Reflections on the Cardiff Half Marathon 2010

Sunday morning dawned with near perfect running conditions for my third Cardiff half marathon; dry, cold and still. And if the glorious sunshine was a little blinding at times, it was a price worth paying to see the city bathed in light.

Over eleven thousand runners took part this year, but I struck very lucky when the start was moved to just outside my daughter’s flat meaning I could avoid those loo queues! In theory this should also have made me calm and rested, but I was my usual gibbering heap before the race and still had a pre-race cry.

The new course was extremely congested in places, making it very difficult to get past walkers and groups of three and four running together, and I was glad to get to mile six when we were through the parks and had space to take off. However, the atmosphere was brilliant with lots of people encouraging each other along the way and great support from a fantastic Cardiff crowd.

What I really noticed this year was how many of us carry our loved ones with us. I cry at the start every race because I run for my dad and everything he’s missed, but as I moved through the crowds there were many runners who were not alone. Fallen comrades, lost babies, grieved-for parents and friends were there amongst us – I’m filling up now, thinking of the mum I passed, younger than me, running for her ‘beautiful daughter, Elle’- so many people loved and remembered.

It must have been thinking about family that made me suddenly look up at mile 12 to see Tom, Lily and Stepson Two all smiling and waving at me (the video clips shows how pleased I was to see them!). By the time I finished the race, Gorgeous Girlf had joined them too (she and Stepson Two had come all the way to Cardiff to surprise me) and although I was wearing my medal by then, the real treasure was all around me in the happy memories of the day.

Low point: Feeling in need of an energy boost at mile 6 and discovering that I dropped my Haribo bears!!! Disaster!
High point: Overtaking three young blokes and hearing one comment, ‘Bloody hell, she must be fit!’
Favourite quote: At mile 11 on seeing a runner ambling towards us wearing his finisher’s medal, hearing the man next to me say, ‘F*cking hell! Is he taking the p*ss?’

All in all, another memorable half marathon. Now, do I sign up for the Llanelli half in March?


Preseli Mags said…
Yes sign up for Llanelli, I'll come too. I always cry post-race, I think it's all the effort. I try not to read T-shirts and messages or I'd end up a soggy mess at the side of the road, but I saw the 'beautiful daughter Ellie' lady too. Did you see Bananaman? I can't wait for next year's race!
Flowerpot said…
Go for it Chris - that sounds amazing. And you know me, I'm crying into my keyboard just reading about it....
Pondside said…
You're incredible, Chris! Every time you post your marathon video clip I am impressed by your determination and energy. Way to go!
Lane said…
That video clip is at mile 12??? You look as fresh as a daisy!

Well done Chris - that's such an achievement. And you look fabulous in pink!
Lins' lleisio said…
Well done Chris. I admire you and everyone who does it. What a day it must have been. I'm going to get my running shoes back on, really I am.
please do sign up and your fave quote well that was funny. Its nice to have a family that cares
Frances said…
Chris, you do look marvelous in pink, and your energy (even without those bears) is truly inspirational.

So glad that the weather gods smiled upon you all.

Congrats to you on another great run, and thanks for sharing all those impressions from the day.

Pauline Barclay said…
So well done and yes, go for it. Lovely to see you smiling on the clips. x
Posie said…
Very well done you, and a well deserved medal! How fabulous you over took the boys lol
Leigh Russell said…
So impressed. I can't remember the last time I managed to run anywhere. My legs just won't go that fast! Good for you.
Chris Stovell said…
Mags, I didn't see Bananaman, but I DID see another mankini and two blokes in disposable nappies... and very little else. Let's not do fancy dress for Llanelli! Well done you on shaving so much off your time!

FP, honestly, it just breaks your heart seeing all those sad stories.

Pondside, thanks - just a question of hanging on in there!

Lane, thank you ... just as well about the pink since my eyes were pink throughout. Actually it's a practical choice - you need to be highly visible in these country lanes so it's Dayglo all the way!

Lins, come on - if you start now you can join me and Mags for Llanelli - if it's windy and hailing it'll be a baptism of fire!

Joanna, yes with so many sad stories around me I was very grateful to be able to hold my family at the end of it.

Frances, I think you can tell that Mags and I are full of it - you couldn't help but lifted by the great weather and fantastic crowds.

Pauline, thank you! It's a very emotional day - as Mags says, I think it's the sheer effort.

Posie - ta - it did give me a boost!

Leigh, thanks - once you get the bug though, you can't stop!
Fran said…
Very. Very. Impressive.
Jane Lovering said…
Many congratulations! I can only imagine how tough it must be, not just the race but the training, my dedication extends to getting to the end of the road and back. It is quite a long road though.

And as for the crying...I think you're entitled.
Fennie said…
Well, there wasn't any missing you was there? Supremely well done, Chris. I am seriously filled with deep admiration (whatever my comments on running).
Jenny Beattie said…
I love your low and high points and the favourite quote.

Crumbs, I take my hat off to you Chris. I think it's just brilliant you can do this.
Debs said…
Wow, how can you look so fresh and cheerful at 12 miles! I'm so impressed. Well done you.
Talli Roland said…
Congrats, Chris! I'm SO impressed; what a great day it must have been.

And I love your favourite quote!
bayou said…
Marvellous! Well done!
How funny, we wished good luck to my son's friend in Bristol when he left for Cardiff. He is French, living now in Cardiff and did it for the first time. It must be a really great experience.
Edward said…
Well done Chris! I'll be thinking of you on Sunday at the Stroud Half Marathon. Last year I had a dark night of the soul at around mile 10, where the course for some unaccountable reason takes off into an industrial estate. As I stood by the side of the road, baying like a wolf, I was passed by a club rival and so I had to get my socks on again. This time I'll think of my late parents, and what they would say if they saw me wimped out like that!
Captain Black said…
Well done. It's a great achievement.

ps. I couldn't find you in the results. Did you use a different name? I did 1:56 for the Aviemore Half.
Congratulations - you clever little writer/runner you
Windsmoke. said…
G' Day From Australia, valiant effort, well done.
Cara Cooper said…
Well done you!!! That's a real achievement and explains why you're so lovely and slim.
Kath said…
Look at you in the video clip, running AND smiling at the same time. How do you do that? I always look pained and flushed and you look as if you've only just started running and you usually do a half marathon every Sunday morning. Wow. Congratulations, Chris. Great achievement.
gaelikaa said…
Chris, I just received a copy of your novel by courier out here in Lucknow... I'm very excited and can't wait to read it!
Chris Stovell said…
Fran - tempted?

Jane, you don't need to run to get exercise; I'm sure by the time you've fed your five children and the pets you've done quite a lot of running around!

Fennie - quite a lot of Dayglo there, but you need to be visible in the country lanes so the habit's stuck! Thank you.

Jenny, thanks for all - I do enjoy it though so that makes it easier.

Debs, amazing what seeing your family can do - it really boosted me to see them there.

Talli - it's certainly unforgettable... for all sorts of reasons, including those quotes!
Chris Stovell said…
Bayou - how did your friend's son enjoy it? Hope he's settling in Cardiff - it's a fine city.

Edward, I'm sure you didn't wimp out at all. Thanks for your comment. How did this week go? I tried to look it up but the results aren't up yet - hope you were pleased with your time.

Captain Black - much respect for your fantastic time in the Aviemore Half. Yep, I ran it in my married name, but if you look up my bib number you'll find me. I didn 2:11:31 which was pretty good for a old bird!

SBS, how are you? Any peace and quiet over there? Good to 'see' you.

Windsmoke - welcome and thank you!

Cara, thanks m'dear. I keep running so the odd Haribo bear here and there won't show too much... especially when the berludy things disappear before I can eat them!

Katn, I didn't look so hot at the start when I was crying though! And the only reason I'm smiling there is because my family are waving... and the fact there's only a mile to go! Thank you!
Captain Black said…
Thanks ChrisH ;o)

That's a very good time for anyone to do a half marathon in.

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