The eyes of the world will be on the Welsh capital again on Sunday 7 October, when the 2018 Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon plays host to the inaugural Commonwealth Half Marathon Championships.
Elite athletes from across the globe will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Cardiff Empire Games when they battle it out ahead of 25,000 runners of all ages and abilities on the iconic 13.1 mile course.
Representatives from more than 50 nations were in attendance at Team Wales house on the Gold Coast for the official unveiling of the Commonwealth Half Marathon Championships by Run 4 Wales and Welsh Athletics Chief Executive Matt Newman and Race Director Steve Brace.
Welsh athletes including Dewi and Josh Griffiths will have the opportunity to build on Team Wales’ unprecedented success on the Gold Coast by competing against their home nations rivals and athletes from nations such as Australia, Canada, South Africa and Kenya.
Run 4 Wales and Welsh Athletics Chief Executive Matt Newman said: “It is an honour to bring the Commonwealth Half Marathon Championships to Cardiff on October 7 and I’m certain it will prove to be another major addition to the rich sporting history of the city.
“The event will break new ground at the front-end of the well-established Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year. The race will also take place 60 years on from the 1958 Empire and Commonwealth Games, which paved the way for Cardiff to become a hub for world-class sporting events.
“The real beauty of this event is that ordinary runners get the chance to line-up on the same start line as the best athletes in the world once again. That simply doesn’t happen in many other sports or cities.
“With its iconic route around the city, the race will be broadcast live on the BBC UK-wide, and beamed around the Commonwealth, a perfect way to showcase our Capital City. This is a major coup for British and Welsh athletics and should give our home grown talent the chance to shine on their own doorstep.”
The city is no stranger to hosting world class running events. In 2016 Geoffrey Kamworor beat Britain’s Mo Farah to gold at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships on the streets of the Welsh capital, and has since gone on to make it a hat trick of World Championship Half Marathon golds in Valencia. Around 25,000 entrants ran in the footsteps of champions while 100,000 supporters lined the streets to roar the runners on.
The Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon and Commonwealth Half Marathon Championships will be broadcast live on BBC Wales, while a highlights package will be shown live throughout the UK and Commonwealth to broaden the reach of Wales’ largest mass-participation event.
Women's marathon world record holder Paul Radcliffe said: “It’s a really nice prospect, the Commonwealth Games are always a really friendly Championships and to bring that to mass road racing, to Cardiff, which staged an amazing IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in 2016.
“The city can be a really good host for events like this which can really capitalise on the growth that’s happening in road racing and half marathon running.
“It has the friendly rivalry that has been built up for years, and for athletes who’s niche event is the half marathon works well. To win a Commonwealth title is special and it will be a great stepping stone for British and Commonwealth athletes.”
There are plenty of reasons to celebrate at this year’s 15th anniversary edition of the Cardiff Half Marathon. The event has grown from accommodating just under 1,500 runners in 2003 to last year’s total of 27,500 runners across a festival weekend of running. The success of the Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon has helped it become the first half marathon in the UK to be awarded the coveted Silver Road Race Label by the IAAF.
Cardiff University continues to support the event as title sponsor, following on from the unforgettable IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships in 2016. The partnership supports the university’s ongoing research into health by encouraging students, staff and alumni to raise funds for key University health research. Over 300 runners will run for #TeamCardiff with funds raised going towards research into cancer, neuroscience and mental health.
Runners keen to line-up behind the same start line as some of the Commonwealth’s best athletes on October 7th are encouraged to register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment, with only 3000 places remaining. They can sign up to run in the footsteps of champions at www.cardiffhalfmarathon.co.uk.