Last week I did no running! Like many others the snow played havoc with my training and I was in the gym when I could instead, which is fine but perhaps not the best preparation for a half marathon but having injuries I was worried about running and slipping over.
I had seen posts as the week went on for many local events that were being cancelled due to the weather and I was unsure as to whether or not the half marathon I had signed up for on Sunday would go ahead or not but was assuming it would. Being a major event in London I assumed cancellation would be an absolute last resort. Thankfully the snow in London had all cleared by Saturday morning and the event staff had worked to ensure the roads were clear and safe so the first Big Half event was a go!
The Big Half was a new event and is half marathon distance that you could complete by yourself or as part of a relay. There was also a Little Half aimed at children and families, however, due to the weather this part of the event was cancelled.
If you have taken part in either the London Marathon or Prudential Ride London the set up is extremely similar as it is put on by the same company, London Marathon Events. Race numbers, kit bag and timing chip was sent in the post in advance of the event and final instructions were sent to all by email. The instructions were really comprehensive and even covered all the train disruptions that could make a difference to participants getting to the start. There were of course a number of people who could not make it to the start as planned as various areas of the UK were affected worse than others but the event have offered a virtual alternative where you can run the distance, send the proof and your medal will be sent to you – not quite the same as the event itself but a nice touch I thought.
The start was really convenient for me to get to with two areas, orange and green, to drop off kit bags, find your start pens and of course those last minute toilet visits! There were various waves being set off over a 35 minute period so by the time we were off we were pretty cold as it was more than chilly! But the wait gave me time to share some of my Go Bites with some fellow runners and explain what they are and why I was using them. I adopted the same approach regarding nutrition as I had last week and so I was well and truly powered by the bites from Go Faster Food!
I was running with my friend Laura who is 16 weeks pregnant and was just amazing. Her t-shirt had her name on it and so whenever anyone shouted out to her I would reply back with ‘and her baby’, whilst playing mum and telling her to run on the pavement on certain sections and not the cobbles as they were slippery.
The event itself looped from Tower Bridge to Billingsgate Market (via the Limehouse Link which was so much warmer and saw many people getting rid of layers as they went) and back over the bridge for the first 7 miles and then through Wapping, Southwark and finishing in Greenwich. There were mile markers, plenty of toilets on route, plenty of water stops and plenty of support including music along the way.
The medal was fab and totally different from any other medal I have received from an event – a little running man, great goody bag including a finishers technical t-shirt.
After a short walk to bag collection we were in a festival area in Greenwich Park with music and food stalls.
This will definitely be on my list for next year and I would recommend it to others also – great event especially for their first!
I really enjoyed it – yes you read that right I really enjoyed running over 13 miles!