Today [10 February], The Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, will officially announce that the Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Running Championships will take place in North Wales on 23 to 25 September 2011.
The Welsh Assembly Government’s Major Events Unit will support the event with a significant six figure sum in a public sector partnership investment of circa £200,000. The event is also funded by Conwy, Gwynedd and Ynys Môn County Borough Councils and is fully supported by the International Association of Ultra runners (IAU), the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), by the sports Governing bodies Welsh Athletics and UK Athletics. This will be the highest profile international athletics event staged in Wales since the athletics component of the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff.
The event will be hosted in three spectacular North West Wales locations - Llandudno, Llanberis (Snowdon) and Newborough Forest, Anglesey. The combined events of mountain races (Up & Down), ultra-distance races (24 hr event) and trail running (50+km off road) for both men and women will produce a long weekend international festival of running.
It is anticipated that over 25 Commonwealth Countries and over 200 of the finest athletes in the world will compete in the 2011 Championships in North Wales. And to illustrate the astonishing level of endurance required in these events, leading athletes in the 24 hr race will complete somewhere between 240-260kms in the 24 hrs.
Part of the weekend will see a full programme of slightly less demanding open races across the disciplines of road, mountain and trail running targeted at both local athletes and the ‘running tourists’ from the UK and beyond. The British Junior Mountain Running Championships will also be integrated into the event. A series of community and children’s activities and events will be scheduled in the period leading up to as well as during the event weekend.
In making the official announcement, the Heritage Minister, said: “This event is yet another example of how Wales is really making its mark as the host of major international sporting events. I’m delighted that the Assembly Government is a partner in the event and that our involvement has made this ambition a reality for North Wales. What’s striking about this event is how its elements complement the spectacular local landscape perfectly - with Llandudno, the forest of Newborough and Snowdon providing a perfect, gruelling challenge for the competitors.
“I’d like to congratulate all who have worked in partnership in bringing this event to North Wales, by crossing boundaries we’ve been able to realise a big ambition, something which wouldn’t have been possible by working alone. These championships will also ensure that children and communities cross north Wales will not only enjoy the excitement of the international event, but that schools and clubs will also benefit in the long-term and that the event will inspire many more to be active. And the television pictures shown around the UK and around the world will remind those who know and spread the word to those who don’t as yet that North Wales is a truly world class destination for sport and active recreation in the outdoor environment”
Isle of Anglesey County Council Leader, Councillor Clive McGregor,
said: "The Isle of Anglesey is delighted to be playing its part in the biggest athletics event hosted in North Wales. This prestigious festival of running represents an excellent example of partnership working and will boost participation in sport and outdoor activities, as well as the local economy. We look forward to welcoming the finest athletes from all parts of the Commonwealth to the Island as they compete in the spectacular surroundings of Newborough Forest."
Cllr Graham Rees, Cabinet Member, Conwy County Borough Council said:
“This will be a huge event drawing athletes from around the globe to North West Wales, bringing UK and international visitors into Conwy County, raising the county’s profile internationally and boosting the local economy.”
“The competitors will be staying in Llandudno for at least four nights and as the event is run out of season in late September, it will bring great economic benefits. The competitors, support staff, officials and spectators will all need accommodation and use local services.”
Gwynedd Council Leader, Councillor Dyfed Edwards said:
“Our area boasts breathtaking scenery, from the peaks of Snowdonia to our miles of beautiful coastline. Following on from major events such as Radio 1s Big Weekend, this prestigious event will once again bring our area to the attention of a world-wide audience and highlights the fact that Gwynedd is now one of the top destinations for outdoor activities.
“As a Council, we are delighted that we have been able to work with the Welsh Assembly Government, and our other partners to attract this major international sporting event to Gwynedd and north-west Wales.”
Matt Newman, CEO of Welsh Athletics, said:
“This festival of endurance running follows on from recent Welsh Athletics success at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and we are delighted that a Commonwealth Championships is now being hosted on home soil.
The event has brought together all partners in a true spirit of collaboration and the combined resources will showcase the best that Wales has to offer. We are looking forward to an inspirational weekend of athletics.”
Nadeeem Khan, Media and Communications Officer for the Commonwealth Association of Mountain and Ultradistance Running, said:
“We see the 2nd edition of the Commonwealth Championships in North Wales as an amazing opportunity towards realizing our goal of entering one each of the mountain and ultradistance running disciplines into the Commonwealth Games. The initial preparations for the championships have been outstanding so far, and the athletes, along with the participating federations are looking forward to competing in these very popular championships in their racing calendars.”
For more information, please call Heledd Parry on 07811 332 633 or Matt Pritchard on 020 20 898 980.