Welsh Masters track sprinter, Eleri Jones tells us how and why she fell in love with running!
Name / Age
Eleri Jones – 39
Why did you decide to take up running? / Why do you love running?
I always competed in athletics as a junior but gave up when I started Uni. I began road running after Uni because my friends did. I completed a few half marathons and one marathon but I never really enjoyed it. Road running was about completing the distance but it was never about competition and I really missed that element of running. Then a friend of mine who I ran with as a junior mentioned Master Athletics and so I got in contact with my local athletics club who have a strong masters section and I joined them in September 2019 and instantly fell in love with the track again. I love the feeling after a training session when I know I’ve worked hard and each session is a step towards improving. I am competitive with myself and always want to run faster. I love running as it is something just for me. I don’t need to think about anything other than what I am doing in that training session. I also like to make my children proud and for them to see how important being physically active is in maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle.
What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan?
I train 6 times a week. Usually 3 times a week are track or hill sprint sessions and 3 times a week is gym work. I follow a training programme set by our coach. This varies depending on if we are training during the winter for speed endurance or preparing to race and therefore looking at speed.
I love the feeling after a training session when I know I’ve worked hard and each session is a step towards improving.
What has been the highlight of your running career?
Well I have only been competing for two seasons. The first year I managed to run indoor and was then injured for the entire outdoor season and then last year I was unable to compete outdoors because of Covid so there isn’t much to choose from but I loved representing Welsh Masters indoors at both 60m & 200m and winning a Silver medal at the British Master Championships in the 200m last March.
Do you have a favourite place to run?
I am really lucky that whilst athletics tracks have been closed during the pandemic that there is an all-weather track in my village and so I love going there at the moment but in normal times I like to train at the track in Newport but anywhere where my training group are is perfect.
As a woman, did you face any barriers in becoming a Welsh runner?
The main barrier is more to do with time fitting in training around work, looking after my children, taking them back and forth to various after school activities and housework. The other barrier to athletics would be more to do with age. I don’t think the masters athletics is very well advertised and so people don’t know they can still compete. Distance running is definitely more easily accessible. I would love anyone who is keen to participate in track and field to get in touch or look at the Welsh masters website for further information.
What tips would you give to a female who hasn’t taken up running until later on in their life?
Start. You will love it and meet so many amazing people. Couch to 5k is a great place to start if you are a beginner and it is good for building confidence. Park Run is also really easy going and friendly but a great way to measure your progress with weekly time trials. Have the confidence to believe in yourself, remember whatever pace you are, you are going faster than everyone on the couch.
Do you have a female idol/inspiration?
I respect all the female athletes out there and think everyone is amazing but the people who inspire me the most are my two training partners who continue to work hard both on and off the track and are flying high in the world rankings for their events, and my best friend who is a marathon runner and trains so hard and at 40 is so close to a sub 3 hours marathon. She keeps me motivated on days when I don’t want to train.
Is there any playlists or podcasts you like to listen to when you run?
I don’t really listen to anything when I train. In normal times we train as group so there is always someone to talk to.
We value balance in life, how do you fit running in around work and family?
It makes for a very hectic schedule but my husband is amazing and very supportive of my training and so he tries his best to manage work to ensure he is at home on the evenings I need to train. Normally it is a case of getting up before the children to complete gym sessions or completing them pretty late at night after they have gone to bed. I think if you enjoy something enough you find the time.
What are your favourite Bearhug products and why?
I suffered a lot with shin splints and the calf supports were a massive help in my recovery. I wore them to train and compete but I also wore them after sessions to help with recovery. They were amazing. I also really like the bobble hat for winter training sessions. It’s really warm and doesn’t make my head itch like normal bobble hats do.