Former Wales international Matty Jones is running the London Marathon on Sunday in the memory of his hero and close friend Gary Speed. Jones who played for Llanelli in the WPL explains his motivation for running the Marathon in his own words below:
Mae cyn-chwaraewr Cymru Matty Jones yn rhedeg Marathon Llundain ddydd Sul er cof am ei arwr a'i ffrind Gary Speed. Chwaraeodd Jones dros Lanelli yn UGC ac mae'n egluro pam ei fod yn gwneud yr hyn mae'n ei wneud yn ei eiriau ei hun :
Firstly, I would like to thank the Charity GOL for giving me the opportunity to use their charity to raise funds through, so that I can then present a cheque for the full amount raised to Gary's Mum & Dad, Carol & Roger Speed at the end of the year.
For this opportunity I have agreed that the gift aid contributions go towards their fantastic work in helping orphanages across the world when our National football team travel away. Something that I'm sure Gary would have been happy with and supported when he was with us.
Can I thank you for taking the time to visit this page and explain to you the reasons I continue to try and challenge myself daily in memory of a fantastic man who left us nearly 3 years ago.
I continue to pay my respect and show my appreciation for the efforts that Gary put into my upbringing as a young player at Leeds Utd and the friendship that followed for many years. I never want to stop thanking him for the effect he had on me and has continued to have on my family life.
He taught me how to be strong and how to be a winner so without his input then I would not have got anywhere in life. He was an inspiration and continues to be a huge motivation. Just like my Grandfather who has also passed, he still inspires me to do well, make the right decisions, try my best, be helpful, caring, determined, step outside of my comfort zone, challenge myself, be loving, be the best that I can be! I could go on and on.........
I am showing in my fundraising that a friendship never dies. I will always support the charities that he loved to help which are the Bobby Robson & John Hartson Foundations but also I have tried to express the messages he taught me through my challenges, in particular, that the mind is so much stronger than the body. So when the body is telling the mind to give up, you must train the mind to be strong, to be the boss and convince the body that it can keep going. Exactly what I proved in running to the summit of Snowdon (the tallest mountain in Wales) and back down again. Gary's mum and nan were at the bottom waiting for me! Even more so when I achieved something that noone had ever done before (to my knowledge) and that was cycle on a static bike non stop for 24 hours. One of the hardest thing I've ever done in my life but I had something to prove. And that was Gary's message, his words to me. Many a time I whispered to myself, ''Pull me through this Gaz'' and he always did, giving me my mental strength and positive thinking. He had been telling me this since I was 12 years old so it was Gaz that pulled me through, because that was what he had taught me.
Only 2 weeks ago I was doing a 20 mile training run on a treadmill, no music, no distractions, just 4 white walls and the motivation of Gary Speed to pull me through. Due to lack of hydration, poor nutrition the day before and stupidly leaving the heating on in the house, I blacked out after 14 miles... I flew off the treadmill and didnt know where I was. I saw stars and the room went even whiter. But it made me grit my teeth and I became more determined, I wasnt giving up. I got back on that treadmill and completed the remaining 6 miles. Smashed it in fact and it was all thanks to the strong mind that Gary had helped me build.
Ok it proves nothing on a treadmill but in life it has given me so much. it has given me belief, a positive outlook, a good attitude, a healthy lifestyle, a confidence that helps with my social life, a contentment that helps with my wife and a whole refreshing outlook that helps with my children. I can't thank Gary enough for the effect he had and still has on my life and I feel thankful that I was able to show my appreciation to him when he was alive.
Gary has an amazing family who he left behind. That is why, this year I would like to present all my fundraising efforts in the form of a cheque to the Gary Speed Foundation via Gary's parents so that they can have an opportunity to thank the charities who have helped them in their difficult time, grieving over an amazing Son, Husband, Father, Uncle, Brother, Nephew, Grandson. etc.
I will continue to update this page but for now I will carry on sustaining my 60 miles a week running in pure silence. In admiration of such a genuine guy who wanted the best for everyone. Who wanted to make everybody happy and who, without knowing it had a huge positive effect on people when they met him.
Everytime I train I go the extra mile, every challenge I have done I have always pushed harder than originally planned. Thats only because I hate having anything spare in the tank. I was trained to give my all. Not 80%..... not 120%...... JUST 100%! That's as much as you can give and if you dont win, or achieve your target, then at least you have no regrets, you couldn't have given any more.
Leicester City Stadium Half Marathon (Completed 15miles)
Leeds Utd Stadium Half Marathon (Completed 15.2Miles)
Swansea City Stadium Half Marathon (Completed 21.8Miles)
Garys Memorial Game Marathon (Completed 30.9Miles)
I can keep going and I will never stop. I will always step out of my comfort zone and push myself, as I was taught by the best. And although I may never be up there with the best, I will strive to be like him and I will be proud, as was he. A true Gentleman that is sorely missed by so many. I am doing something about it and I want to thank you too for taking action and hopefully you will complete this journey with me by contributing and donating to what will be fantastic causes.
Please return for further updates.
Big Love Always
Matty Jones. xxx