Commonwealth Games 2022: Introducing our Marathon Runners
This years 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham starts on Saturday and the first event is the Marathon! Welsh Athletics are proud to introduce the Team Wales Guys and Girls who will be taking on 26.2 miles around Birmingham.
From: Newport, now lives in Norfolk
Coach: Robert Hawkins
Club: Micky Morris Racing Team
Having achieved the A standard, Newport’s Natasha Cockram is hopeful for a spot at the Commonwealth Games for Team Wales this summer.
The 28-year-old said:
“If I’m selected, it will be my first Commonwealth Games – I just missed out on the Gold Coast in 2018 as I’d only just started running the marathon event and I wasn’t quite there performance-wise.”
Natasha wnning the Newport Marathon
The former pupil from Croesyceiliog School went on to study at Tulsa University in Oklahoma. But a knee injury forced her to stop running altogether:
“I took a six week job at a stables and ended up staying there for 12 months. I’d ride for anyone and everyone, competing in dressage, showjumping and eventing in regional events.
“The riding actually helped my recovery. I’ve stopped now to focus on the running but I do really miss it. But the dream is to compete for Wales at a Commonwealth Games. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I started running at the age of 11.”
Natasha races the Marathon on Saturday 30th July.
From: Hereford, now lives in Cardiff
Coach: Chris Jones
Club: Cardiff AAC
From parkrun to elite athlete in the space of three years, Clara Evans has certainly been on some journey. And its set to continue as she gears up to compete for Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer.
To date, her proudest moment was representing Great Britain at the 2020 World Half Marathon in Poland. But she didn’t even have a coach until October 2018:
“I used to run for fun – parkrun, local half marathons, cross countries and I’d race every weekend. For me, it was something to do and I didn’t have big ambitions. I was spotted by Welsh Athletics coach Chris Jones at a couple of races. He noticed I wasn’t far behind the athletes who’d just come back from the Commonwealth Games.
“Since working with Chris, I’ve taken five minutes off my half marathon time – it’s gone from 75 minutes to 70.”
Clara winning the Cardiff Bay 10km
She was eight when she first started running, joining a local athletics club:
“I was never very good. I’d often come last in cross countries at under 13, under 15 and under 17 level but I made lots of friends at the clubs and I liked to see that I was always improving.”
Evans also has a Guinness World Record in her sights.
“My Mum started running and is proper into it. She even does marathons. She’s 55 and we want to get the Guinness World Record for the fastest Mum and Daughter time in a half marathon. We have already beaten the current record but we haven’t done it officially. We’re hoping to do it at the next Cardiff Half in October.”
Clara races the Marathon on Saturday 30th July
From: Carmarthen, lives in Swansea
Coach: Kevin Evans
Club: Swansea Harriers
He is Wales’ second fastest marathon runner of all time and now he is set to compete in his first-ever Commonwealth Games.
Just behind Steve Jones who set the Welsh record in Chicago in 1985, Dewi Griffiths from Swansea has made the cut for Team Wales, and this year he’ll be aiming to beat Steve's time.
Dewi competing at the 2019 London Marathon
Away from clocking up the miles, Griffiths helps out on the family farm in Llanfynydd.
Dewi races the Marathon on Saturday 30th July.