In short: Well worth the effort of travelling down from Yorkshire In full: The medal and goodie bag collection was chaos until someone thought of taking them into the crowd. For most of the time it was akin to running in a football crowd which precluded any PB. Frustration was due to thoughtless runners dodging in and out ( which caused one or two tumbles ) and slower runners (walkers) being two or three abreast ! Spectator intrusion was also a problem in places. I never saw any pacers and the promised music was sparse ? I would suggest that in future the pens are more stringently enforced and instead of a blanket 2hour pen this is broken down into 2.15, 2.30 etc ( see the results ) On the plus side apart from the industrial estate the atmosphere was good and for a big city event well organised. Despite what other participants have reported , by following the organisers recommendations for parking facilities I found leaving the city comparatively easy. This event is well worth entering. Date of review: October 15, 2012
In short: Some bits better, some bits worse. In full: Have run this race multiple times before but this was the first time I have run with someone else (PB, well done Mrs!) and it gave me a different perspective on the race.
The route - It is a tricky thing for the organisers trying to get lots (too many) of people around Cardiff. The park is pretty but has lots of bottlenecks, the bay and Penarth excellent but connected to the city by miles in industrial estates/flyovers. The city centre is relatively small. It must be a battle with the council to get the roads shut. This year’s route was the best for a while, only a couple of boring bits and one or two ridiculous bottlenecks (the one by Tiger Gate just after the barrage was a joke). I think on balance this is probably as good as it will get for a few years, pushing the number of participants really hampers the routes they can use. Water stops were good and well placed. The energy drink stop had run out long before we got there and the road was littered with bottles from which only 1 sip had been taken (surely of they can get mini water bottles they can get mini energy drink bottles). Personally I would suggest taking out the energy gel station and doubling up the energy drinks. If you are using energy gels in training then surely you have a way of carrying one or 2 with you on the run, if you have never used gels before then race day is not the time to try them out! Thought the bit around Roath lake was excellent. Mile markers 6, 7 and 8 either missing or invisible, poor show. Crowds were great towards the end but pretty non-existent towards the beginning.
Organisation – I’ve lived in Cardiff for a while now and so I knew exactly where to go and the places to park. This was however, the first race I’ve been to for a while that didn’t have any obvious signage on the roads to help people looking to park up and get to the start. Bag system worked great. Running pens for the first time but no waved start so very frustrating run for the first few miles, especially from towards the middle/back. Runner’s village and post race area very congested but not bad overall. Marshalls seemed fairly sparse on the run, but those at the start/finish were very helpful. Thanks to everyone who volunteered.
Value for money – It is a very expensive half marathon. Personally I don’t care about the goody bag, I have too many ill fitting race t-shirts but for others who will probably only do this length of race once it IS a big deal.
Overall, it is a decent race but not worth the money. I wish that they would show off a few more of the city landmarks but as the numbers climb this seems unlikely. Also, bring back the marathon. Please.
In short: A real mixture of good and could be better In full: What to say about this event? Patchy is , I think the best response Organisation - odd , wheelchairs were started 2.5 minutes before the main race. As a result, they got swamped. Not difficult to resolve but still needs to be addressed. With ~18,000 (their numbers) runners, the start was very poorly managed and controlled. Open pens with easy access to any level of time. Having a City Centre start is good for the organisers in terms of spectacle but makes things congested. The finish wasn't much better. I got to the family meeting area to find 3 people there. Signage was generally lamentable. Route - an odd mixture of very mundane suburbia and dockland, coupled with some good sea views out the barrage. It was also trickier than I had expected with some sneaky, stiff little hills. Support - again patchy but often unanimated. I 'm not a big fan of the GNR but the locals do turn out and get involved. There were no offers of oranges, ice lollies, tea, beer etc here and not buch applause. Inded in some places, there were no supporters. Location - parking, getting there and getting away all difficult. The early start meant that public transport wasn't an option so traffic was horrendous. Suggest the organisers take time and look at how other big races work and learn some lessons. There seems to be a lot of local support for this event so it must be worth getting bit right, or at least better. Date of review: October 15, 2012
In short: Very scenic, great atmosphere In full: First time for me doing Cardiff. I loved it, well worth the trip from Hampshire. Felt the finish area with the giving out of medals and t-shirts etc could be a little better organised, but that wouldn't stop me from doing it again. Date of review: October 15, 2012
In short: A decent run for a sunny day In full: I was reluctant to sign up for this race after the shambles of 2010 but it's fairly close to home and fell on a free weekend so i went in for it. Much better than the last time I did it- the route was a bit dull but there were less bottle necks. The start still needs some work- it wasn't well signposted and the toilet queues were enormous, but I enjoyed the route and didn't notice any major issues. I may be back next year! Date of review: October 15, 2012
In short: it was ok In full: Ok route, nice and flat Organisation seemed a bit hit and miss, only found the start and parking because we followed our sat nav - no signs! Leaving Cardiff was traffic chaos, again relyng on sat nav to get us out. For a big city half I thought it lacked atmosphere, at times on the route you cold have heard a pin drop - well the half dozen or so runners who were not wearing ipods could of! I have never seen so many ipod wearing zombie runners - whats the point in taking part if you are going shut yourself off from the event !?!?!
Overall it was an Ok event but I shant bother going back. Date of review: October 15, 2012
In full: My 3rd time and the route the best yet. Worst part was getting out at the finish line. Weather lovely, great support along the route, which I found especially helpful in the Roath Park area. My only grumbles were people walking all across the road (happens in every big race) and the bottlenecks where it slowed to a stop twice. Those parts of the route couldn't cope with 18000 runners. Date of review: October 15, 2012
In short: Lovely day, but organisation still needs work! In full: Again I really enjoyed the Cardiff half. Cardiff keep changing the route - this time I think they have got it about right, but with 18,000 runners they have GOT to get more serious about a staged start. They have finally got a "pen" system, but they have to make sure to wait a good 5 mins between each section starting. Today there was so much congestion, bottlenecking, colliding, and yes, people falling over! It did detract from enjoying the race. Also, they should seriously look at finishing in Bute Park, as the area outside of City Hall is just not big enough. And where were the alphabet poles at the end to help people find each other? Nowhere to be seen. Otherwise a lovely race, plenty water stops, a great new route, with loads of potential, and a lot of very keen runners. But unless the organisation gets better they're not going to keep up the numbers. Date of review: October 14, 2012
In short: Great new course In full: Well organised event & the new course is probably the best Cardiff has had, crowd support was superb & this ranks alongside Reading has probably one of the best halfs in the U.K. Date of review: October 14, 2012