Cardiff Half Marathon

Trans woman running Cardiff Half to increase representation and combat prejudice

A 25-year-old woman is taking part in the 2024 Principality Cardiff Half Marathon as part of Tranathon, to try and increase representation for trans people and combat transphobia.

Caelyn O’Reilly, a TV extra from Cardiff, says she feels it’s important to take part in public running events to try and push back on some of the backlash her community have faced.

She said: “We’re a small group of trans people who’ve decided we should take part in public running events to increase our representation and fight transphobia which has unfortunately been focused on sporting events, marathons and Parkruns.

“A lot of people think that we shouldn’t be allowed to take part as ourselves, and that there should be an asterick on our gender identities to caveat our existence.

“Anti-trans hostility has focused a lot on sport, including public mixed-gender events such as these. This does a lot of harm to societal views of trans people more broadly. But one small harm it does that bothers me is the focus it puts on placement and sheer technical performance. It distracts from how these events are wonderful community activities that bring people together and advocate for general fitness.”

While Caelyn took part in cross-country running at school, it wasn’t until 2023 that she first took part in the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon to raise money for Cardiff Dogs Home.

This year she’ll now be taking part in the event once again to raise money for the NSPCC.

Caelyn said: “Running for charity is a great way to get involved in events like this as it makes it more financially accessible. Early entry for the NSPCC only cost £1 which allows for a broader range of people to take part and fundraise for good causes.

“The Cardiff Half in 2023 brought me back into running and getting outside and it as great motivation to allow me to care for my body. It was a really wonderful experience, and I knew I wanted to do it again and run as part of Tranathon.

“We’d love to see more trans people learn of this and participate in events.”

Matt Newman, Chief Executive at event organisers Run 4 Wales, added: “We never fail to be inspired by the incredible runners, like Caelyn, taking part in our events.

“It’s so important to us that our events are open and inclusive of everyone. We were really proud to work alongside Pride Cymru last year to put on the Principality Rainbow Roundabout – a symbol of inclusivity and acceptance, embracing the LGBTQ+ community.

“It was such an exciting addition to the race, helping to motivate runners when they needed it most, and we hope we can build on this experience in our future events to celebrate the diversity of our participants and supporters and ensure the feel-good atmosphere of the race continues.”

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