In short: Brilliant Bramley, definitely worth including into the Spring Marathon Training Plan In full: Travelled over from Cardiff to combine visiting friends with a training run and this certainly didn't disappoint! The pre-organisation was great, excellent race-pack, and kept up-to-date via the website as to the status of the race in relation to the weather. Organistaion on day very slick, great parking facilities, with toilets (big plus point almost always overlooked and when you have travelled some distance the bladder is almost always bursting by this point!), great toilets at site and baggage drop. Course is flat as pancake, there were no major hills, a couple of minor slopes at 8 miles but nothing to drop pace on. Excellent encouraging marshals and singing cadets, who had they of actually had some vodka would have been very welcome as it was blinking freezing out there today! Overall big thumbs up RRR, will definitely consider coming back for this one again in 2013 despite the 260 mile round trip. Date of review: February 12, 2012
In short: Stop going backwards Cardiff!! In full: I arrived with great expectation and left disappointed. This was my 3rd Cardiff half and the worst so far. I always look forward to Cardiff as a potential PB but when you can't get into your correct timing pen and your stuck behind slower runners it's hard. On arriving at the race village the signage was almost none existent. With the lack of a diagram of the race village in the runners booklet showing toilets and other amenities, basic signs would of been appreciated. I found some toilets by the baggage tent but the queue was ridiculously long, I over heard a couple saying there were more over by the Norwegian Church, but the queues again were stupidly long and with the start fast approaching I had to find a bush!! There may have been more but I didn't have time to hunt for them. Getting to my start pen, which again was poorly signed, was a mission itself! Why do people who aren't running the race feel the need to crowd around the start pens to see their runner? They would get a much better view out on the course. The organizers need to put a 'runners only' area in, especially by the start pens. They also need to make better access to the pens, the number of people, myself included, who had to jump the barriers risking injury was ridiculous. A simple access to the back of each pen was all that was needed. I was suppose to be in the sub 1:45 pen but ended up in the 2:15 pen due the number of friends and supports, pushing buggies, congregating in tight areas it was impossible to get through them. The reason for the overcrowding was the position of the start itself. The roads weren't wide enough, you had all of Lloyd George Avenue (over 1 mile long) sitting there doing nothing why not use that? It had been closed because we used a bit of it at the start and we ran past the other end of it once off the city link! The course itself was a bit disappointing. I love Cardiff because of the variety of sites Bute park, the city centre, the barrage, Sophia gardens and the Taff trail. That's what makes it such a special and enjoyable race. Please get rid of the dual carriage way between 6 and 9 it was such a drag we have the Great North Run for that. I know the slip roads were short but they don't help and with the addition of the Cogan Spur, you can't call this flat if you stick to this course. Well done for getting Lucozade on board, much better than Powerade. Although I think they might have run out before the later runners went through! The first water stop was a bit to early would of been better a mile or so further in and the one at 12.5 was useless, would of been better to have it when you got onto the barrage from Penarth. The finish was OK, a bit twisty but a good 150-200 straight for a sprint finish. The goody bag was very disappointing, cotton t-shirt! (technical or nothing!) I liked the towel from a couple of years ago, it was something different! A bottle of squash and a nutty bar with some leaflets!.
Please please please listen to the runners and stop going backward, you can still be a massive race but you need to get the basic right.
One last thing, would it be possible to put some running etiquette in the runners booklet. I lost count of the number of runners cutting other runners up! a simple glance over your shoulder to see who's there before overtaking or getting back on to the course and when running through water/fuel stations there's not just one bottle at start! it lasts for at least 30-40 meters so there is no need to cut across other runners to get the first bottle! This is not a Cardiff specific thing just a general pet hate that occurs in all big races.
Saying all what I have, I'll be back next year cause I do love Cardiff, just frustrating when I know what they can do.
In short: Hot, Hilly but has potential. In full: This was the first time I've done this event and I was pleasantly surprised but there is defo room for improvement!
I've done quite a lot of 10Ks, halves and other running events over this year, big and small and as the Coventry Half has been running for a couple years I expected better organisation.
Excellent parking facilities. Excellent crowd support out on the course from locals and marshals. Good course not flat but not too hilly. Nice medal and a t-shirt you can use for training.
Negatives Not enough toilets if it wasn't for the museum and other local shops letting the runners use their facilities the queue for the loos that were provided would of been 13.1 miles long!!
Provide starting pens and better access to the course! It was a nice little race village set up at millennium point, but with all the runners and their friends milling about, getting to the start was very cramped and it was hard to see exactly where to get into the start pens. Not enough water stations. I know the weather today was unusual but almost everyone knew it was gonna be a warm one from the middle of the week and I feel the organizers could of put a couple of extra water stations out on the course, not necessarily bottled but defo cups could of been an option. A big thank you and well done to the locals who recognized this and did their very best to provide the additional water and with the occasional hose it was very much appreciated. The baggage collection could definitely be done better there was only a couple of thousand runners today and when the bags were dropped off they were just placed in any old space and when it came to collecting them, it was a bit of a nightmare trying to locate them. All it needed was them to be put in numerical order whilst the runners dropped them off or when we were out on the course and the pick up would of been a lot smoother. Like I said there is defo room for improvement and if the organizers can sort these little niggles out it could be a fantastic race. Date of review: October 2, 2011
In short: A great mid week race to get a PB. In full: This was a first mid week race for me and it did not disappoint. The course was relatively flat through some nice quiet country lanes with definite PB protential. Date of review: July 21, 2011