South East Wales

Kenya's Boniface Kongin wins Cardiff Half Marathon

Boniface Kongin wins the 2014 Cardiff Half Marathon
Image caption Boniface Kongin wins the 2014 Cardiff Half Marathon

Kenyan athlete Boniface Kongin has won the Cardiff Half Marathon but has just failed to break the course record.

He crossed the finish line outside the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in a time of 62:02, 11 seconds short of the record set in 2013 of 61:51.

About 17,500 runners pounded the streets of the capital in the annual 13.1-mile race.

There were extensive road closures throughout the city, with some expected to remain until Sunday evening.

Organisers want to see the race overtake the Great North Run to become Britain's biggest race of its kind.

There were 2,000 more runners this year compared to 2013, and 21,000 people had applied to run the race.

The elite athletes started the race at 09:00 BST before fun runners passed the start line outside Cardiff Castle.

After crossing the finish line Kongin said that although he felt the course and conditions were "good" he was not pleased with his time as he had wanted to beat the course record.

Last year's winner - who remains the race record holder - Kenya's Loitarakwai Lengurisi came second this year.

Joan Chelimo, from Kenya, was the women's race winner.

Image caption Joan Chelimo was the first woman to finish and was interviewed for BBC Radio Wales by Jason Mohammad

The first British runner to cross the finish line was Ryan McLeod, who came fourth and the first Welshman to finish was Ieuan Thomas in a time of 65:37.

Thomas, running his first half marathon race, said the atmosphere around Cardiff was "electric", with the crowd two to three people deep in places like the barrage and Roath Park.

"The crowd is unbelievable," he said.

"It feels like you're running in a stadium atmosphere. As you're coming through it doesn't matter if you're feeling tired, you get that boost and suddenly you're lifted."

Runners from all over the world come to Cardiff to take part in the half marathon.

It is hoped the 2016 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in the city will provide another boost for Cardiff's racing reputation.

Mo Farah is one of the big names being targeted to take part in the competition.

Image caption Former Olympian Colin Jackson started the race outside Cardiff Castle

The 2014 half marathon started outside the castle and the course headed through Riverside, Grangetown and Llandough.

Runners then headed back towards the city through Penarth and over the barrage before racing up Lloyd George Avenue and into Roath via Richmond Road and Albany Road.

The course then went towards the north of the city, looping around Roath Park Lake before the last leg of the race saw runners come down Fairoak Road and Cathays Terrace, reaching the finishing line outside the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on North Road.

Castle Street and North Road closed at 04:00 BST on Sunday and will remain shut for most of the day but most roads which were closed on a rolling basis were due to be re-opened by 14:00 BST.

Organisers of the race said conditions had been "perfect", with the dry weather bringing out crowds of supporters all around the course.

At the finish, they were six to seven people deep, said Tim Lewis of Welsh Athletics.

"It's really nice coverage for the city and the good thing with the course is that it goes past so many Cardiff landmarks," he said.

"When people see that it's a massive promotion for Cardiff and it will bring people here to race and also to visit."

Image copyright Cardiff Wales Map
Image caption 2014 marks the 12th year of the race

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