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Cardiff Half

By Jez Mancer

7th Oct 2014

Having had to pull out of this year’s London marathon due to illness and because I had already deferred my place from the previous year, I subsequently lost my championship place. I have unfinished business with ‘London’ so my 2 options were to run a sub 2.45 before January 2015 or do a sub 1.15 within the same timeframe.

Coming as I do from the flatlands of Essex, finding a fast flat course to attempt it in these neck of the woods is ‘difficult’ .I should point out I’ve never managed to run that quick before. So chatting to other Starc members it seemed the Diff was indeed flat and fast, perfect!

Race morning was a typical October morning a slight chill in the air but looked like good race conditions. A very pleasant walk from the Hotel in Cardiff Bay to the start and I was ready. Like so many of these big races you can’t fail to be amazed at the sheer scale involved both from an organizational point of view or the number of runners milling around. Cardiff is the second biggest half in the country behind the Great North and having done both, Cardiff gets the nod from me.

As soon as I had deposited my bag, a fine welsh mist began to descend. But as I made my way to the start it stopped and once in the start pens and the general huddle, soon warmed up. With minutes to go a familiar face in the form of Stu appeared and we started together. Aiming for 5.40’s all the way round, the first mile was over in a flash and a quick look at the watch said 5.31.As long as I don’t continue all the way in that vein I should be ok!!

It was at this point a glance across to the girl running alongside me ,revealed it to be Emma Stepto . Stu quipped you’ve found your pace maker, I actually thought if I can keep her within sight (thinking she would probably run around 1.13) I should do it. Emma is one of the most efficient runners I’ve seen. She starts relatively conservatively and just keeps picking it up, so definitely easier said than done.

I can’t really tell you too much about the route I was so focussed on running and keeping Emma in sight but it went something like, 4 miles city, 2 miles lonely dock bit, housing, city, park , INCLINE, park, city and Finish. That said the

crowd support was fantastic as you would expect. I definitely heard my name and the cheers for a St Austell vest along the route several times.I apologise if I seemed to ignore you, it certainly wasn’t intentional.

And so to the finish. As I rounded the final bend I knew I was going to get my time and the lift it gives you is amazing, definitely an enjoyable sprint to the line. I crossed the line in 1.14.19 and had taken 80 secs of my PB. I was chuffed to bits with that and qualified for London..Job done! Stu also finished just about a minute behind smashing his PB with a 1.15.36 and without a doubt a sub 1.15 in the tank very shortly. I know a lot of other Starc members Pb’d but if you didn’t there is always next year.

So to sum up. I have taken longer to write this than my half and found the half easier. It’s the most words I have written since school and hopefully it is readable...Cardiff, it turns out IS a fast flat course and it’s a lovely city to boot. it’s well worth the money if your after a time or want to experience a big city event. Besides 22,000 runners can’t be wrong! So do ‘the Diff’ it won’t disappoint.