28/08- The Butetown mile!
It’s only a mile, right? How hard can one mile be? Answer: really darn hard…
Hasty research: The Butetown Mile started in the 1980s but stopped in the ’90s. It started up again in 2014 as a way to raise money for Cancer Research UK. It is one of only three places in the world to host a straight mile road race alongside Fifth Avenue, New York and the Champs-Élysées, Paris! Isn’t that awesome? NEW YORK! PARIS! CARDIFF!
I bought my ticket for this race way back in April. Then life happened and I couldn’t make it, so I gave my ticket to run bud Jake, and then life happened again and I was suddenly free so I bought another ticket. (This did mean I was entered into the race twice with wildly varying times…)
I also managed to convince run buds Christina, Rob and Gregg to come along too! A whole Grump Team! (See above pic.)
I’d not really given the mile distance much thought before, either opting for 5k/10k runs or speed sessions which never went over 500m. The Thursday before Rob and I went out for a test run, a mile lap of Atlantic Wharf to see how it would be. It wasn’t fun, but doable; uncomfortable but over fairly quickly. We ran past some bemused fishermen, then got drenched in a downpour. I missed my mile PB by 10 seconds, but I figured Race Day would sort that out.
RACE DAY. I both nervous and excited. We arrived at the tent and signed in without hassle. I think about 200 people took part in the race. A few of the lovely folks from my run club- CDF Runners– were there, some in the Elite (sub 7 minute) race and some in the Fun Run race.
I warmed up more than my practice mile on Thursday, a half mile jog, some squats/lunges, and lots of stretching. I remember it being muggy so I was sweating a lot. (An awkward moment when I didn’t shake someone’s hand because I had just run it through my very sweaty hair…)
We watched the elites start and quickly disappear down Bute Street, then nervously waited for the start of our race.
Things I remember from the mile:
- A klaxon noise started the race
- A poor girl took a tumble at the start of the race (an adult was there immediately to assist)
- Lots of cheering along Bute Street (I couldn’t remember anything they said but I assume it was all good)
- Mile breakdown: 0.25 miles felt great, 0.5 miles felt challenged, 0.75 miles deeply, deeply upset
Then just as I was starting to hate the whole business of running the finish line was upon me and it was over, thank goodness. That last bit of a mile race really slaps you in the face and legs and lungs. I couldn’t summon much up for a sprint finish. Still my hard work paid off and I was rewarded with a mile PB of 7’48”! I was over the moon, as I was hoping to beat my 8’24” time, I had no idea I would have the beans to get under 8 minutes! Running elevation swept over me, once I could breathe properly again.
With all of us over the finish line, Jake was suddenly accosted by a BBC news reporter and had to be a talking head about an issue about the Welsh Assembly. I really hope he answered all the questions with metaphors about his mile race. That would have been awesome. (“Yeah I’m really happy with it…Started out strong… Put in the training… Pushed through the pain at the end… Breathing felt steady…I’m sorry, what about the government!?”)
We all got a coveted Bute Town Mile tee and posed for a grumpy post-race photo. Can you see the contrast from the Before photo?
Overall it was an awesome event. It was cheap, fun (well…) and most importantly right outside my house. I will definitely be back to beat my time next year.