Last weekend Sabiene North, 39, took part in the inaugural London Landmarks Half Marathon, an opportunity to experience the atmosphere and sights of running in London without having to do a full marathon and with added entertainment en-route
We travelled from Oxford on the morning of the race just when the clocks went forward so it was an early start but as soon as we got off the bus and started walking towards the race village around the corner from Trafalgar Square, we were so excited.
The atmosphere was fantastic with thousands of runners, most wearing charity running tops or the yellow LLHM event t-shirts that had been sent to us in our race pack.It was a wave start, meaning that runners went off at different times according to their predicted times, and so we jogged in line to warm up as the waves of runners moved forward.
I’m a relatively new runner, having lost over six stone since I first started running 18 months ago, and the London Landmarks Half Marathon was only my fourth race. But I was impressed that the start pens didn’t make me feel hemmed in and we didn’t have to queue for ages to start running, although there was entertainment all along the start funnel from cheerleaders to Pearly Kings and Queens to keep you entertained, which turned out to be only a taste of what was to come.
There was entertainment at every turn, from dance acts to brass bands, Samba to choirs although the best support came from the charity volunteer stations. I’ve never experienced such support at a race before, with everyone clapping and cheering. And if that wasn’t enough, there were nine London themed areas to run through, from Harry Potter Party to a Suffragist Pageant and at each mile marker, a snippet of history.
The landmarks the route covered where amazing, which is one of the reasons I signed up to this race; when else would I get the opportunity to run on closed roads past St. Pauls Cathedral, the Bank of England, Monument and the Great Tower of London? The downside, was this meant the route was quite winding, and double backed on itself. As I turned the corner to run the final stretch, I could see the finish line in sight just outside Downing Street and I gave it a final push to race across the line where I was handed my medal by one of the volunteers who were all dressed in fancy dress as historical figures including Kings and Queens of England. As for the medal itself, it’s now my favourite as it opens like a locket.
Despite stopping for selfies, I managed to get a new PB by 3 seconds – I loved the event, which was well organised, had lots of entertainment and a fantastic atmosphere!
The Event in Brief: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
- Fantastic entertainment, landmarks and a great race medal which opens like a locket.
- Not enough toilets, as usual with ridiculously long queues
- The clocks went forward on the day, which meant for a very early start!
Race Bag Haul: Haul or Hoard?
- Clear yellow LLHM tie string bag for baggage drop
- LLHM race T-shirt
- Fab medal
- Bottle of water & Lucozade
- High Protein bar
- LLMH sweat band with zip
Pre register for next years race 24th March 2019 https://www.llhm.co.uk/pre-register
Words & pictures: Sabiene North