James & Vicky report from the welsh capital...
Cardiff Half Marathon surely is now one of this country’s finest autumnal half marathons to compete in. With the ‘glitz and glamour’ of the start and finish by Cardiff Castle and great crowd support throughout, a flat and fast course that passes through Cardiff Bay and Roath Park - runners are treated to a truly inspirational run throughout.
Six Tewkesbury Running Club members lined up on the start line with 19,000 other runners in what is now Britain’s second largest Half Marathon. On a perfect day for running, with cool conditions and very little wind even across the Cardiff Bay, everything was set for some great performances.
First home for Tewkesbury was an inspired Stuart Dudfield. Stuart ran a fine, well judged even paced race, with his final 5km being his quickest, to post 1hr 31.09 on the clock, placing 836th. This was indeed Stuart’s fastest time in 10 years over the Half Marathon distance and on crossing the line remarked that “he wasn’t sure where that came from!” …. a fine reward for his many winter and spring months of Ironman training!
Close behind Stuart was his training partner Mark Parker coming in with 1hr 33.03, placing just within the top 1000 in 993rd place. Mark has spent most of this season injured and was very pleased with his well paced run, beating not only last week’s Cheltenham Half time but also last year’s Cardiff Half time by 40 seconds.
First female runner home for Tewkesbury was Cathy Dudfield, who also excelled in the perfect conditions. Cathy beat her previous Cardiff Half Marathon time from 2 years ago by a substantial 10 minutes to clock 1hr 46.58. This was to her delight 10 seconds quicker than last years Half Marathon best and has again benefitted from her dedicated Ironman training over the past year.
Stuart, Cathy and Mark will now prepare themselves for their 3rd race in 3 weeks as they all tackle the tropical conditions of the Palma Half Marathon !
Next home for Tewkesbury was Tonia Whitebeam who provided one of the stories of this year’s race. Tonia had decided to take on a huge challenge for this year’s Cardiff Half by running TWO Half Marathons in 2 days over the weekend! First up was Bangor Half Marathon on the Saturday, from which Tonia clocked 2hr 13.12. Shortly after crossing the line, Tonia made the long car journey from North to South Wales and with the minimal amount of recovery, took a deep breath as she lined up on the Cardiff start line on the next morning. Tonia was ecstatic as she finished her second Half in 2 days in 2hr 15.02 … within 2 minutes of the previous day’s time !
Close behind Tonia was Tewkesbury’s Vicky Earls. With an apprehensive start, Vicky started the race in a confident manner, putting in a solid first 8 miles. With last year’s time in mind, Vicky battled through the last 5 miles to cross the line in 2hr 20.46. This excellent result took a huge near 11 minutes off her previous best and gives her plenty of confidence as she now readies herself for a winter of marathon training.
Chris Nicholls was the final Tewkesbury runner to stop the clock, who was looking forward to running around his ‘old stomping ground’. Chris took on his 2nd of 4 half marathons this autumn in not the best of conditions, suffering a head cold and an ankle ligament problem, and struggled in the last 5 miles to post up 2hrs 37.39. Nonetheless, he enjoyed the race and is already relishing the return next year!