I first found out about the inaugural Hackney Half Marathon on Runners World around 7 weeks ago. Hackney seemed the most unlikely place to find a Half Marathon, but there was already a lot of hype surrounding this new event, so I decided to sign-up.
Up until the event, the team were very interactive, providing information on both Facebook and twitter. I received my race pack well in advance, which included a small race booklet and my race bib (with an attached chip on the revers side, instead of an IPICO shoe chip).
I arrived at the race village in Hackney Marshes around 8am, which had a really great atmosphere. There was plenty of space to warm-up and the race pens were clearly labelled with anticipated finish times.
The race began shortly after 9am, and I was ready to go! The weather was pretty hot throughout the event, and the course itself was fairly undulating. Definitely not as “flat as a pancake” as advertised! I counted four water stations on-route, with water provided in pouches as opposed to bottles. I did not mind this at all. Lucozade sport elite was provided at mile 8, which unfortunately was quite warm. I ran with this and a water pouch for around 1km, before discarding the Lucozade bottle (I am fairly used to running with a water bottle, but not with both hands occupied!).
The streets of hackney were filled with residents, particularly around the High Streets. After reaching the Olympic Village section of the course, around mile 10-12, I was really beginning to feel the heat. With no areas of shade and a few minor inclines, I kept pushing forward knowing that the end was not far. A few other runners were definitely feeling the heat, as people began to walk/slow their pace.
Just before entering the race village, we were spurred on again by a tonne of spectators. Just before entering the Marshes, I went for a sprint finish (or what felt like a sprint after 13.1 miles!) and made a dash for the finish line, completing the course in 1:37:31. Okay, so no new personal best, but it was a damn hot day!
All in all, a very well organised event which I thoroughly enjoyed. Will I be back next year? For sure!