Where else to start with our #R4W10 Hall of Fame than Race Director, two-time Olympian and ever-present at the start line, Steve Brace.
Now most usually seen on a bike in hi-vis, Steve has been a huge part of R4W, and is one of just three members of staff who have been there since the start in 2012.
Below, we asked him some questions about his time at R4W:
Q: You’ve been with R4W since the start in 2012, what are some of the most notable and memorable things you think we have achieved as a company?
Steve: “Establishing and evolving a series of running events across South Wales that the running community has taken to heart, and adding value to families and visibility to the towns and locations we operate in. None of that could have been possible without a hard-working team, which started so small and has evolved into a full Event Delivery Company; supported by a loyal band of volunteers who turn out and assist us to make it all happen. Our showcase event, the Wizz Air Cardiff Half Marathon, has put Cardiff and Wales on the map globally as a running destination. I still always get a thrill when runners mention that it’s their favourite event.”
Q: What are your personal highlights from the 10 years?
Steve: “The obvious one is to have successfully delivered the World Half Marathon in 2016, where we had very challenging weather but through the dedication and commitment of the volunteers, partners and staff it was a great day. We had a near world record, and the world looked in on Wales and what we could offer. As well as that, in 2015 I greatly enjoyed and had great satisfaction in the challenge of delivering a weeks’ programme of activities, races and seminars for the World Mountain Running Champions in the glorious surroundings of Bettws Y Coed.”
Q: What’s it like working on a race day? What is your everyday role?
Steve: “It is long… from being on site early when the 4:00am road closures are put in place in Cardiff City Centre; cleansing teams and barriers get installed, and the start area is ready for branding. It still never fails to amaze me how all the months of planning and preparation comes together to make these occasions work! It is always a relief when the start gun fires and more of a relief when the lead runners have finished; and then it a pleasant few hours of monitoring and enjoying the runners finishing, their reunions and engagement across the site, before it is all stripped out and returned to normal. For many months in the lead up, I head the team to negotiate, plan and prepare for the day with stakeholders permissions, booking all the various services and contractors, and ensure all the necessary paperwork is done and in place for the day. Organising the weather is still something I am working on!”
Q: What are the long-term plans for the team at R4W in the next ten years?
“As we come out from a difficult period, we need to rebuild the business and re-establish the running community to have confidence back in the sector to pre-Covid levels. After that, it is more of the same, developing the Cardiff Half into the best it can be, continuing with minor refinements and looking for innovation and improvements whilst always building on the experience for runners and spectators in our other portfolio of events across South Wales. There are always new and different opportunities in our sector for events and partnerships, and we will assess those we feel are viable to further explore.”