Well the second event of Run Big Year has come and gone with the Cardiff 5K Race for Victory. At 5K it is the shortest distance I’ve ever raced over and the 7pm start also meant it was my first evening race. So was this a triumphant first or a damp squib of a race?
I had spent the week before keeping a close eye on the weather forecast. There was rain on the way but it was uncertain when or how much there would be. With the race on a bank holiday weekend it did seem likely that the heavens were destined to open. However, when the race came around there were only a few drops in the air. It did get a bit heavier after the race but there was no downpour. I quite like running in the rain but was glad I didn’t have to stand around getting soaked while waiting for the start. As it turned out the conditions were pretty excellent for running, although spectators might have preferred it to be completely dry.
Appropriately enough the race was started by weather presenters Derek Brockway and Sue Charles. Where I was stood we were a bit crowded and the start had plenty of stopping and bunching as we approached the line. I was probably a bit further back than I should have been and did worry that I might get slowed up passing other runners. Fortunately, as we crossed the start line the bunching eased and the width of the road made it relatively easy to pass people.
Having visited the course last week as research for my preview of the race, I had decided that the best approach was to take up a good pace from the start. I then intended to use the downhill second kilometre to put in a fast section ahead of a hill at the start of the 4th kilometre. As such I would build a buffer against any necessary slowing for the hill.
The race plan went perfectly. I was sub 5 minutes for every kilometre, with my fastest kilometre being the second and the slowest the fourth as expected. I had a bit left in the tank at the end so had a nice little sprint over the final few hundred metres. The end result was an official time of 23:53, which put me in position 366 of 1446. Having targeted a sub 25 minute time, I was delighted with my run.
I enjoyed this race a lot, although it felt like it went by very quickly! The race village was packed, with plenty of people sampling the food and the pubs. Considering the weather, there was a good level of support along the whole route, no doubt due to the urban setting. As we crossed the finish line we were welcomed back by live music and a festive atmosphere. Had the weather been sunny then no doubt this would have been very lively indeed.
In summary this was a nice, fun event. I didn’t stick around afterwards but it looked like there was some good food and entertainment on offer going into the night. If you’re looking for a 5K to run next year then I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this race. But then again I’ve never run any other 5K race so what do I know?