Race Report: Hackney Half, 2015 | Eclectic Cake: Race Report: Hackney Half, 2015

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Race Report: Hackney Half, 2015

WHAT: Half Marathon
WHERE: Hackney Marshes, London
WHEN: 10th May 2015


A race village sets the mood for the event. So with its festival-like middle-of-a-field setting, energetic music (both live and from the organisers’ record collection) and relaxed atmosphere, Vitality Hackney Half Marathon feels like a bit of a party – a celebration of running.

It seems the sun always shines in Hackney. Despite the earlier start time and date to avoid another heat fest like the one we unexpectedly suffered last year, it was another hot day. But I can’t imagine this race working in the rain. You’d lose the pre-race fuelling picnics, post-run snoozes on the grass and, crucially, there’d be less support.


Funnelling across the start line, we were waved off by cheering crowds, which didn’t really end. The course wiggles around Hackney, whose residents, shoppers and coffee drinkers were kind enough to offer their support (and even bottles of water in some cases) as we battled the baking sun. Each corner turned, brought more shouts and banner and music to power us throughout the miles.


I needed it. After a relaxed start, taking selfies with friends – how else will people on Instagram know I’m running a half marathon?! – I sped up and seemed to be able to hold on to a quick pace that might earn me a PB but was just comfortable enough to not kill me over the 13.1 miles.


I’d not been training towards a faster time. Had I planned running a PB, I probably wouldn’t have messed around at the start. But someone in the morning had planted a seed that had grown into possibility. My race maths is awful – I had to stop myself celebrating the half-way mark at mile 6, again! – but a quick guesstimation showed I could probably do it.



The final three miles in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park were happily unlike the switch-backs of doom from last year as the route continued to be interesting with plenty of corners and undulations, taking you down each path only once. But the lack of shade had melted my brain and I couldn’t work out how fast I had to run.


It was only as I heard the thump of the race village music again, that I could stare at my watch in disbelief, knowing I’d run faster than ever. Once again I staggered from the marshes slightly pink and frazzled but with a new PB and a hefty medal slung around my neck.

Pre-registration has opened for Run Hackney 2016. Sign up here.

Thank you to Run Hackney for my place.

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