A exciting new race took place a few weeks ago in London; the London Landmarks Half Marathon in it’s first year with almost 10,000 participants, starting from Pall Mall and finishing on Whitehall close to Downing Street.
I remember reading something on social media about a new half marathon that would take place in London and was instantly intrigued and wanted to take part. When the entries opened I quickly applied to try my luck at a place. It did prove difficult but was delighted I managed to get a space.
Just by reading it’s name ‘London Landmarks Half Marathon’ you could probably guess the event took in some of London’s most iconic landmarks such as Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, the Gherkin, the Shard, the Tower of London and the London Eye.
When you live locally and your race is in London it’s not surprising how quick you can get to the race village. The bag drop was relevantly easy to find, lots of staff at hand and very efficient which meant no queues. Toilets were accessible with plenty around the bag drop and warm up area. It was a lovely morning, not too cold perfect running weather and I could even run in a t-shirt.
The atmosphere was amazing with thousands of runners as well as their families. Equinox, the official fitness and training partners for the event were out in Trafalgar Square taking the runners through a gentle warm-up.
We were allocated waves depending on the time you predicted as your finish time, I was in Wave 3 and my start time was 09.44.
I was really looking forward to just going out there and run, with no expectations and no pressure for a PB and that was exactly what I did. The feeling of freedom and running to enjoy the race and the experience with the added bonus of running through London taking in the iconic landmarks.
Even spotted celebrities Amanda Holden & Jane Falconer taking selfies pre-race.
The first mile or so was quiet congested as there were a mix of different waves with different paces running together. It was great to see my friend Aran, who I managed to run some of the first mile with although it was crowded.
I continued at a steady pace, and grabbed some water at the first and second water station to stay hydrated. It was so nice to be running pass the landmarks on closed roads and without having to stop at traffic lights as when I’m on a training run. By about mile 8 I could feel I was getting tried, it was mind over matter and I continued with the help of a SIS Energy gel and what a boost it gave me, I could feel my energy level coming back.
I have to say the crowds were incredible, all the cheers, claps, calling out your name and the high-fives from the kids really made the experience memorable. I did check my watch a few times as you do when you’re a runner but really wasn’t expecting too much time wise. Again I was feeling a little tired at mile 12 as I could feel I slowed down a little, but I’m not sure what quite happened but as soon as I reached mile 13 I suddenly had this burst of energy and managed a sprint finish. To my delight I managed a sub 2 hrs finish – 1:57.
Overall it was a brilliant experience, amazing crowds with some Hi-Fives along the way too. Well organised race, fully marshalled. Friendly staff, plenty of toilets, easy and quick bag drop. Water stations were on point located at mile 2.9, 5.8, 8.4, 11 and the finish as well as Lucozade at mile 2, 4 and the finish.
What an incredible piece of bling, it opens inside and you can add an itab; an engraved insert to personalise your medal.
I really enjoyed the race, it was an stunning flat route and cheer squads were on point especially from all the charities and loved the touch of the volunteers dressed in historic England outfits around the course and handing out the medals. I only thing I can fault about the event is that although we were in waves, there were mixed waves running together which made the first mile congested. Looking back at my stats my first mile was very slow, but it can only get better as this was the first year. Would highly recommend this race and will definitely be back next year.
If you like to take part in the LLHM you can find out more on this link: London Landmarks Half Marathon