We’ve often said that one of the best things about running has been the people we meet along the way. We rarely go on a trip without meeting someone new or getting to know someone we already know even better. Sometimes it’s just a brief encounter – a short exchange of views or sharing a particular moment in or after a race. Other times there is a connection and we become friends for life.
The runners we meet all have their own story – their reasons for running, their favourite events and their running goals. They come with a wide range of abilities: some enjoy running, for others it’s a bit of a trial, but they have all found something in running that fulfils a need. We’ve met some amazing runners over the years and we always find their stories interesting. We’d like to introduce you to some of these people, and we’ve asked then to tell you a bit about themselves in their own words. This week we would like to introduce you to Jon Evans.
It’s 9 pm Friday evening and today’s Friday Friend has literally just arrived on our doorstep. He’s here, staying with us in London for a weekend of running – what else! On Saturday we are forgoing our beloved Richmond parkrun to run the Victoria Park Half Marathon (a Runthrough event) and then on Sunday we are joining our friends from Pembroke Athletic to run the Cancer Research Winter 10K – one of our favourite annual events.
As you will read, Jon likes to run the odd event or two!
We first met Jon in May 2016 at the Geneva Marathon Expo. He was introduced to us by a friend of a friend – the connections having been made through the MarathonTalk podcast. We chatted to him more at a post-race meal, something clicked and a friendship was established. A friendship that has grown in strength over the years.
One of the highlights of the friendship with Jon came in 2018 when, after the Chester Marathon, we had the honour of welcoming him into the 100 Marathon Club and presenting him with his club shirt and medal.
Jon is an amazing runner. He, of all the people we know, puts the most – 100% – into every event he takes part in. We occasionally try to get him to run a ‘social’ parkrun or suggest he takes it easy in a race. He sometimes goes along with it – sets off with good intentions but he can’t help himself. Never agree to run a ‘social’ parkrun with Jon the day before a marathon – or any other time you’re wanting to take things easy.
Jon puts a lot back into the running community; he frequently paces at events and is also membership secretary of his local running club – North Wales Road Runners.
We are putting Jon on the spot now. Let’s hear what he has to say about what running means to him.
Why do you run / what do you get from running / why did you start?
I actually ran as a teenager and got a Welsh Vest for (junior male) cross country.
I stopped running when I went to uni and discovered booze and fags. Age 47 yrs I started again in an attempt to lose weight. I joined the Biggest Loser programme. I liked the running but didn’t like not eating. So I kept the running up and ran the Edinburgh marathon in 2013 followed later in that year by Dublin. On the way home from Dublin a chance meeting with Malcolm Collins set me on a new path. I learnt about the 100 Marathon Club and was hooked. I did the maths, like many others, and realised that 2 marathons a year wouldn’t cut it. The rest is history.
It took me 5 years to complete the 100 marathons. Since then I have run a more varied selection of races – last year I raced 102 different events.
To date I have run 116 marathons, 104 Half Marathons, 101 parkruns and a total of 437 races in just less than 8 years.
Best running achievement
This is a difficult one – so all of the following:
Completing 100 marathons.
Winning a gold medal at the Welsh Championships for the marathon (M50 age group)
Running 3.28:00 at the London Marathon (on a course measuring long) a couple of weeks after running 3:27:43 in Barcelona.
Running 20:45 at Swansea parkrun, my childhood town, just after my mum died.
With Jon on completion of 100 marathons
Running bucket list
Marine Corps Washington
Completing the parkrun alphabet – 16 letters done
Favourite Marathon is Chester – this year I will pace my 5th Chester Marathon, a lovely, well organised race.
Favourite run is The Great North Run – I love the history and atmosphere. This year will be my 8th time running it.
Favourite short distance is the Deiniolen 10k – a local race, billed as the toughest road 10k you will ever run with over 350m of elevation.
Advice you would give to others / your earlier running self / what you wish you’d known
However slow you think you are at the start of a marathon you’re running too fast. Even pace is where it’s at.
After the Valencia Marathon. Jon travelled for an inordinate amount of time to be at Jacquie’s 200th Marathon
It’s now Saturday. The post got delayed as we all had so much catching up to do. There is always plenty to talk about with Jon.
Thank you for being our Friday/Saturday friend. Life would be much less fun without you in it.
After Saturday’s run at Victoria Park