Cat Johnson

Cardiff, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Member since Oct 2017

My Completed Races

Royal Welsh Trail Running Festival
Stroud Half Marathon
Cardiff 5K and 10K MoRun
River Thames Half Marathon
Manchester Half Marathon

My Latest Reviews

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Wish I’d worn my trail shoes

as this was my last HM for October 5/5, I was looking forward to it, especially running along the River Thames. A lot of the race was on the towpath (perhaps I should have checked the route closer before the run) lots of leaves, tree stumps and muddy puddles. The first 5k is a loop of the first part of the course, which put me off slightly, then a long trek down the towpath along the river. Lots of dodging tree stumps, which had been painted orange for ease of seeing them on the route. Not a lot of crowd support and my biggest bug bear cups of water, not bottles... sorry but I can’t run and drink from a cup. The views were lovely, nice to have a nosey at some of the houseboats on the river but not my favourite race I have to be honest. Medal was nice, goody bag was good too. Pedestrians on some of the route with families & buggies so had to avoid some of them. I did like the fact there was a timer at the end of the race so it flashed up your finish time when you hit the mats. I’d wear trail shoes if I was running this again. Marshalls were placed well around the course, except for the section around 9 miles where the route goes back to road. The tree stumps on the pavements were HUGE! More like hurdles! Beware of those! Parking was easy enough on the day. My other half really enjoyed it though so each to their own but Definitely one to do for a challenge. 

Posted on 18.12.17

Completed in 2017


Get yourself booked in!

Stroud Half Marathon

I’m going to be totally honest here...... I decided this year for my charity challenge I was going to complete 5 half marathons in October, so one every Sunday for 5 weeks.... when I started my challenge I’d picked some big races, Cardiff Half, Royal Parks Half, Manchester Half so looking around for a half on 4th week Oct nearer to Home was proving challenging.... I saw Stroud and decided I would use this race to complete my 5 for the month.... because I’d picked such big attendance races, I hadn’t been looking forward to this from the time I booked it. It was kind of a ‘filler race’ as I needed a HM for that week. I did have an awards ceremony the evening before as well, which meant a late night before this race and promised myself I wasn’t drinking.... but I won Welsh Athletics Run Leader of the year.... so, 2 glasses of Moët, 2 large G&T’s & 2 glasses of red wine later I failed. I’d also only had 5 hours sleep before getting up for the race, so was dreading it even more. When I arrived, hungover & tired, Marshalls were still setting up the timing pads & barriers, so concerned me even more. 

My hangover and my head said ‘just run it and finish... not pressure or need for a PB today’. 

(I did see a racecheck #teamwhite visor in the starting pen too!) 

Anyway..... my fears and dread were totally alleviated! what a lovely race! I throughly enjoyed it. The route was fab, lots of winding lanes and little villages, quite bizzare running down the main roads with the traffic (the marshalls had coned off areas for us to run in on the main roads), lots of lovely little gradients and a not to steep hill but challenging enough around the 10k mark with a lot of spectator support at the top (outside the pub!)  Hats off to the marshalls on the one main roundabout, stopping the traffic for us to run round it too. Really surprised at the amount of crowd support because of the route, there were little pockets of supporters on the way round which were much appreciated. 

The constant gradient running towards the finish line for about 1.5 miles was a great last push for the finish too. 

As it wasn’t a huge race (even though it was sold out), the commentator at the finish line called everyone’s names out as you crossed the line.

Even in my hungover state, I still managed 1:46:54 (32 secs off my PB) with the course not being flat. Perhaps drinking is the way forward before a race? :-) 

Nice bit of bling (always important!) and tshirt. 

Not so great bits..... no tracker app, so I did a Facebook live at mile 10! Water in cups at the water stations & mile 9-10 was a bit bleak around the industrial estate but apart from that, it’s a good race. Good value for money & I’ll definitely be running it again. Well done Stroud Half for exceeding expectations on what I thought would be my worst one of 5 HM’s. 

Posted on 28.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Great PB course!

Manchester Half Marathon

First time for me at MCR Half today so was a little apprehensive not knowing my surroundings but I not needed have worried! Stayed in the Hilton hotel overnight on Saturday which was hosting the runners village in the car park, so didn't have far to go on leaving the hotel this morning to the start line. Well organised, good route, not truly flat (only a few slight gradients) but living in Wales I'm used to worse, so it was flat enough for me... Marshall supervision and support was brilliant, as were the crowds and musicians who lined the streets. The choir who were at around mile 3 and then on the return about 22ish got me all emotional! Brilliant!  Never had so many people call my name in a place I didn't know! Loads of water stations (big bonus today as it was sunny and very warm!). Not a very picturesque run but I never see that as an issue. MASSIVE shoutout to the 1:45 pacer in the racecheck Visor and Buff. That guy was Brilliant! I ran just behind him for the first 8-9k and he obviously knew the course, as he warned us of what was coming up (gradients, turns etc) he was continuously supporting & cheering on us runners around him & keeping us up to date on distance done. He got me to my PB!!!! Plenty of water at the finish, nice medal & tshirt and a BEER! Although non alcoholic I think everyone enjoyed it (I'll never turn a beer down!). Instant text at finishing with my time too (that's always a plus for me).... anything to watch out for? There's a road around mile 8/9 which is full of speed bumps...... enjoy the rollercoaster

Posted on 15.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Not the best......

Race for Life - Cardiff

I took part in the 5k & 10k run this year with my Run group.  Where do I start?.....

My 5k bib never arrived (well it did, 2 weeks after I completed the race!!!!) :-)  

10k was short by nearly 2k as someone sabotaged the course the previous night..... not the fault of the organisers though... the run was spent mostly zig zagging the wet grass around coopers field / Bute park, not very well thought out or signposted, especially when there are other races such as St. David's Day Run & Mo Run in the same park with better routes..... way too many pedestrians, bikes & buggies around the course. Maybe a change of route next year? I understand there are limited resources for putting on huge amounts of these runs across the U.K. But a little bit of thought into making the course better, may bring a bigger turnout.

The 5k run was much better than the 10k for the route. 

The Run group enjoyed, we always have fun wherever we go to run and for some of them it was their first race. It's all for a good cause and some of our runners children turned up to watch so we we're allowed to let them have a little run over the finish line without anyone telling us not to do it, plus they were given a medal so it made their day. 


Posted on 12.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Dodge the cow pats!

Royal Welsh Trail Running Festival

My first time for a trail run as I was asked to blog about it and I did the HM! I love a hill and this didn't disappoint! The start was in the royal Welsh showground, so plenty of people around & exhibitors (The hog roast rolls were a winner after the finish!) The HM was 2 laps of the 10k course, so you knew what was coming second round..... and all I could remember was the thick, muddy hill at 6k!!!! Good bits ... challenging, muddy in parts, lovely views, nice wooden bit of bling & good t-shirts. Registration on the day easy.  Not so good bits.... no chip timing, same pens for 10k and HM, no staggered start and the first part of the course was quite narrow trying to get all the runners through. A Marshall sent us the wrong way, so ended up not doing a full HM. On a positive note, this has all been rectified for 2018! (BIG thumbs up to Run4Wales). There WILL be chip timing, staggered start and different pens for 10k & HM runners. Even though I broke my shoe and wanted to give up after the first 10k, I'll definitely run this again! 

Posted on 10.10.17

My fave HM

Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon

if you haven't done CHM yet, what are you waiting for? This has to be my all time fave HM (and not because I'm Welsh!). It's well organised, a brilliant route, crowd support is always amazing (especially from the residents of the old people's home at Roath park who always sit outside and cheer everyone on!). Two little gradients to dig into, especially the one at mile 12, it's not a big hill but sometimes feels like it at that point in the race. Plenty of water stations and volunteers. Running over the barrage & into Cardiff Bay has to be my favourite part. I kind of measure every HM against this one to be honest. You get your finish time text straight after the race and race photos within 24 hours. Loads of local professional photographers come along too and share their photos of the day. Love, love, love it! 

Posted on 08.10.17

comer like its on rails

first time at Royal Parks for me and was really looking forward to it. I was supposed to be in the green pen (I missed my wave due to the toilet queues and ended up in blue wave which was HUGE!), so ended up playing dodge the runner / walker for at least 4 miles. Really lovely run, good course, lots of going back on yourself and corners, so be prepared and check the route in advance. LOADS of water stations though, more than I've seen at any other race so plus points for that. Loads of volunteers to guide you round the course, esp Zig zagging round Hyde park. You get to run through Admiralty arch twice, past the palace twice (I did wave to Liz but she didn't wave back). The charity support support point just before 10k was amazing! All the charities lined up cheering everyone on. Plenty of pacers on the course too. A sustainable race too. The tshirt was made of recyclable material and the medal made from a tree from one of the parks on the course, which is lovely. I'm still waiting for my official finish time, 7 hours after I finished though. Great atmosphere, lovely views and landmarks to run past, hundreds of supporters, just add more toilets next one please! Update.... I may not have had my chip time asap after the race but the email I received the day after was brilliant. Great set of stats about the race / participants, age, gender etc 

Posted on 08.10.17