Run Hackney Half Marathon Race Recap

I clearly remember my first half marathon– after all, it was less than a year ago! Last weekend I had the privilege to run with one of my best friends as she completed her first 13.1 and I’m still filled with incredible pride and happiness that I got to share that with her.
Leading up to Run Hackney my longest run had been 9miles- I was feeling a little undertrained and was intending just to take it slow and enjoy running in a new-to-me part of London.
Jo had been struggling with an injury and wasn’t sure if she was going to race at all, but messaged me the morning of the race saying she was going to give it a try but pull out if things flared up or became too painful- after all the hard work and dedication in training, it would be tough to not turn up at the start line and I totally understood how she felt.

Run Hackney Half Marathon race recap

The journey to Hackney Marshes seemed to take forever from Croydon- 6am starts are never fun, but I ate my usual pre-race breakfast along the way, and emerged into the crowd of runners about 8:15am. The toilet queues were long but moved quickly, and I managed to catch up with a few Team Naturally Run ladies in the baggage drop area. Just before 9am I headed to the pens with Emma to repeat our start line warm-up and chat as we did at Brighton Half!

Run Hackney Half Marathon race recap

There were a lot of runners (13,000), and as we were right at the back, it took a good 20minutes to get across the start line but eventually we were on our way!

Run Hackney Half Marathon race recap
Copyright – Anthony Upton

I ran the first half an hour with Emma, chatting and trying to get into my groove. The course passes back on itself in a few places, and I managed to spot Jo running with her brother on the other side of the road, having started further up in the pens.  When Emma took off at the first water station, I made it my mission to catch Jo up!
We spent the rest of the race together run-walking our way towards the finish line.

Run Hackney Half Marathon race recap
Copyright – Anthony Upton

The first 8 miles of the course felt comfortable to me, although I didn’t think it was particularly scenic, being mostly urban streets- some more rundown than others. We did pass some interesting features though, and Jo being a local, distracted us with bits of trivia about the area!

Run Hackney Half Marathon race recap
Copyright – Anthony Upton

The biggest disappointment was when we were approaching the Lucozade Sport refuelling station, only to discover they’d run out and there were piles and piles of still mostly full bottles being swept up by the side of the road. I know I was tempted to just grab one, seeing as most had clearly been chucked away by runners after just one swig! There needs to be some rethinking regarding water stations generally in races – so many plastic bottles being thrown away, mostly still full, can’t be good for the environment, or for the race organisers budget- which then gets passed on in inflated entry fees to the runners!

Run Hackney Half Marathon race recap
Copyright – Anthony Upton

Anyway, I continued to sip water from a bottle, and took two salted caramel Gu gels at 1hour and 2hours. The last 3 miles were through the Olympic Park which was quite fun, but by this point my hips were screaming at me, feeling very tight and achey. I think the other 2 were feeling it as well- the sun was shining, making it a really warm day for running and my face was crusted with salty sweat. Running through the mist shower at about 11miles was such a good feeling!
We powered on, with me pointing out the photographers to Jo and Chris so we smiled and laughed and made faces for them! I haven’t bought any of the photos and didn’t want to share a “proof” on the blog, EDIT – Jo bought one of the photos and shared it with me- they managed to capture some great shots, and I particularly love this image!

Run Hackney Half Marathon Race Recap
Photo from Sportcam

The last mile slowly ticked by (despite being told “it’s only a mile” for quite a lot longer than a mile!) and then we were turning back down to Hackney Marshes with the finish line in sight. I grabbed Jo’s hand and we charged down the last 100m!
After being handed our medals there was a very sweaty group hug!
We made our way through the finishing funnel which was very well organised, (and with much better stash than at Brighton, considering they’re both Vitality Races), and were handed a t-shirt (sizes very big though), bounce ball, iced tea, water, banana.

Run Hackney Half Marathon race recap

I was so proud of Jo and her brother for finishing strong, especially with injury niggles and completing the distance – a half marathon is a huge achievement. Even though I’ve now completed four I definitely don’t think “oh, it’s only a half marathon” and I’m glad I had her to run with as I don’t think I’d have enjoyed it so much otherwise.

Run Hackney Half Marathon race recap

We collapsed on the grass after collecting our bags, and refuelled and stretched, before heading to grab a celebratory drink. All the pubs were heaving with runners with the same idea, so we ended up getting some cans and chilling in the park instead 🙂

Run Hackney Half Marathon race recap

I then headed home to ice bath, put my compression socks on and stuff my face with food! We were a little red-faced (sunburnt) and achey but nothing beats that feeling of having run with friends and added another awesome bit of bling to my collection!

Run Hackney Half Marathon race recap
Did you race at Run Hackney? Have you ever helped a friend to achieve an awesome goal? And how do you deal with running on hot days? I have some lovely tan lines now!
Thanks to all the spectators for cheering us on, providing jelly babies and yells of encouragement – including Becca Jones and Lissy with the awesome Run Dem Crew, and to Action PR and Vitality for the complimentary race entry.

Beki x

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  1. Maria May 19, 2015 / 6:29 am

    Well done! Cool medal too, and I love the phrase on the t-shirt (although shame about the size).
    The vitality series is pretty new I think, and they have taken over older runs (eg Brighton and Bath were half marathons before being taken in by the series) and they all seem different- eg at Brighton there was no technical t-shirt.
    I really hate it when races have bottles of water- perhaps they are slightly easier to drink from, but they are such a waste. No one needs a bottle of water while they are running, and I think it encourages people to drink more, which is more dangerous than getting a bit dehydrated, and also the mess and expense is so much worse. At the Brighton marathon they had cups, which meant the water stations were much more frequent (every mile after the first few) which is much better as you could have a sip each mile instead of carrying a bottle too.

  2. Beki Cadd May 22, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    Thanks Maria! Cups are harder to drink from unless you stop and walk, but more frequent water stations are always good. I'm sure there's a perfect solution out there!

  3. Elle Linton June 5, 2015 / 9:47 pm

    LOVE, love love that picture of the three of you! It's exactly what running should be about! Congrats again on a great race! Best weather we've had all year, that day, huh?! lol x

  4. thesilvahlining June 7, 2015 / 5:12 pm

    Great recap Beki! Thanks for linking up with us again!

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