Cardiff Half encourages runners to #ChooseYou at media launch event
An award-winning Welsh artist and runners gearing up for the return of the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon have gathered to kick start race week at a #ChooseYou media event.
The #ChooseYou campaign was launched to celebrate the return of the event and the importance of looking after yourself and others, as up to 25,000 runners gear up to take on the largest mass participation event to take place in Wales since before the pandemic this Sunday.
BBC Wales Sport presenter and reporter Laura-Jane Jones hosted the event in the state-of-the-art Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Culture in Cardiff’s Central Square.
Nathan Wyburn, who rose to fame on Britain’s Got Talent was on hand to reveal the highly anticipated design of the 2022 race t-shirt and behind the scenes footage of how he developed the incredible artwork. He created it on a giant canvas, using just his feet dipped in paint.
Nathan Wyburn said: “I was super honoured to be asked by R4W to help design this year’s finishers t-shirt as part of the #ChooseYou campaign celebration.”
“I love the atmosphere in the city on race day and can’t wait to witness thousands of runners collect their t-shirts at the finish line on Sunday”.
Cardiff Half Race Director Steve Brace, who is a former Olympic Marathon runner himselfwas also at the launch event. “The return of the Cardiff Half will have a huge impact on the city and is a sign of a return to normality for many. The conditions look like they’ll be perfect on Sunday so we’re looking forward to a really special race”.
A number of people set to take part in the race were also in attendance, sharing their unique motivations to run linked to the #ChooseYou message of practicing self-care to maximise wellbeing and to be the best version of yourself.
Hannah Barrett broke both of her legs in a car accident that took the life of her friend six years ago and was told she would never run again, but will be lining up to tackle 13.1 miles on Sunday.
“It will be a very moving and emotional experience. I’m going to be trying to hold it together! I managed to recover from my accident and never thought about running again, but then, on the advice of my physio got fitted with some proper running shoes and started a couch to 5K programme.”
“I’m a Cardiff University physiotherapy student and was offered the opportunity to work at the event, offering post-race massage but decided to sign up and run instead! When it gets tough, I’ll be thinking back to the days that I was learning to walk again and feeling so lucky to be here.”
Father and son Peter and John Gillibrand won’t be running together on the day, but 60-year-old John, a vicar from West Wales took up running during the pandemic. With encouragement from his son Pete, he’s seen huge improvements in his physical and mental health through his running journey.
That journey will reach new heights when he lines up on the start line of the Cardiff Half, hoping to complete the 13.1 mile distance for the first time. Pete however will have a more ambitious target in mind, attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest half marathon in traditional Welsh costume.
With the race falling on Mothering Sunday, there are also a number of runners celebrating their Mums, or motherhood itself by taking on the 13.1 miles of the Cardiff Half.
Sian McCarthy will be running the race for her Mum, who has suffered with ill health for a number of years, stemming from a hit and run accident at just 17 years of age and a number of misdiagnoses and needless operations. She wants to give back to the scientists and NHS staff that continue to treat her Mum by fundraising for Cardiff University neuroscience and mental health research.
“I can’t believe the event is this week. There’s been so many weeks of training through some really harsh weather. To finally be here, in the sunshine, is really exciting. I have really enjoyed the training process, and having time to do something for myself, which is important as a Mum to a young family. Running for #TeamCardiff and being able to give something back for the neuroscientists that have been committed to improving my Mum’s health has been so motivating”.
Alex Jones, with the blessing of her midwife, will complete the race at nearly 7 months pregnant. With some adjustments, she has been running throughout her pregnancy and found it to be a really empowering experience.
“For me, running during pregnancy has been about doing something for myself and keeping a bit of my personality – rather than just being a pregnant woman. It’s been hugely beneficial to my mental health. My advice to others considering doing the same is to speak with your healthcare team, to scale back and listen to your body – but not to be afraid.”
The iconic race will be returning to the Welsh capital for the first time in 903 days this Sunday 27 March. The event will be broadcast on television and be available to stream online via S4C and the BBC iPlayer on Monday 28 March. There will be a number of COVID safety measures in place to protect the health and safety of participants, staff, volunteers and spectators.
A second edition of the Cardiff Half will take place later this year on its regular slot of the first Sunday in October, with entries opening up later in the month for the race scheduled on Sunday 2 October 2022.