By Dominic Williams | News Editor
With September approaching, eager runners are normally throwing on their running shoes on to train for the Cardiff Half Marathon, which normally takes place in October. Cardiff’s half marathon takes its place among the superhalfs, which is a global series of half marathons including cities such as Lisbon, Prague, Copenhagen, and Valencia.
Cardiff University Half Marathon History
The Cardiff University Half Marathon has been running since 2003 with the first title sponsor being Bernado’s Cymru. Since then, the race has continued to grow each year with the entry list amassing up to 27,000 runners. The race now holds the gold road race label in the eyes of the IAAF, the governing body for world athletics, attracting top athletes such as Sir Mo Farah and Edith Chelimo. The marathon supports many charities and good causes, with three million pounds being raised.
Why has the race been postponed?
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Executive Matt Newman explained,
‘’ although lockdown restrictions have recently been eased in Wales, we understand there is no possibility of 27,500 participants and 100,000 spectators gathering safely in Cardiff on 4th October.’’
Newman further goes on to explain the interdependence of various service providers for events of this size, including the availability of medical support services, volunteers, emergency services, transport, and accommodation.
What does this mean for charities?
For many charities, the half marathon makes up a large percentage of their annual fundraising. The Cardiff Half Marathon is Wales’ largest charity event and sits within the UK top ten for sports fundraising; perhaps it is therefore unsurprising that this year, the event sold out in record time. Understandably with the race being postponed this means charities will take a big hit. To combat this, event organizers Run 4 Wales have announced that two editions of the marathon will take place, with one on the 28th March 2021, and the usual Autumn race taking place on the first Sunday of October.
The growing numbers of lockdown runners had led to runners taking fundraising into their own hands, such as solo or virtual marathons. Virtual races allow runners to run from any location of their choice to a specific distance. It appears this is the route that many runners have taken upon themselves to raise money for charity.
What are the plans going forward?
The Half Marathon is essential to the profile and economy of Cardiff, bringing over five million pounds in value to the region. This event has also positively impacted physical and mental health, so organizers believe it is vital to Cardiff that the race continues into the foreseeable future. Matt Newman, claims
‘’ We are working with a group of leading events organisations in Wales to establish guidelines for the safe return of events. As part of our work with the MSO (Mass Participation Sports Organisations), we are also aligned to the leading events organisations across the UK and our SuperHalfs partners and World Athletics Gold Label provide us with unique insight into the approach being taken in many other countries.’’
It appears that the race is set for a huge return in 2021, but could look different under the circumstances that COVID-19 has issued.