Hackney half marathon 2017 race review priest on the run short inspirational quotes pinterest

So this year virgin have moved the race up to april to avoid any chance of a heat wave. I thought the curse was broken until I heard from my friend frances that the overground station needed to get to the race start were all closed for engineering works. What shit timing!

The middle of hackney marshes is already difficult to get to with race related road closures but without the nearest overground stations you are looking at a 2 mile walk at least. So now thanks to tfl and the road closures I’ll have to add a good 4 miles in walking there and back to the half marathon. Great.

I then spent over an hour researching how to get to the start which is a pretty miserable way to spend the night before race. Inspirational biblical quotes for college students I was hoping to relax, eat beets and drink my body weight in various sugary drinks but now I’m stressing out about how the hell I’m going to get there.

Citymapper, google maps, TFL and the race website have all failed me.The virgin sport website didn’t have the start postcode anywhere and was extremely unhelpful. I am expecting lots of late and unhappy people. They say it’s a 15 min walk from leyton station but when I looked it up on google maps it said 25. That’s a pretty big difference.

It looked like there was no way of avoiding the 30 min walk and 90 min journey that only should have taken 50 min. Its very frustrating how somewhere 6 miles away will take me close to 90 min to get to. If I wasn’t already racing I’d just run there at be faster.

Luckily travelling to the race village in the morning wasn’t all that bad but I did have to walk 2 miles to get there. I ended up not being able to sleep at all the night before and when I arrived I really felt it. I knew if I lay down on the grass I’d be able to fall asleep right there despite the loud music and race MC.

Virgin definitely went for the ‘festival’ vibe. There were multiple food stalls, a climbing tower, flags, arches with streamers and random billboards with richard branson quotes. Apparently branson was there as well but I skipped all the pre-race activities to be with the other goodgymers.

After leaving our bags we made our way to the starting pens. A few of us skipped ahead to the area in front of us so we could all start together and start with the appropriate pacers. Not sure how they divided the start areas since a friend of mine with the same half time was in the earlier group. Luckily it wasn’t an issue and it all worked out fine.

The plan was to aim for around 2 hours. I was feeling very confident in my training and was originally going to go for a PB despite this not being an A race for me. However my body seemed to have different plans for me on race day since apparently staying up all night before a half marathon doesn’t put you in top shape. Who knew!

Steve from goodgym lewisham was running his first half and also roughly aiming for sub 2hr so I agreed to help pace him. I also started with jason from hammersmith & fulham who was using hackney half as part of a longer training run for the london to brighton 100km. It’s always nice to have others to run with.

Unlike in past years it started on time and it was only about a 10 min wait for us to cross the start line. There was great support at the start and it wasn’t too congested either. The only problem was that there were lots of bumps in the mat they laid out for the start which meant you really had to watch your step for the first 200 or so meters until you made it unto the road. I’m surprised none of us tripped.

I made the same mistake I always make which is feeling over-confident and starting off too fast even though an 8:45 pace feels super easy for the first 5km. I also didn’t have my glucose tablets with me this time so I would have to relay on the lucozade at the aid stations for any sugar boost. Still we were keeping a pretty decent pace and enjoying the brilliant atmosphere of the race. I’ll blame my bad pacing skills on the kids in animal onesies having a blast telling all the runners to run faster.

I started to feel a dip in energy at about the 4 mile point but nothing serious. For most of the race I didn’t see any mile markers so I was unsure of how far we had gone. I was mainly concerned with the pace when looking at my watch and just focused on those numbers. Steve seemed to have abundant energy at this point so I was worried that I would be holding him back soon.

The lack of sleep was effecting my eyesight and everything was a bit blurry and surreal. Luckily there were so many distractions from the crowd and the course was flat so I managed ok. There were loads of water and aid stations on the course so I only stopped at every other one. The sun was shinning bright through the race so I put as much water on me as in me. The temperature was only about 61 degrees but when you have been training in the grey dark winters of england that first sunny race of the year is a big shock to the system. My body has to relearn what sun and warmth is at the same time as running 13.1 miles.

The marshals on course were phenomenal. I don’t know where they came from, if they were from virgin or just volunteers from the community, but some of them deserved medals. There was one guy at about 7 miles who was cheering runners and I heard ‘I see you danica’ over a megaphone. It completely brightened my day and helped me push through the second half of the race.

I started to slow down after 7 miles but was still keeping a sub 2hr overall average until the last 3 miles. Inspirational quotes for students leaving school that is often the case though this final 5km was particularly painful. They have changed the final 3 or 4 miles of hackney half a few times now but it seems they never quite get it right.

The first year it was a soulless, exposed, out and back route through unsupported roads around olympic park. With the heat that year it was like a war zone littered with fallen runners and medics. Last year they changed it around but it was still ugly and forced runners to spend the last tough bits running on pebbles.

This year they ditched the pebbles and moral crushing turn around but replaced them with PB devouring hills. Olympic park is still under so much renovation and feels very industrial and sad. The open roads are also exposed to the sun without relief of trees for shade and there are less areas for spectators. It was mostly the inclines that got to us though. We watched the 2hr pacers pass us and had no intent on catching them up again.

It was almost liberating giving up on any time goal since I could just enjoy the race. I wished this had been my plan all along since it was a bit too late to enjoy the race when everything was hurting and I was using all my energy to avoid throwing up.

There was a tough incline at mile 11 that the running club run dem crew took over as their cheering point. They had music and confetti and were cheering all the runners with an intense energy. It was definitely a welcome boost but I regretted speeding up as I soon felt worryingly nauseous. Luckily I managed to slow down and control the feeling until it passed.

I told steve he could speed on ahead if he wanted but turns out he was happy with the pace we were keeping and we just kept our focus on finishing. I started to fantasize about the cold pint I’d have after the race was over and was counting down the seconds until the finish line. Inspirational quotes for students in high school I gave up on controlling my pace around mile 10 so my watch was all about the remaining millage at that point. The water stops became more frequent during the last 2 miles but I decided not to stop since we were so close to the end.

The best part about the final section of the race were the mist shower stations. Each time one of those came up on the horizon it felt like religious salvation. My prayers were being answered and the universe was mercilessly smiling upon my sweaty, suffering body. I almost thought my blurry eyes were hallucinating one in the distance at one point since it felt too good to be true. I was very relived I wasn’t that far gone and the blurriness was real water, not my imagination. My heaven is a mist shower finish line on a hot day.

We finally made it out of olympic park hell and back past mabley green for the last kilometer. Jason caught back up with us at this point so I was really hoping we would all finish together. I thought I was going to have to drop back though since that last section had an incline that I just didn’t have the stomach for. Jason was encouraging me to speed up for the final push to the finish line and luckily I hit that mat again in one piece. Those last few hundred meters to the finish felt like an eternity since I was feeling so ill. I was happy that all three of us goodgymers that started together ended up crossing the finish line together. That made it all worth it in the end. I’m heartbroken there isn’t a single picture of the three of us anywhere near the finish.