A WELSH soldier who was a teenage drug addict before turning his life around thanks to discovering running during lockdown, has given a talk to Powys runners.

Gareth Jones, from Aberdare, was smoking cannabis at 15, which led to an addiction to harder drugs like amphetamines and cocaine. He was fighting and stealing and headed down the wrong path, even once arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, before falling in love changed everything.

He joined the Army in 2015 and discovered running in lockdown, when he was struggling with his mental health while working from home, progressing from 10ks to running half marathons, marathons and even 200 and 300-mile ultra marathons.

He then started a social media page called the Mental Health Wanderer to share his story and experiences in the hope of inspiring others.


On Friday, October 13, Gareth gave a talk to members of Builth & District Running Club (BaDRC).

“Last night we welcomed Gareth Jones to speak openly about his past experiences with drugs and how he managed to turn it all around,” said the club in a post on Facebook.

“Gareth shares his story to try and help others and show that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Smoking marijuana from the age of 15, getting involved with the wrong sorts of people at 17, which led to an amphetamine and cocaine addiction, fighting and stealing, and then an altercation after which he then started to change his life.

“There is so much more to Gareth’s story so please head over to his social media pages and follow his journey. You will see how he went on to marry, have a child, join the Army and since lockdown really take to running, running some obscene long distances.”

A sum of £107 was raised on the night and will be donated to Gareth’s chosen charity Place2Be, which helps children and young people with their mental health.

The evening was organised by BaDRC welfare officers Sophie Cook and Gary Watts and was held at the White Hart in Builth.

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