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The Cardiff half marathon on Sunday seemed to be a big success. It was a beautiful sunny day. In fact, a little too warm for my liking; even though the race started at 9am on a mid-October day, by 10am it was feeling quite warm.

As it was a “club championship” race for the Penarth and Dinas running club, there were several of us from the club doing the race. The start and finish were just next to the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

The Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay

Even with 15,000 or so people running, I was pleasantly surprised by how little congestion there was in the first few miles. Congratulations to Phil Cook the race course director (of Les Croupiers running club) on this. The course took in the Cardiff Civic Centre, the castle, the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff City stadium and the Leckwith athletics stadium.

Unfortunately I got my pacing completely wrong. I will put it down to not having done a half marathon in some 25 years, but I went off too quickly and paid for it. At just past 2 miles I passed Lisa Cleary and Andrea Hurman of P&D, and caught a brief glimpse of our club’s “super vet” Malcolm Bradley in the distance. Up to 6 miles I was feeling really good, but I should have realised when I passed Lisa and Andrea that I had gone off too fast.

Miles 6 to 8 weren’t too bad, even though I slowed a bit. But from miles 8 to 12 I felt like I was going backwards. My pace dropped badly, and my legs felt like mush. I managed to find something for the last mile and a bit, but annoyingly I missed my target time by 1 minute and 20 seconds.

To add insult to injury, Andrea and Lisa passed me between miles 8 and 9; and I even got beaten by a giraffe.

A giraffe running the Cardiff Half Marathon

At least I now have a target time for next year, so hopefully I will pace myself better. I hope the race organisers keep the course the same, I think it was ideal for such a large field of runners.

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