In another of our Sporting Lives features, sports editor Mike Parsons finds out that keeping up with the Joneses is no easy task!

THE pace is fast on and off the track for a Grappenhall family whose passion lies in athletics.

Dad Nick Jones and son Jordan are serious competitors and winners in their age groups, while life also runs around running for mum Caroline and daughter Jasmine.

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They are all an inspiration to each other as they put their best feet forward for Warrington Athletics Club.

Nothing gets in the way of training or racing – not Crohn’s Disease, GCSE exams or the evening meal.

Warrington Guardian:

Jordan, Nick, Caroline and Jasmine at Warrington Athletics Club

Northwich-born and bred Nick and Warringtonian Caroline, whose dads William Jones and Billy Cunningham were responsible for getting them started in running as children, even met on an athletics track 80 miles away 22 years ago!

Nick, 44, was on the books at Tipton Harriers and trained at Birmingham University where Caroline, 45, would run while on business in the area.

Warrington Guardian:

The baton got passed on to their kids when each was approaching eight-years-old, when they were showing interest in running at school.

“It’s just come to me naturally in life because of my parents,” said Jordan, 16, who had trials for Manchester City before deciding to concentrate his efforts on athletics.

“Funnily enough, Jordan got me back into running,” said Nick, a transport manager at Anderton Concrete in Northwich.

“In my mid-20s, I was running for Great Britain all over the world. I gave up work to pursue it and then came back to being a part-time postman in Warrington.

“Then the kids arrived. I got to the age where I dropped the level of competition and then I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease nine years ago (as well as autoimmune and liver disease).

“Jordan would have been seven then and I was struggling to run. I’d go out on a bike with him while he was running.

“Eventually I got medication that allowed me to start running again.

Warrington Guardian:

“I started back with Jordan, and now I’m competing again at national/international level in the veterans categories.

“He might say I brought him into running, but he’s brought me back and now I’m trying to keep up with him.”

Caroline explained: “They’re training partners and they’re both exactly the same speed – just one second difference between them over 5k.”

Nick added: “Training partner wise, it’s good now. I don’t now how long it’s going to last before he shoots away.”

Training peaked this summer at 50 miles of running per week.

Nick is clear about what motivates him to put running among his life’s priorities.

“For me at the moment, it’s my kids. That’s why I enjoy it. I love training down the track with Jordan and Jasmine,” he said.

“And I think it’s probably vice versa with Jordan, he probably enjoys the little group we’ve got.

Warrington Guardian:

Picture: David Wood

Warrington Guardian:

“We train with two other lads, Joe Buckley and Jack Green, and we’re all pretty close.

“The four of us train together as a group five/six times a week and coach Phil Hicken keeps us all in line.”

Jordan kept up his training and racing despite also having to focus on his GCSE exams this year – excelling both at school and on the track.

“It was just natural,” said Jordan.

“I’m always at the club on a week night, so it was just normal for me and gave me a break from all the studying.”

His mum added: “With a summer of personal bests and not missing any training or races during his exam period, it’s been an incredible few months for him.”

Caroline, who works for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in the operational policy and assurance team as well as supporting LiveWire in Warrington with their communications, said Nick is not the only one in the family who cannot picture life without running.

“He didn’t like it when he was forced to stop initially through Crohn’s Disease,” she said.

“He took up cyling because he had to do some kind of sport. I’m the same, whenever you get injured or have a niggle, I start to feel frustrated when I see these three going out to run if I can’t.”

Caroline said Jordan and Jasmine, who are students at Lymm High School, tried other activities when they were younger.

“When they were little we did encourage them to try lots of different sports,” she said.

“They both went to gymnastics, Jordan did football and rugby.

“We got them to try everything and let them choose what they wanted to do.

“They both chose running, though Jasmine still loves going to Stockton Netball Club on a Sunday just as much as the running.

“Jasmine enjoys running more for the social side. She’s made really close friends with girls she wouldn’t have met.”

Nick added: “She’s not the ultra competitor, that’s not to say she doesn’t give it everything when she does race.”

Jasmine, 13, accepts she probably started running because the rest of the family were doing it.

“Yes, but I started to enjoy it because I got to meet new people,” she said.

“But also I got to see races that my parents and brother had done, and then I got to do them as I got older.”

Although Caroline does not race, her input is crucial to the family’s activity as well as the club.

“I don’t run as often as they do,” she said.

“I do run and I enjoy running, but I don’t take it as serious as these.

“Sometimes I’ll stay back and have tea ready for when they get in to make it a bit easier for them.

“I don’t have time to race, because I’m always on cheerleading duties – supporting the rest of the family with their race commitments and dealing with the ‘never ending’ and ‘constantly overflowing’ washing basket that’s always completely full of running kit,” added Caroline, who also has an admin role with the club as one of a few volunteers who look after the club’s press reports, pictures as well as the club’s own media areas.

So is athletics the number one topic of conversation around the dinner table at the Jones’ house?

“No, not really,” said Caroline.

“Life is very busy, though. We have to be super organised as we’re always up against the clock.”

Nick added: “The kids are at school, we both work full-time and have to travel so it’s an early start, up at 6am.

“I have to do training twice a day, four times a week, so it’s case of going out for a run in my dinner hour.

“Luckily my parents live in Northwich a mile from work, so I can jump a shower before I get back into work. And then it’s back home, grab the gang to go down the club for the next run.”

Caroline added: “And I’ll run in my lunch break as well. I work for LiveWire in Warrington, so I use the showers there. We’re both seen out running most lunch times.”

Nick continued: “As soon as we come in from work, it’s about getting changed and going out again to the club for training. Tea-time’s normally about 9pm, which is unusual for most families.

“It’s busy running family life as well,” said Nick, who helps out at home by doing the weekly food shop.

“We do try to do other things, but we don’t have many slots left in a day.”

Nick and Jordan just about find time to squeeze in watching Warrington Wolves play though.

The wider family are a good support to the Joneses.

“My dad’s watched every single of race of mine since I’ve been at Warrington Athletics Club,” said Nick.

“And now he’s got the grandkids to watch as well. He loves it, it gets him out every weekend. When we’re racing, he gets to go all over the country with it. It’s a hobby for him to go and watch his family.”

Caroline says about her dad: “He used to run. It was my dad that got me into running.”

Nick added: “Unfortunately, he’s got a bad back and can’t run anymore. He’s just glad that we’re all doing it.

“My dad never really ran, but he knows a lot of people on the running scene.

“He ran a 10k with me when I was nine. I think it was my first outing, and that started me off. I probably do have him to thank for starting me.”

Jordan is grateful to have parents sharing a similar interest and being role models with their healthy lifestyle.

“It’s a big help because it gives me something to do every night,” he said.

“People who I know who aren’t as sporty sometimes wonder how we do it all the time. But support from my parents helps a lot.

“It’s amazing what they’re doing. They’ve been doing it for a long time. It’s a path for me to follow, try and do what they’ve done.”

Jordan has goals to beat his dad’s best times.

And Nick said: “I hope he does beat my times.

“I want to be there when he does beat them as well."



British Masters 10,000m track champion

British Masters 5km Road champion

British Masters 10km Road Champion

Seventh V40, first GB athlete, at the World Masters Championships 10k in Malaga


Cheshire Cross Country under 17s champion

Cheshire 1500m Steeplechase under 17s champion

Cheshire Schools 1500m Steeplechase under 17s champion

Mason Trophy Inter County 1500m Steeplechase under 17s champion

Northern Inter County 3000m under 17s champion

Fourth, U17 in the English Schools Athletics Championships 1500m Steeplechase

Northern Age Group Championships under 17s 1500m steeplechase champion

Bronze medal in 1500m steeplechase while representing England North in the UK School Games


Represented Warrington Athletics Club throughout the year in 800m, 1500m and cross country

Made her debut Park Run