The Vitality Big Half – London Half Marathon Race Report 2019
I decided 2019 was all about running. Who else has got a little bit over-excited when looking at events then all of a sudden the race calendar is full?
I entered the Vitality Big Half because I’d seen the medal from 2018 and decided I needed one of these!
10th March 2019 – not the nicest of mornings! It was cold and it was raining but the wind? That was something else! Storm Gareth was making his mark on London. So it wasn’t the best day to do a half marathon. But the miles stay the same regardless of the weather so I just needed to get it done.
When they send out the race numbers and timing chips you also get given a clear drawstring bag for the bag drop. So it’s easy to identify your fellow runners on the train ride up. Lots of excited and nervous smiles when they clock the same bag! I got speaking to one lady on the train who had said this was her first half marathon and she was really nervous as the most she has run before is 10k. I gave the same advice to her that I give to anyone “It’s just a run, nothing to be worried about and it doesn’t matter if you’re the tortoise or the hare, you’ll still cross the finish line”
The start line was at Tower Bridge. After handing my bag into the bad drop lorry I was ushered over Tower Bridge to the starting pen. My wave time was 9.25am but they wanted everyone ready for the 9am start when all the wheelchair athletes and professional athletes head off. This mean 25 minutes standing next to the Tower of London in the cold wind. I’d never been so eager to start a race than I did then.
All of a sudden, we were on the move and over the start line. The support of the crowd around the route was amazing – they really do make the race what it is. There are also choirs, street performers and charity support stations all screaming their support to everyone.
The route takes you from Tower of London, round Canary Wharf, round the river to Wapping, back over Tower Bridge towards Southwark, round Rotherhithe and finishes at the Cutty Sark. There were supporters the whole way there and you also have a great appreciation for the volunteers who are standing in the cold for anything up to 4 hours!
I didn’t have a time in mind for this race, I’m currently in training for Manchester Marathon but also had a half marathon booked for almost every weekend up until then so I just wanted to enjoy the sights of London and get round the race comfortably.
I wasn't looking at my watch tracking my pace or seeing how I was doing, I was just counting down each mile marker. My watch was running slightly quicker than the mile markers so the course come in a little over the half marathon distance at 13.35 miles. I finished in 2:00:30 with a new half marathon PB of 1:58:03. It was great to finish the race feeling comfortable.
I then got my hands on my funky medal! We also received a goody bag with a finisher’s t-shirt, some water and some snack bars.
Unfortunately, due to the wind the event village was minimal so I decided to head back to the station. The atmosphere was amazing, so many happy and relieved runners which makes it all worthwhile. I didn’t see the lady I saw on my way up – but I’m confident she would have enjoyed her run!
About the author: Emma Vincent is a personal trainer and Sundried ambassador.