It feels like I’ve barely had time to catch my breath after my unforgettable day at the London Marathon just three weeks ago, yet my next race has already come around; the Hackney Half marathon!
Being an East Londoner, I had often thought about taking part in the Hackney Half, held just a few miles from where I live, and this year seemed the perfect time to give it a go. My post London Marathon training didn’t exactly go according to plan, with an unexpected minor operation leaving me unable to run at all for two of the past three weeks. I took the enforced rest period as an opportunity to just let my legs and feet heal up and fully recover from the marathon battering they had taken, which in hindsight, was probably not a bad idea.
The best thing about taking part in a local event was seeing so many familiar faces around, and we had a great turn out from parkrun regulars and my Tuesday night training group. I met up with my friends from #TeamSpinal, who all run races in support of Spinal Research, as I will be doing at the Berlin Marathon later this year!
The race was much bigger than I had realised, with nearly 18,000 runners completing the half marathon, and many thousands more signed up for the earlier 5km event. It took a good thirty minutes to get across the congested start line, by which point I had already become separated from the 2:15 pacer that I had been hoping to follow. Not a great start! I found the first 10km reasonably hard going, trying and failing to catch up with the pacer, before resigning myself to just run at my own pace. After making that decision I found the second half of the race much more enjoyable! In the end, I managed to get round in 2:17, not too far off my target time, and still a nice 2 minute PB improvement over my previous best time set at the Big Half in March.
Some things I liked about the race:
- Hackney goes Plastic Free! Yes, it is a little more annoying to drink out of recyclable cups rather than bottles, but by making this switch, over 200,000 plastic bottles were spared. I can see a lot more races moving over to this kind of system in the future.
- The tracking app! I really love when I can track my friends at races, there’s something heartwarming about seeing those little dots moving around the map closer and closer to the finish. Even as a runner I could still enjoy the tracking, as the app sent notifications to my watch every time a friend went over a 5km checkpoint.
- The goodies! I really appreciated having a race t-shirt in a ladies cut for once, thank you Hackney! Add to that the funky medal, great snacks, and the ice-cold Michelob beer you were handed at the finish line in a smart re-usable cotton bag, and it felt like a great selection of treats.
Hackney will be my last long-distance race for a couple of months. I’m planning to spend the early part of the summer focusing more on speed, fitness and strength, and going all out for a new 5km and 10km PB!