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Thousands turn out for 20th Cardiff Half Marathon

The Principality Cardiff Half start line. Credit: Run 4 Wales

With crowds stretching along the entire route of The Principality Cardiff Half Marathon, the Welsh capital was certainly in the mood today to celebrate the event’s 20th anniversary.

With 27,500 runners signed up for the start line, it was a bumper edition of the race which started in 2003.

27,500 runners signed up for the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon 2023. Credit: Run 4 Wales

Matt Newman, CEO of event organisers, Run 4 Wales said:

“Cardiff has really turned out for us today – so many runners crossed the finish line to report that the crowds right around the route were amazing. And it’s this brilliant atmosphere – among the runners, our volunteers – the Extra Milers – and our spectators that makes people want to come back year after year.

“Marking our 20th anniversary this year was always going to special and we were pleased to welcome Welsh bands on stage in the Event Village and play host to the brilliantly entertaining Principality Rainbow Roundabout in Roath Park with Pride Cymru for the first time ever. And of course, it was just fantastic to see the sheer numbers of runners today.”

The Rainbow Roundabout at Roath Park provided welcome entertainment. Credit: Run 4 Wales

The Cardiff Half is Wales’ largest mass participation event and raises around £3m for good causes every year. Large teams of fundraisers represented a huge number of charities including the NSPCC, Alzheimer’s Society, Mind, Prostate Cancer UK, Shelter Cymru and founder of the event Barnardo’s.

Among the fundraisers was Aled Hopkins from Ystradgynlais who was running for Mind and attempting a Guinness World Record for the fastest half marathon in full fencing gear. He needed to cross the finish line in sub two hours but came in at 2:26:20. He may have failed in his bid but has already declared he’ll be back next year:

“It was a bit hot but a great experience. I’ll definitely be back a second time and give it another go. I thought I might get some relief at the barrage but there wasn’t any wind today. The spectators were amazing and the atmosphere was out of this world.”

Kenya’s Vincent Mutai wins the men’s title

The event attracted a top event field and saw Vincent Mutai and Mestawut Fikir clinch glory. In humid conditions, Kenya’s Mutai seized the title in 01:00:35 after a sprint finish. A single second split the top three in the women’s event as Ethiopia’s Mestawut Fikir came out on top to clinch the gold medal.

Mestawut Fikir. Credit: Run 4 Wales

“I feel good, this was my first time running this course, it was a bit challenging but it was really enjoyable and now I am a winner so I am so happy,” said Mutai. “The support on the course was fantastic and it really helped me keep going. I would love to come back next year.”

In the wheelchair race, Josh Hartley of Coventry Godiva Harriers led from the off and never looked back as he won the race a full 10 minutes ahead of nearest challenger Tiaan Bosch (1:03:27) while Martyna Snopek won the female race.

This year, Principality Building Society has come on board as title sponsor. Vicky Wales, Chief Customer Officer explained:

 “Congratulations to everyone who made this year’s Principality Cardiff Half Marathon such a success, to the runners and their months of dedication, and the volunteers and supporters who lined the streets and cheered them home. The atmosphere was incredible! We’re really proud to have sponsored this great event, and are delighted to say that we will continue to sponsor this event in 2024.”

Runners in Cardiff Bay

Cardiff is of course one of the five Superhalf events – a European series of half marathon races and the record number of runners from overseas further demonstrated that the Cardiff Half has grown into an iconic event since its humble beginnings in 2003.

Former World Marathon Champion Martin Fiz of Spain – who raced with Wales’ own marathon man and Cardiff Half race director Steve Brace at the Atlanta Olympics – continued his winning tour of the Superhalfs series.

The 60-year-old Spaniard was the1995 World Marathon Champion and completed the 13.1 miles in 1:14:45:

“I started running as a Master and I’ve been winning in all the categories – I won six Marathon Majors in the Master 50 category and the new goal is to win the five Superhalfs in the Masters 60 category. I’ve won in Lisbon, in Copenhagen and now here in Cardiff so I am very happy with the result.”

The oldest person to complete the Principality Cardiff Half was 81 years old. Spain’s Jose Miguel Ustaran Ramirez finished in a time of 3:10:28.

The race will return for its 21st edition on Sunday 6 October 2024. Runners are now able to pre-register at https://www.cardiffhalfmarathon.co.uk/register/, and be the first to hear when ticket sales are launched in the coming days. The first 5,000 to sign up when entries do go live will be able to take advantage of a discounted early bird offer.