A Welsh Welcome

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Last Sunday 02 October I ran the Cardiff Half.

I had never even been to Wales before so thought it might be a good idea to run round the capital as my first experience…Good plan Siobhan!

It all came about as my Dad and I wanted to run an event that wasn’t in London/Surrey so about 6 month ago we entered the race. Unfortunately Dad got injured and so wasn’t able to race, but it did mean I had a supporter. Supporters could download an app to track their runner which would track when the runners reached 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k and finish, which was great. I liked that.

The atmosphere from the beginning was amazing, there were so many people, massive balloons everywhere, music and a backdrop of the castle for the start line. It was a good start and by 10am had all kicked off.

From mile 1 – 3 I was speeding along, getting caught up in the race and then I remembered I had 10 more miles to run and I slowed it down.

There wasn’t a moment where the people of Cardiff weren’t out supporting – there was even a moment where one resident had moved her coffee table and a few chairs outside her house and sat drinking tea and eating cake with friends whilst cheering runners by… I liked her.

The crowd were great, one of the best I’ve ran in. I enjoyed giving high fives to the children on the side lines and smiling at the people shouting support and clapping.

The best bit by far was running over the bay. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky and at that moment the whole experience felt really good. There was a bit of a curve on the road so you could see all the runners ahead of you and there were so many of us, all running along this beautiful bay – it was a great sight.

After the bay we went past the Millennium Centre. What an atmosphere there! People filled the sides of the road cheering, there was music playing and BBC Wales were filming. I felt like a champion.

At mile 7 I saw my Dad for the second time (saw him just before 2 earlier). There’s nothing quite like seeing someone you know to cheer you on. I loved the proud look on his face and it got me excited thinking about all the people I’ll see on the marathon route in April.

After this, it started to get a bit hard. The description of the race was ‘mainly flat’. I think the organisers and my idea of flat are two different things.

As we started to get into a constant incline it got much harder. Ugh. It was tough…

Just get to 10 Siobhan, after 10 it’s just 5k’ I kept saying to myself.

 

…I didn’t think it would be so hard from 7 – 10 but it was a struggle. I shut down from taking in the crowd and went into focus mode.

When I finally got to 10 we went round what seemed like the worlds biggest lake to 11.

Then at 12 we hit the steepest hill yet! The only thing that got me through was knowing it was less than 10 minutes to go and then it would all be over.

Finally, onto mile 13 and from there it was a sprint to the finish line coming in at 2.09. Finished!! YAY!

Time for the medal…and what a good one it was. Round, chunky and good design specific to Cardiff. A good medal is always important (as well as a nice cup of tea and something sweet to celebrate).

Overall I really enjoyed the day and felt a real buzz after completing. I would have liked a better time but at the stage I am of training I think maybe it wasn’t too bad.

A big thanks to the Cardiff Half team, the volunteers, the people of Wales and my No.1 supporter, my Dad.

If there was one thing I would change it would be to make it a 9am start time as I think by midday it was just a bit too warm.

A recommended race for all levels. Hopefully see you in 2017 Cardiff!

I ran this in training for the London Marathon to raise money for Headway, a brain injury association. You can sponsor me here: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SiobhanSharp 

You can pre-register for Cardiff 2017 here. 

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