Jake Smith crosses line in Poland having smashed Steve Jones' Welsh HM record.

Jake Smith On His National Record: It Was Only Like Two Weeks Ago That I Got The Email I Had Turned Welsh

Jake Smith admits he had his eye on smashing Steve Jones’ Welsh Half Marathon record with his astonishing run in Poland.

The 22-year-old lowered the mark set by Jones at the Great North Run in 1986 by 28 seconds just a couple of weeks after qualifying as a Welsh runner.

Cardiff-based Smith clocked 60:31 to become the third-fastest Brit of all-time only behind Mo Farah and Callum Hawkins.

Jake Smith reacts after his stunning Welsh HM record in Poland. Pic: MATEUSZ SLODKOWSKI / AFP/Getty Images.

“I had my eye on it,” admitted Bermuda-born Smith who grew up in Hong Kong, then lived in Devon before moving to Wales to study at Cardiff Met.

“It was a crazy time and he’s a world record-holder and he has done so many things in his lifetime.”

Smith, speaking to athleticsweekly.co.uk. added: “That was almost the ultimate goal and then when I saw my time, I am just still in shock. I can’t believe it happened.

“Because I grew up in Hong Kong and lived in Bermuda, I have actually lived in Wales longer than I have lived in England.

“I was quite lucky, it was only like two weeks ago that I got the email that I had turned Welsh!”

Jake Smith set his previous HM best at the at the Vitality Big Half in London. Pic: Vitality Big Half.

Smith, who is coached by ex-Wales and Gb international James Thie at Cardiff Met, was still stunned as he crossed the line 18th at the World Championships in Gdynia to help GB finish 10th.

And there were a few tears as he met World Athletics president and GB running legend Seb Coe at the finish.

“It was a crazy moment,” added Smith. “I’ve looked back at the race and the camera got me crying on the fence.

“It was the first time I’d properly met Seb Coe and I basically just started crying in front of him. Everything is surreal at the minute and I’m just still really in shock about what happened.”

James Thie, here with Ieuan Thomas, is coach to Smith at Cardiff Met. Pic: Owen Morgan

“I knew from my training that I was in really good shape and it was good because there was a massive group and I had to do none of the work.

“I got a 10km PB along the way, we went through in 28:20 or something, and apparently I gave a thumbs up to one of the coaches saying ‘I’m still in this’ and I was absolutely loving it. I knew I was on course for a really big time because I still felt really strong.

“To see 150m to go and go around that corner on to the finishing straight, I basically started tearing up from there really and just couldn’t believe it.”

 

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