In short: Corner-cutting takes edge of a potentially outstanding event In full: At first sight one could not imagine a more attractive event: super-flat and fast, great town with a wide range of scenery and a spectacular finish in the Millenium Stadium. However, non-runners in the start area and wandering over parts of the course, inadequate marshalling, ambiguous mile markers and no organised razzmatazz took the edge off the day compared to the Edinburgh Marathon, my only other race at this distance. Positives however included the amount of water/energy stops which were frequent and well-manned and the terrific support of those who turned out to cheer everyone on through the city’s streets.
Improvements that could be made for next year would, firstly be to take more care in providing runners with an indication of where to start 2 groups at <4hours and >4 hours is not good enough. Also, mile markers were more frequent at the finish of the course but only every 3 - 4 miles in the early stages. It would be much better to mark every mile to help settle into a steady pace. More stewards are definitely required if the course is not to be marked more carefully; thankfully I ran in the middle of the pack but even so we nearly took some wrong turns. Switchbacks in particular need to be better marshaled - I saw at least two competitors cutting over switchbacks on the barrage and in the park (they may have only cheated themselves, but psychologically this is tough to take when you've run 22 miles and are on your last ounce of effort!). The marshals also need to be more authoritative: on the second lap of this two-lap course the general public with their bikes, dogs and kids were wandering all over the route. The Millennium stadium was an awesome place to finish and, apart from the fantastic support on the streets of Cardiff, was the highlight of the event. However, the promise of Dragon Radio organising some entertainment did not seem to materialise. The stadium therefore had a hollow quality to it with little atmosphere, particularly for runner's family & friends waiting patiently to see their sweaty heros! Once inside the stadium there was little access to vital water supplies, the goodie bag was very stingy (and why did the medal not fit in it's case.. and where was the ribbon?!), and there were no refreshments available for purchase by either runners of spectators in or around the ground. With a little more attention to detail this could be a brilliant event, what did they spend the (rather steep) entry fees on this year?!
In short: A fantastic race!! In full: Great fun from start to finish, this is the sort of event that keeps me running..A big thank you to everybody involved, the organisors, the marshalls, the youngsters giving out water and medals without you kind people events like this would not happen. Date of review: October 10, 2005
In short: Fantastic! In full: A brilliant event that was very well organised and executed. Plenty of drinks along the way and a nice flat course for a PB. A little disapointing to do a long 'out and back' on the same road, but this was forgotten when re-entering Bristol centre. The crowds were brilliant and as the roads are a little narrow it feels like the crowds are right on top of you! A most enjoyable event and will certainly be back here in favour of the Great North Run anytime. Date of review: October 10, 2005
In short: Actual race was ok, BUT......... In full: Enjoyed actually running the race but the before and after organisation let it down. The expected fishing time boards were too low down so could not be seen once a few people had lined up. I was in the 2.30+ band but didn't see it until it was too late to move forward. The 2.00 - 2.30 box was only about 20 yards long. There was no dicernable PA at the start so it was not possible to remind people to be realistic about starting position so had to make way through walkers within the 1st half mile. Enjoyed the course and would like to thank all the marshalls and first aiders for their help and encouragement to runners. The nature of the course though does mean that the front runners in the marathon will catch up the middle of the half marathon field. I was lucky that the lead vehicle caught me up at the back of the castle but what happened in the cycle/footpath between Blackweir and North road? The finish was chaotic. I was directed up the first set of steps to collect medal etc. This brought you out in the massage area and into a massive queue to get the medal, banana, chocolate and water. But no, the water was back down at pitch side, after the set of steps that I was directed up. As I had plenty in my bag in the secure storage area it wasn't worth going against the flow to try to get a bottle. I stayed on to watch the Marathon finish and that was inspiring, but I think that there should have been a marshallat the top of the ramp warning slower half marathon runners to keep to one side on the lap around the pitch. Despite all the above I did enjoy the event and plan to be back next year. Date of review: October 10, 2005
In short: Very good New York Marathon training run In full: Well organised and a lovely route for some of the way. The only gripe would be that some of the marshalls didn't control the traffic at some junctions even though they were stood watching. Almost got hit by a scooter and got a shrug of the shoulders from the official! Good water and energy drinks stations. A good flat course for quick time. The area gets busy however as you run the second lap and cars are a problem. Date of review: October 10, 2005
In short: My first half In full: As this was my first half and being local (Newport) it was a special day for me. Great seeing the barrage and the 2 parks. The paving just before the castle was hideous on the feet though!
Well organised on the whole I thought. Bit of a drama at the end with the queues but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Date of review: October 10, 2005
In short: A grand tour of Cardiff's diverse landscape (City, industrial, maritime, residential, parklands and stadium) In full: A special race for me as this was my first marathon. As it was my home town, I was able to safely judge my race in relation to local landmarks.
In terms of entries, it seemed dominated by club runners - it seemed a bit like a spill over race for unsuccessful London marathon applicants? So, as a keen but relatively non-competetive runner, my time of 5:36 put me firmly in the Cardiff 'stragglers'.
My marathon attempt was spoiled by a cheating athlete who I can *strongly alledge* to have cheated by skipping the long run up the Cardiff barrage. He was dresed as Scooby Doo and collecting for Barnados. I'm quite sure he skipped another switch-back in the parks. He then proceeded to beat me in a sprint finish into the stadium, thereby milking the applause of well-wishers and spoiling my own race finish - I felt almost violated at the time but have cooled down since. In retrospect, this sour taste which could have been avoided by STRICT marshalling at switchbacks.
As a relative straggler I did not witness the alledged queing chaos mentioned by other runners. However, the medal / goodie bag set-up was extremely off-hand and a bit of an anti-climax. I'm not one to get wound up by this sort of thing but it was strikingly 'average' given the grandeur of the millennium stadium.
Bag deposit not 'secure' as described - but I am very trusting of runners so I wasn't really bothered by this, I always leave cards etc. at home.
On a positive note - friendly and helpful stewards, St. Johns ambulance and policing all the way round, and as I was in no real hurry and running on my own for most of the race, I made a point of thanking many of the stewards who I encountered.
Minor gripe - water bottles too small and screw-capped (glad I brought my own 1 litre squeezy bottle which I topped up with water from the stations). Date of review: October 10, 2005
In short: First-time 10 mile race for me and it was excellent! In full: Really enjoyed this race as a first-timer, I felt I pushed myself and the crowds and the other runners helped too. Small gripes: 1. couldn't see the mile markers and I don't think they were in the right place 2. Beautiful medal but would be nice if it actually said "10 miles"! 3. The wave system was good but it should be divided as to estimated times I'm definitely coming back next year - I'll be sure to put on some no-run suntan lotion though as I got slightly singed yesterday... Date of review: October 10, 2005
In short: Good fast route - organisation in the stadium needs attention In full: Great race and well marshalled, but fell apart in the stadium. Akin to an organised training run, rather than a city marathon. Date of review: October 10, 2005
In short: Good support both inside and outside of the stadium, organisation once crossed the line a bit shambolic. Spectators inside the stadium had great sight lines of the pitch but not the finish Date of review: October 10, 2005
In short: FANTASTIC, great atmosphere, weather and organisation In full: Had a fantastic weekend, stayed in Southsea Saturday night. Just a brilliant race. Nice shower! Possibly even beats 2004. One of my favourites. Date of review: October 10, 2005
In short: Millenium Stadium is a great place to finish, but waiting 40 minutes for a medal is far from ideal. Plenty of water, and well marshalled. Would recommend to anyone. Date of review: October 10, 2005