Covid rule break: Welsh councillor travelled to England to run marathon
Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter
A Welsh councillor travelled to England to run a marathon over the Easter weekend despite current Welsh Government rules prohibiting journeys outside Wales.
Independent councillor Kate Libby Jones, who represents Pontyclun on Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, took part in the Dorney Lake Marathon in Buckinghamshire near Windsor on Saturday, April 3.
Pictures on her Instagram account show that she competed in the race – which is at least 137 miles away from Pontyclun.
Despite the relaxing of the stay local rule, current rules still state that people must not travel outside of Wales without a reasonable excuse.
But Cllr Jones received an email from the organisers of the event Active Training World which said “travel is permitted for competition purposes.”
Cllr Jones said: “I entered an approved, socially distanced race on April 3, 2021. The race organisers had confirmed that we were able to travel to and from the event and I did so alone.
“The race itself was superbly run with a staggered start which saw runners set off in socially-distanced waves. It is great to see this progressive and positive style of racing coming forward and I’m excited to see the result of the latest Government approved upcoming Reunion 10k series.
“Dorney Marathon was my first ever marathon and I had posted to my social media the night before. It was really sweet to have received so much support from friends and family for this socially-distanced race and I even received an endorsement from my former chairman at the Pontyclun Road Runners, Steve Paskell.
“I’m actually taken aback by how much support I had received for this race and I was delighted to have been able to run a London Marathon GFA qualifying time.
“My decision to run this race is not a reflection of my public standing and I find it frankly absurd that anyone would suggest otherwise. I entered this race as a runner and not a politician.”
A Rhondda Cynon Taf Council spokesman said: “The council has been consistent in all of its messaging throughout the pandemic – to staff, elected members and the wider public – reiterating the
importance of sticking to the rules and restrictions set by Welsh Government, to help us all stay safe.
“The council is disappointed if there is found to be a breach of Covid regulations in this instance. Councillors need to set an example to the communities they represent.”