Run 4 Wales has been closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus situation and the guidance issued by the Welsh and UK Governments, whilst making arrangements to deliver a COVID secure event in the Spring of 2021.
We had watched with optimism over recent months as lockdown restrictions had eased and successful pilot events across the UK have demonstrated that it is possible to safely deliver mass participation events. It is now clear however, against a backdrop of rising cases, freshly imposed lockdown restrictions and a turbulent winter period ahead that it will not be possible to deliver an event of this size and scale by March of next year.
With regret therefore, we now need to inform you that the 18th edition of the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon (CHM), originally scheduled for 2020 before being postponed until 28 March 2021 will need to be postponed further, until Sunday 3 October 2021.
The knock-on impact of this decision means that the 19th edition of the CHM will also be held one year later, on 2nd October 2022. There will not be two editions of the race in 2021 as originally planned.
The health and safety of our runners, volunteers, event team and the wider population is of the utmost importance to us. We have therefore been working closely with the Welsh Government and other mass participation event organisers across Wales and the UK to chart a safe return to events.
In 2021 Run 4 Wales will initially deliver a number of the smaller events within its portfolio, with additional hygiene and social distancing measures in place, building up to the much-anticipated return of the CHM in the autumn.
There are a number of options available to runners who are registered for the 18th edition of the CHM, now postponed from 28 March 2021 to 3 October 2021. Every runner with a place will be able to use it in the rescheduled event on Sunday 3 October 2021 or decide between a number of additional options, depending on their entry type. Those registered have been e-mailed with more information.
Earlier this month, on what should have been the day of the 2020 event, the #reliveCardiff campaign aimed to re-create the unique spirit and atmosphere of the day. Members of the public, elite athletes, race officials and charities got involved by sharing their favourite memories of the event.
Run 4 Wales Chief Executive, Matt Newman, reflected on the race: “My relationship with the CHM and with R4W feels like an extension of my family. My son, Charlie, was born in April 2012 with Run 4 Wales registered as a company a month later. Over the past 8 years, the growth and development of both has given me incredible pleasure, as well as a few difficult moments, but I’m optimistic about their futures. The CHM has always been the flagship event in the R4W event calendar and its place in the world of half-marathons is now secure. This profile is a direct result of the dedication, commitment and ambition of the R4W team to turn a good event into a truly great event. We have come a long way.
The 2020 CHM would have been the 10th half marathon that R4W has delivered, including the World Half Marathon in March 2016. 2020 would also have been the first in the SuperHalfs series; the recognition that Cardiff sits in the top league of international half marathons. World Athletics has also awarded a Gold Label to Cardiff, an accolade bestowed on only the top tier of World events.
On CHM weekend, I always love to walk around the iconic start line, race village and finish line the night before the event. It reminds me of all the hard work to get there and provides a moment to reflect just how big the event has grown since its early years. It always brings a smile to my face as the Saturday-night revellers head home a few hours before 27,500 runners line up on the same roads.
The CHM now occupies a special place in the Welsh sporting calendar. There is a magical and unique atmosphere on the morning of event day, a real buzz in the city and sense of anticipation. Later in the morning, the sheer exhilaration and sense of achievement of the thousands of runners crossing the finish line is a sight to behold.
This year, the first Sunday in October will be a bit quieter, but I’m sure that the love for the CHM will mean that the event will bounce back in 2021 and will continue to provide thousands of runners with a world class experience for years to come.”
Looking ahead to 2021, organisers Run 4 Wales have formed ‘MSO Cymru’ – made up of four of Wales’ leading mass participation sporting event organisations, working alongside Welsh Government’s ‘Event Wales’ team and local authorities to chart a safe return for many of Wales’ favourite races, that not only create millions of pounds for the Welsh economy, but also provide the Welsh charity sector with a similar annual return.