North London Half Marathon

I have to admit by the time I made it to the start of the North London Half Marathon I wasn't in the best of moods. Getting from South East London to North West London on a Sunday turned out to be an epic trek that took longer than I thought it would, there was confusion around where to go and what to do, and then I discovered the start of the race was around 10 minutes walk from the race village at Allianz Park. Oh and Elle told me there were hills, and getting that girl to run up hills can be a challenge! 

I've got to admit it's hard to stay in a bad mood when you're being waved across the start line by an Olympic legend, seeing Mo Farah as I started the race really lifted my mood! 

The lift was very necessary because as we got out on the course we were met by some serious hills! I like a good hill, but you need a little oomph to power up them (and to remember what goes up, must come down!). 

The course took us around residential streets and along the edge of a major road (with only cones separating us from the traffic...slightly unnerving). Local people popped out from their houses to wave us past, and Run Dem were out in force covering the pavement with glitter. There wasn't tonnes of support, but the support there was there was truly lovely. 

All along the course I was so impressed by the level of organisation. There were more medics than 7,000 people could ever need, lots of water stations and loos dotted around the course (although as Elle and I pondered, why queue for the toilet when there were lots of well positioned trees!), and young volunteers shouting encouragement at passing runners.

North London Half Marathon is billed as the 'Stadium to Stadium' half marathon, with runners taking in both Allianz Park and Wembley Stadium. It wasn't just a case of visiting the stadiums, I mean why would you do that when you can run on the pitch?! Running in to Wembley Stadium is something else, even I couldn't help but imagine that I was running on to the pitch to play for my country (Wales, just making sure no one makes assumptions!), it was pretty spectacular. 

Running out of Wembley the course took us back the way we'd come, up and down all those hills and passed all those well positioned portaloos and medical tents, all the way back to Allianz Park. After all those laps at Race Your Pace an out and back didn't feel to onerous in comparison, although I did end up skipping at one point, you know, to pass the time (I know exactly how obnoxious that sounds, it was pointed out to me by another runner, but what's life without fun?!).

The race finished on the pitch at Allianz Park, and running in was a wiggly route across uneven and varied terrain - it all made my signature sprint finish a bit tricky to navigate! 

Crossing the finish line (in possibly my slowest time ever, but who cares, I was there for fun) I was delighted to see Kiera who presented me with some chunky bling and a heaving goodie bag (they had Mars bars, Mars bars!!) before I had to dash off to speak to Mo Farah about all things running!

Despite my not great mood at the start of the day, North London Half Marathon turned out to be a great event, and given the buzz I heard from other runner's it scored big with the crowds!

*images used with kind permission of Vitality North London Half Marathon. Medal image shamelessly stolen from Elle Linton*