NEWPORT is building a strong Wales-wide reputation as a centre of sport and fitness, one of the city’s AMs has said.

Earlier this month thousands of runners took part in the first-ever Newport Marathon.

Speaking in the Assembly this week Newport East’s John Griffiths praised Newport Live, which runs sport and leisure services.

“Sport and fitness are obviously vital for health and general quality of life and, thankfully, Newport is building a strong reputation in terms of its activities and facilities,” he said.

“Newport Live is the bedrock really of delivery in Newport with over 1.6 million participants at leisure facilities annually and they work in close partnership with Newport City Council and many other organisations to reach every community in the city.”

Mr Griffiths also applauded the recent inaugural marathon, saying: “It was a great occasion for the city and it saw a really good turnout of local people in support".

“And the really good news is that there is almost a year to go before next year’s event, which gives plenty of time for you and any others who may be considering participation to prepare.”

Responding, Mr Jones, who will stand down as first minister at the end of this year, said Mr Griffiths “has great faith in me in assuming I’d run a marathon in under a year". “I will have more time on my hands after December, but I think that’s misplaced faith,” he said.

He added: “People now are participating far more in activities than was the case 25 or 30 years ago.

“There were very few, if any, marathons that people took part in. It wasn’t a question of trying to run to win, it was a question of taking part and finishing the course.

“That was the achievement for so many people and the money that we have provided for Newport, working closely with Newport Live, working closely with Newport City Council, has ensured that Newport is ever stronger in terms of being on the map for physical activity.

“That’s good for the city, but it’s also good, of course, for all those who participate.”

Newport City Council was given £570,000 from the Welsh Government this year to pay for sport and fitnesses programmes.

Responding to a question from South Wales East AM Mohammad Asghar, the first minister also clarified the Welsh Government has “no plans” to scrap free swimming for children.

Registration is open for the 2019 APB Newport Wales Marathon, which will be held on Sunday, May 5 next year. For more information visit