- Date: 10 March 2019
- Location: Central London, starting near Tower Bridge
- Weather: WIND! So much wind.
- Distance: Half Marathon
- Official Time: 02:39:44
This was my second time doing this event, and I have a love/hate relationship with it.
Running across Tower Bridge – This will never get old for me, it is such an amazing experience to run through such a beautiful bridge, and there are always lots of people cheering you on.
I filmed a quick Instagram video whilst crossing, then broke my running belt whilst trying to squish my phone back into it. This is the moment the BBC decided to film and air. Not the way I’d like people to imagine me when on these runs, groping around my bumbag, trying to find a way to secure my phone. But I do spend a lot of time walking, so it is probably quite accurate.
The wait time at the start – I am not a fast runner, so am never going to be in the first wave of a race. However, there was over an hour between having to drop my bag at the baggage trucks and my wave starting. This is a long time to wait around in the freezing cold.
The atmosphere – This is a proper mass participation event, 13 360 runners took part in the 2019 event, despite Storm Gareth doing his best to either drench us at the beginning, or blow us off course midway. I had several attempts at catching runners’ caps as they were blown off their heads, but my hand-eye coordination takes a severe hit when running.
You also get to enjoy the fancy dress, with the guy in the Big Ben outfit being my most memorable from this year. Watching him struggle with the wind was a schadenfreude highlight for me. (I don’t know if I can use schadenfreude as an adjective, but I’m going with it).
The route – This route is often described as the boring half of the London Marathon, and I have to say I agree. Running around Canary Wharf is not fun, or inspiring, or interesting (for me). And the long straight road from just after mile 11 to the finish offers no respite from the tedium. It is literally a long run to get the chance to run over Tower Bridge, then a long run to get a medal at the end.
Sir Mo Farah – When I ran this last year, my wave time coincided with Sir Mo’s 6th mile, so I was able to cheer him on as he ran past. Running in the same race as such an impressive and elite field of athletes is truly inspiring, and adds a sprinkle of magic to the day. I didn’t wait for him to run past this year, as I was just so cold, but I do regret not doing so.
I genuinely don’t know if I will do this event again, I really enjoy the atmosphere at the start, and running over Tower Bridge, but the rest of the route is too tedious for me, especially as I’ve now done it four times.
Have you run The Big Half? What did you think?