Ah, race day. The day the weather gods decide to take the mickey and present us with the hottest day of the year so far.
But the gods couldn’t stop me from tackling today’s Hackney Half head-on. Oh no. Lack of adequate training and heatwave aside, I was doing this.
Sub-2:00 was my goal. A PB would’ve been sub-1:58. But I wasn’t far into the course when I realised those goals were mythical. Judging by the (in my experience) unprecedented number of runners needing medical attention (big up to St. John’s Ambulance), I figured that just getting to the finish would be an achievement in itself.
And what a race to the finish it was. Strangers came out of their houses, handed out high-fives and Jelly Babies, sprayed water from bottles and hose pipes, waved homemade banners, shouted and whooped and hollered. Kids high-fived us from the side of the course. Other runners played music from portable speakers, even took song requests, offered each other sweets and sustenance, cheered on the elites when they passed us on the other side after what felt like five minutes.
The way these events bring people together always gets me.
Even the leader of the Labour Party was out in force. (Yep, I saw Jeremy Corbyn getting a selfie with another spectator at mile 12. I was just gutted I didn’t have my phone on me, to be honest.)
2:12 was my result in the end. 1:59 for my brother – and with only a month’s real training under his belt, that ain’t too shabby. The times become irrelevant on a day like today, though. The medal, the t-shirt, the goodie bag of treats, are all nice to have. But, yeah. The way these events bring people together always gets me.