Several ominous portents suggested that today’s Cardiff half marathon would prove a little more testing than it did last year. The first clue was pretty obvious, it was never going to be easy to run a fast-paced half marathon just two weeks after the Hereford marathon. The second clue was at the 1 mile mark, where my running number, attached to my ‘tri-belt’ detached itself from my waist and dropped to the floor in the path of 15000 on-rushing pairs of feet. Can you imagine what it is like to turn around and run straight into a surging mass of adrenaline fuelled runners? Remember those David Attenborough wildlife films with the herds of wilderbeest – something like that. Clue number two: the 1.45 pace maker was still ahead of me at 3 miles, I was about to upbraid him for his poor workmanship “you are running far too fast – slow down”, when I consulted my watch. Oh dear, no he wasn’t, I was running much more slowly than I thought. At 9 miles, I knew the game was up, forget a fast time and just concentrate on getting home. Yes, concentrate. The 12 mile mark is announced by a short sharp incline at the bottom of which is a speed bump, which I failed to notice until the ground began to rush alarmingly up towards me before colliding with my knee and other body parts, cracking my Garmin watch in the process, as I later discovered. All of which, as one of my brothers kindly pointed out, is my excuse for a rather modest 1:45:44 (position 3498). Looking for a silver lining I said to my wife later “of course, now you know what to get me for Christmas”. “Yes”, she said, “a new tri belt”. That’s women for you (Can I let this pass? Ed.). My apologies to anyone I miss but among club and local runners Pete Carwardine (Couriers) ran very well in 1:33 (15th MV55), Martin Williams finished in 1:35:17 (1375), Jon Barnes in 1:16 (116th) and father Kevin in a tidy 1:41. Our own Jon Briggs finished in a very decent 1:40:33 (position 2292) and I noticed some good performances from Builth and Wye Valley among others. More than 15000 runners completed the race, which was blessed by fine weather for the 4th year in a row. Who says it always rains in South Wales? Report by Neil Taylor.
Scientists at the Cern laboratory in Switzerland have recently discovered that the speed of light may not be a constant and therefore time travel may be possible. It seems they may be right because in Sunday’s Cardiff Half Marathon I managed to turn back the clock and record my fastest half marathon for 20 years, completing the fast and flat course in 1:38:30. However my performance was far outshone by Dave Ameghino, Croft’s leading finisher in 1:29:10 and an excellent 367th place of more than 11,000 finishers. Even better, arguably were the performances of Gemma Mallett (1:30:46) and Suzanne Turvey (1:32:28), being 17th and 33rd ladies respectively. Julian Greenway finished in 2:17:17. But I have some less than pleasant news also to report: while entered under the Croft Ambrey banner, Suzanne was spotted running in the all-black colours of Cardiff University Athletics Club. Club disciplinary procedures must surely follow (compulsory attendance at Herefordshire cross country races, in blue?). We were blessed with perfect running weather and a marvellous venue for a major half marathon. I would highly recommend the event to any Crofters looking for a fast time and a great day out next year.