South East Wales

Nicola and William Shaw's 'city pride' Newport Marathon

Newport has hosted a marathon organised by a husband and wife team who feel the city needs something of which it can be proud.

Runners started on High Street on Sunday morning before taking in Newport's transporter bridge, canal path and Rodney Parade rugby ground.

Nicola and William Shaw decided to put on the race as they believed Newport needed "cheering up" with a big event.

Runners could also opt to do a half-marathon.

The marathon attracted 65 entrants and was won by Gareth Hall, from Rogerstone, in two hours, 49 minutes.

Major event

Mrs Shaw, who has lived in the city for 18 years, said she came up with the idea after she realised that neighbouring Cardiff was planning large events.

She hoped it would be a boost for the area after major shops, including Marks and Spencer and Next, pulled out of the city centre.

"Newport didn't have a major event going on after last year's Ryder Cup," she said.

"A lot of people are down about shops shutting, but they're not doing much about it. So instead of moaning about it, we're doing an event for the city.

"I went to a meeting in Cardiff last year and heard that Cardiff was hoping to start putting more events on. I went home and said to my husband that I thought Newport should be doing the same.

"So we thought that a marathon would be unique as Cardiff and Bristol only do half-marathons."

She said she hoped that by routing most of the race along bike and canal paths that there would be minimal disruption - with only about four temporary road closures - and that it would highlight the best of Newport.

"What people don't realise - but you do when you run around the route - is that there is fantastic scenery and architecture and views around the city," she said.

"People don't realise what we have got. If this is successful, perhaps shops might come back to Newport."

Family affair

Mrs Shaw, 41, an accountant for a company in Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, is a runner, but had never before taken part in a race event, let alone a marathon.

So she decided to take part in the event "to lead by example".

In fact, the organisation and running of the race was a real family affair for the Shaws.

Mr Shaw, 41, who is a carpenter and has lived in Newport all his life, helped with the road closures, overseeing the water stations and is at the start and finish.

Mrs Shaw's sister, her sister-in-law and husband and nieces and nephews all also helped.

"Even my two sons who are 10 and 17 volunteered," said Mrs Shaw. "It's all been family and friends helping."

She said it had been quite a task and a "steep learning curve" to organise the event, which she did with the help of a few people from Newport council's events team.

All profits will be divided between seven charities.

Mrs Shaw said: "Basically I have just done whatever they [the police and council] told me to do. If they told me I couldn't do something, I asked 'what can I do?'"

"I'm hoping the marathon will become an annual event for Newport to bring the city up in the stakes of holding events," added Mrs Shaw.

"Instead of moaning, we should all get on and do something. Newport's not a bad city, we just need to believe in it."

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