None like it hot. Swansea Bay 10k 2016.

Swansea Bay 10k 2016

What a lovely day in Swansea Bay, unless you were planning on running 10 kilometers on the seafront in Swansea Bay 10k 2016. One of the best road races in the UK, the virtually flat course takes in the wide sweep of Swansea Bay along the Wales Coast Path. You can read a km by km guide to the course here.

Winner Swansea Bay 10k 2016

The weather was warm with little wind, hot conditions for a long road race. The Kenyans above just took it in their stride leading the race from the beginning. But you didn’t have to wait long to see some familiar Swansea runners. Andrew Frazier setting a blistering pace.

Frazier Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Chris Jones was next smashing almost 10 minutes off his time from last year.

Chris Jones Swansea Bay 10k 2016

You can see photos from Swansea Bay 10k 2015 here.

You can see photos from Swansea Bay 10k 2014 here.

You can see photos from Swansea Bay 10k 2013 here.

A familiar face in Swansea Bay 10k photos above, Sam Donaldson was running this year too. Here he is at just past the 2km mark at Blackpill.

Sam Donaldson Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Closely followed by another Swansea Bay 10k veteran Luke Millward.

Luke Millward Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Jan Lawrence was next completing her second year in the Swansea Bay 10k, running for the Salisbury NICU premature baby unit that had just treated her latest grandson.

Jan Swansea Bay 10k 2016

This year the sisters were doing it for themselves, with both my sister and sister-in-law running. First to reach us at 2km was my sister-in-law Caz.

High Five! Caz. Swansea Bay 10k 2016

My sister Michelle wasn’t far behind, cheered on by a big family turn out.

Michelle Swansea Bay 10k 2016

The great thing about spectating at Blackpill is as soon as most of the runners are past you the elite runners are running back on the promenade behind you. So I ran over to my usual spot to catch the runners coming over the bridge. Here is the fight for first place.

Swansea Bay 10k Winner. Battle for first place.

The first women runner was an equally fierce battle.

Women's Race Winner Swansea Bay 10k 2016

The rest of the elite runners were next.

Superman 2016

The usual suspects weren’t far behind them. Andrew Frazier not dropping any pace in the heat.

Andrew Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Chris Jones setting a personal best for this race.

Chris Jones Swansea Bay 10k 2016

There he goes, jostling for places on the hill climb.

Hill race

Some were taking it a little less seriously.

Ian in a Tutu. Swansea Bay 10k 2016

But there were still some seriously fast runners in the far from ideal hot conditions. It was the lack of wind more than the temperature.

None like it hot. Swansea Bay 10k 2016

I just missed Sam Donaldson on his return run. Here is his back as he climbs the hill.

Sam Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Frances Samuel was the next familar face I spotted in the crowds.

Frances Swansea Bay 10k 2016

The hill being her least favorite part of the course.

Frances Samuel Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Clare was the next to tackle the hill.

Claire Swansea Bay 10k 2016

I even spotted one of my old students, giving a big thumbs up.

Swansea Bay 10k Sept 2016

Luke looked pleased to have got to almost 8km into the race.

Luke Swansea Bay 10k 2016

My nieces were thrilled to see their mum Caz safely past the Blackpill bridge…

Caz crosses the bridge

…and onto the hill. I thought Grace would start running with her.

Caz Bidder Swansea Bay 10k 2016

My Sister Michelle was marking a return to the 10k after having a baby and was joined by her fellow Paul Popham running club members.

Paul Popham Runners Swansea Bay 10k 2016

Just demolishing the hill towards the final 2km.

Paul Popham Running Club

Was that sports development legend Tom Jones I spotted amidst this year’s runners? Surely not?

Tom Swansea Bay 10k 2016

It was all over too fast.

Paul Popham Team

It certainly was a hot one, and none like it hot! Everyone made it home safe though and all had a big smile on their face. A fantastic Swansea Bay 10k 2016, see you next year, DimExcuses.

Swansea Bay 10k 2016, all you need to know.

Swansea Bay 10K Jane & Stu

This Sunday is the Swansea Bay 10k 2016. One of the best road race 10ks in the UK it has a fantastic almost totally flat route combined with the stunning back drop of Swansea Bay. Here is everything you need to know about the Swansea Bay 10k 2016.

Sam Donaldson Swansea Bay 10k

Firstly if you are running the race for the first time, you need to read my km by km guide to running this classic race by clicking here.

Steven Bidder Swansea Bay 10k

When is the Swansea Bay 10k 2016?  The race is at 1pm Sunday 18th September 2016.

Where is the Swansea Bay 10k 2016? Starting at St. Helen’s Rugby Ground (SA2 0AR) the race heads 5km down the Mumbles Road to the village of Mumbles where the runners turn around in Oystermouth Square (SA3 4DN). Runners then return on Swansea Promenade to the finish at the Cenotaph on the promenade opposite the St. Helen’s Rugby Ground start.

Luke Swansea Bay 10k

How do I get to the Swansea Bay 10k 2016? This is a busy race with around 3000 competitors. It will be very busy at the start. Car parking is available around the Rugby Ground, organizers suggest SA1 4PQ for your SatNav. Because that area will be very congested I would advise parking around the Guildhall (SA1 4PE) and a taking a short walk to the start. Other parking is available at Swansea Civic Centre (SA1 3SN).

Allow plenty of time to get there by car. The road closes at 12pm so make sure you get there before that.

From the city centre the following buses will take you to St Helen’s Rugby Ground: 2a 10.00, 10.30, 11.00, 11.30 3a 11.50

Muggy

Are there photographs of previous Swansea Bay 10ks? I have been photographing the Swansea Bay 10k at Blackpill every year since 2008. Here are the highlights of previous years:

Swansea Bay 10k photographs & review 2013, click here.

Swansea Bay 10k photographs & review 2014, click here.

Swansea Bay 10k photographs & review 2015, click here.

Most importantly how do I get my photo of my heroic Swansea Bay 10k run immortalized in these reviews?  I always take photos at Blackpill which is a quarter of the way into the race. I take photos of runners going down the Mumbles Road.

Swansea Bay 10K Pack

I then cross over to the Blackpill Lido to take photos of the runners coming back along the promenade, entering the last quarter of the race. I take photos as people cross the bridge at Blackpill Lido. Give me a shout and I will endeavor to get you on camera. Contact me on race day by tweeting what you are wearing so I can spot you at @DimExcuses on twitter, or on the DimExcuses facebook page.

Dave Carrington

Finally are there any official website pages for the Swansea Bay 10k? Yes, there is an official website you can find here, and an official race day guide you can find here.

Matt Bailey

So that is all you need to know about the Swansea Bay 10k 2016, if you are running good luck, if you aren’t get down there an cheer the runners on, DimExcuses.

Running out of Summer, Swansea Bay 10k 2015.

Chris Swansea Bay 10k 2015

If anything in South Wales marks the end of summer it has to be Swansea Bay 10k. All the regular runners, like Chris Jones above, come out of the woodwork and try their best to run from Swansea to Mumbles and back as fast as they can. These two below were the fastest.

Swansea Bay 10k Winner 2015

With this lot not far behind.

Swansea Bay 10k Fast & Furious

It was a real family affair this year with my new nephew Ethan cheering his Dad, Matt Bailey on.

Baby Ethan

Here is Matt taking it all in his stride.

Matt Bailey Swansea Bay 10k 2015

My brother Steve wasn’t far behind raising a finger to say he has got this one!

Steven Bidder Swansea Bay 10k

Swansea Bay 10k regular Sam Donaldson was also not far behind, never afraid to get in a photo. You can spot him in the photos from Swansea Bay 10k 2014 here, and in the photos from Swansea Bay 10k 2013 here.

Sam Donaldson Swansea Bay 10k

Fresh from running the Swansea Bay Half Marathon 2015, Morriston Actif Girls Caroline & Tracey were the next smiling faces to come along.  Morriston Actif being Sharon’s running club, there was a lot of cheering going on.

Caroline & Tracey Swansea Bay 10k

Quickly followed by fellow Morriston Actif runner Karys Dermody.

Karys Dermody

A surprise entry was Jan Lawrence, but she seemed quite happy taking on the 10km of this renowned road race.

Jan Lawrence Swansea Bay 10k

Of course it wouldn’t be Swansea Bay 10k without the Macmillan Mug! We love the mug!

Macmillan Mug Swansea Bay 10k 2015

The downward run complete the runners start to return on Swansea Promenade. Mark Gosney setting the 40 minute pace for the real athletes.

Mark Gosney

Matt Bailey had obviously listened to Ethan’s bib, “run daddy, run”.

Matt Bailey Swansea Bay 10k

Chris Jones wasn’t far behind him tearing up the course.

Chris Jones Swansea Bay 10k

This year really was a family affair with my other brother, Chris Bidder running too. The Safety Lead on the Darth Mannion (surely that is an oxymoron) Beach & Swamp Run Challenge, he is using this race to prepare for entry to that extreme Gower half marathon himself. You can read Chris’ journey to the Darth here. More information on the Darth Mannion Beach & Swamp Challenge can be found on their website.  Or you can read my report on last year’s Darth Mannion here: Part 1 Pennard Castle, Part 2 Pwll Du River, and Part 3 Brandy Cove Headland. Chris is even wearing their jersey.

Chris Bidder Swansea Bay 10k 2015

My other brother Steve wasn’t far behind Chris digging in for the only hill in this great flat race.

Steve 10k

Keeping quiet about the pace, Sam Donaldson was next to take on that hill at 8km.

Sam Donaldson Swansea Bay 10k

There he goes.

Sam Blackpill Hill 10k

I was pleased to finally bump into fellow Gower photographer, twitterer and blogger Richie Hammond before the start of the race. Unfortunately his wife Ceri proved too fast to photograph and I only caught her back as she climbed the hill.

Ceri Swansea Bay 10k

Next was Debbie, one of two Mumbles Milers running in the race. To be fair half of them had been on the DimExcuses Big Gower walk yesterday, so they get a pass.

Mumbles Miler Debbie

Well done Debbie.

Debbie Swansea Bay 10k

Sorry for anyone I missed this year. I had this fidget under one arm, Molly the Frenchton checking out the route on the Promenade Map.

Molly Swansea Bay 10k Route

Molly, Sharon and I cheered in Tracey and Caroline from Sharon’s running club.

Tracey & Caroline

The Morriston Actif Runners taking it all in their stride.

Morriston Actif Runners

Soon followed by Actif Runner Karys who was now running alongside Jan Lawrence.

Jan and Karys

My Zante 2015 buddy Nicole was next.

Nicole

Proving the Swansea Bay 10k was not all Greek to her.

Nicole Hill Climb

Nicole’s sister and another of the Zante 2015 posse Yvette was working really hard to complete her first 10k. She completed the course at a steady pace.

Yvette Swansea Bay 10k

Well done Yvette and all this year’s Swansea Bay 10k runners. If you want to do it next year there is a DimExcuses guide to running the race here. So get your trainers on, DimExcuses.

 

Who wants to do the 10k twice? Swansea Half Marathon 2015

Swansea Half Marathon

Me, Sharon and Molly are big fans of the Swansea Bay 10k. I even wrote a km by km guide to running the Swansea  Bay 10k that you can read here.  So I was quite excited to get down Swansea bay this Sunday (14/06/15) to see the second Swansea Half Marathon.

Swansea Half Marathon 2015

That is almost two 10K put together, 12 miles!  It takes in the whole of the Swansea Bay 10k route and a whole lot more.

Banana Man

Molly, Sharon and I where at our usual spot under the speed camera on the Mumbles road on the way down and running over to the Blackpill bridge to catch the runners on the way back.

DimExcuses Half Marathon

I have been spectating there since 2008! You can read about the 2014 Swansea Bay 10k here, and the 2013 Swansea Bay 10k here.

Molly Half Marathon

Even though this was the Swansea Half Marathon there were lots of familiar faces from the blogs above and some new faces. Anwen Davies and the Superman T-Shirts team seemed in good spirits! There was a definite superhero theme this year.

Anwen Davies

Swansea University’s Chris Marshall was also making the jump up to half marathon with ease too.

Chris Marshall

There was a crocodile…

Crocodile

..and Bananaman chasing the previous banana!

Bananaman

Morriston Actif Running Group were represented, you can just see them coming in to view here.

Swansea Half

The actif runners hiding behind this orange runner, Rhys has been training them well.

Morriston Actif

Hold up a finger for every mile done so far ladies.

Rhys' Ladies

And there they go.

Get Actif

Swansea Bay 10k Legend Sandra Mitchell, infamous for falling asleep in a porter-loo for an hour during the Paris Marathon was managing to stay awake today.

Sandra Mitchell

Swansea Bay 10k pace-setter Mark Gosney was one of the first local runners back across Blackpill Bridge.

Blackpill Swansea Half  Marathon

Fast as always.

Mark Gosney

Andrew Wade, the Bishopston Boy now living in the USA, made a trip back across the pond to run in his hometown’s second half marathon.

Andrew Wade

Chris Jones was almost too fast for my camera, but I just got him. He is now probably sleeping the race off in his VW camper.

Chris Jones

Anwen and the Superhero Tees weren’t far behind.

Anwen

10k regular Chris Kent leads this pack across the bridge even though he has been struggling with injury. Eye of the Tiger stuff.

Chris Kent

Tony Henebery ditched is usual 10k fancy dress for this more serious distance.

Tony

An epic battle was taking place between the crocodile and Bananaman for fancy dress supermacy at the Swansea Half Marathon.

Actif

And here comes Rhys’ Ladies from Morriston Actif. Caroline, Tracy and Sarah from Sharon’s Running Group.

Actif

And there they go again. Spot the Boston Terrier.

Blackpill Hill

A bird of prey was starting to circle over Sandra Mitchell and the back runners.

Vultures Circling

Sandra smashing that Blackpill hill.

Sandra

What a morning! The second Swansea Half Marathon was a massive success. Loads of runners, loads of spectators and a great atmosphere. Who is running it next year, DimExcuses?

 

Sun Runners. Swansea Bay 10K 2014.

Swansea Bay 10K

Swansea Bay 10K is one of the most rated road races in the UK. The venue, the organisation, the atmosphere and view combine with an almost horizontal course that make it a road and fun runners favorite. Add to that a big dollop of Sun and another glorious mild September day which we are having at the moment and you get a classic race to remember.

Swansea Bay 10K Jane & Stu

The Mumbles road was closed to accommodate the full field of 3000 runners, including Jane Richards and @stukulele. This guy was in front at 2km. I don’t know his name, look it up in the running mags, I document the ‘have a go heroes’.

Swansea Bay 10k race leader 2km

He was closely followed by this lot! Chris Kent is in there somewhere.

Swansea Bay 10K Pack

The pack included, what I am guessing is a beach wheelchair?

Beach Wheel Chair

At 5km the runners leave Mumbles Road and run back in Swansea Bay itself on Swansea Promenade. Andrew Davies is running super fast these days, and has just come back from doing his first Ironman race. Luckily I saw his hat coming, usually he is moving too quick for a good photo.

Swansea Bay 10K Andrew Davies

Here is Mark Grosney running as a pace maker. Great to see pace makers as an addition to this race, invaluable for runners to make sure that they don’t go too fast, too early.

Swansea Bay 10K Mark Grosney

Chris Kent made sure he got in the forefront of this photo.

Swansea Bay 10K Chris Kent

The race for me isn’t over until I see the Macmillan Mug guys. In today’s Sun their effort was even more Herculean than normal. Go guys, we love the mug.

Macmillan 'We love the Mug'

Swansea Bay 10K is a great road race for fun runners, or in today’s case Sun Runners. You might think about running next year, DimExcuses.

Swansea Bay 10K Sign

A full Gallery of pictures is below.

Hot, humid and not a breath of wind. Swansea Bay 10k 2013

Swansea Bay 10k is all about the wind.  It can make or break your run.  The promenade is particularly exposed, with a tailwind behind you from Mumbles you fly, but a head wind from Swansea can really drag you back and evaporate your hopes of a personal best.  But for Swansea Bay 10k 2013 it was a lack of wind that caused the problems, leading to a hotter than normal race.  Combine with that a high humidity that stops you cooling down it was a tough run this year.

Pace Car

Yet that didn’t stop the professional runners, with the leaders getting to me in Blackpill in less than 7 minutes!

Front Runners

And the disciplined pros were soon followed by the other 3000 runners.

Swansea Bay 10k

So let’s have a look at the local heroes running this year.  First up is Survival of the Fittest runner and original ‘No Excuses’ bike rider Luke Millward, smiling through the humidity.  Only 8k to go.

DSCN2235

My sister Michelle seems to have lost her long time running mate Sally at this point, and was later to drop out from the humidity at 8k.  But here she is at 2k going strong.

Michelle

It is so difficult to catch the runners on the way down at 2k, I really just work out who is running, what they are wearing so I can catch them on the way back at 8k.  Rod Davies (supposedly out injured, but surprisingly running pass me) was too fast even on the return, so here is a picture of his back.

Rod Davies

Dave Carrington from Kenfig Nature Reserve, was on his first Swansea Bay race and on his first 10k, but seemed very comfortable at the 8k mark.

Dave Carrington

Matt Bailey was another one moving to fast, so I only got his back on the short hill climb.

Matt Bailey

Darien was next through blackpill, he has done the Swansea Bay 10k several times and wasn’t struggling.

Darien

Another hardy Swansea Bay 10k perennial is Chris Marshall from Swansea University.  ‘It is like a tradition to see you sitting up there’ he said to me as he passed.  Admittedly I have been in the same spot every year since 2008!

Chris Marshall

Luke Milward got a second photo this year, he is like the new  Sam Donaldson.

Luke Milward

Talking of Sam Donaldson here he is slightly off the pace but very relieved after being forced to ‘pull a Radcliffe’ at the Lido.

Sam Donaldson

Next up is Laura Bailey, AKA Mrs Russel Bailey, winner of Survival of the Fittest a couple of years ago.

Laura

Another year on year Swansea Bay 10k runner is Kelly Shefford, going steady to finish another race.

Kelly Shefford

And finally Muggy (Fay Sharpe supported by Donna Griffths) going above and beyond the call of duty for Macmillian in these hot and humid conditions.

Muggy

Once again a great race, a great day out, well done the runners, Admiral and the City & County of Swansea for organising so well, and you and I as the much needed support on the way around.  DimExcuses.

It is no fun before the run. DimExcuses guide to the Swansea Bay 10K.

10k is a long way. Forget the marathons or triathlons you may have watched on your sofa eating crisps. If you are an average adult standing on the start line of this years Swansea Bay 10k, 10k is a long way. And you are probably thinking that now, it is a nervous time, it is no fun before the run. That apprehension sitting in the back of your mind over the next few days that will reach a crescendo just before noon Sunday. But don’t worry, if you are anxious it just means you are not undertaking this challenge lightly, in fact you are probably wise. As Frances Bacon once said ‘If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties’. That includes all you female athletes too, we are totally inclusive on the DimExcuses blog.

To help get you through this year’s Swansea Bay 10k here is my kilometre by kilometre DimExcuses guide, based on the 5 times I have run it. It includes 10Km, 10 photos and 10 runners.

1km – this includes the most important bit, the start, every great journey starts with the first step and all that. Make sure that you line up along with your estimated finish time, helpfully written in big numbers on St. Helen’s Rugby Ground wall. And go! You are off, the key is not to get boxed in so you can’t run at the pace you want to, or worse you get carried along too fast in the crowd and set yourself up for tiring too soon. The whole Mumbles Road is closed so spread out (going to the right helps) and find your own space. Below Mark Gosney has no pace problems as he enters the final couple of km at Blackpill, I expect he will be the first face I recognise on Sunday doing his usual blistering pace.

Mark Gosney

2km – You should be in some nice space now and matching the pace of runners around you. Work out what time you should be doing for each km before the race. Check your pace by looking at your stop watch (which you started as you crossed the start line) when you pass the km distance markers. I was alongside Ralph Lewis from Swansea Healthforce at this point in 2007 and he said to me ‘it is a long way to go yet’, thanks Ralph. Closer to present day here is David Gomez putting on a brave face for that final Blackpill Hill. All these photos are taken in Blackpill, because that is where I stand, keep an eye out for me.

David Gomez

3km – You should have reached Blackpill by now, forget space on the right go left and shout to me for your photo. Like Sam Donaldson here, who is never shy of a photo. He features in two photos in this blog! Rumour is the beard is coming off this year for more aerodynamics and the hope of a personal best (PB).

Sam

4km – Virtually in mumbles now and to your dismay you will have seen the fastest runners coming back the other way. You will have plenty of space at this point and the runners around you will probably be around you until the finish. You may make friends, like my sister Michelle Blackmore and her running partner Sally giving it their best in 2011. They are hoping for a sub-50 minute PB this year.

Michelle & Sally

5km – The turn around at mumbles and a real glory part as the crowds will be quite deep as you turn around at Oystermouth square. Spotting familiar faces in the crowd is a good way to keep yourself going. The Swansea Bay 10k is rated as one of the best 10k you can do, the atmosphere on the day always gives runners a boost. No one knows that better than Sandra Mitchell a hardy perennial Swansea Bay 10ker below.

Sandra Mitchell

6km – Now you are on the prom. Get water at the water stop there is only one and it is here. The biggest problem you can have on the prom is if the wind is against you. You can slipstream other runners by tucking in close behind them. Don’t get too close though you don’t want to trip over each other like Zola Budd and Mary Decker (showing my age with that reference). Someone you will never seen tripping is Andrew Davies below, it is just a training run for this veteran tri-athlete.

Andrew Davies

7km – You will be back at Blackpill and I should have you in my camera sights as you cross the bridge and climb the only hill. Not far now but it is the hard bit. Hopefully the crowds should give you a lift. Here is Sam agan showing how to take that hill during the wet 2012 10k.

DSCN0740

8km – Behind the golf course you have some shelter from the wind here as trees are between the prom and the bay. Morale should be up at this point with the finish not too distant. One runner who will know that only too well is Keith Harris from Swansea Bay Hash House Harriers in yellow below.

Keith

9km – The finish is in your sites as you run through the trees opposite the university. The crowd will really carry the strugglers at this point, with kids high fiving runners as they pass. Hopefully the Macmillan Mug hasn’t over taken you at this point!

Macmillan Mug

10km – You have done it, bask in the cheer of the crowd and ‘The Wave’ soundsystem. Don’t stop dead at the finish line, that is almost a guarantee of seeing your stomach contents. The organisers know this and you are encouraged to slow to a brisk walk as you are funnelled through the finish. Then it is just case of pick up your medal and have a well earned pint like Michelle and Sally below.

A well earned beer

Like I said it is no fun before the run, and that will reach a crescendo just before noon, and the countdown to the race will be the worst, 10, your mp3 player is playing, 9, you check your headphones, 8, you fiddle with your number, 7, you bounce to check your trainers work, 6, you look at your stopwatch, 5, you rest your finger on start, 4, you look to the runner on your left, 3, you look to the runner on your right, 2, you look straight ahead…

1, time feels like it has stopped and so has your heart, adrenaline enters the blood stream, there is a eternity of silence, you have no thoughts, work, the mortgage, the car needing an MOT are all forgotten, the reptilian brain kicks in, fight of flight instinct…

…BANG, the start gun fires, time restarts, sound returns, your heart beats and you naturally move forward along with everyone else, one step turns into two which rapidly turns into ten, the sound of 6000 trainers pounding on Mumbles road surrounds you and threats to drown out your mp3 player, and that is when the fun begins.

Good luck to all you runners, look out for me at Blackpill you could be in Monday’s blog entry. Most importantly have fun, DimExcuses.