I talk about running. In fact, I talk about running a lot. And it’s probably partly because it’s changed my life, and partly because if I didn’t talk about running, I could only converse with people about the latest swear word in my toddler’s vocabulary.
Anyway, after the initial, sometimes awkward ‘You run?’ question has been asked, complete with a quick scan of my ever present wobbly bits, the conversation often veers to events and mainly on my part, it veers strongly towards the direction of the Cardiff half marathon.
The Cardiff half was my cherry popping of running, it was the event I had in sights that night I decided I was going to become a runner, it was the run I wanted to achieve more than anything and even after many, many other events it is still my all-time favourite!
So, with a mere twelve weeks to go (perfect amount of training time) here’s 10 reasons why you should definitely run the Diff this year.
1. Cardiff itself is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, I mean, naturally I’m bias and there’s no lush greenery or waterfalls on the route but there is the castle, Roath Park and there is the Bay which brings with it all its splendid glory! And, who wouldn’t want to run in a capital city that has 14 Greggs shops and once had an actual terrapin invasion! (Google it)
2. I mentioned Roath Park but what I didn’t mention was the Cartref Care Home which is situated overlooking the lake. The residents of the Cartref Care Home provided the most emotional few minutes of my first Cardiff half experience. The gang line the garden complete with flasks, blankets and flags to shout out encouragement to all of the runners. It’s beautiful. I can’t even find something sarcastically funny to say about it because it’s such a beautiful thing to witness.
3. This also brings me onto the support. The support at the Diff is not far off the support the London Marathon provides and having experienced these two major events it really is a close call to who shouts the loudest. There’s hardly any of the route where there’s no shouting or clapping or ‘punch this for power’ banners and each year it amazes me more and more just how many people take their time out of their Sunday morning to come and shout at strangers! Amazeballs!
4. Cardiff is one of the flattest cities in Britain and has more hours of sunlight than Milan! This is a fact apparently, though runners who participated in the IAAF World Championships in March may argue with this ever so bold statement given there were a few accounts of dolphins going for PB’s across the barrage.
5. And talking of the barrage, that’s where the gels are given out! Now, love them or hate them, the gels play a pivotal part in speeding some people up but slowing most people down whilst running the Diff. Intrigued? FuelMax gels are lobbed (nicely) at people who want them and in return runners lob (also nicely) the empty packets on the floor which makes that part of the route, for want of a better word, sticky. There’s something both strangely off putting and satisfying trying to rip your trainers off the tarmac after running nearly seven miles.
6. The Cardiff half marathon has grown into Britain’s second largest half marathon with over 22,000 runners completing the 2015 race. Now, as someone who’s desperately trying to break down the barriers and encourage social running, the fact there is huge participant numbers for this race means one can blend in! Also, it was running the Diff that meant I completely understood the phrase ‘the crowd will carry you’ because that’s just what happens!
7. And whilst we are on the subject of numbers, a whopping 370kg of clothing is dumped at the start of the race. 370kg I tell you! To put that into perspective that’s the weight of 3.7 Giant Pandas or even better it’s the equivalent of 740 female terrapins, all of which is donated to charity!
8. Last year 15,000 bananas were handed out to runners which technically means 7,000 runners went without, which technically means there are 7,000 runners just like me, who are not partial to a post-race banana!
9. Now, it would be plain rude of me not to mention No run Intended whist writing about running the Diff given that a lot of the book is dedicated to the race. And it would also be rude of me not to mention that it was Cardiff where I had that accident! Yes, it was running the Diff in 2014, 13 weeks after the birth of my baby girl did I…well, I’ll let you read about that on your own accord but I’d just like to point out that most runners are not partial to that type of problem!
10. Last but not least, what have you got to lose? You get a banana, a Brooks technical running t-shirt and one of the best bits of bling you’ll ever own and something to awkwardly talk to me about should we ever meet?
To be in with a chance of winning one of five free spaces for this year’s Cardiff half marathon follow me on Twitter @hannah3phillips and tweet me a photo of your favourite place to run with the hashtag #RunWithHannah