In short: Harder than I remembered.... In full: Reading my review of this race from last year, I genuinely think I must have run round in a total daze. It's a bit of a killer really, with some tough climbs and a generally undulating profile. Great training anyway, but be prepared! As well as having the best race t shirt bar none, organisation as a whole was very good. The one gripe I do have relates to mile markers. Painting them on the road surface isn't ideal at the best of times, but can be easily overcome if runners are made aware of this - as there was no warning in the race pack or during the briefing, I missed the first three whilst looking for marker posts. This resulted in a massive pace misjudgement which made the last 5 miles interesting to say the least. If you must mark the miles in this way, let us know! Oh, and the steps after 13.5 miles were a DISASTROUS idea, leaving many of us praying for a quick death - they weren't part of last year's race, can they be removed again for 2011 please? Overall, another quality race fron San Dom - thanks! Date of review: March 28, 2010
In short: Solid effort In full: I really like this race - it's undulating enough to be challenging without being a truly 'hilly' run, the event is generally well organised and the atmosphere enjoyable. On the debit side, it is a bit expensive for no apparent reason and a mix up with the tshirts meant that the only ones available for the quicker runners were either large or extra large (we had to wait about for a while and ended up at the back of the queue). Still, a very worthwhile race and one I will return to. Date of review: February 21, 2010
In short: Generally good, with one major issue In full: Let's start with the good bits. In general this is a really good event, well organised and efficient. Running on a racetrack was a novelty. Normally I have no time for runners who moan aboput a lack of toilets, and think that they'd be better off directing their energies towards getting there in reasonable time. However, when you're travelling for an hour to the race 'coordinating' bodily functions is hit and miss, and provision is needed. In summary, there was ONE toilet for the 150 odd blokes in the race (badly signed too, with several 'false' signs). As a result I endured a massively uncomfortable last 3km where I had to virtually walk and any hope of a decent time disappeared. This isn't an excuse - my own lack of fitness was the main reason for a disappointing time. However, such complete lack of provision is simply not good enough, especially at a circuit like this where facilities should have been plentiful Date of review: November 22, 2009
In short: Super race spoiled by one big problem In full: This is now the 5th time in a row I've run Cardiff, so I've seen first hand the changes of the past few years. Let's start with the good:
1) Best course yet. Thankfully the long and depressing trek through the parks has been reduced in length and the course is now a belter (which resulted in a pb) 2) Generally much improved organisation apart from the one glaring exception I will mention soon 3) Great atmosphere - enough 'big race' to feel special but without most of the problems usually associated with this
However, what would have been a 100% rating across the board from me has been wrecked by the baggage storage fiasco. After finishing in 1:27 I don't expect to queue for long, however as a previous poster has noted the 'organisers' had elected to dump 4000 bags from the fastest finishers in one location. I waited 45mins in a totally static queue before losing patience and doing what loads of others were doing, namely sharpening my elbows and forgetting my manners. Oh, and staffing the baggage area not only with volunteers but SCHOOLKID volunteers takes the mick - not that they weren't doing a great job in the circumstances, but it seems to be a cunning way of avoiding angry protests as nobody would surely be nuts enough to let rip at them. In short, if you make a mess of organising something, at least have the guts to face the public yourself, rather than putting children in the firing line. Had the weather been less kind, the situation would have been downright dangerous instead of just intensely irritating. Shame really, but a note to race organisers how one catastrophic cock up can spoil what was otherwise an excellent race. Aside from this gripe, this race gets better every year - please don't increase the numbers again though! Date of review: October 18, 2009
In short: Great as usual In full: 4th time for me and probably the most consistently well organised race you could wish for. Arriving early is advisable due to the parking issues, but as long as you remember this the rest is plain sailing. My race pack didn't arrive in the post, but the issue was sorted out quickly and effectively. Generous goodie bag too. If you're looking for a fast, flat, well organised 10k then you can't go wrong with Swansea. As for a lack of directions, how could it possibly be easier to find? Leave the M4 and follow signs for the Mumbles, or TAKE A MAP! And no, one water station in a 10k is more than ample - if you really need more than that then carry your own (and see a doctor...) Date of review: September 28, 2009
In short: Consistent In full: This is the fourth time I've done this race, and is achieves an admirably consistent standard. You know what you are getting, which is a well organised event without any major pitfalls. I knew from previous experience to make sure I started towards the very front (as a large scale fun run it suffers from having people whose only previous run has been to the fridge and back trying to start among the elites) and encountered few problems. Flat course (altered for the better I think), nice atmosphere and an all round pleasant run. Date of review: September 6, 2009
In short: Personal disaster, but still a great race In full: After a marathon debut of 3:38 last year, I'd trained hard for a 3:30 finish this time, but managed to mess this up by not allowing enough time to reach the start! Had to run from Greenwich carrying a massive kitbag, arriving knackered and sweating! All my own fault, which makes it even more galling. Predictably, I was in a state early on, and by mile 12 was being treated by St. John's for a calm spasm. Carried on and ran/walked the last half. The event itself is hard to fault, and puts the 'organisation' of other marquee races to shame. The crowds this year were quite incredible - every metre of the course seemed to be packed, and the generosity of complete strangers if amazing. I did my own bit by stopping 400m from the end to help a guy who'd collapsed at the roadside - with my time target now a distant memory, I wasn't about to see someone come that close and fail. Despite the best efforts of myself and another runner though, he was so far gone the medical staff made us let them take him as he couldn't stand - whoever you are, I really hope you are ok and that you finished in the end!! The fact that a time was out of the equation meant at least that I could appreciate the spirit and cameraderie of the event, and both receive and give out support to fellow runners. Date of review: April 27, 2009
In short: Excellent race In full: After the horrors of the Bath Half last weekend, what a pleasure to return to a proper race, organised by runners for runners! Aside from the iffy mile markers I really can't fault this race - nice atmosphere, some lovely varied scenery and great facilities. The use of the college building was very convenient and useful. Superb quality t shirt too! An ideal training race for spring marathon runners, with a stinker of a hill after 8 miles softened by some lovely downhills. Thanks to everyone at San Dom for arranging such a good event - will be back next year Date of review: March 23, 2009
In short: Absolute disgrace - can fellow club runners PLEASE boycott this shambolic, greedy race in future?! In full: Where to start? I will point out that I'm not in the habit of coming online to trash races - I've never given less than 70% to any race before. What I and thousands of other runners experienced today was unforgivable however, and demonstrates that Bath has finally given up any pretence of holding a race for anyone with an ounce of competitive spirit. The high entrance fee is one thing (nobody forced us to pay after all), but the way we have been treated today is contemptuous. The organisers simply want as many people as possible, they have no interest in providing a quality race. There are TOO MANY PEOPLE in this race and it needs trimming by a third.
1) Transport to the start. Once again, the service provided was the standard Sunday one, used to catering for one man and his dog. This meant massive queues and many people not making the start on time. WHEN WILL THEY LEARN?! What annoyed even more was that non runners made up perhaps 60% of the waiting crowd - why couldn't they prioritise us?! Bath City Council is having a laugh here, happy to rake in the cash from the extra visitors but putting in no effort on their behalf. The organisers should be applying pressure on them however; this event brings millions of pounds into Bath and a bit of extra service wouldn't hurt. Why do we have to pay at all? Why no extra buses? Showed absolute lack of regard for the paying customer, and shows that all the organisers are bothered about is making money.
2) The start - Oh. My. God. The start pens seem to have been allocated at random. Myself and my father in law had declared 1:29 as our predicted time, yet were in the green pen behind others from our club who had predicted longer times! As you can imagine, when those of us at the front of the green pen saw Wonderwoman, Batman and a guy carrying a surfboard(!) being allowed into the faster start, blood began to boil. One officious marshal decided to stick his oar in and tell a runner near us to move back because we 'clearly weren't as quick as the people in front'. Cue six livid runners spitting bile at him until he withdrew. Best bit of the race...Anyway, for the first 4 miles I was dodging people who clearly have no place in an event like this - some were walking after a quarter of a mile! What kind of sub standard organisational system allows these 'runners' to start ahead of decent club runners? Why were people who predicted a sub 90min half being made to start next to the 1:45 board? This is the sort of thing that schoolkids could organise, just put people in order of predicted time!!
3) Post race - it took an hour to get back to the park and ride on the bus because, despite promising to reopen the roads at a set time, the organisers elected to wait for the last runner! Unforgiveable.
I was going to get on my soapbox and call for the race director to quit after yet another disastrous event. However, I've realised that, sadly, he is doing exactly what he is paid to do. The Bath half doesn't want club runners; we whinge, we don't collect much sponsorship and we aren't excitable enough to spend loads on race merchandise. What it wants is the fortysomething mums aiming for 2:30, the fancy dress runners and the office parties, and b*gger everyone else. This isn't intended as a criticism of these people (they make an event like Bath, and I am constantly humbled by the efforts of many of them), but there is no excuse for allowing them to dominate to the exclusion of all else.
This event is not deserving of most runners. I would urge you to give this hideously expensive waste of time a miss and stop rewarding failure. The organisers should hang their heads. Date of review: March 15, 2009
In short: My 4th Cardiff half, and the best by some distance In full: Credit where credit's due - the organisers of this race have taken on board the raft of negative comments posted after last year and addressed each of the shortcomings to great effect. Mistakes are one thing, but many races of this nature seem to repeat the same old ones out of laziness or financial greed, so it's pleasing to see Cardiff stepping up to the plate and listening to its customers.
A fast, flat route as always, which I felt was actually improved by the late removal of the barrage section. Enthusiastic crowds, efficient starting gates (which seemed to work for once) and a decent goodie bag all added to the mix. The finish was smooth as well.
Finally, the finishing stretch is vastly improved by being outside the police station (I'm reliably informed that this is the 'traditional' finishing point for the Cardiff marathon/half), being a cracking straight rather than the twisty turny contours of the stadium or castle. Less potential for bottlenecking afterwards and more room for runners.
All in all, congrats to the organisers - lots of hard work paid off with a great race. Date of review: October 20, 2008