In less than a week, Cardiff will play host to the largest athletics event Wales has witnessed since the Commonwealth Games in 1958. Up to 20,000 runners are expected to participate at Saturday’s IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships, which will see runners embark on an iconic course around the streets of the Welsh capital, starting in the heart of the city outside Cardiff Castle.
With the event part of the IAAF half championships and Olympic qualification still very much up for grabs, all eyes from across the world will be on the race. The event will be shown live on BBC1 and to more than 50 countries across the globe.
It looks like it will be tight at the top with reigning world champion Geoffrey Kamworor, and Zersenay Tadese, who held that title on six occasions, both confirmed and primed for a contest with Mo Farah. This will be the first time in which the double Olympic and World Championships gold medalist has competed in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
Farah will be part of a 10-strong British team that includes, Dewi Griffiths, Callum Hawkins, Matthew Hynes, Ryan McLeod, Aly Dixon, Rachel Felton, Charlotte Purdue, Jenny Spink and Gemma Steel.
In the women’s competition, Gladys Cherono will be aiming to defend her title but looks likely to be challenged by 2014 silver medallist Mary Wacera, plus Mary Keitany and Florence Kiplagat, both of whom are former world half champions.
Yet as much as the event will showcase the world’s elites, the race will be a chance for many thousands of runners to take part in the half marathon for the first time. As part of this, International Association of Athletics Federations, Run 4 Wales and title sponsors Cardiff University joined forces to allow 500 novice runners or indeed those who have never run before to take part in the event for free.