A big half marathon in a cracking city with no hills, tonnes of iconic landmarks and lots of support. Brilliant for first-timers, and fancy dressers!
Size: 18,000 runners
Official race website here.
- Vaseline up! One of our team ran the last 5 miles with blood seeping through his top from his sore nipples…ouch
- Parking. 2 options – get there very early OR park in the student areas of Cathays (free and plentiful spaces) and walk to the start line (15 mins)
- Go to the loo before the race as there aren’t that many portaloos on the course
- Be aware of the looped sections (especially at the end) – they can be deceptively long
- Try not to trip over discarded bottles/ run into various bollards throughout the city
- Use the Millenium Stadium as a marker and pick up the pace once you’ve passed it
- Look up and enjoy the scenery and crowds: ‘Diolch’ [DEE-ol’ch] is thank you in Welsh!
Official race video
There was a team of 10 of us running this race and someone else had taken charge of organising the group, but from what I saw things ran very smoothly at this event. The signing around Cardiff city centre was clear and the pre race info was comprehensive as you’d expect from such a large, well established race.
The main difficulty was parking and we had to walk about 20 mins into town to get to the start line which was fine on the way there, but a bit of a slog post race.
There were numerous of stewards on hand to direct people (and the portaloos were plentiful at the race start!) but make sure you’re there with plenty of time otherwise you’ll be stuck at the back with the slow runners as the faster your predicted time, the closer to the front you can get.
Out on the course you’ll struggle to get lost with thousands of other runners leading the way and stewards helping to direct people. There are a good few refreshment stations too serving water bottles.
What’s the course like?
This half marathon course is one of the best in the country. It starts and ends in Cardiff city centre, taking in the castle, the bay sea front, the Millennium Stadium, the National Assembly Building, Cardiff University and Roath Park with lots of residential running in between.
The scenery is always changing which makes this race really special and great fun.
There’s plenty of space for spectators around about 70% of the course so you can get lots of interaction from the crowds (especially kids who are really energetic!) and you’re provided with plenty of refreshments.
This course is really spectator friendly and it’s the crowds who made the atmosphere. As mentioned above, our group had plenty of interaction from people watching as we were among the minority of people in fancy dress.
If you want to get some cheers along the way we’d definitely recommend going with friends and dressing up. There are also TV crews who have great access so some runners have the extra buzz of being interviewed during the race. The whole day was very relaxed and there was a great mood among the runners.
How difficult is Cardiff Half marathon?
Compared to other half marathons there isn’t anything about this race that makes it particularly difficult. If you’ve done your training and you’re prepared for the distance then you’ll be fine.
There are no hills, no boring or lonely stretches and plenty of crowds to keep you going. The last 3 miles involved quite a big loop and it was tough watching others run past you towards the finish (knowing you still had a way to go) but you can feel smug once you’re on the final furlong!
All in all – if you can get ahead of the fun-runners this could be good PB territory.
What is there to do Après-Race?
There was nothing organised as part of the event and the race bag was pretty uninspiring (the cranberry sauce is still sitting in my cupboard) but everyone gets a nice medal.
All the nearby pubs and bars were pretty packed by the time we had finished but as you’re in the heart of Cardiff city centre, there are plenty of places to choose from.
Definitely worth making a weekend of it and soaking up the brilliant nightlife over a long weekend.
Official race website here.
Official facebook page here.
Tourist info for the city here.
Other races like this
My Race Diary
Race no. : 1st
Time: 2hrs 10.
Also: I was dressed as a tiger.
This was my first half-marathon and until the day the farthest I’d run was about 7 miles but I found the race fine until about mile 11. I was running with 9 guys and we were all dressed as tigers (it was for charity!) and some of them were marathon-distance runners so I was pleased to keep up.
For the last 2 miles I just kept my head down and pushed through the pain. I’m not sure I’ll ever run this distance again but it was a really fun day.