Steve Brace - Welsh Athletics Life Member
Steve Brace’s contribution to athletics in Wales has been immense and wide ranging. He has served the sport with distinction as an athlete, a key employee and as a world class race director.
He started running in 1981 with the ‘Peoples Marathon’ in Birmingham as a means of keeping fit for rugby, during those 80`s Running Boom years, quickly improving despite still trying to play rugby for his home village of Kenfig Hill. His performances went from strength winning the Liege (Belgium) Marathon in 1984 through to winning the Paris Marathon in 1989 and 1990, followed by a third place later that year in the 1990 New York Marathon. He also won the 1991 Berlin Marathon in 2:10:57, then taking second place in the Houston Marathon in 1996 to run his marathon best of 2:10:35.
During his athletics career Steve competed at the highest-level representing Britain at the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympic Games, and as an undergraduate student in the World Student Games. He also represented Wales in two Commonwealth Games in Auckland in 1990 and Kuala Lumpur in 1998, and at the European Championships in Helsinki in 1994. He set his best half marathon time at the Great North Run at the Inaugural World Half Marathon Championships and was part of the silver medal winning Great Britain Team. Throughout his career he supported domestic endurance events at all levels as a proud member of Bridgend Athletic Club and led the team to many British and Welsh titles and its representation at the European Club Road Running Championships on numerous occasions.
As he came to the end of his international career as an athlete in 1998, he was employed by Welsh Athletics to support the development of our sport throughout Wales. He also became proactive within his club as a coach, administrator, and race organiser. Steve continues to serve the sport and community in a voluntary capacity, setting up the Porthcawl Park Run back in 2013, where he can be seen at the heart of most weekends; numerous local races over the years, and instigating and delivering of the successful Bridgend County Running League.
Steve was core to the building of the clubhouse and track facility for his club back in the 1990’s and is still the driving force for ensuring the facility remains at the heart of the town’s community, as the club takes on the operation and management of the facility for future generations.
In the years that followed Steve made a significant contribution to the development of the infrastructure within Welsh Athletics and in the promotion of competitions from grass roots to international and World Championships. As the sport evolved from being the “Athletics Association of Wales” to becoming a limited company – “Welsh Athletics Ltd” there were numerous changes including the roles and responsibilities of the staff team and Steve gradually moved towards a more specialist role in the promotion of endurance events. With the setting up of the commercial arm, Steve moved from mainstream athletics to current leadership role within ‘Run4Wales’ where he is responsible for the organisation and the delivery of events.
Notable landmarks within his current role in the organisation and delivery of major events include the following:
- Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Championships 2011 Snowdon & Llandudno
- World Trail Running Championships in Llanrwst in 2013
- World Mountain Running (& Masters) Championships 2015
- World Half Marathon Championships 2016 Cardiff
- The organisation and delivery of the Cardiff Half Marathon since 2012 to the present day and its status which has included Welsh and British Championship status; hosted the inaugural Commonwealth Half Marathon Championships and now inclusion into the new European Cities Super Halfs Series and is a World Athletics Gold Label event.
Steve is well respected by the whole family of athletics in Wales and continues to make an enormous contribution to our sport from grassroots to the world championship events.
Written by Jacquline Brace & Lynette Harries