Saturday 27th January saw me run my first Lee Valley VeloPark Half Marathon. Well, attempt to, at least. I made 10 miles of the beast having set off way too quick.
For a girl who rarely runs sub-8min/mile, I ran the first 3 at 7:48 and ended up with both a 5k PB and a 10k PB. Each time I checked MapMyRun I thought to myself “right, really must slow down a bit”… but failed to translate that to my legs who seemed to be having a whale of a time at this new, faster pace.
By mile 8-9 my legs had had enough of the speed and I slowed to a walk. When I picked up to jog again, I pulled my calf so came across the finish line 3 Miles early, completing 10 Miles in 1:24. Whilst I was disappointed with a DNF I was impressed with a much faster race than I’d ordinarily run and it’s shown me that with a bit more speed work I am capable of a much speedier half marathon than I’ve ever given myself credit for!
On race day there is a huge selection of distances you can book yourself in for from 5k, 10k, 10mile, and half mara, so there really is something for everyone!
You’d think that with so many races starting on the same course it’d become crowded and bottlenecked. Whilst I was concerned about this at first, and I did get caught up with the rush of the 10k runners starting, I didn’t find the course to be too full at all.
The route was definitely not one of my faves and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is easily bored! It’s 13 laps of the same 1 mile lap. Laps, of which, are undulating as hell and pretty bendy! When I say undulating, I’m not talking about gentle slopes, more like short steep hills… whilst they are short they are frequent and the steepness really does push your leg strength once tired.
I actually don’t mind lapped races too much as it’s a brilliant tool to help you pace (well, supposedly, didn’t work for me on sat haha) but 1 mile laps were just a bit TOO short and samey for my liking.
The race is organised by Run Through, and I could not sing their praises loud enough. Their races are well organised, they are held weekly (if not more than once weekly!) so they’ve got their organisation and pre-race thing down to a T! With this particular race the support felt fantastic as you ran past the spectators every mile (one benefit to the short laps I suppose!!).
Being that it was held at the VeloPark track, the toilet/changing facilities were fantastic and I queued for no longer than 5 mins both pre and post run. Much nicer than the usual Portaloo scenario you get at races.
Bag drop was smooooth, bag collection was even smoother, and there was a bigger array of post-run goodies after than normal too. This race included a Grenade shake, The Food Doctor nutty mix, flapjack, banana and water (the latter 3 being a standard for any Run Through race).
£18 for the Half Mara (and cheaper as you go down in distance). VERY reasonable.
VeloPark Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Abercrombie Rd London E20 3AB
Closest station was Stratford, which is about a 15min slow walk away.
When will they take place again?
Saturday 24th February
Saturday 31st March
Would I run it again?
As much as it was a mentally challenging race from mile 8 onwards I actually will be going back. I feel like I’ve got something to prove there now and complete the full 13.1 miles.