Runners turn out in their thousands to flood Cardiff Bay

The Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay Run kicked off a blockbuster year of distance running in style as more than 6,000 runners of all ages and abilities made the 2019 edition the biggest and best yet.

The popular first leg of the Healthspan Wales 10K Series began a new season of Run 4 Wales events at one of the nation’s most iconic locations. The 10K race and 2K Family Fun Run sold out for the third successive year as runners and spectators flooded Roald Dahl Plas to create a festival atmosphere.

BBC Wales Weather’s Sue Charles and Derek Brockway got the action underway by sounding the starting gun for the 2K Family Fun Run. The next generation of Welsh distance runners and families taking their first steps at a running event enjoyed closed roads and the the support of the crowds to get a true taste of a world-class road race.

It was then time for a high-quality field of elite runners from the UK and continental Europe to take centre stage as the race hosted the Welsh 10K Championships for the first time. The fastest woman to ever run a Parkrun, Charlotte Arter, had Angela Tooby’s 35-year-old Welsh 10km record in her sights as she led the women’s race past the Wales Millennium Centre and Norwegian Church.

She passed through the 5K mark a second inside the record before a strong headwind whipping off the Severn Estuary slowed her progress. But not enough to stop her from blitzing the women’s field to take the Cardiff Bay Run crown in 32.49 ahead of Belgium international Nina Lauwaert who was 26 seconds behind, and Clara Evans who smashed her personal best by 33 seconds to finish in a time of 33:26.

“It’s brilliant to get the win, especially racing on the streets of Cardiff,” said Arter. “The conditions were tough in those last two miles but I’m delighted to get the win.

“I was hoping to run a PB and I knew if I did that I would have got the record. I was on pace at the halfway mark and I was feeling good but the wind made it tough and in the end I just wanted to make sure I finished strong to get the victory.”

The late withdrawal of men’s favourite Dewi Griffiths due to illness blew the race wide open. Matt Clowes looked determined to improve last year’s second place finish as he led a tight lead group through 5K in 14.38.

Aldershot Farnham and District runner Adam Clarke bided his time alongside the much improved Jake Smith, Josh Griffiths and Ieuan Thomas before grasping his opportunity when Clowes pulled up with a hamstring injury with a kilometre to go.

Clarke moved clear of the chasing pack in the home straight and took the tape in 29.28 to slash 18 seconds off his personal best. Cardiff AAC’s Smith took silver four seconds back ahead of Griffiths in third as six men ran under 30 minutes.

Behind the lightning fast elite field came competitive club runners and charity fundraisers including an army of 79 runners who tackled the 10km in aid of Official Charity Partner Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Healthspan’s leading range of vitamins and supplements fuelled runners across the course and over the finish line, while ABP, Nuffield Health and British Heart Foundation made their presence known in the race village.  Finishers were presented with a bespoke medal and red t-shirt that both featured the Norwegian Church building by an army of 120 volunteers.

“The Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay Run showcases one of the Welsh capital’s most loved locations in a different light as some of the country’s fastest runners and thousands of participants with their own personal goals come together to create a truly unique event,” said Run 4 Wales Chief Executive Matt Newman.

“To sell-out in each of the last three years is a fantastic achievement and it shows Wales is gripped by the running bug. It was an honour to host the Welsh 10K Championships for the first time, and I would like to thank title sponsors Brecon Carreg for helping make this event the success it has become.

“The Healthspan Wales 10K Series is now well and truly underway, and we look forward to seeing thousands more runners and spectators at the ABP Newport Wales Marathon & 10K, ABP Barry Island 10, Healthspan Porthcawl 10K and of course the Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon.”