Recently I ran the Hackney Half, in London. The run was organised by Virgin Sport. I decided to run this race because my friend asked me (well she gave me the options of the Hackney Half or Manchester Half and as I had already ran the Manchester 10k a couple of years back. I decided to run Hackney as something different and it was the only race in London I would probably ever do).
I was given my race pack about a couple of weeks before the day. It contained the usual number, letter with information on and a clear plastic bag where we would have to take all our belongings with on the day. As the race started early I had to travel down to London the night before, so I had a lovely Saturday afternoon going to a food market and a trip to the Imperial War Museum.
The next day we took the tube from Camden to Hackney. A short walk from the tube station and we arrived on this massive field where what only good be described as a festival atmosphere. The event organisers put on a lot of events throughout the weekend (calling it the Hackney Festival of Fitness) with different fitness classes, a showing of Cool Runnings and lots of food stalls. On the day, again, there was stalls full of independent food eateries, on the back there was all the bag drops and sandwiching them together were lots of porta loos! We dropped our bags off fairly quickly as there was no queue. Then headed over to the porta loos for one last pee before starting.
I had to say it took ages to get out of the starting gate. I was in the last group which didn’t help. A person on the tannoy said it was because there was a hazard on the course. When I was running through the start line it seemed the rubber sheeting that is laid on the bottom when you go was loose curling up at the ends. Having never been in Hackney before (other than to go to the Paralympic Opening Ceremony seven years ago) therefore I wasn’t sure what to expect. The route was fairly flat and it was quite warm (warmer than Stafford where it hailed in the last few miles!). Online it said the route went through the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. However I wouldn’t say it went through the park but mainly ran alongside the park. The weather was warm and I was regretting not wearing suncream! There were plenty of people cheering us on which was lovely!
The drinks stations were a bit of a mare. They were not ready for us which meant at points queuing up. Some of the stations also had drinks with electrolytes in from Nuun electrolyte. At one station it wasn’t clear until you had drunk it- ok for me but maybe not for some with sensitive stomachs. I cannot remember any food been given out. There were some gummies I think, but don’t quote me on this by Powergel and also a stall with Kind bars, which I grabbed. I did heavily rely on the jelly babies that were given out by the public!
One of the highlights of the route was running through where Run Dem Crew was based. There was such a carnival atmosphere with confetti everywhere, dancing, cool music. They were really supportive.
I finished the race in 2hr.18min and the medal although at first I didn’t like. I really like it now. It is very edgy (I think trying to play along with Hackney’s edginess) and with Nike as a sponsor it had the Nike logo on. I don’t think I will ever get a medal again with the Nike logo on! The race pack, I had to admit was INSANE! there was Emily Sweet Potato Crisps, first time I had ate the Sweet Potato Crisps from that brand and they were great! There was a full sized Kind bar (those bars are sooo good!), a can of beer from Michelob Ultra, some coconut flakes (I gave those away to my friend Soph!). A wicked Nike technical shirt (I know I am going to wear it pretty much all of the time!).
The price of the Half Marathon was £54 with a further £6.00 to get your race number delivered. It was incredibly expensive, I think they should have tiered tickets as I was literally going to only go for the race but felt that the ticket was subsidising for everything else but I do think it was worthwhile.
Did you run the Hackney half this year?