Caryl Jones And Elinor Kirk Survive Marathon Hothouse

Caryl Jones and Elinor Kirk both produced gutsy displays to finish the women’s Commonwealth Games marathon that was held in searing heat.

The duo finished eighth and 15th respectively in temperatures of around 86 degree (30degC) that took a toll on all the runners despite the early morning start.

Narberth-born Jones clocked two hours 43 minutes 58 seconds as Namibia’s Helalia Johannes won in 2:32.40.

The 31-year-old said: “That was really tough. I wanted a fast time, but when you’re out there the conditions are so tough it’s just a matter of survival.

“I’m really pleased with eighth and I just hope that I’ve done my country proud.

“I was running by myself and you feel every bit of pain, but it’s fantastic to have been at my first Commonwealth Games. 

“The most important thing was to be enjoy it and I did. It was only my second marathon so hopefully there will be ore to come from me.

“I felt good at half way and then the heat just hits you. I don’t think you can ever prepare for it. I’ve never raced in this heat. 

“We don’t have those conditions back home, but I finished. That’s the main thing.

“I’ve been out here for five weeks and I thought I was prepared for it, but in conditions like that.

“I’ll have a rest and holiday then I’ll probably do an Autumn marathon.”

Jones combined her marathon training – racking up to 100 miles a week – with helping run the family farm and working as an accountant.

And she admitted: “I’m looking forward to going back to work in one sense as it’s been a long time away from the farm.

Kirk clocked 2:57.01 and was embraced by Jones as she crossed the line at Southport Broadwater Parklands after the marathon along the famed Gold Coast backdrop.

The conditions were far different to what the Swansea-born runner prefers – the wind and rain around south Wales.

But Kirk,  28, said: “That was probably the hardest but best race I’ve ever done I think.

“The crowds were amazing, but the conditions were tough and had it not been for the crowds it would have been a completely different race.

“I think I would have been struggling a lot more. When the crowd was cheering you on so much it got very emotional.

“It was just the heat, we are not really used to it that much and I’ve had a few injuries leading into the race so I’m probably not as fit as I’d have liked to have been.

“At 10km when I got detached I was thinking ‘oh my God, there’s a long way to go’. But after a few kilometres on my own I just thought relax and keep going.

“I didn’t have to go any faster. I would have loved to be in the group down the road today but it just wasn’t meant to be.

“Even though it was early in the morning it was so hot, but I enjoyed it though. I was definitely thinking am I going to finish this and I’m glad I survived.”

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