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I don't 'alf love The Half, it's a grand day out in a joyful city.

Byline: facebook.com/WalesOnline FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2019 south wales echo 25 Will Hayward will.hayward@walesonline.co.uk Welsh Journalist of the Year 2019

I LOVE the Cardiff Half Marathon.

I would go as far as to say that I love it more than I love asparagus.

It even exceeds my love for keeping pace with the cashier in Aldi when packing my shopping.

At a push, I would say I love it more than being able to park within 100m of my house in Adamsdown (which also, like "The Half ", happens annually).

Having heard that I love the halfmarathon more than Piers Morgan loves himself, you will be surprised to hear that I don't really like running long distance.

It is hard work. I go red and I sweat more than a rugby player in Tokyo.

Despite this, the reason I love the Cardiff Half Marathon is that it is the epitome of everything I love about this city: iconic views, togetherness, support, unity, sporting excellence, diversity, a sense of humour and kindness. Whenever this date rolls around I am reminded of just how lucky I am to live here.

It is an outward-looking city with a global reach, and yet it has all the familiarity and warmth of a village.

The best of the city is on display.

Every time it comes around I am reminded of the London 2012 Olympics.

Remember that? Back when we all liked one another? Back when, no matter what your background or origin, if you competed for our country you had our unconditional and unwavering support. Back then "Brexit" just sounded like the door you used during your break at work to nip out for a fag.

Instead of talking about people "lying to the queen", we just watched her jump out of a plane with James Bond for the opening ceremony.

Is it just me who feels that a collective gloom has settled on us since then? Either way, the Cardiff Half gives me that feeling back.

As you run around our city you see people for what they are - people.

Instead of looking down at our feet or our phone during a commute to work, we are looking at one another.

We are cheering, supporting and laughing.

We are offering the morons who think running 13 miles is a good idea a Jelly Baby. We are kids holding out their hands for a high-five from a stranger. Most importantly we are together. I think I said in a column last year that I like the signs people hold up and how they show what part of Cardiff you are in.

Roath Park: "Da iawn." Grangetown: "Don't be s***." Cathays (student land): "You are running better than the government."

At one point as I went past a play area I read a sign with a picture of Dory from Finding Nemo saying: "Just keep running, just keep running."

This is not to say that Cardiff is not always friendly and welcoming - what they it is.

Something day But something about this day collectively lifts us.

It is like the whole city is just full of the dementors from Harry Potter (if you can't see them you are a filthy muggle).

The marathon is an enormous patronus charm liberating us from their happiness-sucking breath.

I think one of the most unifying parts of the day is the fact the route takes in so many corners of the city.

As we head through the city centre, are - people...

about this collectively lifts us. Canton, Grangetown, the Bay, Butetown (just), Cathays, Penylan, Adamsdown, Splott, Roath and Cathays (sorry if I missed your area out) it is easy to remember that we are tied together.

Instead of traversing our city in our little bubbles (cars, phones and buses) we instead pound the streets - shared spaces which belong to all of us.

It is not just about us realising what we collectively have, it is about showing Cardiff off to outsiders. People travel for miles for the race and there is a reason for that - Cardiff is great.

When you live somewhere it is easy to snipe at Cardiff's shortcomings.

However, our little conurbation has hosted incredible events, has an immense history and is a seat of government.

A massive percentage of our city centre is a bloody park, for crying out loud!

So smile, embrace, enjoy the road closures, breathe the fresh air and bring plenty of Jelly Babies for the runners - I will need them.

DO YOU HAVE A STORY YOU WANT US TO INVESTIGATE? CALL ONE OF OUR COMMUNITY REPORTERS ANNA LEWIS Adamsdown, Butetown, Splott & Cardiff Bay 029 2024 3641 TYLER MEARS Caerau, Ely & Creigiau 029 2024 3643 CATHY OWEN Whitchurch, Llanishen, Rhiwbina & Heath 029 2024 3757 AAMIR MOHAMMED Trowbridge, Llanrumney & Rumney 029 2024 3622 KATIE-ANN GUPWELL Tongwynlais, Fairwater, Pentyrch, Radyr & St Fagans 029 2024 3813 BRONTE HOWARD Barry & the Vale 029 2024 3820 MARCUS HUGHES Caerphilly, Machen & Rudry PHILIP DEWEY Roath, Cathays, Penylan, Cyncoed & Lisvane 029 2024 3647 RUTH MOSALSKI Political Editor 029 2024 3627 THOMAS DEACON Pontprennau, Trowbridge, St Mellons & Pentwyn 029 2024 3648 JESSICA WALFORD Grangetown & Riverside 029 2024 3638 Will Hayward Social Affairs Correspondent 029 2024 3611

city dementors if you can't filthy muggle). Roath (sorry area remember together. As you run around our city you see people for what they are - people... Something about this day collectively lifts us

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Last year's Cardiff Half Marathon
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Author:facebook.com/WalesOnline FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2019 south wales echo 25 Will Hayward will.hayward@wales
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 4, 2019
Words:909
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