In short: One of the best half marathons In full: Having run most of the big city halves such as Reading,GNR,Bath, Royal Parks & the awful Run To The Beat the Cardiff half for me beats the lot of them hands down, scenic course that shows Cardiff as one of the nicest cities in Britain,well organised with great medal & t shirt. Definately be back next year, well done Cardiff. Date of review: October 7, 2013
In short: Amazing experience for my first ever race! In full: I signed up to run the Cardiff Half without ever having done much running, and it proved to be a brilliant race for beginners.
Short of a few organisational issues at the start I throughly enjoyed this race.
Despite people complaining about the fact it wasn't flat, I think it would be hard to make a 13 mile race that avoided any inclines. Also the climbs up to dual carriage ways I actually found an advantage as I managed to over take a lot of people.
I did feel that the toilet facilities in the runners village could be improved, I actually walked back to my hotel after dropping my bag off because it was quicker than queueing for the toilet!! Also everyone was climbing over the fences into the start pens as there didn't seem to be any signage as to where to go.
Other than these points an absolutely fantastic race. Loads of support from spectators. An absolute must for beginners that want a challenge! Date of review: November 6, 2011
In short: Better than last year!! In full: I have run this half for the last 7 years and found this one to possibly be the best.Some of the scenery was not the best but with 15,000 runners,routes around the parks would not be possible as last years shambles of a race proved.The area around the baggage/start area was very congested and I waited 1 hour to use the toilets before the start before sprinting to the start.I ran the bupa Birmingham half the week after this race and this was expertly organised with wave starts.The quicker runners started at 10 A.M. in 2 waves with the slower runners starting at 10.30 in waves again.This solves a lot of problems in that the start/baggage/toilet facilities area does not get too overcrowed.The Cardiff half could be a great race if only a few minor issues were ironed out but I know the city races are diffucult to organise and even more diffucult to please every runner! Date of review: November 6, 2011
In short: Fast or scenic? In full: One of the problems for any race organiser, but it seems especially for Cardiff, is the desire for people to have it all. Cardiff is one of those places where it is going to be one or the other, not both. The desire for the inclusion of the parks sections from previous years, to me, seems to counter the arguement of others for a fast, pb potential course. Due to the nature of its layout, Cardiff is not going to provide both of these at the same time.
For me, the organisers seem to have taken onboard many of the comments from previous years and provided a course that is both fairly quick (I would say that as I achieved a pb on the day), but also able to accommodate the number of runners.
As for it being scenic or not, it is hard for me really to say. Many have concentrated on the fact that along the dual carriageway section there was not much in the way of scenery. However, by this stage my vision is normally limited to the concrete/tarmac in front of me and not what is away to the side of me. Also, let's not forget, we did also run past the castle and some of the surrounding area.
With regard to the previous references to the course not being pancake flat, I agree, it was not a perfectly flat course. However, having run the Eden Project Half Marathon the week previously, I can honestly comment that it is far from being able to be classed as a hilly course as well. Yes there were a couple of inclines on to/off of the dual carriageway, which itself inclined, as well as the section towards Penarth. However, when considering the whole half marathon distance, then overall it was fairly consistent. As it started and finished in the same location, however much we ran up, we must have done the same downwards.
For the race itself, my main negative was the lack of organisation around the start area. I agree with previous comments that this should be made a runners only area, as it was very congested with non-runners in a very tight part of the city with direction towards and entry to the starting pens difficult to follow. My personal suggestion would be to have the start/finish area relocated back to Lloyd George Avenue, as this is both wide enough for the numbers of runners and enables spectators to gain a good view.
Overall, I feel that the changes made to the route have improved the experience. My personal recommendation would be for the organisers to stick with this course and make small changes, not to try and come up with a completely new course. Date of review: October 28, 2011
In short: Not the speed or scenery of previous years, but improving in organisation all the time. In full: It's a shame that they've taken the race out of the centre onto the big roads. Makes sense for numbers but removes the attraction of seeing much of Cardiff, especially the Civic Centre. Decent organisation which is improving each time I do this. Not great for spectators though, with the start/finish being a tight squeeze and other points being impossible to get to (the major roads). I don't know who decided to put the flyover up to Penarth in the last two miles, but that's one reason why it can't be as quick as previous years, and why the regulars might complain about hills. Likewise the ups and downs on the 'motorway' junctions weren't pleasant. Good marshalling, and provisions. Easy to park if you're fit enough to walk a mile before you run thirteen. Date of review: October 28, 2011
In short: Pleased with my first HM, but definitely room for improvement in the race organisation In full: Arrived in the bay at about 7:30 and there was plenty of room in the 2-story car park (top floor was completely empty still), paid £8 for about 6 hours.
Needed to ask for directions to the starting area (maybe it would have been more obvious had I checked a bag). Though watching pedestrians and racers battling each other on the pavements I think I wasn't the only one who was a bit confused.
I thought there was a lengthy queue for toilets, but had budgeted this into my time frame.
My only real complaints were the bottleneck in the last mile, the lack of sports drink and the size of the shirts left when I reached the finish. The section on the dual carriageway was dreadful, made worse by the heat and the lack of volunteers or marshals. I'd love to have run through the parks, but realise that's not a realistic option for a race of 15,000.
It is a flat race. (Listening to people moaning about the hills really improved my mood during the race)
My OH thought it was abysmal from a spectator's point of view. Couldn't get anywhere near the finish line and was only able to see me near the very beginning and once more at mile 8-ish. Date of review: October 28, 2011
In short: Not as flat as described, flyover dull, but will definately do again In full: First half marathon so haven't really got anything to compare it to. Overall it was a good experience, however the lack of organisation at the start - too many spectators (maybe need a runners village past a certain point?) and the dull boring flyover bit coupled with no sports drink left when us fun runners came through, made the 6 - 9 miles bit extremely hard. On the positive side the marshalls were very supportive and the woman with the jelly babies in Penarth was a godsend!!! Disappointed with my time, but that only makes me more determined to go back and beat this course. Til next year! Date of review: October 28, 2011
In full: Good course this year on wide roads so nobody should have got held up. Lets hope they keep it the same ( i've done this race last 3 years and route has been altered each time ). Would still much prefer start to be in the centre as much more parking is available and start easier to get to. Date of review: October 27, 2011
In short: Not up to normal cardiff standars - very sramped start, pedestrians blocking acess. Start should be in a much wider road. Very boring run back and for along dual carriageway. Acceptable run but a capital city shoudl be able to do better Date of review: October 27, 2011
In short: A good city run worth the experience In full: This was my first Cardiff Half, and I did enjoy the experience of a city run. I was bit surprised with the crowds of non-runners around the runners village, this could be kept clear for the runners only. The lack of toilets was a bit of a problem, luckily I found a shopping centers open but still had to queue. The race start was congested due to the narrow road and also getting into the pens due to the number of non runners being in the way. It was hard to hear the start of the race, even being a short way back. it was hard to get into a pace until after 3 miles, The water stations could have been better prepared and organised and I believe the energy drinks ran out. The use of the city roads but the drag up and back along the dual carriageway was a bit of a drag but the crowds managed to get to places you least expected. The shirt and medal was good but the tube of toothpaste made the race worth running. More medium shirts next year though! I so enjoyed this race, that I came home and booked myself a final half for the year. Date of review: October 26, 2011