Two of the most talked about sportsmen of 2017 will be guests of honour at the Liberty Stadium this weekend as the Ospreys host Swansea Harriers marathon runners, Josh Griffiths and Matthew Rees.
The pair grabbed all the headlines at last weekend’s London Marathon for very different reasons.
Griffiths stunned the international distance running community to finish as fastest British runner on his marathon debut. His time of two hours, 14 minutes and 49 seconds incredibly saw him finish 13th overall in the men’s race, just 10 minutes behind the overall winner, despite starting outside of the elite race, crossing the line ahead of a number of Olympians.
Meanwhile his club colleague Rees gave up his own time pursuit to go to the aid of a fellow runner, David Wyeth, who had collapsed 300m from the finishing line. After much encouragement from the watching crowd, including Princes William and Harry, the pair eventually crossed the line together in two hours, 52 minutes and 26 seconds – inside Rees’ target time of three hours.
In recognition of their achievements on Sunday, the Ospreys have invited them both along as guests for Saturday’s crucial Guinness PRO12 tie against Ulster (3pm KO), where they will be introduced to the Liberty Stadium crowd and deliver the match ball ahead of kick-off.
Ospreys Managing Director, Andrew Millward, paid tribute to the two Welshmen and said that everybody at the Ospreys was looking forward to welcoming them to Saturday’s big match.
“It’s fantastic to see two athletes who represent this sporting community gain such positive recognition for their achievements in London last weekend” said Millward.
“Among more than 40,000 runners on Sunday, from all around the world, all anyone is talking about are Josh and Matthew and their club, Swansea Harriers.
“For Josh to do what he did in his first marathon, recording such an impressive time and qualifying for the World Championship is simply unbelievable. Something like that just isn’t supposed to happen in elite support, it’s an incredible performance that will be remembered for some time, whatever else Josh achieves in his career.
“Although entirely different circumstances, Matthew’s marathon was equally inspiring. To see someone acting so selflessly speaks volumes about him as a person. He stopped to help another runner in distress while so many were passing him by, focused only on their own time.
“We are delighted to have them both as our guests on Saturday and we look forward to their presence inspiring the team for what promises to be an exciting afternoon on the field.”