In short: For its first half marathon it did an amazing job and had the feel of a well established event. Water stops, high five gels and fantastic timing with a great scenic route and very flat course, can't wait to do it all again next year. Date of review: August 5, 2014
In short: Nailed it in YEAR 1 In full: I am staggered to believe that this was the first year of the Swansea Half.
I'll break this in to sections:
Runwise - spot on, scenic, flat, fast, everything that you expect from a half marathon. I liked the last 3 or so miles, a great challenge and you needed to dig in when it mattered, it would have been nicer to have a few more bodies out cheering in the SA1 part but you have to look at the public for not coming out and cheering.
Value was great - £26!!!! Medal, sports branded t shirt (though all the adverts were a touch overkill), great goodie bag - Strawberry flakes, granola, spatone, high5 stuff, asics bottle, bananas provided by TESCO!!!! flyers etc.
The last time I ran Bath Half they only had a cotton t shirt - look at the size of that compared to the first Swansea one. Technical t's cost a pretty penny so for year 1 you can't grumble at that but something that I think they should accommodate.
The on the course stuff was brilliant, well sign posted, water and high 5 gels where they should have been. Marshaling was superb - just the right number of people out on the course, they were all vocal and gave runners a massive lift.
Would have liked a little more atmosphere on the finish line but I think that with it being a new event the public was a little caught out with the idea of it.
Timing was the best I have seen at a race, little print out receipts of your times at the finish was a great touch - certain local races don't have anywhere near the Swansea Half and those races have been going for years.
Runners Village was ok - some great healthy food stalls, complimentary massages was a brilliant touch for aching legs, maybe a few more running related stalls would have gone down well. Still year 1 can't moan too much.
Must have a mention for one of the organisers - the guy with the beard and tattoos - sorry can't remember your name - saw him a good few times around the course during the race, urging the runners on, helping out with parts of the traffic in SA1. I went to thank him after I finished the race and even though be was extremely busy he was pleasant and asked if I enjoyed etc. I often see him running in the morning whilst I drive to work, it is obvious that he is very hands on with this race and it is great to see a local runner involved in a local event.
In short: Wanted to run the loop a second time. In full: Flew in from Lausanne, Switzerland and was absolutely thrilled to have been a part of Swansea's first Half Marathon event! Planned and executed by two local men with no prior race-organization experience and all done within a tight timeframe. Hats off to you both (Nick and David) and to all the hands on deck throughout the day itself.
More of the same next year please!
Contrary to the mass majority of opinions so far, the final 4km through the SA1 complex was actually my favorite part of the race. Hottest part of the morning, nice and urban and gave the race a gritty feel and in the absence of happy clapping supporters, the racers had to really dig-in, which is a part of what racing (as opposed to fun-running) is all about :-)
Can't wait for 2015. Date of review: July 29, 2014
In short: Very good all round, but room for improvement! In full: As a runner of the Swansea Bay 10km, I was familiar with half of this route, and the coastal path was beautiful as always.
It's a very flat route, so I was aiming for a PB, but ended up with a slightly below-average time. This was possibly partly due to the heat kicking in at about 9:30, so in retrospect, the dauntingly early start time of 8:30 was probably a good idea.
The atmosphere was great for the most part, undoubtedly helped by the weather, but much of the last 4km was through a deserted development site.
The race-pack contained safety pins. Nice touch!
The organisation was very good for an inaugural event, but had a couple of problems. In our race packs, we were told to start in the correct race pens for our number colour category. These pens were either not there, or not very visible. So I had no idea where to start. Big plus for the free parking availability near the start / finish area, in the multi-storey across the road.
The start area was reasonably well served by the leisure centre, a few stalls, and a few portaloos. It was very good really, but perhaps not quite enough for the 1700 turnout.
Marshalling throughout was extremely good.
In this weather, water was vital. Water bottles were screw tops. The first station left tops on, the other stations removed. I'm not sure what the spread of runners opinion is, but I like to keep the top, so that I can carry the water with me for a while, especially when it's as hot as it was on this morning. Perhaps give a choice at each station, with half of the tops removed, half not? Anyway, I'm sure we all accept that "sports tops" would be ideal.
The finishing area left me almost empty handed. On my first pass through, I missed more than half of the things I was meant to collect. You couldn't miss the medal, marshals there were ready with plenty to hand as soon as you crossed the line. You then had to look for the goody bag, while leaflets for other races were thrust your way. The bananas took some spotting, but I saw them eventually. I COMPLETELY missed the t-shirts, and the result time print-outs. I had to return twice to the finishing area to pick those up.
The goody bag contained a Lizi's Granola sample, Youghurt Fruit Flakes packet, keyring with sponsor's name, a pack of three "Zero High Five" electrolyte tablets, 2x SpaTone iron supplement, and a local cycle path map. T-shirt was cotton, with adverts. Medal was nice with embossed event name.
There was a mentioned cut-off time of 2:30, but this only related to the roads reopening, and the barrage bridge opening at approx 10 miles (hence blocking the route). Around 10% of the field finished after 2:30.
Good photos available on the website, and a finish-line video.
Very good all round! Would like to do it again, but I believe the date will clash with another local event next year, so that will make it difficult for many.
In short: Well done on a first Half Marathon In full: For the first Half marathon in Swansea I was a bit apprehensive beforehand, but I didn't need to be..
Arrived with about 45mins to go and no problems parking just a short distance from the start line. As a few people have said, if it gets busier next year, starting on a bend may not be a good idea, but for this race it was okay and then we were off. Nice route down to Mumbles and nice and flat with good support all the way. Turning around at Verdis you come back along the coastal path and lots of cheering (and a few cyclists coming along as well!). It started to warm up a bit then so drinks stations were good although only saw 1 gel station on the whole course. The only downside to the entire course was the SA1 section. This felt like it had just been added to make the miles up and there's no fun on a half mile dogleg with no crowds! This was the only bit that spoiled it.. At the end we moved through the finish funnel quickly and then great that you could get your results straight away. I hope more races try that. Nice finishing area to meet up with people and then after a few bananas it was done.. Easy to get back out of the area again afterwards.. Overall, a very good first Half Marathon for Swansea and looking forward to it next year.. Date of review: July 24, 2014
In short: Fantastic course, fast, beautiful and just a fantastic run In full: I have ran a few welsh half marathons , Cardiff was my first and was ok even if I did vow to never run another one , Llanelli was just cold and windy but Swansea is the first race that made me want to sign up straight away to another one . I absolutely loved it all well organised fast and beautiful , well done Swansea Date of review: July 22, 2014
In short: Couldn't expect better from the very first Swansea half In full: The race had an incredible atmosphere and extra touches like surprises in the goody bags made it a premium event. I would strongly recommend this race and will be back next year.
As the first race, there were a few kinks. These are not a deal breaker and I'm sure next year will be even better. Firstly, the start pen was not big enough and On a corner. Only a real problem if you are fast though. Secondly, not enough gels for us slower runners. To be expected as they are expensive but I was disappointed when I saw the empty stand. Water was also running low at the middle stops, could possibly be better distributed as plenty later on. Lastly, the medal was just OK and the T-shirt was cotton. As said before the route could use an update but there are road closures and restrictions to think of.
That's it for the bad points and the good points are too numerous to mention. Not quite pb potential due to the time of year, but much nicer to run and better for spectators in summer. I predict this race will only get bigger and better. After all, it was the first try! Date of review: July 22, 2014
In short: Well done to the organisers of the first Swansea Half In full: Swansea is a fantastic running city so it is great that there is now a half. Very well organised especially considering it's the first one, all went very smoothly. As others have said the last three miles in SA1 might need to be rethought if there was a larger field and they'd also need proper timing pens at the start. Always nice to have names on numbers. Be nice to have a technical t-shirt & more frequent water stations as it's held in July. Well done, will definitely be back. Date of review: July 22, 2014