Matt Clowes And Tracy Barlow Smash Records In Sun-Baked Swansea

Matt Clowes finishes first in Swansea. Pic: Owen Morgan.

Matt Clowes And Tracy Barlow Smash Records In Sun-Baked Swansea

By Owen Morgan

Cardiff AAC’s Matt Clowes and Thames Valley Harrier Tracy Barlow both claimed course records as they raced to victory at a sun-drenched JCP Swansea Half Marathon on Sunday.

Clowes’ sensational season continued as he knocked five seconds off injured three-times winner Dewi Griffiths’ course record, crossing the line in 64:43.6.

Originally from Stoke on Trent but now based in Cardiff, Clowes had already won the Llanelli and the Potters Arf half marathons this season, as well as the Telford, Caerphilly, and Treforest 10ks.

So, as the elite runners lined outside Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall, Clowes was one of the pre-race favourites alongside World Championship and Commonwealth Games marathon man Josh Griffiths and his fellow Swansea Harrier Phillip Matthews.

Indeed, it was Griffiths and Clowes who made the early running, the pair breaking away to put clear tarmac between themselves and the pack by the three mile mark.

Between mile five and six, Clowes saw his opportunity to strike and pulled away from Griffiths to open up an advantage he wouldn’t relinquish.

Carefully gauging his effort in the rising temperatures, the Cardiff man managed to hold off Griffiths’ challenge during the second half of the race.

Josh Griffiths leads with Swansea’s Meridian Tower in the background. Pic: Owen Morgan.


A clearly delighted Clowes started celebrating as he ran the length of the finishing straight alone, lapping up the applause of the large crowd lining Adelaide Street near the city’s Museum Green.

Griffiths finished second in 66:10.6, while Swansea Harriers team-mate Philip Matthews finished third in 69:35

Afterwards, Clowes said: “We set off at a nice pace, me and Josh, and I tried to push on at five miles.

“It was quite difficult to push too hard because of the temperature so I just kind of stayed relaxed.

“There were a few little bumps at about five or six miles so I pretty much used them to my advantage and when I went I just broke straight away, I didn’t mess around I just pushed on and increased the gap.”

“Me and Josh kind of suffer in the heat a little bit, so it was hard to push too much, because when you push too much over that line it’s hard to come out of it, so you just try to stay on that line and not go over it too much.

“The course was really good and the support was fantastic all the way around. It was great to take the course record.”

The runners lead out from the start of the Swansea Half Marathon. Pic: Owen Morgan.

Following a hectic racing schedule, Clowes now plans to concentrate on training for events later in the year.

“I’ve been racing every week so it’s just a case of getting some training now, see where we’re at and then mid July, August start preparing for some halves in the autumn.”

There was an equally dominant display in the women’s race where England and Great Britain international Barlow broke Hannah Walker’s course record as she took the tape in 73:51.

The woman who finished ninth in the London Marathon and competed at the World 2018 World Half Marathon Championships, was followed in by Irish pair Laura Graham, of Mourne AC in 75:57.6 and North Belfast Harrier Gladys Ganiel in 77:23.6.

The first Welsh woman home was Natasha Cockram, of Mickey Morris Racing Team, who finished fourth in 78:47.8.

Tracy Barlow takes the tape. Pic: Owen Morgan.

After the race, a delighted Barlow said: “I found it tough, my legs are a bit heavy from training because I’m back in marathon prep, but it was good to have a blast out and work hard.

“I liked the course, it’s nice that it’s broken up, you go into the town a bit and then out and around the coast.

Of the conditions, Barlow said: “I didn’t find it too hot. It was a bit warm at times but because it was only a half marathon I didn’t find it unbearable.”

Barlow’s attention will now turn to the European Athletics Championships in August.

“I’ve got the European marathon in seven weeks time. I’ve got a block of training to get my head down now, but I’m looking forward to it.”

The first race of the day was won by Carmarthenshire’s Paralympics, Commonwealth Games and World Championship athlete Richie Powell, who totally dominated the wheelchair event.

Up against a small field, it was virtually a race against the clock for Powell, who cruised home in a time of 62:02.08, followed by Les Hampton of Cheltenham and County Harriers, Ron Price, and Stehanie Benac.

Richie Powell wins the wheelchair race. Pic: Owen Morgan.

A total of just under 5,000 athletes completed the event which has been voted as the UK’s best half marathon for the past two years.

Race director David Martin Jewell said afterwards:  “It was fantastic to see the streets of Swansea filled again with competitors and spectators of all ages and abilities, which created a brilliant atmosphere during the event.

“We would like to congratulate every single person who crossed the finish line for their phenomenal effort and achievement.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.