Race Review: Inaugural Hackney Half

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hackney Borough was keen to get people moving in 2014. With the huge interest in their first ever half marathon, a free untimed 5k was add to the weekend lineup.  I was lucky enough to do both. Here is my review for the half marathon that took place on 22nd June.  Over 12,000 people took part.

Registration process & fees: Registration was online and costs £35 which is still a bargain for a flat course through London that provides a medal. No extra money to shell out for accommodation or  transport (aside from local) if you live in the Greater London area.

Location: Hackney Marshes E9 5PF. The baggage tent is huge but the queues were still long just before the race started.  I am not sure if this was because people were arriving late, couldn't find a place to park their bike (racks were for triathlon racking,which had most people confused as to how to lock up their bike.  Many many more racks needed for next year as community participation was huge), had trouble finding the venue, or the volunteers working in the tent were overwhelmed. Luckily, they let me check my Brompton.  Next year if would be great if there were meeting point signs to help people connect before and after the race.  There was a large stage on which there was a group warm-up and for after the race, there were bands.
Familiar sight of lines for the loo.

The weather that weekend was really hot.  I knew I wouldn't be getting a PB so I tried to enjoy myself instead and take in the sights.  Unfortunately, people starting fainting and puking after mile 6.

Course & bogs: The course took you through many different areas of Hackney, including by my friends' on Hackney Downs and through the Olympic Park.  There were plenty of watering stations with an amazing Dolphin pouch of water instead of a bottle. I ended up carrying one most of the way to both drink and pour on my head.  Next time the weather is that hot, I will bring my own bottle and nuun tabs. By the time I got to the Powerade stations, they were out. I was so desperate for electrolytes, I picked up a half empty bottle off the ground, threw away the cap and guzzled it down. Not my proudest moment but a necessity to survive.  I had a Haribos in my bumbag that I ate around mile 10 as I was starting to fade.

The Olympic Park was towards the end, probably miles 9-11. You had to run up a ramp and then through a newly laid out park which had little to no shade available. It was very hot so this was a breaking point for many people as they slowed down and walked.  I really commend the emergency services and volunteer marshals (like Becca and Laura) for helping out that day (and hugging me even though my shirt was soaking wet from pouring water on my head).

Atmosphere: Hackney residents were out in full force cheering us on, while others (who I expect didn't know about the race) were looking at us like we were crazy. One gentleman even was standing out with his garden hose to cool runners off as they ran by. It was a Godsend.  

Bling/goody bags: Lovely bling (same style as 5k but gold instead of silver with a different ribbon), goody bag with water, a few product samples, and info about vendors who had booths at the start/finish line.

Not enough bike racks
Tips if you decide to take part next time: Sort out transportation ahead of time as Sundays are tricky for early starts.  Also, unless the organizers provide the correct type of bike racks next year I would leave your bike at home.  Pick a specific spot to meet friends afterwards as the venue is large and the finish line area cuts through the middle of the fun.

Organizers have taken on a lot of feedback from 2014 and implemented some changes for 2015.  Registration opens today so act quickly to secure  a place for next year!

2nd race of the weekend
Thanks to the good folks at Run Hackney for the complimentary race entry.  All opinions are honest and my own.


  1. Thanks for this review Mollie :) I was um-ing and ah-ing this morning about whether or not I should enter the Hackney Half for 2015, but I think I'll bite the bullet and go for it!


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