Alfie's Army 2017

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Alfie’s back! We’re delighted to confirm that Alfie, alongside Run4Wales (organisers of the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon) and international running coach James Thie, is going to help train up 100 novice runners for this years’ Cardiff Half Marathon. So if you’re aged 17-21, and fancy the challenge of a lifetime, read on….

Who Can Apply?

This year Run4Wales have 100 free places for the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon to give away to Welsh teenagers under the Alfie’s Army banner. We are looking for 20 teams of 5 people per team to make up the 100. To apply, you need to be aged between 17-21 on the day of the Half Marathon (Sunday October 1st 2017), and you must be a novice runner who has never taken part in any running event over 5 kilometres in length.

What To Expect?

To get you fit and up to scratch for the half marathon, you will go through a step-by-step 16-week training programme. This programme has been put together by international running coach James Thie and Run4Wales. You will receive a weekly training plan, with support (see below). 

The programme is fully tried and tested, and in the past 3 years over 200 novice runners of all ages and abilities have successfully completed the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon by following it. Our youngest runner was 17, our oldest 63. It is a step-by-step programme. If you follow it closely, you will definitely go from couch potato to 21 kilometres in under 4 months.

The TV Series

As part of the Alfie’s Army 2017 experience, TWO of the twenty teams will be filmed going through their training programme for a BBC1 Wales TV series. The other 18 teams will not appear in the main body of the TV programmes, but will be featured on Half Marathon Day for both the Alfie’s Army series and the live BBC1 Wales race coverage.

The Support

A very big part of the whole experience is that self-motivation is key to completing the challenge. This is why Alfie’s Army will be made up of teams, and not individuals – then you can support each other. Alfie, James and Run 4 Wales can give you the tools to take on the challenge, but only you can train your body and your mind to complete it.

Having said that, you will be offered a wide range of help and support throughout the 16 weeks, including:

•    There will be a launch day at the beginning of the training programme, where you will get to meet all of the other teams training for Alfie’s Army 2017. Alfie will be there himself to give you all a pep talk.
•    You will receive a weekly training programme from James Thie.
•    You will receive advice on nutrition and hydration.
•    There will be a private, invite only Alfie’s Army 2017 Facebook Group. This is only open to the 100. Through this group you can swop tips, advice and anecdotes with other Alfie’s Army 2017 members. 
•    This is a 24/7 site which means you can always be in contact with one of the experts for help and support. You can also directly message training guru James Thie, and the support team at Run4Wales. 
•    We also use this site to post regular video messages from Alfie and the training team.
•    We will arrange two landmark events over the course of your training programme: getting together all 100 to run a 5k race and a 10k race as part of your preparations. Last year the 10k race was run from Cardiff Castle.
•    We are hoping to appoint a local ‘guru’ for each of the 20 teams. This guru will be one of last year’s ‘Alfie’s Angels’ who successfully completed the challenge. This person will know exactly what you’re up against, and exactly what you are going through, and will be able to offer invaluable help and advice. 

Gareth ‘Alfie’ Thomas

We need to make it clear that although Alfie has developed this training programme with James Thie and Run4Wales, he will not be there in person to take you through this process for 16 weeks. You will however get the chance to meet, chat and interact with Alfie in person on the following occasions:
•    The Alfie’s Army 2017 launch day.
•    The 10k run.
•    An eve-of-the Half Marathon get together.
•    Half Marathon Day – Alfie will run the race with Alfie’s Army 2017.

If you're interested in taking part, email with a short video of yourself and your team mates explaining a bit about yourselves and why you'd like to take part!