The Virgin Sport Hackney Half Marathon on Sunday (20 May) was a fully sold out fusion of running, music, fitness and food in the happening London Borough of Hackney. More than 15,000 ran the main event and a further 1,000 took part in the previous day’s Hackney Free 5K.
Virgin Sport posted this tribute to all the participants: “A huge congratulations to all our finishers and to all our ‘spectathletes' who helped cheer everyone on to greatness".
There certainly were some great times in the 13.1 mile race as Joe Morwood (Aldershot, 1:08:50) followed up his 52:52 victory in the Alton 10 miler seven days earlier with another top performance.
The men's podium was completed by half marathon debuts by Eritrean athlete Robel Bahelbi (Highgate, 1:09:10) and Daniele Caruso (Victoria Park, 1:10:24) whose only previous form is a remarkable sequence of six 10K victories in the London area with a best of 32:03.
Clapham Chaser, Stephanie Davis, outright winner of the RunThrough Olympic Park 10K on 9 May, won a closely fought women's race in 1:16:41 from Isabel Clark (Serpentine, 1:16:54 PB) and Emily Proto (Arena 80, 1:21:36). More than 500 runners broke 90 minutes as the Hackney Half continues to drive up standards.
Holly Taylor, of David Lloyd Maidstone Runners, told runABC South: “What an experience. The crowd really got me through this run. There were steel drum bands, jazz musicians, DJs and other brilliant entertainment at nearly every mile point. Really great motivation and a nice flat run. Felt relatively easy but I’m sure that’s because of the support! I finished in 2hours 11mins”.
The 5K winners on Saturday were Chris Norris (16:49) and Naomi Dews (20:08) as 500 were inside 32 minutes.
Virgin Sport said: “Our second festival of fitness was an amazing experience and its all down to you. A huge thank you to everyone who came along whether you spectated, cheered, moved your body, climbed, ate, drank or all of the above, you made the day. A massive thank you to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make it all possible and last but not least, thanks to the community of Hackney for welcoming us with open arms”.
Full details available via runABC South race listings