After an 18-month delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some 25,000 runners are due to take part in the Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon on Sunday (27 March 2022).
Among them will be the 350-strong #TeamCardiff, a group of staff, students, alumni and friends who are aiming to raise £70,000 for the University’s neuroscience and mental health research, and cancer research.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Damian Walford Davies , Library Assistant, Sian McCarthy, and a team of 15 from the School of English, Communication and Philosophy are some of those running for #TeamCardiff.
Greg Spencer, Deputy Director of Development and Head of Fundraising in the University’s Development and Alumni Relations department said: "It’s amazing to see such dedication and perseverance from University staff, students and alumni, many of whom signed up to the Half Marathon before the pandemic. By taking on this challenge, they’re helping to raise vital funds for Cardiff University research, that will transform lives for the better."
This year also marks the last time the University will act as title sponsors for the race. The partnership between Run 4 Wales and the University began six years ago. During that time, University research has examined the economic and travel impact of the race ; helped launch a Green Action Plan to ensure sustainability is at the heart of the event; and explored why women run as well as the barriers around participation.
Professor Damian Walford Davies said: "From the word go it was clear that Run 4 Wales’s values were aligned with those of Cardiff University, with the coming together of two socially responsible organizations wanting to make a difference.
"We have used the partnership as a highly effective vehicle for a number of important initiatives and are proud to have attracted over 1,300 Team Cardiff runners, who have raised over £250,000 for our vital research in the areas of mental health, neuroscience and cancer.
"The funding has enabled our researchers to accelerate life-changing discoveries to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for a wide range of conditions.
Matt Newman, Run 4 Wales Chief Executive, said: "Our link with Cardiff University is special and has never been a traditional sponsorship agreement, but very much an effective working relationship.
"A highlight for us has been the research element, where academics have dedicated time to exploring the wider event themes, from runner behaviour, economic benefits (£2.5 million per annum) to sustainability.
"This has not only allowed us to dig deeper into the outputs of Cardiff Half Marathon but has shaped the direction of a number of strategies, especially around sustainability, where we have ambitious aims to improve our environmental performance year-on-year. Such research has improved our understanding and opened up conversations on topics such as safe running routes for women and more recently the link between physical exercise and maintaining personal wellbeing.
"The last six years have been an example of corporate collaboration at its best."
As part of race weekend, the University’s Main Building will be lit up blue to mark the half marathon’s #ChooseYou campaign colours. The campaign encourages people to be the best version of themselves, reflecting on the importance of looking after yourself and others, both mentally and physically. It has been inspired by an award-winning, dedicated team of experts from the University.