My name is Geraint Jones and it’s a while since I was a student at Swansea. 1986 was when I graduated in Computer Science to be exact. I wasn’t a runner then, frankly there were more interesting things to do and if it wasn’t for the physical farm work I did when I arrived home, I would have been hopelessly unfit.
The years passed by, working, raising a family, travelling extensively both personally and professionally, coaching junior football teams and contributing to the community and I never seemed to have time. I started walking more and 5 years ago completed the Offa’s Dyke path in 10 days! It was exhausting at times, but I loved it! I’m working my way round the Wales coast to complete the loop and as my fitness improved, and encouraged by friends I started running. The odd mile to start with, I couldn’t manage much more, but incentivised by joining a group of work colleagues running at lunch time, the mileage and the fitness increased.
No doubt, that would have continued, but then came covid. I, like many, suffered with my mental wellbeing and restricted by the amount of time we were (supposedly) allowed to exercise, decided running gave you more bang for your buck. As freedom returned, I got up early to run when the roads and paths were empty. Alongside lots of walking become fitter than I’d ever been. I may have travelled extensively around the globe for both work and personal, but for embracing nature there is nowhere quite like Wales for running. When it’s not raining or windy (more often than you’d expect), it’s near perfect.
I am the Head of ICT at Adra Tai (Cyf) a Housing Association based in north Wales. When I need to think clearly or something is bothering me, I put on the running shoes. Almost invariably any challenges disappear. Management books are increasingly encouraging physical fitness to support mental wellbeing and performance at work. I can confirm it works and encourage everyone to try it, step by step!
My son Huw is in his final year studying Welsh at Swansea Uni and through my many recent visits I have fallen in love with Swansea again. What better place to run my first half marathon! Huw has also entered and will no doubt have a long wait for me at the finish line. That’s assuming we both make it, Huw cracked his ankle playing football and my calf is causing me grief which paused my training. I may not set the time I’d hoped and may end up walking part of the course, but I am determined.
I’ve studied the web for advice and concluded that; a good diet is essential; drinking plenty of fluids (and keep off the alcohol) is a given; warming up and stretching is mandatory and good running shoes are a must. So armed with determination, a training plan and a deadline, Swansea here I come! It may have taken me a while, but I now subscribe to my school PE teacher’s saying “that a healthy body is a healthy mind”. Better late than never, and to anyone considering taking up running, you won’t regret it.