May 1, 2014
So the half marathon is my absolute favourite distance when it comes to races and today I have been tallying up just how many half marathons I have done over the years, and in fact it is less than I thought. A grand total of 9 (unless I have forgotten some)
Paris 20K (ok not exactly a half but close)
Now conscidering I have run 2 marathons, and probably well over 100 other distance races I am suprised at the low number. Why don’t I do more halfs, seeing as I love the distance so much.
You see you kind of have to train for a half marathon, you can’t just rock up and give it your best, well not if you want to run the thing as opposed to walk round the course, and when you are running at my speed you are talking a good two and a half hours at best, which brings me onto my second point. A Half marathon is worth travelling for, where as a 10K is over before its begun and rarely seems worth the hassle. No a half is a great distance to have in your sights, and if you can find one cheap enough they are worth travelling to also.
But guys, if you have a half marathon on your doorstep…then what are you waiting for? REALLY??
I have done Run to the Beat 4 times, YES FOUR TIMES…is it because its a great well organised race? Is it because it is a PB inducing route? Is it because it is cheap to enter? NO to all of these. I run that race because it is close to where I live, I can get up in the morning ride 4 stops on the tube and be at the starting line less than an hour after rising from my bed. And this matters.
Yes, I could just get up any Sunday morning and go for a 13.1 mile run…but do I? Well No, not if I am not training for a marathon I don’t. I need a race like a half marathon to keep me motivated. I love the buzz, I love the logistics, I love the support from the crowds and of course I love the medals.
Plus if there was a race going on locally that I wasn’t part of I would feel like I was missing out.
There is in fact a new half marathon on the block in East London now, the Hackney Half or its proper name Run Hackney and at first I was a bit like, hhhhmmm running around Hackney…I have kind of been doing that the last 10 months as part of my marathon training, why do I want to do it again, and why do I want to pay for the privalege of it. I have also heard similar tales from my running club buddies. Why pay to run on a course you can normally run for free.
This is why…
Local races support the local economy. They are a place holder for an area bringing everyday life to a hault for a day to bring physical activity into the lives of many that do not participate in sport. They give local people the chance to come together as one and cheer on complete strangers. They give children something to aspire to and show adults that its never too late to make a change. It also shows local people that running isn’t something that other people do in other areas away from where they live, runners are normal people like you and me and from time to time its nice to see them running in race conditions through our streets.
A race like the Hackney Half can transform an areas, or at least transform people’s opinions of an area. So it has my full support, and with the new additions to its geography what with the Olympic Park bits of the course, to be its a no brainer.
I won’t be doing Run to the Beat this year as after six years hosting London’s music half marathon and helping approximately 96,000 runners to achieve their goals it has now moved to Wembley and will be in the form of a more manageable 10K.
I will however be running the Hackney Half on the 22nd June and reviewing the inaugural race for them.
Remember folks, putting on a half marathon on a large scale in London is no easy task, as someone who has worked for a local authority in the lead up to London 2012 I know the amount of planning, beurocracy and red tape that exists. But there is also an enormous amount of good will from a range of organisations and individuals to make these large events happen and it is so important that these races exist in the capital and not just in the centre of town.
So come on guys, put your hands in your pockets and support your local race.