On Sunday 24 September, I completed the sixth Ealing Half Marathon. This event has been voted “the UK’s Number One half marathon” three years in a row, which is one of the reasons I signed up.
The sun was out, but it may have been a little bit warmer than most runners were anticipating. Although my training had generally been on plan, unfortunately I had suffered a bout of food poisoning on the Friday prior to the race, so I was disappointed not to be in tip-top condition. However I decided to embrace the sunny skies and race atmosphere and enjoy the event.
The race starts and finishes in Lammas Park. There were plenty of portaloos, so I didn’t have to wait too long for a pre-race pee and the bag drop was very efficient.
I took part in the group warm-up at 8.30am before making my way to the start pens. I have run sub-two-hour halves previously, so ambitiously placed myself in the sub-two pen.
I’d heard two things about this race: the spectator support is brilliant and it’s a hilly course. Both of which proved to be true. Right from the offset, the crowds were amazing: cheering, holding up signs, giving out sweets and high fives. The residents of Ealing are obviously very proud of this event and it has a real street party feel to it.
The course goes through leafy suburbs and parks. There are quite a few twists and turns but generally the roads are wide, which prevented too much congestion.
And the hills… Where do I start? I will be honest and tell you that I had neglected my hill training for this race (mostly due to the fact that where I live is very flat) and my legs were therefore spectacularly unprepared for the undulations….
However, the crowd support really helped push me forward, especially in the last two miles, as I sprinted my way to a sub-two finish, which I was thrilled about (see photo evidence of me approaching the finish line).
Would I recommend Ealing Half Marathon? Definitely! It may be a bit too hilly and twisty for an easy PB, but the slick organisation, beautiful route, brilliant spectator support and marvellous medal certainly highlight why this half has been voted Britain’s best, year after year.
Next year’s Ealing Half Marathon takes place 30 September. For more information and to enter, visit ealinghalfmarathon.com
Words: Katie Hainbach