Race Recap // Run Hackney Half Marathon 2016


For full disclosure purposes, I received an entry to the Run Hackney Half Marathon for free in return for a race recap/review blog post. I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own.
Original photo before edit from Vitality
This past Sunday, I ran my 5th half marathon, Run Hackney! This time round, I wasn't nervous to cover the distance. I'd maintained my half marathon miles since North London Half, so I wasn't worried about the distance at all which was a relief. Instead, this time, it was the heat that was making me nervous!

It was reported to be a heatwave this past weekend and that temperatures would be hotter than Ibiza! I did Hackney last year, it was a great experience, it was hot then too, but it was bearable enough for me to run, so I figured this year would be the same... Well.. read on to find out how I got on!

The Morning Of..
Phillip and I woke at 5AM to have our usual Porridge for breakfast. I stayed hydrated with Water, didn't have any coffee or tea this time round. We headed out at 6AM, got to Epping for around 7AM, had a 20 min tube journey to Leyton station and around a 15 min walk to Hackney Marshes for the race start.

It wasn't too busy when we arrived, we headed straight to the toilet as I hadn't yet been and I needed to make sure I went before we started. We dropped off our bag which was simple and quick as always and then had a look around. Run Hackney did things a little different this year, they had a chill out zone with loads of beanbags to chill out, a yoga zone and a fitness zone which was a nice added bonus if you were up for it.
The warm-up started a little early for my liking(I'm sure it was around 8:30), so I decided to sit it out. We headed to our pens at about 8:50 for a 9 AM Start.

The Race
Unfortunately, the race was delayed by 15 minutes due to a technical difficulty, so we had to stand in the sun with no shade(and no water for me) until things were sorted out. Not a good start to the race, my mouth was dry!
When we finally did start, it took me another 10 or so minutes to cross the start line.

It was around 26 degrees, it was disgustingly hot and I was feeling pretty parched from the start. The first mile felt OK, my legs were heavy but they always are at the beginning of a run and take a couple of miles before I ease into things. I was running a little quicker than I wanted as I needed water, so ended up doing my first mile in 10:14.

I reached the first of 7 water stations at mile 1.5 which was much needed. I took a few sips instead of gulps so I wouldn't get a stitch or a stomach ache and tipped the rest over my head.

As I mentioned, there were 7 water stations out on the course as well as 3 lucozade stations and 1 jellybaby station so I was definitely impressed and it was definitely needed on such a hot day.

I managed the second mile in 10:20, however after this, I just felt like things went down hill. It was getting hotter, there wasn't very much cover from the sun and I took my first walk break at about 2.5 miles as I was struggling and my breathing was very heavy, I only walked for about 30 seconds before starting back up again.

However, after this, I was stopping at least once a mile, sometimes twice. I was worn out, I was way too hot and my thighs were starting to chafe because of the heat! I was taking a water bottle at every station, I skipped the lucozade as I didn't know if my stomach would agree with it in the heat.

I was really struggling and getting slower and slower. About the half way point, I was feeling a little sick and was debating dropping out. I'm sure it was around this point that I saw Elle, Bethan and Kiera, we said brief hello's and I complained about the heat before continuing on.

Most of the miles after I'd started taking run walk breaks kinda became a blur, I just wanted to be done. I tried to limit my walking to a minute or so. I knew the longer I walked, the longer it would take me to get back but I knew I couldn't push myself to run  without the walk breaks.

I dipped into the shade at any opportunity I could, which wasn't very often and used the amazing crowd support to spur me on to start running again if I was walking. I must admit, I really cannot fault the support out on the course, it is the best of all the races I have took part in since I started running. There were also people with their hoses out on the course to help cool down the runners which was much appreciated!
Photo Credit: Vitality
There was a hill just before the 11 mile mark with all the Run Dem crew and they were bloody fantastic and such a boost when I needed it most!

There was a small out and back before heading into Olympic Park and it got pretty rough. It was disgustingly hot around this part of the course and very muggy. It was also around the 12 or so mile mark where I saw the most runners at the side of the road needing attendance from St Johns(I hope they're all OK).
It is always difficult seeing that sort of stuff and I had a lump in my throat a couple of times. It made me very grateful to be still running/walking.

Mile 12 and 13 were my slowest miles. I was worn out and praying to be almost done. When I got to the last corner before heading onto the mats towards the finish, I gave whatever I had left just so I could be done.

I crossed the finish line with my personal worst time of 2:36:10 and was pretty gutted at the time. Now that I've had more time to really think about it, I'm just glad I was able to get round the course in one piece(or almost if it wasn't for my inner thigh chaffing, OUCH!)
Overall Thoughts
Run Hackney, you were too hot for me this year and you defeated me. I obviously know that Vitality cannot predict what the weather is going to be like prior to a race. It had been around 5 degrees or so throughout my training runs prior and it's just sods law that it was a heatwave on the weekend of the half marathon, that can't be helped much.

I struggled too much this year to really enjoy the race properly. In all honestly, it has almost put me off in wanting to take part next year as it was such an awful experience, running wise. I'm sure I will end up doing it again, but I will pray it's in cooler weather!

At the end of the day, I finished and got what I came for.. The Medal - now.. If I'm honest, I really wasn't too impressed with the medal this year.. and that's purely because I have last years medal and I know how awesome that one is. This year, they seemed to have downgraded. I love the star design but the medal needed to be a bit bigger(to live upto expectations given last years medal) and it doesn't say anywhere on the medal that it was for a Half Marathon!
Either way, it's another medal to add to my collection! We got a goodie bag at the end of the race too, it had some popcorn, leaflets and some little snacky bits. I missed out on trek bars, bananas and lucozade as I had no idea they were there when walking out of the finishers area. I did pick up a finishers tee which I actually quite like this year, it's black with a bright runners design on the front which I thought was good.

I still think that Hackney is a great race, both for the route(fairly flat) and the crowd support and if you're not particularly fussed about running in the heat, I'm sure you'd enjoy it! It just wasn't my year.

If you're interested, you can pre-register your interest for next years race HERE!

Question: Did any of you Run Hackney this year? Are you a fan of running in the heat?

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  1. Well done Laura, I think the heat would finished me off as well. Feel your pain on the thigh chafing - ouch! That probably would have finished me off. Mine can get really yucky.

  2. @HelsBels Thanks! Yes, the thigh chaffing was the worst part I think! I will deffo be putting on some Vaseline or Chafe stuff before my next hot run! I tried to ease it during the race by spraying some water there to ease the friction but it ended up stinging really badly! haha!


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