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Sydney Olympian aims for sweet success at Sugar Loaf

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Sydney Olympian Andres Jones has unveiled that he has rediscovered his passion for running and will feature in Saturday’s line-up at Sugar Loaf Mountain. The Aberaeron runner just missed out on a spot in the 2000 Olympic finals of the 10,000m and has stepped out of the limelight for some years.

 

However, 30-year-old Jones – who made his mark as a youngster running for Wales as a junior and senior on the mountains – has decided it’s time for a return to mountain running and will be competing in Abergavenny’s Sugar Loaf Race next weekend (Saturday 25 August). The race serves as a trial for the World Mountain Running Trophy in Switzerland in September:

 

“It’s just nice to be running with a smile on my face. I decided to stop running on my 30th birthday earlier this year – I’d lost my passion for it. I moved back to Aberaeron and I’m now a driving instructor. I realised there were other things in life I wanted to do.

 

“But being back in Aberaeron, I started running along the coastal path here in Ceredigion up towards Snowdon. It brought back memories of running when I was younger and I’m really enjoying the views over the ocean. Mountain running is a world away from running on a track – I find it really inspirational. I did think I’d give up completely – now I think I’ll just see where it takes me. If I do go to Switzerland, I’m looking forward to mingling with mountain runners from all over the world,” he added.

 

Selectors will be looking at the mountain runners to decide on the team to challenge in Ovronnaz, Switzerland (15 September).

 

Matthew Collins from Cwmbran is also a strong contender having finished the first Welshman home in the gruelling, ten-mile International Snowdon Race back in July.

 

The 28-year-old has dominated the South Wales fell racing scene this season. To date, Collins has competed at eight World Trophies. He was a member of the Junior Welsh team who won silver in Austria in 1996.

 

Since becoming a senior, Collins has been plagued with injuries which have hit his levels of fitness. In the last three years, however, he has started to return to form and has competed in the last three World Trophies.

 

Collins explains, “I hope to put in a strong performance in the trial race on the Sugar Loaf, and do enough to encourage the selectors to take me to the World Trophy in September.  I always get nervous about the selection race as it always comes at a time of year when I am feeling tired, but I seem to get the training right for the World Trophy and save my better performance for the big day.”

 

Art teacher from Shrewsbury, Anna Bartlett, 37, is hoping to make the second appearance at the World Mountain Running Trophy, having raced in Turkey in 2006:

 

“I’ve been around the Sugar Loaf course and I found it was very similar to the Shropshire Hills I run regularly. But I’m certainly not complacent as it is a very fast course and will be quite a challenge. The hardest part will be pacing myself for the two laps. I am training on a similar style course in preparation. I would be thrilled to be selected for Switzerland.”