It is a great weekend when you get a medal for a warm up (Hackney 5k) run on Saturday, and then run a half marathon (Vitality Hackney Half Marathon) at a close to a personal best pace on Sunday.
It all started with a free 5 kilometre fun run around Hackney Marshes on Saturday afternoon. Running the 5 km was not as easy as initially expected. Running on trails and grass, against the wind, hopping around slower runners – not my favourite. On the other side, receiving the medal felt fantastic.
The next morning was different. Already at Earl’s Court station I could spot people wearing race bibs. Once I got to the Hackney Marshes, the weather was close to perfect for a pleasant run – no wind, not too warm and not too cold, with a bit of sunshine.
I lined up to start with very few expectations, as I had little chance to train. However, wanted to finish in under 1 hour 50 minutes. A lot of runners were so excited to start, that instead of walking to the start line (from where the race time is being calculated) they ran to it. Not me. I knew I had plenty of running ahead of me. So I started the 21,09 km jog once I crossed the starting point and quickly got into a steady 5 minutes per kilometre pace. I ran along the Gingerbread man and Banana man. There were parts of the course with crowds of spectators, but not as big as expected. The course itself was relatively flat and easy, with a few hills and bridges. It went around Hackney, London Fields, Victoria Park and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Unfortunately not through the Olympic Stadium itself. Maybe next time. Nevertheless, once entered the Olympic park I knew I was close to the finish (3 miles away). So I kept my steady pace and powered it through all the way, and finished in 1 hour 44 minutes and 59 seconds. Close…
For me half marathon is a perfect distance to test how fit and ready I am. I love the fact that I was able to go strong for all 21,09 kilometres and as I was about to feel tired I was at the finish line.