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In the footsteps of champions

26 March 2016

Team Cardiff - World Half Marathon

Staff, students and alumni have helped make the IAAF/Cardiff University World Athletics Championships a spectacular success.

The University-sponsored event took place on Saturday with thousands of runners following in the footsteps of 200 elite athletes including double Olympic champion Mo Farah.

Mo Farah crosses the World Half Marathon finish line
Kenyan athletes at World Half Marathon

More than 200 people from across the University ran as part of our Team Cardiff, while others carried out a variety of vital tasks as volunteers to support the televised race.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said: “Well done to all the University’s runners and volunteers for playing such an important role in making the IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships a success.”

World Half Marathon volunteers

Those running for Team Cardiff included Jon Kendall, from IT services, who said: “It’s been very good for the University as a whole and good that we are now sponsoring the Cardiff Half Marathon too.

“I’m doing it to prove something to myself because I had thyroid cancer towards the end of 2014 so I’m fundraising for Velindre Hospital and a thyroid support group.

“I will hopefully do the Cardiff Half Marathon too and run for the University and the causes it’s raising money for [cancer research and dementia and mental health research].”

Another Team Cardiff runner was Dr Anna Hurley, School Manager in the School of Medicine, who had never taken part in a distance race previously.

“It’s been nice to feel part of it and there’s been a real community feel,” she said.

“I think it’s brilliant, especially now we’re sponsoring the Cardiff Half Marathon too. It helps to raise the University’s profile.

“There’s a sense of pride working for the University and the University is something Wales should be proud of.”

The University’s runners raised money for three Cardiff University causes - scholarships and bursaries, cancer research and dementia research – as well as other causes close to their hearts. Many runners signed up to our JustGiving pages.

Team Cardiff runner 1
Team Cardiff runner 2

The University’s title partnership ensured major visibility at the event, which was broadcast live around the world on the BBC.

Large crowds lined the race route and created a carnival atmosphere for the thousands of competitors.

Cardiff University balloons at the World Half Marathon starting line
Spectators lining up to watch the World Half Marathon

Some of the University’s historic buildings in Cathays Park provided a spectacular backdrop to the finish of the race.

The University played a major role in the build up to the race, working with organisers to hold a community session with local school pupils and Mo Farah on Friday.

Other activities include a research project focused on the race which is attempting to discover what motivates people to run.

The research team, from the School of Healthcare Sciences, hopes its findings from the event will help organisers of mass races to attract a wider range of entries in future thus improving the nation’s health.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Treasure starts the mass race
Cardiff University student physiotherapists providing post-race massage
Cardiff University physiotherapists meet Sebastian Coe at the Sports Expo

Two academics, Professor Ian Hall and Professor Steve Barker, from the University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, ran the gruelling 13.1 miles as part of Team Cardiff on the helideck of their research ship off the coast of South Africa.

They have been drilling deep into the Indian Ocean floor in search of evidence to explain the role that one of the world’s largest ocean currents has played in climate change over the past five million years, and how it affects the world we live in today.

Steve Barker and Ian Hall run the Half Marathon

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