What was your motivation behind establishing the Swansea Half?
David: Nick and I had run together for a number of years, and we wondered why Swansea did not have a half marathon. Through running different routes through the city, which were all suitable for a half, we decided to investigate the possibility of putting one on ourselves.
We chose our favourite route and took it to the Council and things quickly developed from there. Our motivation was born out of frustration that the city we lived in, and loved running through, didn’t have a half.
Nick: We have now been able to transfer our previous frustration into passion for the event.
After realising very early on in the project that neither of us would be able to actually participate in the event, it was all about creating and delivering an event that was not only enjoyable from an event manager’s perspective but importantly it would also be enjoyable from a runner’s perspective as well.
What has been your biggest challenge in the journey?
David: There are so many different challenges from a number of areas. The biggest challenge was convincing Swansea Council that we were capable of putting this on. Although Nick and I are experienced project managers, we had no record of event delivery, and we were relatively unknown to the local running community.
We did a lot of ground work in readiness for the approval process, in terms of ensuring we had access to support teams, contractors and water provision so all that was left was pulling it all together for race day. That makes it sound quite simple, but in reality it was a huge task. We only had three months to deliver the inaugural race from the date of approval to race day. This year has been equally as frantic with the move to the city centre, and there are constantly new challenges, but the rewards will hopefully be realised during this year’s race on June 14th.
Nick: Submerging yourself into a new world – not only event management but the world of running outside of being runners ourselves.
It has been very hard to look at the project as anything but a runner, that is, after all, what we both are. Attending and participating at other races has meant a new approach to what would normally be a hobby.
Our primary focus is that each and every runner has the correct race day experience, starting with the medical provision and finishing with medals and goody bags. It has been a steep and very exciting learning curve and one that we are learning from daily.
What are your ambitions for the Swansea Half?
Our combined ambition for the race is to provide a great experience. As runners ourselves, we make it our job to attend much larger and more established races and events to learn from them and get new ideas. Running has to be about the athlete, when people enter the Swansea Half, we want them to know that we have done everything possible to make it a great one for them. As we grow and build, we want the running community in Swansea to grow with us. We want to give the feel and experience of a massive race while still retaining the personal feel.
In short, we want to grow the race as much as we can while keeping the runner’s experience front of mind.
Any advice for novice, would-be runners?
David: Running is a great form of exercise and a great community to be a part of. There is nothing better than being outdoors in all four seasons pounding the tarmac, getting rid of the stresses of the day and aiding relaxation.
So many people run alone, which is great and can really help new runners adjust and build confidence but it is just as fun to run with others. If you have friends who run, go out together or join a club and meet other runners, you will be amazed by the friendliness and camaraderie of the members. They will always offer help, advice and support.
Running does not have to be expensive, time consuming or difficult. Run at your own pace and the enjoyment will come.
Nick: Have fun! You are at the beginning of a wonderful journey, a journey that has literally changed my life.
The raw emotion that you experience when you cross that finish line is unbelievable; I have laughed, swore and cried a lot on achieving (and sometimes failing) particular goals. Set yourself a goal and work to that. My personal journey started with 3 mile races and I am currently running 40 mile Ultra Marathons – My mantra is – always believe, never quit.
When you get a spare day, what do you do to relax?
David: I used to run but if I run these days, I think about running and the race, and then I don’t relax so I have to try and do as little as possible. I literally stop everything and will do some reading or spend time with my wife and three boys.
Nick: Nothing beats running with my running club the Swansea Vale Runners although, as David says, this normally results in planning water stops.
Aside from that it is spending time with my wife, little girl and three dogs, but even that normally involves running.