MATTHEW Edmonds used to pound boxers in the ring, now he pounds the streets as a champion marathon runner.
The 28-year-old represented Wales at the 2006 Common-wealth Games in Melbourne and turned professional a year later but is now taking on the challenge of becoming a dual-sport success.
He won 11 of his 16 professional fights and even challenged Jason Booth for the Commonwealth bantamweight title, but a defeat in 2011 led him to question his career.
“Boxing was my life ever since I was a little kid and I’ve never imagined doing anything else,” he explained.
“But I had big trouble making the weight and I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I didn’t want to quit boxing but everyone felt it was the right thing.
“I struggled to make the transition though and I went off the rails a bit.”
Last year Edmonds entered the notoriously difficult Snowdonia Marathon “for a bit of a laugh,” and despite slipping and cutting his head, he finished in a time of three hours ten minutes.
Despite working full time as a carpenter, Edmonds decided to keep up his regime, joining Lliswerry Runners and training every day, covering around 100 miles a week.
The results have been simply staggering as Matthews last week won The Wales Marathon around Tenby in a time of two hours, 47 minutes and five seconds.
Matthews’ time qualifies him for both the London and New York marathons next year and he is prepared to continue pushing to improve.
“I’ve only really been training properly for six months, Snowdonia was just a bit of a laugh really,” he said.
“I entered the Tenby marathon and obviously I had no expectation of winning it or finishing high up the field, I just wanted to beat my previous time.
“There were a couple of world class Ironman competitors in the field and it is renowned for being a tough marathon.
“I never expected that running could be a substitute for boxing, but I thoroughly enjoy it and love pushing myself to be better and to be faster.”
Edmonds won’t rule out chasing an unlikely dream of representing Wales at two different Commonwealth Games events.
“My time at Tenby was encouraging, one because I’m nearly a novice when it comes to marathons and two because it’s incredibly hilly and difficult,” he said.
“I know I can go faster and even though I’d need to shave 30 minutes off my time, I wouldn’t rule out trying to qualify for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow,” he said.
“I don’t know if anyone has ever done that before but I would love to go there and represent Wales in a second sport.”