The biggest collection of runners called Jones gathered in North Wales today to celebrate their shared name.
The 200-plus athletes joined forces before setting off to compete in the Jones Crisps Anglesey Half Marathon, Ynys Mȏn 10k run and one-mile RibRide Dragon’s Dash children’s race.
They were among 2,300 runners taking part in the event, which is sponsored by Jones Crisps and organised by Always Aim High, based in Llangefni.
Thousands of spectators lined the 13-mile route to see the record number of half marathon runners cross the start line at 9am on the world famous Menai Suspension Bridge, then follow the coast road to Beaumaris Castle and back again.
Geraint Hughes from Jones Crisps said: “This is the eighth year that the half marathon has been staged and we realised there was an increasing number of people called Jones taking part.
“Jones – which simply means son of John – is the most common surname in Wales and the highest concentration of people called Jones is here on Anglesey and in Gwynedd. So we decided to celebrate the surname by getting all runners with the surname Jones together before the start of the race to lend each other mutual support for the challenge ahead of them.
“Of course, once the race began, for the other runners, it was a case of keeping up with the Joneses!
“We are proud to support Jones Crisps Anglesey Half Marathon and other events across Wales including the Cardiff Triathlon, Slateman and Tour de Mȏn.”
All the adults crossing the half marathon and 10k run finish line were handed a packet of Jones Crisps, to help them replenish their carbohydrate and salt levels after their exertions.
Runner Michael Jones, 29, from New Broughton near Wrexham, was looking forward to collecting his bag of Jones crisps at the end of the race.
“I’m really proud to be called Jones and even wore a Jones tartan kilt when I got married,” he said.
The Airbus aircraft technician was looking to beat the 1 hour 30 min personal best he set last month at the Village Bakery Wrexham half marathon.
“The best thing will be crossing the finish line and being able to try out the Jones crisps,” he added.
Karon Jones travelled from Birmingham to take part in the run with her daughter Beth, a student in Liverpool, with both hoping to complete the run in under two hours.
“I am very proud to be called Jones, and called my son Rhys,” said Karon, who was among the hundreds staying overnight in Anglesey before the race.
“Although I became a Jones when I married, I am extremely proud of the surname, and so is my daughter.”
Always Aim High director Tim Lloyd said: “The turn-out today has been excellent, especially given the recent bad weather, and we are delighted to have seen a record-breaking field of runners. This event has gone from strength to strength.
“Although athletes have travelled from far and wide to take part, we really appreciate the local support – especially from all the people called Jones.
“Getting everybody called Jones together before the start was a great way to celebrate their surname and the fact that this race has very strong roots here on Anglesey.
“I’d like thank everybody who took part plus all the spectators who came to cheer on the runners: it really does make a difference to them.
“The Jones team has been handing out free packets of crisps to supporters along the route, and they’ve been very popular.”
Jones Crisps is the only crisp company based in Wales and owned by Welsh food entrepreneurs. The crisps are made with 100% Welsh grown potatoes. Each crisp is hand cooked in high oleic sunflower oil, to produce excellent old fashioned crisps with a proper thick crunch and punchy flavours.