Half Hooked | Eclectic Cake: Half Hooked

Monday, 3 March 2014

Half Hooked

Before I'd even crossed the finish line, before I was even half way, even before the race bib for my very first 13.1 was secured, I knew half marathons were for me. They're short enough to know you'll survive but long enough to feel like a hero when you're done. And even now, with a blue swollen toe and chronic DOMS that would make Bambi look stable, I'm excited to do it all over again. The question is, where?

Leave your playlist at home, this worldwide race format marks every mile with a band or DJ playing a mix of music to keep spirits high. And once you've finished, the party continues at the finish line festival. I'd originally already signed up for the Edinburgh version but that has sadly been cancelled, so perhaps the home of the Fab Four can become the perfect substitute. Otherwise, for sun seekers with itchy feet, there are plenty of stops on the Rock 'n' Roll tour to choose from.

22nd June 2014
This new kid on the block promises to be a good one. With a route that takes you through the borough's finest, including Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, you should be nicely distracted from shouty and tired legs. Act quick enough and you can still get early bird price for this brand new shiny event.

14th September 2014
This hilly course is not for the PB chasers. Instead the focus is on fun, with fancy dress encouraged and feed stations stocked with wine and nibbles. Walkers are also welcome to take up to seven hours to enjoy the countryside route. It sounds like a wonderful welcoming, no pressure half.

28th September 2014
If it's support that gets you through a half, this is your race. Small and friendly, it was voted number one for atmosphere last year (only its third ever) so is set to be great again. As my local, it only makes sense to trot over and join the party.

A favourite of many, this 20,000 competitor race is entered by ballot. Those lucky enough to get a place are invited to take part in a bit of running tourism, as this route takes you through London's most beautiful spots. A bit of a pricey one but the proceeds go towards the upkeep of our capital's greenest spaces. The ballot closes today so try your luck here now.

TBC early 2014
My first and favourite, also the town where I was born, so this really is my homecoming half. Despite a few lumpy bits, it's a fast and flat course set up for coveted PBs. I shall certainly be back!

Have I gathered a choice of the best half marathon races out there or am I missing out on some beauties?

My half marathon wish list was made using the social event search site, Race Day.


  1. If you are thinking of doing the Royal Parks (and you must, it's great) then you need to enter the ballot here: http://royalparkshalf.com/take_part/ballot. There is also the Hackney Marshes half, run by Unity Fitness and Dance which is a lovely half. If you are after a decentish time then avoid Run To The Beat, it is so busy and hilly it's very difficult to get round without slowing to a walk at some points. Good luck!

  2. Grunty Fen HM in September http://www.elyrunners.co.uk/gruntyfen/
    It is fairly flat so has reasonable PB potential, though being in the Fens parts of the course are exposed to the wind. There are some long straight roads as well. Small and friendly, I marshalled last year and have signed up to run this year (first one!).