Hackney Marshes Half, 7 August

Ed: In between the nearby London riots, the Unity Fitness Dance Half Marathon was held on Hackney Marshes (basically a park) not far from Victoria Park where we held last month’s London training session. There were four of us vegans running: James Millington, Cherryl Sinclair, Andrew Jackson & John Bennett (who intends to join at the London Vegan Festival) plus Manuel Corriente of the Vegetarian C&AC and I was there to support and take photos. It was ideal for a photographer & supporters with the course consisting of 6+ laps on paths & grass and it is flat. Luckily apart from light showery rain towards the end it was sunny but breezy, helping to keep the runners cool.

James & John are of a similar standard and were close together in the first two laps, thereafter John slowly pulled away. Cherryl & Andrew were also not far apart with Cherryl leading and increasing the gap as the laps passed. Cherryl was also benefiting from training provided by her local club, Cambridge Harriers in south-east London. The interval sessions have improved her pace and it showed here. I was assuming Cherryl would be finishing in over 2 hours as she had not broken it before this event. Waiting at the finish I did not have the camera ready when Cherryl crossed the line in an unofficial 1.55+ (await the results if they are going to be published).

The start was over the far side on the grass and the finish about 400 metres from there, adjacent to Homerton Road and near the Leisure Centre. To get my own exercise and photos from around the course I walked in the opposite direction to the runners. On the 2nd lap I did not see James and was concerned that he had pulled out but in fact I did not see him ahead of John who overtook James I believe on the 3rd lap.

Approximate times for our runners: John 1.46, James 1.48, Cherryl 1.55 & Andrew 2.01.41. Manuel finished in 1.31, in fact a slower time for Manuel who is use to running sub-1.30 for half marathons.

The event was quite informal & friendly and afterwards there was a bag of food for participants with many items of fruit with hot & cold drinks. Prizes were limited to the first few men & women but no category prizes.