She Runs Cardiff provides company and safety for women across the city. Credit: Amy Earlam
She Runs Cardiff provides company and safety for women across the city. Credit: Amy Earlam

Friends, flats and art installations help make Cardiff one of UK’s best cities for runners

Cardiff had two locations in a new top 10 of UK running routes – but why?

GREEN spaces scattered around the city, running clubs for people of all abilities and regular art exhibitions are just some of the elements that make Cardiff a great spot for runners.

The area, which is home to several popular routes such as Roath Park, Castell Coch and Cosmeston Lake, hosts regular races and events throughout the year.

According to a study (based on 100,000 TripAdvisor reviews) Bute Park is currently ranked the third-best running spot in the UK while Cardiff Bay stands in sixth place.

Amy Earlam from Roath is a committee member at She Runs Cardiff, a running group for women of all ages across the city.

Ms Earlam believes that Cardiff is deserving of these rankings due to the variety that the running scene has to offer.

One of the She Runs Cardiff running groups
Credit: She Runs Cardiff

“The Bay is great as you can run along the barrage and have a view of the sea without having to cross many roads,” said the 45-year-old.

“There are just so many different types of running routes you can do – different terrains, different parks and distances.

“Cardiff’s also quite a flat city which makes running more accessible for a wider group of people.”

The club was set up in October 2019 with running groups now taking place two days a week – on Wednesdays and Sundays.

“Our tagline is that running is for everyone so a group of us got together to do that,” said Ms Earlam.

She said that traditional running clubs tend to be competitive and often male-dominated, leaving a gap for a group like She Runs where there’s a more sociable aspect of having “a run and a chat”.

The club uses a running buddy system, meaning no one has to run alone.

One of the night-time running groups
Credit: She Runs Cardiff

Runners of all paces can buddy up, which Ms Earlam says boosts confidence by taking away the pressure from being at the back of the group.

Social runs are held on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, while members of the group will sometimes meet as early as 6 am for some company on their run.

She also said that the opportunity to have a chat while running helps takes minds off the difficulty of the run ahead.

“People make great friends through this shared experience of running,” she said.

“There’s so much to see in Cardiff and art exhibitions are great initiatives, for example, the Snoopy Dog Trail last year.

“Cardiff is also just beautiful as it has hidden bits of nature you can explore within the city like Bute Park.”

Despite all that Cardiff has to offer for runners there’s still some concern surrounding safety, particularly at night.

In 2021, only around 40% of women in Cardiff felt safe running alone at night according to Run4Wales.

She Runs Cardiff getting together in Roath Park
Credit: She Runs Cardiff

“As a Council, we are committed to tackling inequality, and ensuring women’s safety and equality is a top priority,” said Cardiff Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Sarah Merry.

It was also announced in early 2022 that six new CCTV cameras were to be installed around Bute park.

Ffion Bethan lives in Penarth and often goes running with CDF Runners in the Bay area during the evenings.

“I regularly ran around the Bay alone and felt comfortable doing so as it was a well-lit area which was always well populated,” said the 25-year-old.

“However, as it got darker, and women’s safety was increasingly discussed on the news I decided to seek out a club.”

Ms Bethan decided to join CDF Runners after seeing their group on social media as they appeared friendly and were also local to her.

When she first joined the group, she had just moved to Cardiff and wanted to meet new people.

“I’ve been a member of CDF Runners for a year now and enjoy the sessions and I have made good friends at the club,” she said.

“They have introduced me to new routes and races, and this has helped me settle in the city.”

Those looking to get involved with a running group in Cardiff can learn more on the She Runs or CDF Runners websites.