiths’ course record of 64:49 set on the pancake flat route 12 months ago.

Aaron Scott from Lincoln Wellington is the next fastest on paper, also having run under 66 minutes in the past.

Tom Merson has shown great 10km form with a best of 29:50 and a win at the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10km in May. The Exmouth Harrier is also a great racer and will be on hand to push the pace in the search for a half-marathon best.

Michael Kallenberg will look to support his Cardiff club mate Clowes. Kallenberg is better known as an ultra-distance runner these days but is also the 2018 RAF cross country champion.

Phil Matthews competes for local club Swansea Harriers and is a regular at Welsh races. Recent form includes a silver medal at the Welsh Cross Country Championships in the city from February.

The women’s race is likely to see Jones improve on her third place from last year after steadily returning to her best over the last twelve months.

The Swansea Harrier now looks to be very close to the form that saw her run 71:18 at the Great North Run in 2012 and finish 10th at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships later the same year.

More recently, Jones finished eighth in the Commonwealth Games marathon, in the heat of the Gold Coast.

Tracy Barlow of Thames Valley Harries will also contest the race and is another athlete who has proven recent form. Her lifetime best of 72:35 was set while competing for Britain at the 2018 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.

Claire Gibbons McCarthy will return to defend her race crown from 2017. The Irish athlete, who was 33rd at the 2017 IAAF World Championships marathon in London, will also have her course record of 74:34 at stake.

Gladys Ganiel is another Irish athlete who should feature and has a PB of 75:08. Laura Graham completes the trio of Irish competitors and should be in the mix after setting her 75:15 best when finishing 12th at the Vitality Big Half earlier this year.

Evergreen Emma Stepto, who was the 2014 British half-marathon champion and regularly makes the trip from Cornwall to compete in South Wales, will also be present.

Swansea’s Sian Edwards, Cardiffian Lucy Marland and Cwmbran based Natasha Cockram will help to add a local flavour. MMRT’s Cockram set a Welsh marathon all-comers’ record with victory at the ABP Newport Wales Marathon in April.