The inaugural Healthspan Porthcawl 10K will play host a fierce battle on Sunday as Joshua Griffiths, Natasha Cockram and Jenny Spink head the elite fields.
Griffiths has established himself amongst the top Welsh road runners in recent years, notably claiming the 2017 British Marathon title in London. The Swansea Harrier went on to represent Great Britain & Northern Ireland at the 2017 IAAF World Championship Marathon in London and will be out to claim his first victory on the roads this year ahead of a sold-out 4,000-strong field.
Since then he has claimed a top 15 finish at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and brought his 10km and Half Marathon times down to 29:28 and 64:54 respectively. He began the 2018 Healthspan Wales 10k Series with a third place finish in 29:34 and starts the third race in Porthcawl as a resounding favourite.
Phil Wylie of Cheltenham & County Harriers is another sub 30 man and the next fastest on paper with a best of 29:30 that dates back to 2013.
Exmouth Harrier Tom Merson set his 29:50 P.B. at the Telford 10k in 2015 but has dipped under 30 minutes three times this year, at the Great Bristol 10k and Brighton 10k and at the Vitality London 10,000.
James Hunt is a Cardiff AC athlete who is still chasing the illusive 30 minute barrier but is getting ever closer. The 2018 Welsh Cross Country Champion will need to dig deep however if he is going to challenge race favourite Griffiths.
Natasha Cockram of MMRT has shown massive improvements since return her return from an Athletics Scholarship at Tulsa University. She moved in to the athletics limelight following a fourth place at the Dublin Marathon last year, following up with a 2:34.18 best at the Chevron Houston Marathon at the start of the year. Recent 10k form includes a win at the Vienna 10k in 34:37.
Jenny Spink is an experienced racer whose most recent win was at the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon in April. The Bristol & West AC athlete is the second fastest athlete on paper with a best of 33:34 and is likely to feature at the front of the women’s contest.
Rachel Felton of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers will also race in Porthcawl. She is a regular to races in South Wales and won the first edition of the Barry Island 10k just down the coast, last summer.
Cardiff AC duo Helen Sharpe and Carys Hughes are the next fastest local athletes.
Ford Ecosport set to lead 4,000 runners across the course
The all-new race will take place on closed-roads, taking in a number of landmarks and stunning seaside spots including Rest Bay, Trecco Bay, Coney Bay, the picturesque town centre, historic Grand Pavillion and the iconic Porthcawl Lighthouse.
One ‘runner’ set to lead the field is a brand new Ford Ecosport, provided by Bridgend Ford, which will take 4,000 runners across the scenic but challenging course that takes in the all the highlights of the summertime hotspot. Sunday’s sold-out race will mark the start of a new chapter of distance running in the region.
Matt Newman, Run 4 Wales Chief Executive commented:
“We are delighted to welcome Bridgend Ford on board as official vehicle partner to to the inaugural Healthspan Porthcawl 10K. Porthcawl and the wider Bridgend region has caught the running bug and it is fantastic to see a local business like Bridgend Ford supporting the active lifestyles of people living in the city and beyond.”
#IBeatIwan is back
Meanwhile, the race is also on to beat Welsh sprint king Iwan Thomas and raise vital funds for Tŷ Hafan at the Healthspan Porthcawl 10K.
For every participant that crosses the line before the former 400m relay World Champion, the UK’s number one direct supplier of vitamins & supplements, Healthspan, will donate £10 to Wales’ leading children’s charity.
The #ibeatIwan campaign returns a year on from its debut at the inaugural Barry Island 10K. The 45-year-old finished behind 281 fellow runners last August to raise a grand total of £2,810 to support children with life-limiting conditions and their families.
If participants needed anymore motivation to leave Thomas in their dust, they will also receive a bespoke #IbeatIwan t-shirt after completing the challenging but scenic 10km course.
Tŷ Hafan Support Care Manager James Davies-Hale said:
“We’re delighted that Iwan is lending his support to the Healthspan Porthcawl 10K. Although we’d normally be cheering him on, on this occasion, we hope he won’t be on his usual form and lots of runners will actually get to beat him! That way, we can raise even more money to help us provide support, comfort and care to children with life limiting conditions and their families”.
Where can I park on race day?
Parking for the Healthspan Porthcawl 10K will be available at Salt Lake Car Park, Eastern Promenade, CF36 5TS (closest postcode) just over a 5 minute walk to the race start and finish, enabling easy access for runners and their spectators.
Organisers are encourafging users to arrive from junction 37 of the M4 and then follow event signage as they approach the town centre.
The car park will be open from 07:00 on Sunday 7th July ( please arrive as earlier as possible to avoid disappointment/any delays in getting to the race start)
The cost is £5 per vehicle. Please note that payment is CASH ONLY and to have the correct change where possible. Max height: 8ft 6.
Will there be road closures?
To facilitate the safe passage of participants, it will be necessary to implement road closures along the route, which have been agreed with Bridgend County Borough Council. Please note that we work closely with the emergency services, whose access to the route will not be affected by the event.
The route has been designed to keep disruption to residents and businesses to a minimum. There will be diversions to routes serviced by the X2, 63 and Stagecoach 172 buses, please check www.firstgroup.com/south-west-wales and www.stagecoachbus.com before travelling.
Full road closures can be found on an interactive map here: https://www.porthcawl10k.co.uk/road-closures/.
What will the weather be like?
Porthcawl looks set to enjoy sunny intervals throughout the day. Temperatures will hover at around 17c throughout the race, so runners are being urged to hydrate well before the race and apply sun screen. For more tips on how to hydrate efficiently, click here: https://www.porthcawl10k.co.uk/hydration-tips/
Where is the best place to watch
The esplanade will be a hive of activity and will witness the start and end of the race. Spectators can get a great view of runners traversing the course at Coney Beach Pleasure Park and throughout the town centre.