Joanna James

Ammanford, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Member since May 2017

My Completed Races

Admiral Swansea Bay 10k
Swansea Half Marathon
Race for Life - Pretty Muddy Swansea
Duathlon Cymru
Vivo Barefoot Wales Marathon

My Latest Reviews

Completed as a first timer in 2017


2nd Tri

Carmarthen Sprint Triathlon

Driving to Carmarthen in the dark with the weather forecast looking worse than awful I told myself I won't sign up for this next year!

I knew where the Leisure Centre start was but signposts were handy anyway. Plenty of parking when I arrived. Very friendly and helpful Marshals. Registration was on the Sunday morning (the Saturday had been cancelled). Racked up in the dark and rain had started (this is October in Wales after all).

If I'd been a spectator I'd have loved the pool viewing area! Nice clean facilities, pool looked inviting which helped to calm the nerves a bit!

Bike course to Llansteffan was easy to follow (felt uphill all the way there to me and all the way back but as a newbie that's just my fitness and forgetting to check my tyres didn't help

Posted on 12.10.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Rainy Swansea Bay 10k

Admiral Swansea Bay 10k

Starting right st the beginning here - I tried to sign up for the 10k early on in the year but found entries closed. Only found out entries had re-opened by chance (not sure if there was an early bird cutoff or similar) some friends were unlucky & missed the final cut-off (had warned them though lol)

Got to Swansea early enough to park close to start, didn't use official car-park but looked like there was still room in it. Long queue for toilets by race village but no one waiting for car park ones *special note* cleanest portaloo I have ever used! There was actually toilet paper and hand sanitiser left! (Also an empty cider can but I'll assume that was from night before

Posted on 30.09.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Running Muddy & Raising Money

Race for Life - Pretty Muddy Swansea

I have been putting off writing this for a while, mainly because I was disappointed with some things and haven't been quite sure how to review a charity race sounding uncharitable!

Registration easy & as friends had already registered I could just choose their start time from drop down, numbers arrived well in advance of race (so far in advance I put it in a 'safe place' and had trouble finding it), just turn up wearing number on the day and good to go,

No sign posts for parking that we saw, no signs to race on way into Singleton park (may have been at other entrances?) walked for ages before thinking we should turn around and try different entrance when kind gentlemen gave us directions (by coincidence we got stopped for directions on our way out in exactly same spot so not just us lost).

Once at race start, plenty of toilet cubicals, Cancer Research tent shop, registration on day too, food van, bouncy slide for kids etc.

Called forward to 'warm-up pen' 15mins before your start for warm up dance and race brief - actually quite fun! 

Run through Singleton Park extra muddy as had heavy rain the night before, obstacles were good variety (tunnels, cargo nets, even Space Hoppers, all not compulsory), most marshals were good - tipping more mud or squirting you with water, others weren't as encouraging as marshals I've seen on other races which was disappointing considering how fun this type of race should be.

Local support- busy at start and finish with family friends etc but through the park nothing, people out on their Saturday stroll through the park just ignoring you as you run/walk/jog past covered in mud!? Couldn't believe a group of people purposely walking into our path at one point! Even people with earlier start times walking past with medals just ignoring you without a word of encouragement! No 'Well done' no 'Keep going' nothing! Very odd compared to more so called 'serious' running races where I've seen so much more camaraderie.

Slide down to finish line where given water bottle, Race For Life medal and empty bag (we thought it was goody bag but assume actually for muddy clothes lol).

5k only option for Swansea this time, think I'd be more likely to do Cardiff 10k version again before this one. Fun with friends and raised money so guess job done.

Posted on 06.08.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Tenby Half (My Goal Race) Hilly, Hot, Awesome

Vivo Barefoot Wales Marathon

Stayed down Tenby for whole of Long Course Weekend - we've cheered on friends before here especially for ironman but starting my running journey, the Tenby Half Marathon was my goal race for the year.

Registration was easy (& had extra parking) at the Leisure centre and expo. No queues when I went Saturday morning, got race number and athlete wrist band (and black LCW band for discounts in Tenby!).

The Half Marathon starts from Pembroke Castle and ends in Tenby (full goes from Tenby to Pembroke castle then back) so be aware that with Road closures etc you need to either find your own way there or book on the busses available. When signing up I booked a place on the bus & luckily asked at the information desk about road closures into town for the morning - was told email I'd received with pick-up place was wrong and meeting place was by the Old Wall (was more worried about missing the bus by now than the actual race!)

Pick-up time was 9.30 with a twenty'ish minute drive to the castle. With the Half not starting till 12 there's a lot of time to kill!

Race briefing was straightforward.

Samba band parade you through streets to the starting line! Awesome cheering on some of the Marathoners already on their way back to Tenby. And spectators cheering you on in turn.

Then the sun came out!

Less than a mile up the road was a kind local with a hosepipe (the first of possibly 10 in total much needed along the route!) plenty of friendly people sat in their front gardens giving you encouragement, cheers, water and jelly babies as you go.

More water stops than were mentioned in Race pack (some I think thanks to locals with tables and water jugs) official stations were well manned. Cups not bottles and strict disqualification if you litter past eco zones. Two stations also had bananas, energy drink, sweets etc.

Route is hilly! But there was extra encouragement from spectators on the worse ones! Beautiful views though, especially looking down to Manorbie.

Great to have the 'run with your loved ones' so the 9 year old could give me all the motivational quotes he could think of on the finishing stretch!! He met me well away from the finish line so got everything from 'you can do it' to 'finish strong' 'cmon nice fast finish Mami!' 

Medal was huge and Welsh Dragon shaped, finish line also had bananas, sweets & water.

So, I found it tough but I find running in general tough and I finished Tenby with a huge smile on my face, came away feeling awesome and eager to sign up for more next year!! The lovely owner of the campsite we stayed in said 'It's so great that you're able to do something like this and enjoy as a family' and with our 9year old Swim-Running with the Taff Kids race on the Friday, Husband cycling on the Saturday and my run Sunday the whole Long Course Weekend gets a huge thumbs up from us!! :)


Posted on 11.07.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


First Half (hopefully not my last)

Swansea Half Marathon

Watched and cheered from the sidelines last year.

Good pre-race info sent out (especially with regard to increased security/bag drop etc)

Clear directions from stage for elite and non-elite for start line etc.

Course ran from high street  up the Kingsway round back to the castle, the Lc2 and then the long straight stretch down to Mumbles, loop round at Verdi's then back. Great views. Wind Street is the probably the hardest part as you're near the end and partly cobbled BUT that's where the most support is too!

Plenty of water stations (with bottles) couple of gel stations too, portaloos on route.

Support- didnt wear earphones (forgot they didn't work with my phone) and was really great to hear shouts from the crowd. Obviously more at the start and end but there were some dotted about all the way. People eating icecream by the sea cheering us on! And even a Donald Trump with a welcome hosepipe to cool us down!

The Marshals were awesome! Easy to see and friendly! Encouraging without being annoying. Great!

All good!

Will sign up for next year and hopefully improve my time, which brings me to my only criticism... I am slow, I know I'm slow I'm trying not to be that's why I run but this meant that by the time I finished (3hr12) there were no small t-shirts left, no bananas and no goodie bags (apparently there was some sort of bar in there, popcorn, joint ease vitamins etc).

The finisher t-shirts are nice bright tech ones though (pink this year) and the Medal was great! Big without being ott and nicely detailed.

Posted on 26.06.17

Completed in 2017


Women's running 10k no2

Women's Running 10k Cardiff

Ran this course 2 years ago (furthest I'd been then and again until a fortnight ago!) route through Bute park changed just slightly since then.

Husband and 9year old were bribed to come with me with the 'family Mile' race booked after the 10k and the medal they'd get too as an incentive! Easy to pick up numbers for this from the desk on the day (were helpful even when Husband lost my number while I ran the 10k)

Was a hot one so was glad of a couple of water stations. 

Nice flat route (compared to our hilly village) only inclines really were bridges, mainly path but some grass, friendly helpful marshals, 5k and 10k route and loops clearly marked.

Medal, t-shirt and goody bag for finishers and chance for children to join in crossing the finish line.

Will run again next year :)


Posted on 31.05.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Would do again

I'd race this again!

I registered the day before but as there was no signs I went to the wrong entrance to Margam park ( helpful staff pointed me in right direction).

Run course (mainly paved) went around Margam Castle following off road trail. Tiny little extra loop near 5k end that some missed arrow for so perhaps couple extra marshals needed. 

Bike - Route little confusing for those doing longer route especially. (But then after doing it all you could understand) Only 2 marshals at exit from Margam park then couple at end roundabout. Lots of riders looping round wrong roundabouts. More signs would be great. I liked the course (except for the very busy with traffic main roundabout).

Last run was short. (Few people complained about distances but there's been a lot of that in press recently so maybe we're just more aware with our garmins etc)

I found just water & a tshirt at the end (apparently sweets too but must have missed those or couldn't see in my tiredness!) NO medal as promised- boo.

volunteers I talked to were all friendly & helpful

Posted on 01.05.17