The Cardiff Half Marathon (Welsh: Hanner Marathon Caerdydd) (previously known as the Cardiff Marathon) is an annual half marathon race held in the Welsh capital city of Cardiff, taking place in October. The event was established in 2003, initially alongside a marathon, and is organised by the children’s charity Barnardo’s. Also in partnership with the race is Cardiff Council, the Vale of Glamorgan Council, the Welsh Government, Welsh Athletics and sponsored by LLoyds TSB, the South Wales Echo and Princes Gate Spring Water.
The course has always been predominantly flat, making it ideal for first time runners and professionals alike (elite runners can gain free entry to the race). The 2009 event incorporated the prestigious Welsh Half Marathon Championships; entitling the top three Welsh male and female finishers to represent Wales in an international half marathon. The scenery of the route is also incredible and varied, as the course takes runners past historical landmarks such as Cardiff Castle, the modern waterfront of Cardiff Bay and the greenery of Bute Park.
In 2009, Wales’ longest road race attracted 11,000 competitors who raised money for over 175 charities. 2010's sell-out race saw a record number of runners taking part, with over 15,000 entering the race.
The event has grown considerably over the years and now attracts both UK and international runners – it is now known as one of the top events in the Autumn running calendar. Previous participants in Cardiff races include Paralympics champion Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and inspirational adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
The date for the 2012 Cardiff Half Marathon has been confirmed as Sunday 14 October. Registration is now open for the race. Last year’s race saw places sell out in record time, going over two months before the event.
The 2011 Lloyds TSB Cardiff Half Marathon was a sell-out with a record number of runners taking part. Over 15,000 entered the biggest road race in Wales.
Kenyan Edwin Kiptoo won the 2011 Lloyds TSB Cardiff Half Marathon and claimed a course record, running 13.1 miles in 1 hour 3 minutes and 27 seconds. Kenyans dominated the top three, with Andrew Lesuuda and Edwin Kipkorir, last year’s winner, taking 2nd and 3rd. The women’s race was won by Kenyan Alice Mogire, with a time of 1:11:26. Second and third place were taken by Poland’s Agnieszka Ciolek and Kenyan Edinah Kwambai. The race attracted runners from all corners of the globe, including the USA, Poland and Australia.
Winning the Welsh Half Marathon Championships were Swansea Harriers’ Philip Matthews and Andrea Whitcombe.
Olympic silver medal winner and event patron Jamie Baulch started the race along with the Lord Mayor of Cardiff.
Thousands of runners raised money for almost 800 different charities and good causes. An estimated £1,000,000 was raised, with a team of 1200 people running for Barnardo’s, the race’s charity partner.
Allan McLaren, race manager, said that he was “delighted” with the capacity participation:
“The rush for places this year meant we sold out of places ahead of the registration deadline again for the third year running.”
Celebrities also took part in the run. Actress and singer Connie Fisher was among the runners, raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Eggheads’ CJ de Mooi ran for Barnardo’s, former Miss Wales Courtenay Hamilton ran for Velindre and Mathew Pritchard donned a full fireman’s outfit and kit to raise funds for Ty Hafan. TV presenters Matt Johnson and Rhydian Bowen Philips also took part.
Over 350 people also signed up to run in the Barnardo’s Cardiff Family Fun Run, many enjoying the atmosphere and the occasion.
Every year the race attracts runners from all over the UK and further afield. It is fast becoming known as one of the top events in the autumn running calendar. The 2010 race attracted runners from all corners of the globe, including many from Europe, the USA and Kenya.
Before the 2009 race took place, the event organisers announced the date of the 2010 Cardiff Half Marathon to be Sunday 17 October. Registrations opened immediately after the 2009 event. The Welsh Government were backing the race with a £75,000 grant, with the aim to get 20,000 runners competing in the race by 2012. Wales' First minister Rhodri Morgan was so impressed with the 2009 event that he told the BBC he would do the race in 2010.
The size of the field has dramatically expanded during the race’s history; from just under 1,500 runners in 2003 to 15,000 in 2010. The race has simply doubled in size. The number of runners has grown year on year and is on track to achieve over 20,000 runners by 2012.
The Lloyds TSB Cardiff Half Marathon is now host to the Welsh Half Marathon Championships, recognising Wales’s best athletes. 2010’s winners were Cardiff AAC’s Michael Johnson and Neath’s Anne-Marie Hutchison. The race is also attracting elite runners from abroad. The 2010 race saw two foreign winners for the first time, with Edwin Kipkorir and Hellen Jemutai claiming first prize.
2010’s race also saw the debut of the Cardiff Family Fun Run. This special one mile (1.6 km) run allowed children and their families to enjoy running part of the course during the main race and gave the race a carnival atmosphere.
Immediately after the race many runners questioned whether the course was the correct length having finished in unexpectedly good times. Race organisers subsequently admitted that a diversion had been put in place after scaffolding had been erected on a narrow part of the course in the week preceding the event. This left the course 193m short. The event organisers offered a £5 discount off entry for the 2011 race to all those who participated in the 2010 race.
The 2009 Cardiff Half Marathon took place on Sunday 18 October 2009 and was started by sprinter Jamie Baulch. Just over 11,000 runners signed up to participate in the race, with an estimated 18,000 spectators also coming to Cardiff to offer support.
The new and improved route took runners past famous city landmarks such as the Castle and the Wales Millennium Centre and included a run along the barrage and wetlands. It started on King Edward VII Avenue in Cathays Park near Cardiff City Hall, the race looped around towards Cardiff Castle. Runners were taken down St. Mary Street, before weaving their way back towards the Wales Millennium Centre. From there it was down towards the barrage, where competitors ran to Tracy Island. From the barrage switchback runners headed towards the Norwegian Church, Cardiff The Senedd and the beautiful Cardiff Bay area. Next it was the wetlands and Taff Embankment, before returning to the streets. Thereafter it was on to Llandaff Fields and Bute Park, before returning to the Castle for the final stretch to the finish line on King Edward VII Avenue.
The men's race was won by Simon Lawson of Lisvane, Cardiff. He broke his own record of being the fastest UK junior half marathon runner with a time of 1:05:48. In second place was Michael Johnson, while Simon Jones, who won the 2007 and 2008 races, finished third.
Finishing first in the women's race was Genet Measso from Ethiopia. Welsh runners Caryl Mair Jones and Anne-Marie Hutchison took second and third place.
The race also attracted many Welsh TV and radio personalities as runners. These included Carl Edwards and Angela Benfield from ITV News Wales, Mal Pope and Louise Elliott from BBC Wales, Matthew Pritchard from Dirty Sanchez and Robin Hawkins from The Automatic.
Lots of the runners that took part were raising money for charity. Event organisers Barnardo's suggested that almost £1 million was raised by runners for a range of good causes.
Highlights of the race were also broadcast on TV for the first time. S4C showed the programme the day after the event, while Channel 4 were covering it on Sunday 8 November 2009 at 7:55am.
Key: Current course record
Table of recent winners.