World number 29 Jamie Jones is putting the final touches on his preparations for taking on the London Marathon next month, but admits that getting up to speed has been tougher than he expected.
Jamie is running the London Marathon for Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home click here to donate.
The Welshman enjoyed an impressive run to the quarter-finals of the recent BetVictor European Masters and says he is more confident than ever with his game. However, balancing the magnitude of taking on a marathon, with being professional sportsman, has been difficult.
Despite those difficulties, Jones has found that having a more fitness orientated life away from the snooker arena has helped him to compete better on the baize.
“I am finding it quite difficult to mix in with the snooker now. I am realising that running a marathon is quite a hard thing to be doing. The guy who wrote my training plan is a full time runner. To balance that with snooker and family life has been hard. There have been days where I’ve skipped certain sessions, but I think I’ve managed to find a balance,” admitted 34-year-old Jones.
“I am at the stage where I don’t want to mess it up in the last few weeks. I am looking forward to getting to the actual day now. Everything has built up so much. For the first six months I didn’t think too much, then the training ramped up and now I want to do it tomorrow!
“Overall it has been a fantastic thing for me. I was going out for runs out in Fürth at the European Masters. It has given me structure for life at the tournaments, as well as at home. It has filtered through into every aspect of my life. The runs are getting gradually longer and that is more difficult, but it has been a massive positive. As much as I am tired and I don’t want to do this run today, it is a good thing. There are plenty of things I could be doing which could be detrimental to my career, this has given me a positive focus. As far as marathon running and trying to play professional snooker is concerned, I think it is a little bit too much though if I am honest.”
Jones has been a keen runner for many years, participating in a number of races across distances ranging from half marathons and below. However, with this being his first marathon, the experience has highlighted how tough it is to keep going in the latter stages of a run. Jones believes that running a marathon has been a great lesson in mental fortitude and has provided a stern test of character.
“I’ve never felt like I did on mile 15, in my recent 20 mile training run. It’s impossible to explain how you feel, but you are trying to get through those last miles. That is where the lesson lies in it all. You aren’t just going for a nice run with the sun on your back. You go to a place you don’t normally go to. I wanted to stop, but I knew I had to keep going. When you are down the canal and it is pouring with rain, you wonder what you are doing. It is a real a test of character.
“I know that I am fit, but my body is screaming at me. I will feel the benefits of this training around November and December. When it isn’t so extreme I will get the full positives. To get ready for a marathon you have to constantly put your body through he wringer. At the moment the running is being dictated to me, because I have to put the work in. Once the marathon is done I will be able to run on my own terms. I’m really looking forward to the race day now. The whole thing will be a good occasion. It will be tough and I will go through the wringer but it will be an amazing experience. I will stay there for a few days afterwards and take it all in.”
On the table, Jones’ recent showing at the European Masters saw him score some impressive wins in reaching the last eight. After a late night epic with Anthony Hamilton, he registered further victories against Mark Joyce and former Masters champion Yan Bingtao. He ran into an inspired Mark Williams in the quarters, who fired in two centuries and three further breaks over 50 in a 5-1 win. However, Jones reflects on that match as a tie where he could have done little differently.
The Neath cueman is now happier with his game than he has been at any point in his career previously. Jones is now eyeing this season as the moment he can break through and capture a maiden piece of ranking silverware.
“I had some decent results. I had a really tough game against Anthony Hamilton which ran past midnight. Looking at it you would probably say the fitness helped me there. It doesn’t make you win matches, but if you can feel fresher at that time of night it helps. I just ran into Mark Williams, who I think is the best shot maker and the most unbelievable potter I’ve ever seen. I just sat there and watched him for an hour. It was ridiculous. I wasn’t disappointed when I came off because I didn’t really get to the table. It was one of them. If I keep getting to the latter stages, there is no reason why I can’t win an event. There was no reason I couldn’t have won in Fürth, I just was put out by an all-time legend of the sport.
“Everything is good. I am practising well and playing well. I just have to keep going through the process. The running at the events is working well for me. It is making me a lot more relaxed around the venues. This is what the marathon training has given me. Because I’ve had to be running, I’ve taken my trainers to every event. Going forward I will keep up the exercise during tournaments purely because it makes me feel good. That is something I can take into for the rest of my career.
“In terms of belief in myself, this is the best I’ve felt. I had a brilliant match against Yan Bingtao and that was a huge confidence boost for me. I look at him as if he is 40 years old not 22. His game is so mature. I put that down as one of my best wins. He is a rock hard player. That win has given me the belief that I can carry on and have those results. It is about believing you can do something before you do it. I have never been in a better position to achieve my goals.”
To donate to Jamie’s Just Giving page for Jessie May click here.