Richard Perry

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Race Report: Mic Morris Torfaen...

Race Report: Cardiff Half Marathon 2017

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Race Details  
Event Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon
Date & Time 01 October 2017 10:00:00
Distance Half Marathon
Type Road Race
Time (PB) 1:31:54 (1:30:28)

At the start of this year, Cardiff Half Marathon was going to be a big race for me. I was going to give it everything to try to break 90 minutes. Then I ran Gloucester City Marathon and my motivation seemed to drop off the end of a cliff! I had planned on a bit of a break after the marathon to recover, but then I never seemed to get going again. I only did a couple of long runs and I managed to average 21.35mi per week in the build-up. There is no way that is sufficient to get a sub 90min PB. So I resigned myself to taking it steady and enjoying the event without pushing myself to my limits. Then, along comes the Mic Morris 10k to change my mind. After the performance I was able to put in at that race, I thought it was stupid not to give Cardiff a damn good try :grinning:!

This year was also a little different from a Club perspective. A coach had been organised by the club to ease our transportation woes. This was a brilliant idea given how much trouble everyone has getting parked each year so I made my way to NHSOB on the morning of the race knowing I wouldn’t have any problems parking. It was a huge relief to just turn up without any real stress and was very much appreciated by me :grinning:. We were dropped off at Sophia Gardens so we had a little walk to the start which was a pretty good warm up. Once we got there, however, the race organisers had decided that race day wasn’t stressful enough for people and were checking the contents of everybody’s bags before allowing them into the baggage area. There were definitely not enough people tasked with this so it added a huge delay to the bag drop causing a lot of people to have to rush to get to the start on time.

This year, I had to wind my way through to the pen immediately behind the elite runners, but I had no trouble finding the 1:30 pacers so it was good. At this point, I was feeling pretty good so I planned to go out at about 6:50 pace and see how long I could hold it. If everything went to plan, that would bring me in under 1:30, but only just. The gun went, and eventually, we started moving. With 20,000 runners, this is a huge event so there is never a danger of being on your own but it does make the start a little tricky having to dodge and weave to keep an even pace.

Everything seemed to be going well, my first 3 miles were 6:44, 6:51 & 6:50 and I was feeling comfortable. I took on water at the first drink station, which is unusual for me but I felt it was a good idea. The next 3 miles then continued fairly well at 6:46, 6:48, 6:51 and I crossed the 10k marker at about 42:17 meaning my first 10k average was 6:49/mile. Unfortunately, shortly after I started to feel like the pace was a bit of a struggle so, just before the 8 mile marker I dropped off the back of the pacing group and made the decision to slow down a little at this point rather than blow up later on and end up walking the last bit.

This was probably the best decision I could have made. I was still pushing myself, just not quite so hard and it meant that I was then able to give everything in the last 0.1 miles to the finish line. I do feel better when I can finish with a sprint :grinning:. This year was not the year for me, but I had a great race thanks to actually choosing to slow down before I was forced to. That is something I need to remember in future. It certainly made the remainder of the race more enjoyable than it could have been, and I still managed a pretty good time so I can’t complain.

As always, the atmosphere and support were fantastic throughout. There wasn’t a single section of the route where there wasn’t somebody to cheer you on. The weather held off, despite the horrendous forecast of a few days previous, and the day was amazing. I do love the Cardiff Half Marathon :grinning:.

Strava Details

Cardiff Festival of Running

This year, we also decided that we should check out the Cardiff Festival of Running on the Saturday before the Half. George has definitely gained an interest in running again, so we decided it would be a good idea to take him to do the Family Fun Run. Whilst we were there, I also thought it would be a good idea to have a go at the One Mile Road Races given I missed the Crooked Mile this year.

We arrived early on Saturday morning and picked up some of the Snowdogs on route. We got to the Festival and I went to the tent to register for the Mile race. When I saw the list, there were only a hand full of other runners doing it. The announcer was also in the process of describing the calibre of these other runners soon after. It seemed that I had entered an elite race! Ah well, I thought, maybe there are only a few fast ones.

Race time came and the other guys lining up all looked like they were fast. I asked one of them, who looked a little nervous if everyone was an elite. He tried to reassure me and asked what time I was going for (≈5:30), then he responded by saying, “Oh, well that’s ok. Just try to enjoy yourself and run your own race”. Helpful advice, but not great for making me feel any better! Just before the start, a guy from Parc Bryn Bach running club arrived and he seemed to be as far out of his depth as I was so I think we then both felt a little better.

We lined up and the gun fired shortly after. By the first bend, the bulk of the runners were pulling away from me. At the end of the first loop (400m), I was clearly lagging behind, but I was really enjoying myself. Someone shouted at me “Go on mate! You can catch them!” which was nice, but absolute nonsense. They already had a 100m lead on me. I kept pushing hard despite the position I was in because I was only running this for the fun of it. I was never expecting to win anything so I just enjoyed myself. As I came around the final bend the time on the clock was just ticking over to 5:30 so I put in everything I had and managed to cross the line in 5:37. I was the last but one finisher. It was great fun and I would definitely do it again.

Unfortunately, at this point, I only had 10 minutes to recover and change my number for the family fun race. I hopped out of the racing area to join Rosie and George in getting ready and we then made our way around to the start. There was an awful lot of people there and the starting pistol fired long before everyone managed to get lined up at the start. We headed out and George was dragging us along with him, seeming to have a great time. We saw a few kids crying along the route and their parents trying to get them moving again, but we didn’t have any incidents like that. George wanted to make sure he wasn’t last so once he had ensured that, he decided to take a more leisurely approach. It was good fun, and it’s always great running with George, but it was an altogether overcrowded event and we might give it a miss next year. There seem to be plenty of small family fun runs around so we’ll probably stick with those from now on.

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