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Record-breaking Welsh sprinter, Ron Jones, shares his life story

Ron Jones, one of the greats of Welsh athletics and Welsh 100m sprint record-holder for almost 22 years, has published his autobiography which offers a unique insight into the history of British athletics.

He finished writing the autobiography, ‘Running Through my Life’, days before he died, aged 87 years old, in December 2021. His widow, Linda Chamberlain-Jones, then had the task of putting his story together, with the help of Welsh athletics historian, Clive Williams.

Ron was born in Cwmaman near Aberdare, and talks in the book about growing up in the area. He says, “Reflecting on my childhood behaviour, I realised that I rarely walked if I could run, and frequently sprinted as fast as I could. I enjoyed feeling the power in my legs pounding the ground as it passed quickly under my feet.”

He went on to set 28 Welsh sprint records, won 12 Welsh titles, competed in four Commonwealth Games and two Olympic Games. He was appointed captain of the British athletics team at the Mexico Olympics in 1968.

After his career in athletics ended, he was then an important figure in sport management, including Chief Executive of Queens Park Rangers in the 70s and Managing Director of Cardiff City Football Club in the 80s. He also spent 25 years as Director of SportsAid Cymru Wales.

Ron originally agreed to write the story of his life for the benefit of his daughter, Lizzie, and grandchildren, Piers, Megan and Gabrielle. It was the Covid lockdown that gave him the motivation to start writing and it took him 17 months to complete the book. 

Linda Chamberlain-Jones said, “I was delighted when Y Lolfa decided that they would like to publish the book and that his story should be told and made more widely available.

Running Through My Life is not only about Ron’s sporting achievements but also about the challenges he faced and had to overcome to enable him to compete on the world stage.

“He achieved so much success at the highest level with very little help. He used to train and compete around a full-time job, and for several years, had no running track to train on. This is testament to his strength of character, determination, and countless hours of hard work.

The book also contains contributions by many of Ron’s friends and former athletes including a foreword by Rt Hon Kim Howells and Lynn Davies CBE.

In his foreword, Rt Hon Kim Howells, says, “Ron was born in 1934 in the middle of a catastrophic downturn in the demand of coal. And out of this economically shattered community, a lad emerged who ran so fast, who spoke with such authority and confidence to his peers, regardless of their rank or background, and who was so trusted and respected by his team-mates that he was made captain of the British athletics team at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

“For the most talented youngsters, the Ron Jones athletics stadium in Aberdare may be their very own field of dreams, the first step to an Olympic future.

“Should they require further inspiration, they need look no further than to the name above the entrance, celebrating the speedy kid from Cwmaman.”


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