Appears I was the only Harrier running this one, so guess I write the race report!
For anyone not familiar this is a pretty large half-marathon which is run via a ballot and has 18000 participants, organised by Tommy’s (the baby charity) it generates considerable money for this great charity (who I have run the London Marathon for in the past).
As the name suggests the route goes around central London taking in pretty much all the well known tourist landmarks. The route twists and turns from its start in Pall Mall, past Trafalgar Square, though the city out to the Tower on London, back along the embankment and on to a finish along Whitehall next to Downing Street. The roads are lines with spectators, loads of music and support and a brilliant atmosphere. The marshalling is superb and this is a very well organised event. For me I have run the London Marathon five times and never really appreciated running in the part of London given you have to run 20 miles before reaching it, so it was nice to enjoy some of the sites without feeling like death! This is pretty much why I wanted to do it and it was also the race my training has been targeting for the last 6-9 months.
The run sets off in waves and I found myself in wave two, which seemed to accommodate anything from 1.30 to 2.15 hour runners given the pacers assigned to this pen. With ambitious goals of a PB and sub 1:30 I settled myself at the front of the pen and watched what seemed to be thousands from pen 1 set off before me. 15 minutes later we were off where I stayed at close quarters to the 1.30 pacer, keen to improve on my 1.31pb at Paddock Wood a few weeks earlier. We had clear roads for the first few miles then starter to catch the end of wave 1 and weaving around them became the theme for the rest of the race. I stayed with the pacer until 7-8 miles when he left me flailing. Despondent, I dug in but my splits on my watch said I was still on target for the goal of 1.30, so I stuck at it and kept going. At mile 12 there was a switch-back on Westminster Bridge where the pacer had slowed and was back in my sights. Feeling good I put the hammer down and reached the finish with the goal of sub1.30 a reality at last!
Finish (chip) Time: 1:28:36, chip position 304/17289, M40 36/938
1st Man: David Smale 1:08:03
1st Lady: Alice Neil 1:21:33
(apologies results do not designate club membership)
I’d recommend this event to anyone who loves the atmosphere of a big event, but perhaps without the traumas of a full marathon (much more my cup of team).
Pros: The sights, flat course, mass event, crowd support, music, entertainment, organisation, atmosphere, oh and a very (very) nice medal.
Cons: Expensive (at nearly £80 to enter) but it goes to a great cause