The Principality Cardiff Half Marathon descends on the streets of the Welsh capital on Sunday (1 October) as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.
And organisers have today revealed that it will be the biggest Cardiff Half to date, with more people than ever before gearing up for the course which starts at Cardiff Castle and finishes in the Civic Centre.
Matt Newman, Chief Executive of Run 4 Wales, event organisers of the Cardiff Half, says that the event has grown into one of the key dates in the city’s calendar:
“The race has sold out for the sixth time with a record 27,500 spaces sold so we are all set for a fantastic event. To think it all started back in 2003 when there were just 1500 runners; it’s grown into something really iconic for Cardiff and for Wales. Every year, our incredible runners raise more than £3 million for good causes and the entire course, right down to the Bay and through Roath Park, is always lined with spectators.
“We are thrilled that Principality Building Society, which has come on board this year as title sponsor, is extending its partnership with us for another year. The team at Principality has a real passion for the event and is adding so much to the carnival type feel of the day, teaming up with Pride Cymru for our first ever Rainbow Roundabout and is giving away an incredible £27,407 house deposit to one lucky first-time buyer.”
Among the runners is Cardiff’s Andrew Roach who is lacing up his trainers to complete his 20th Cardiff Half event, having completed every single race since it first began.
“It’s my home event. I have always lived in Cardiff and it’s a really nice day. I remember doing the first one with just 1500 people running it and it was quite easy to spot family members cheering me on. It’s grown so much with people lining the route the whole way. That really gives you a boost, especially when you get to Roath Park for the final stretch,” said Andrew.
Of all the runners gearing up for the Principality Cardiff Half, Headteacher Anita Tucknutt may just have the biggest support crew. Pupils of Cwm Gwyddon Primary in Abercarn have been supporting her every step of the way since she was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year:
“This time last year I was in a very dark place and wasn’t sure whether I would be able to do any of the activities that I previously loved to keep me fit and healthy,” says Anita.
Anita has been in remission since March after undergoing intense IV chemotherapy, 25 rounds of radiotherapy at Velindre Cancer Centre and a 10-hour lifesaving and lifechanging operation at the University Hospital of Wales in January. She will be running with colleagues to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK.
Another name to note is Isobel Ace, a 22-year-old from Mumbles with Cystic Fibrosis. She is running in order to give young people with the condition a success story:
“It’s my way of giving back. I don’t want young people with Cystic Fibrosis turning to google and being totally scared. You search online and it’s described as a life limiting disease. But I’m here to say that it doesn’t limit mine. I want them to find my story and realise that life can be great,” says the PGCE student who is also a volunteer Lifeboat crew member.
Meanwhile, the Cardiff Half is the final in a series of challenges for Dan O’Keefe from Dinas Powys. He has recently completed the Ironman in Tenby, the 18-mile Vale coastal race and a half Ironman. The Childline volunteer is raising money for NSPCC who are the event’s lead charity.
And among the fancy dress, the running club vests and charity t-shirts, the eagle eyed might spot BBC Wales Weather Presenter Sue Charles who is running for The Wallich, a homelessness and rough sleeping charity. Millie-Mae Adams, otherwise known as Miss Wales 2023, is also making the trip up from Exeter, where she studies medicine. The 20-year-old is swapping her stethoscope for her running trainers to complete her first ever half marathon.
A wide range of causes will be represented, from well-known national charities through to local good causes, including large teams of fundraisers from the NSPCC, Alzheimer’s Society, Mind, Prostate Cancer UK, Shelter Cymru and founder of the event Barnardo’s.
Of course, the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon will also feature elite runners as well as inspirational charity fundraisers and those running to soak up the atmosphere. The 2023 field is set to be its most competitive yet, including athletes from Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Poland and the USA. This year’s elite headliners are to be announced later this week.