London Half Marathon – 10th Feb 2019

It’s week 5 of my London Marathon training plan – the time is flying! I’ve been roughly following the Virgin Money London Marathon 2019 training plan, which this week called for a long run of about 6 miles. I’ve been doing well so far, managing to stay a few steps ahead of the plan, so decided to push things up a notch with a half marathon race! I’ve only run one half marathon race before, the Hertfordshire Half in November, which I absolutely loved but also found quite challenging, ending up having to walk several of the steepest hilly sections. I came out of that race with a time of 2hr 28min – my new target to beat!

The London Half marathon was held nice and close to home for me, in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, just a few miles away from my home in Walthamstow. I’m very familiar with the park itself and did wonder how they would manage to fit a 13.1 mile course inside the park which is only a couple of miles long – I would soon find out!

queen elizabeth half marathon start
Queen Elizabeth Park Half Marathon

The day itself was a typical February morning, nice and fresh, with a strong breeze and patches of drizzle in mainly cloudy skies. We set off just after 9.30, taking a few minutes to cross the start line in the 3000 strong crowd. After a quick lap of the Olympic stadium I started to realise that the organisers had planned a very complicated looking course, winding backwards and forwards all over the Olympic park. There were sections where we doubled back on ourselves, ran all kinds of intricate loops around the sports venues, and I could often look around to see four or five lines of runners, snaking their way across different paths, criss-crossing over bridges and along riverside footpaths. Miraculously, it all seemed to work out, with plenty of marshalls and signposts to ensure you could never take a wrong turning. I actually really loved passing by the other runners so many times, giving me a chance to spot and wave to my parkrun friends, twitter buddies, and VI/guide runners from my guiding group.

A very winding course through the Olympic Park!

I had expected the course to be quite flat, but there were a fair number of rolling hills; up and down to the riverbank, and around the velodrome outdoor time trial circuit. I was feeling very determined, and through sheer willpower, strode round the whole route without stopping to walk once – a first for me on such a long distance! My finish time was 2hr 23, a nice 5 minute improvement on my previous PB! I ran the last mile with a lovely pacer, who seemed genuinely delighted to have helped me on my way to a great time.

All in all, I loved the Olympic Park half marathon, and am really looking forward to my next race, the Big Half on 10th March. I wonder if I can I beat my PB again?

You can read all about my training for the London Marathon 2019 here!

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