A Blog by @_jen_mo

Vitality Hackney Half Marathon

Last weekend I did the Vitality Hackney Half Marathon. My focus is Edinburgh Marathon on May 31st but Hackney sounded like a fun race so I signed up. I didn’t know what to expect really, especially as the half was my short run that week (as if a half is short?!). I did 2 half marathons earlier in the year: the 1st I beat my PB by 6 minutes; the 2nd I got my fastest 10k in the 1st half & then fell apart a bit in the 2nd half as I was injured & probably shouldn’t have been running. Being back from injury I did wonder what I could do but there was no tapering involved, I ran 20 miles on the Tuesday before the half marathon.

I’m not very familiar with Hackney but it was easy enough to find with the sea of runners all heading in the same direction. I was going to get off at Stratford & walk from there as that’s what the website advised, but when the tube reached Stratford no one was getting off. I asked the people around me how they were getting there & they told me it was better to go to Luton so I followed them. It was a great atmosphere before I’d even got there. Lot’s of runners heading in the same direction & chatting to each other on the way.

When we arrived at the race village it immediately felt like a festival atmosphere- which it continued to be throughout the day. A band was playing near the entrance to the village & more music inside. I headed straight for the Brooks stand as that’s where the #ukrunchat meeting point was. A few of us met there, it was great to meet some more people from #ukrunchat. I went to put my bag in, which was great as there was no queue. It started warming up so I didn’t even need my jumper I’d brought to chuck away at the start. I’d heard there was a big queue for the toilets but I’d been told about the secret ones behind the tents so I went there & joined the very short queue. By then people had already headed to the starting pens, I couldn’t see the back so I joined some other people jumping the fence to get into the pens. I often do this- but I normally check what pen I’m getting into. I soon realised I was in the 1:15 pen!! No way was I going to run it that fast & a couple of others realised that too so we all made our way back though the runners to get to the right area. I managed to get as far back as 1:45 and it got too congested to move further back so I stayed there (naughty I know but I promise I didn’t get in anyone’s way).

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Before long we were off. The route was great and the crowds were fabulous. It’s not often you get such great crowds for a half. The people of Hackney are a fabulous bunch! They cheered all the way & had signs too. A few were handing out water & sweets too. The water stations along the route were great & much needed- it was quite a hot day so a bit to drink & then some to throw over my head. I saw one run through shower, which was lovely. That’s probably the only thing I think they could improve on- more showers.

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I had one earphone in to listen to music and hear my pace times from my Nike App & left the other one out so I could enjoy the crowd & the bands lining the route. It was great hearing people cheering my name too as I’d written it on my race number. I quite enjoyed getting the crowd going, if they were quiet I’d give them a ‘whoop’ and they’d all start cheering.

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I’d settled into a good pace & knew if I kept it up I could achieve the dream sub-2. As we got closer to the finish the crowds got even thicker and I lapped it up, I was having a great time. Then the finish line appeared and I ran as fast as I could, which felt quick over the springy boards & I crossed the finish line in 1:58:07! I was so happy- I asked a man to take a photo for me & I had a little cry- I don’t often get emotional at the end of races unless they’re big one’s my 1st half, after the London Marathon & a few happy tears for my 1st sub-2. It was my dream target & I didn’t think I’d get there.

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Once I’d tweeted my picture, I went to get my medal, t-shirt & finishers goody bag- a pretty good one too. I laid on the grass to have a bit of a stretch & then went to cheer on the other runners. I managed to spot a couple of the #ukrunchat runners & loved cheering on everyone & seeing the looks of emotion on everyone’s faces as thy got close to the finish line. Then I went to get my bag & once again there was no queue. I had a chat with the guys at the Brooks stand & then met up with a few people. It was like a festival with some great music & people lounging in the sun everywhere.

Then it was time to head home, so I had a quick chat with the guys from Flexiseq Sport and brought myself some as it will help keep my knee issues away. Then I went home for a quick shower & went to my friends house for a lovely roast dinner & a lot of wine!

I will definitely be signing up for this event next year. It is up there with GNR as my favourite half marathon.  I’m even going to buy a couple of the pics!

2 weeks till Edinburgh

2 days after Hackney I did a 3 mile run to loosen my legs up. It felt great but I had a sore knee on Wednesday & was super paranoid it was the same problem I’d had earlier in the year so I did all the stretches I did last time & didn’t run again till Saturday. I did parkrun & got my 2nd best time. I enjoyed it even though I’d forgotten my running belt so it was a bit weird running without music & without my phone telling me my pace every mile.

Sunday I did my last long run. I did 21.5 miles. A beautiful run heading west along the Thames path from Chelsea Bridge up to Barnes Bridge on the South side is beautiful!   I’d never run that far west on the river before- I felt like I was in the country enjoying the sun with walkers, runners & cyclists.

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A few days ago I started taking Curranz, a natural sports supplement to aid performance & recovery. I’ve heard great things about it and I really think it works. My legs feel ok today, which is surprising considering how far I ran yesterday. There are a lot of stairs at work and I haven’t even found them a problem. I will definitely be taking them again before & after Edinburgh Marathon.

So here we are, 2 weeks to go! I’m very excited to get to Edinburgh to see a good friend of mine who lives up there. I’ll be seeing a bunch of #ukrunchat people too. It’s going to be an awesome weekend.

Let the taper commence!

Thanks for reading.

Jen x.


Useful Links:

Vitality Hackney: http://runhackney.com

Curranz: http://www.healthcurrancy.co.uk

Flexiseq Sport: http://sports.flexiseq.com/uk/