In short: Keeps getting better. A great local half marathon In full: My local race, so please excuse the bias. Near perfect running conditions with a cool day and light drizzle on a lovely scenic route from Blaenavon to Cwmbran. I had no problem with the mile markers (they were on the road throughout) and water-stations were plentiful. Hugely impressed with the police and marshalls who on a cold, wet Sunday morning all had positive smiles on their face and plenty of encouraging words for the runners. Nice to see the T-Shirts separated out by size – proving that the organisers are listening to the runners and want to put on the run we desire. Great organisation, very positive field and a lovely day all round. See you next year! Date of review: October 26, 2009
In short: Traffic Chaos and poor organisation blighted an excellent race In full: Took part in the Cardiff Half yesterday – proudly announced as the largest ever half marathon run in Wales with over 11000 participants, and it felt like it too! I set a PB, knocking several minutes off my best time, but what should have been a great day turned into something of an anti-climax with the disorganisation and lack of forethought by the race organisers. I’ve run this event on a number of successive years now and never had any issues with getting to the start etc. but yesterday, with the increased number of entrants the roads were gridlocked. Miles of queues must have meant hundreds of runners failed to make the start line by the 9am deadline. On a sidenote, why did they move the start from its normal 10am to 9am this year? More police interference? Despite feeling certain that they’d delay the start for all the unlucky travellers stuck in the miles of gridlocked traffic, I still left the car and ran to the start, arriving at around 8:58am, only to find the race would start on time! Without any chance to pee or stretch & warm up, we were off and the masses that did make it to the start crowded the streets of Cardiff. No complaints on the route taken – a lovely mixture of the views (and winds) of the bay, the parks and the city centre, but some niggles during the race. For a start I completely missed the first water station as there were no signs (anywhere on the route) telling you it was approaching, and then they only had tables on the left hand side of the road, where I was running far-right!! Latter water stations were better organised thankfully, but ‘Water 500M ahead’ signs wouldn’t go amiss next year! Likewise for the mile markers – I missed a few of them. Whether that is due to my lack of awareness or their lack of visibility I don’t know. Anyway, the crowds at the ‘hotspots’ were great, but early on I felt the 9am start was a little much for the spectators too. Seemed like an excellent field running the race, with a winning time of 1h 04mins. Kudos to that chap!!
Great to see this years event televised – I hope I get on S4C tonight ;) However, one final gripe is that the changing facilities was a single, open-ended tent for passers by to glare into and they were unisex – I can see this putting a lot of people off and the organisers really need to provide private male and female changing facilities next year. I didn’t hang about much after the race for fear of getting stuck back in the traffic, so can’t comment on what else awaited on the green with all the stalls and tents.
Goodie bag was so-so. No T-shirt in favour of a re-usable bag. Some will like this, some will not. Personally I prefer a T-shirt but not to worry. Not much else in the bag other than a granola bar and a couple of leaflets which was a bit of a let-down. Lovely medal though, feels very sturdy and good quality.
It’s great to see Cardiff expanding the half marathon to a larger field. Just what it needs. The course can easily accommodate this number of runners, but the organisers need to ensure the roads can. Park & ride provisions and better traffic management are a must if this isn’t repeated next year, as runners will soon get tired of start-line fiasco’s like this one if they persist. I’ll be back next year to see if the organisers learnt from this years mistakes. Date of review: October 19, 2009
In short: Ill definitely be back next year to see more of this beautiful Island and tame that damn A5 once again! In full: My first time in Anglesey for the marathon and I have pretty much nothing but praise for both. The location is beautiful – second to none. Blissful runs along the coast, past beaches, through ‘red squirrel forest’ and a chance to see much of the Island is just one reason to run this brilliant yet challenging race. The first half, with only a few mild hills lulls you into a false sense of security, but as others have noted, from 21 miles on you’ll be faced with almost constant hill. This, in my opinion, is the organisers way of saying “Ha, didn’t think we’d make it that easy for you did you?”. What the support base lacks in numbers more than makes up for in enthusiasm – the people of Anglesey are amongst the friendliest you could ever wish to meet and this is reflected in the smiles and encouragement that await the passing runners. Pre-race toilets were more than adequate and never needing to queue.Drink stations were plentiful (every 2 miles or so) and the sponge stations were also great considering how warm it was this year. Organisation was excellent (more so considering they were staging a 5K, 10K, ½ and full marathon on the same day!!!). With a relatively small field competing it was fantastic to have your own moment of glory, crossing the line with your name being announced and the awaiting crowd cheering your name. My only gripe was lack of a T-shirt to change into after the event. I’ll definitely be back next year though to see more of this beautiful Island and tame that damn A5 once again! Date of review: September 22, 2009
In short: Outstanding. Beautiful run and incredibly challenging In full: Ran this baby this morning, my first experience of the Richard Davies Sorbrook Challenge and loved it. Tough as nails on those two mammoth hills, but the view from the two summits are stunning and everyone is very welcoming and generous.
This was my first ever race and its given me the hunger to do more :)
P.s. Kudos to whoever it was that did the run in 36minutes!!!!!! Date of review: May 8, 2005