Snooker’s world number 46 Jamie Jones will hit the streets of London next October to take on one of the most famous marathons in the world.
Jones has secured a place in the prestigious London Marathon through WST’s official charity Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home and will be raising money over the next 12 months. To donate click here.
The former World Championship quarter-finalist had already targeted running a marathon in 2022, but is especially excited to have now landed a coveted place in the London event. However, he admits he wasn’t aware how hard to come by spots were.
Jones said: “I have been speaking to people who have been trying for seven or eight years to get a place in the London Marathon. I didn’t realise that at all and presumed it would just be a case of signing up. I thought I’d maybe have a better chance being a professional sportsman and through WST and Jessie May. I just went from there. I’ve realised how lucky I am to be given the spot. To say I’ve done the most famous marathon, will be amazing.
“It is the only marathon I’ve ever watched really. Before Covid it was always on the first Sunday of the Crucible, I can remember that because Rob Walker normally shoots off to do commentary on it for the day. I’ve taken a proper interest in it over the last couple of years. It looks incredible, you have the landmarks and you have the support.
“I originally just wanted to do a marathon for myself. When I looked into Jessie May it took on another meaning. My partner and I have read a lot of the stories on the Jessie May website and it has brought home what a worthwhile cause it is. It puts snooker into its own perspective. If I can raise money for them then the whole experience will be amazing, they do unbelievable work. It will carry me through training, it will carry me through the day and everyone wins out of it.”
Welshman Jones has taken a more serious interest in running in recent times and is already training hard, despite the event being just under a year away. When he takes to the London Marathon course Jones will be following in the footsteps of a sporting icon who has increasingly come onto his radar since he upped his interest in the sport, Eliud Kipchoge. The legendary Kenyan holds the record time for the event, having completed it in an extraordinary 2 hours 2 minutes and 32 seconds in 2019.
“Watching Kipchoge, I realise just how fast this fella is going over that distance. I look at him and wonder if he is even human! If you look at how fast I am running and compare it to him, it is crazy. He is the best ever at that distance and it is difficult to understand how he does it,” said 33-year-old Jones
“I’ve run on and off since I left school. At first I would only do it partly because I was practising snooker and had time to kill once I had finished for the day. I was making myself go out at that point really. It is only in the last couple of years that I’ve started to enjoy it. It never gets any easier though and it can be unpleasant at times when you are out there. It is a strange feeling. You enjoy doing it, but it is still difficult. I am a professional sportsman in a different field, but I have a real respect for people who do running as their career.
“If you ever said to me when I was younger that I would enjoy going out for 10 to 16 mile runs, I would have looked at you as if you were stupid. I would go for a 15 or 20 minute run and I couldn’t wait for it to finish from the moment I got out of the door. To now actually be a bit of a geek about it and watch YouTube videos on running is great. I look into the training plans and things and have grown into someone who loves it. I did a half marathon the other week in one hour and 36 minutes. That is a massive jump for me, from being just an average runner.”
On the baize Jones is readying himself for an important month ahead. He is in need of strong showings at the Cazoo UK Championship and the BetVictor Scottish Open if he is to earn qualification for the Cazoo World Grand Prix. Only the top 32 on the one-year list will make it, but after a tricky start to the season Jones lies way back in 115th position.
Jones faces China’s Cao Yupeng up first at the UK Championship in York and is expecting a difficult opening assignment. However, it is an event Jones has fond memories of, having gone on a run to the quarter-finals back in 2016 and reached the last 16 in 2020.
“I have two tournaments, the UK Championship and Scottish Open, to try and get myself into the World Grand Prix. So hopefully if all goes well it is three really big events before Christmas. This is an important run of snooker now.
“I love York. Especially at this time of year. The place is lovely at Christmas time. I get the same feeling for York as I do Sheffield and the Crucible. It feels that bit more prestigious and special. I’ve had some decent runs in the event and it feels a notch up from the other events. I’m excited to get there and the venue is fantastic.
“You’d think that where I am in the rankings, I should have a nicer first round draw than Cao Yupeng. Those days are gone though. Going back five or ten years ago in this system, you could pick out a couple of draws you’d like to get. If you look down that end of the rankings now there isn’t really a nice draw anymore. He is one of the more difficult players in the first round, but if I get through it should stand me in good stead to push on. I will take one step at a time. I’m playing better than ever before on the practice table. I feel like a run is very close. I’m playing great but you need to get these results under your belt. If you begin to lose a couple it can get difficult.”