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Cardiff Half Marathon on track to raise its £20 millionth pound

Cardiff Half Marathon. Credit: Run 4 Wales

It has been revealed that the Wizz Air Cardiff Half Marathon is on track to generate its £20 millionth pound in fundraising in 2022. 

The event descends on the Welsh capital on 2 October, reclaiming its traditional autumn date for the first time since the Covid pandemic. And race organisers are urging the public to get behind the event to help it reach this incredible milestone.

More than £3 million is raised each year which helps support around 90 different charities. And Matt Newman, Chief Executive of Run 4 Wales, event organisers of the Cardiff Half, believes this year will be better than ever:

“Incredibly, places sold out just three and a half months after going on sale which augurs really well for a great event. Every single year, we have exceptional people running to raise vital funds for incredible charities and 2022 is certainly no exception.

A wide range of causes will be represented, from well-known national charities through to local good causes, including large teams of fundraisers from the NSPCC, Alzheimer’s Society, British Heart Foundation, Mind, Prostate Cancer UK and Shelter Cymru.

Among the fundraisers is Dan Lewis who is raising money for Latch, the Welsh children’s cancer charity, after his nephew James, aged three, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in July.

The rare cancer affects around 100 children a year in the UK. Now, Dan is embarking on a gargantuan challenge which will see him climb Wales’ three peaks before completing the Wizz Air Cardiff Half Marathon – and all in 24 hours:

“We start climbing Snowdon at 1pm on the Saturday, then we do Cadair Idris and we expect to arrive at Penyfan by 10:30pm. We then cycle to Cardiff in time to take part in the Cardiff Half.

“I’m raising money for Latch as they’ve been really supportive of James; parents Ashley and Louise since they got the diagnosis.”

Victoria and Dale Collins will be pounding the streets to raise money for the Tuberous Sclerosis Association. Their daughter, Jessica, was diagnosed with the condition before her first birthday. It is a rare condition that causes non-cancerous tumours to develop in different parts of the body.

Now nine, Jessica has tumours on her heart, hey kidney, her brain and behind her eye:

“It’s so important that charities like Tuberous Sclerosis Association get funding so that research can be carried out. But she’s doing really well and surprises us every day. She attends mainstream school and is keeping up with her peers and we are so very proud of her,” says Victoria.

Meanwhile, Lee Prescott – a firefighter from Cardiff – is set to run the route in 45 lbs of full fire kit and breathing apparatus. He is raising money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association after close family friend, Patrick Wharton from Bristol, was diagnosed with the condition before his 40th birthday.

The 48-year-old said:

“It’s obviously an insulated suit so it does get quite hot. Once the breathing apparatus is on the back, it weighs about 40 or 50 lbs.

“But it’s very important to me that I run for this cause. Patrick can no longer talk and is having a really tough time. It’s a horrible disease. I’ve raised about £1300 so far for the Motor Neurone Disease Association which provides support and they also fund research as there is currently no cure.”

Other fundraisers include Cardiff grandmother Linda Hassell. She signed up for the Cardiff Half after granddaughter, Aria, underwent a nine-hour operation on her heart last June when she was just six days old. She is raising money for the British Heart Foundation.

Doctors discovered Aria had Truncus Arteriosus during pregnancy. It is a birth defect of the heart which occurs when the blood vessel coming out of the heart fails to separate completely during development. She also had a hole in the heart:

Now, little Aria is three months old and thriving. Linda says:

“I might end up crawling the Cardiff Half Marathon but I’ll do it. So many children are born with heart problems so the British Heart Foundation is such a good cause. She has quite a bit scar on her chest but we call it her warrior scar. We call her “our little warrior. She’s such a strong little cookie and has a lovely little giggle.”

Another runner to look out for on the day is Penarth Dad James Linney who will be attempting a Guinness World Record. The 40-year-old will be running while controlling a tennis ball on a tennis racket to raise money for Velindre.

He says:

“People have done it before but never over a half marathon distance. Because it’s the first time it’s been attempted, Guinness World Record has said I need to beat a nominal time of 2.5 hours. But I’d like to do it in under 1:50.”

Of course, The Wizz Air Cardiff Half Marathon will also feature elite runners as well as inspirational charity fundraisers. The race will feature its strongest elite field to date, with more nationalities represented than ever before. Elite runners from Canada, Djibouti, Great Britain, Ethiopia, Kenya, New Zealand, Norway and Uganda are expected to make up tightly contested races in both the men’s and women’s races.

Gimechu Dida of Ethiopia (59:21) is currently the fastest athlete in the men’s field, having won the hugely prestigious Great Ethiopian Run in 2022. Geoffrey Koech of Kenya (59:32) is a prolific racer and became the fourth fastest athlete in history when he won the Birell Prague Grand Prix (10km) in 27:04 in 2019.

The women’s elite race will be headlined by Kenyan athlete Viola Chepngeno (66:48), who is the fastest on paper to date and was the winner of the Ghent Half Marathon in Belgium earlier this year. Alemitu Tariku of Ethiopia (67:58), silver medallist at the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus in 2019, will also feature.

With a record number of runners from outside Wales set to take on the 2022 Wizz Air Cardiff Half Marathon, both from overseas and across the UK, event organisers have launched the #EinDinas campaign, a celebration of Wales and everything it has to offer.

‘Ein Dinas’ directly translates to ‘Our City’ in Welsh and is potentially a first look at the Welsh language for many of the runners who will visiting Wales from all over the globe for the event. The campaign offers a welcoming hand to Welsh culture, sport and history, to make runners feel at home when they line up on Castle Street on race day morning.

Adding to the event’s international appeal, it is now a part of the SuperHalfs – an international half marathon series including races in Lisbon, Prague, Valencia, Copenhagen and Cardiff. It challenges runners to complete the five-race circuit in 36 months in order to earn a ‘SuperMedal’ and other exclusive prizes.