A record number of runners will flood the streets of the Welsh capital for the 15th instalment of the Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon this weekend on Sunday October 1st.
Some of the world’s finest long-distance athletes will rub shoulders with 25,000 amateur runners and charity fundraisers on the flat, fast and iconic 13.1 mile route.
Wales’ largest mass participation event, which has been awarded the coveted IAAF Silver Road Race Label for 2017, sold-out for the first time this year. As we count down the days to race-day, here is everything you need to know.
What time will it start?
The Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon takes place on Sunday, October 1 and the race will begin at 10am.
The wheelchair race will start at 9.55am and both races will begin on Castle Street.
Runners are urged to allow plenty of time to get to the start line as late starters will not be permitted to take part.
The race will be staggered to ensure that all runners cross the start line as safely as possible.
Start wave colours are as follows:
You’ll need to assemble in the coloured pen that corresponds with your race number.
What’s the route?
The popular course remains unchanged for 2017. The route takes runners past the capital’s most iconic landmarks with beautiful scenery and historic buildings. The predominately flat and fast course makes it ideal for beginners and elites.
The race starts outside Cardiff Castle and runners then head down past Cardiff City Stadium on the way to Penarth. They take in the picturesque Penarth Marina before crossing the barrage and heading to Cardiff Bay. Runners run right through the heart of the bay taking in the Norwegian Church and Wales Millennium Centre.
The course then heads towards the north of the city and runners will complete a loop of the beautiful Roath Park Lake before the grandstand finish in the heart of the city at the Civic Centre.
Where can I leave my baggage?
The baggage tents will be open at 8.30am. They are located on Museum Avenue and in the museum car park near the Runners’ Village.
All runners are allowed to deposit one bag which must display your baggage label, which is a tear-off strip on the bottom of your race number. Please attach the label before your arrival.
Bags can be collected after the race upon receipt of your runner number. Only runners and staff will have access to this area which will be manned by security staff who may ask to check your bags.
What if I forget to pick it up afterwards?
Items not collected after baggage closure will be held at the Event Information tent in the Runners’ Village. The following day they will be taken to the Run 4 Wales offices.
Where is the Runners’ Village?
The village will be set up on the lawns and car park outside City Hall and is the perfect place to wait for your loved ones, or celebrate in style with mouthwatering street food, a bar and plenty of space to relax.
What else is going on?
The Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon is more than 13.1 miles on a Sunday morning. The Festival of Running kicks off the action on Saturday with something for all the family. Dig out your fancy dress and get involved in the Family Fun Run or Toddler Dash. Some of the country’s most loved mascots will battle it out in the Mascot race, and there are also a number of competitive Mile races. Take a look at our preview here to make sure you don’t miss anything.
What do I need at the start?
In your pack you will find a timing chip and your running number. The chip will contain your running number and will allow friends and family to track your progress. Also ensure your running number is pinned to the front of your top and that you’ve filled in the emergency contact details on the back.
Are there toilets on the route and at the start?
There are toilets at the Runners’ Village and on the way to the start, including on King Edward VIIAvenue, outside the Law Courts, on Boulevard de Nantes, and near the starting pens
There are several toilet stops on the course within the first mile. Don’t be tempted to urinate in the street – this will result in disqualification and a ban from the event in future. There are also toilets at every drink station along the route.
Will there be drinks available on the way round?
Brecon Carreg water will be available to runners around the course at four drinks stations and also at the finish.
A High5 Energy Gel will also be provided at Water Station 2 in Cardiff Bay. A Lucozade drink will also be provided along the course.
It is not recommended that you use a gel on race day without prior use or experience.
Where can I park on race day?
A park and walk facility will be provided at the Cardiff City Football Stadium car park on Leckwith Road, Cardiff, CF11 8AZ but organisers are encouraging runners to car share or travel by bike.
We advise all runners to explore all parking options within the city at www.en.parkopedia.co.uk/parking/cardiff or www.cardiff.gov.uk, as well as road-side parking where safe and secure.
Will there be road closures?
On race day (Sunday 1st October) road closures will be in operation from as early as 4am on Castle Street. For full details on road closures, click here to see detailed, interactive and localised maps.
For information about bus diversions, head over to www.cardiffbus.com.
Any other travel advice?
With so many participants and spectators travelling to Cardiff over the race weekend, one of the most reliable, stress-free and cost effective ways to travel to Cardiff and avoid congestion is by travelling by train in advance of race day.
If you are planning to travel on race day, please check with your local train provider whether a train allows you enough time to arrive at the race before the start at 10am and be aware that early Sunday morning services can be extremely limited.
Can I dress up?
Yes, anything goes. We encourage lots of fancy dress participants – to help make the race really fun for spectators, families and runners. But do ask that runners in bulky costumes let us know before the race in case you’re planning something potentially unsafe.
Can I run with headphones in?
The organisers advise against running with headphones, as they will be unable to hear marshalls should an emergency vehicle need to makes it way onto the course. We do not enforce a ban but if any runners is found to be ignoring marshall instructions, they will be disqualified. If you must – listen with just one ear.
What will the weather be like?
BBC Wales’ very own Sue Charles is taking on the 13.1 mile route, and she is predicting decent weather for most of the day. However, the remnants of Storm Maria may bring rain later in the day on Sunday, so get dig deep and get to the finish line to stay dry!
Where is the best place to watch?
Running 13 miles is a real achievement and the support the runners get is hugely important, so luckily there are plenty of places you can catch one or even two glimpses of your loved ones. The atmosphere will be turned up a notch this year with more live entertainment and places to cheer on your loved ones than ever before.
There are 3 official Brains cheering stations along the route, at the Pear Tree, Flora and Woodville Pubs where spectators can pickup a host of free goodies and take advantage of some fantastic offers. Here are some of the best places to catch the action:
- If you want to catch them again after the start
If you are there giving moral support at the start, and then want to catch them again later head across the city centre and watch them at the end of Lloyd George Avenue as they turn into Tyndall Street. This will be just before they hit the seven mile mark, but you only have to stroll for about half a mile.
- Catching them on a couple of quieter spots
If you set yourself up on Penarth Road, near the Grangetown station, you will catch them shortly after the start, but far enough in so that they won’t be too bunched up and you may not be able to spot them in the crowd.
- For a great photo opportunity
Cardiff is a pretty spectacular city, but if you head to Cardiff Bay you will be able to get a great landscape as the runners make their way across the Cardiff Bay Barrage. Lots of runners and a nice sea view, but it will be a bit like Where’s Wally trying to spot your loved one.
- For a great individual photo opportunity
Head for between the five and six mile point, as the runners make their way through Cardiff Bay, which will offer the Norwegian Church, The Senedd and the Wales Millennium Centre in the background.
- One spot, two viewings
If you plant yourself at end of Ninian Road you will be able to watch them as they start and finish their lap of Roath Park Lake. Plus this is near the end and they will going slower, easier to take a snap of them!
- Start, halfway and the finish
If you want to see your runner start the race and finish and would like to catch them somewhere in between then you are in luck. The organisers have the route heading back past town between the seven and eight mile marks. So, you wave them off by the castle, head across the city to West Grove or Richmond Road, and after you have given your moral support, you can head back across town to the finish line.
Is there a Cardiff Half Marathon App?
Yes. It allows spectators to live track their loved ones with timing points at 5, 10, 15 and 20k as well as inspect drink and energy stations around the route – and see details about the location and acts at our 15 entertainment points.
You can also follow the elite race and check out other event information. It’s available on Apple and Android and you can find out more here.
Where will I get my commemorative T-shirt?
All runners will receive a commemorative t-shirt when they finish the race. There will be six sizes available (extra small, small, medium, large, extra large and 2XL), so follow signage to ensure you get a T-shirt that fits.
Where can I eat after?
After expending all your energy around 13.1 miles, refueling will no doubt be one of the first things on your mind, and whether you head straight to the bar for a celebratory drink, or you’re after something a little more nutritional, we’ve got all angles covered for peckish spectators and ravenous runners alike in our busy Runners’ Village.
On top of this, we’ve teamed up with Brains Brewery who are offering a FREE celebratory drink to all finishers and 25% off your food bill. Just show your finishers medal at any participating bar. The first 500 people to take up the offer also get an extra treat. You can find all the participating locations here.