Nigel helps running festival stay on track

Nigel Jones in his competitive heyday
Nigel Jones in his competitive heyday
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A former international athlete on both track and cross country has shown his support for Scotland’s foremost family running event, The City of Edinburgh Running Festival.

After a chance meeting with Graeme Armstrong, chairman of CERF, Nigel Jones decided to sponsor the 800m race, a distance he himself ran at both national and international levels during the 1970s and 80s.

Nigel began running when he was six years old and thanks to his father, who set up the Scottish Young Athletes League, went on to secure the world’s best performance for a mile for a ten-year-old boy.

The Edinburgh-based law accountant secured wins in his favourite event, the steeplechase, at all age levels, culminating in winning the senior title in 1981 at the Scottish Championships at Meadowbank.

Despite taking a break for 30 years following his running success to concentrate on his business, Nigel D Jones Law Accountants, Nigel still runs non-competitively three times a week.

“Since I was a boy I have always had a passion for running, so to be able to show my support now by sponsoring CERF is fantastic,” he said.

“I think the event itself is great as it’s very professional and well put together.

“The way it is structured puts everyone on a level playing field and really embraces the fun side of competitive running.

“This will be the third year I have sponsored the 800m race and already can’t wait to see the level of talent competing next week.”

Graeme Armstrong held his first CERF event in 2013 with the aim of encouraging athletes of all ages to get healthy and have fun.

He said: “We are thrilled to be back for our fifth year. The City of Edinburgh Running Festival is a great opportunity for the whole family to get involved as we have races for all levels and distances.

“The 800m is the most lucrative of its kind in the UK and we anticipate an exciting race. Spectators always get behind the runners and cheer them on so it’s a wonderful atmosphere to be part of.

He added: “We are delighted that businesses are continuing to show their support and sponsor the races at CERF.

“Without this local support, we wouldn’t be able to host such a successful event year on year.

“It’s also great to see former athletes, such as Nigel, show his support, as it shows how people who really know the ins and outs of racing appreciate the hard work we are all putting in.”

The festival competition, being held at Meggetland tomorrow, is on a handicap basis, meaning that each competitor should have an equal chance of winning, no matter their age or ability.

An official handicapper allocates each runner a starting mark based on previous performance, age and ability. There are three age groups for runners.

The competition programme on the night includes heats, semi-finals and the final, with prize money awarded to the fastest finishers in each event.