I’ve attended Victoria Park Half twice now, and my legs had a very different experience each time. I’ll give a little low-down of my experience during each race and then break down the course, organisers, pricing etc straight after.
DECEMBER 2ND 2017 – When I attended Vicky Park Half the first time, I was a little nervous. Not performance nerves as such… but nerves in the respect that I’d promised my mum a flat route as she was hoping for PB and I was just praying that the park was as flat as I’d remembered. It didn’t disappoint. My mum (Wendy Oates if you’re on the Run Talk Run group) and I absolutely flew round the course and both came away with solid PBs! 1:36 for mum, and 1:48 for me! We came away in good spirits and desperate for a well-deserved glass of red!
MARCH 30TH 2018 – this race was a M I S T A K E. Who takes on 13 miles in week 1 of marathon training… such a dick move on my behalf. My legs weren’t ready at all. To give myself some credit, I had a pretty solid start. I was consistently putting out 8.40-8.45min/mile and I was feeling like I had it in the bag for a long long while. Then I reached mile 9 and just blew. I don’t know what happened really… I stopped to a walk to drink some water and when I got going again my legs just weren’t having any of it! I walk/jogged the remaining 4 miles and made some friends along the way. You can read more about my experience of this race in Week 1 of my running journal.
The RunThrough organisers put on a selection of distances you can book yourself in for from 5k, 10k, and half mara, so there really is something for everyone!
I have absolutely no idea how Run Through get it to run so seamlessly, but the runners are definitely spaced out enough that you wouldn’t even think about the different distances happening simultaneously. In fact, it was only when I got talking to a girl at around mile 10 and asked her which lap she was on, that she told me she was doing the 10k… I’d forgotten that it wasn’t just the half marathon going on! The nice wide pathways helps with that aspect I guess.
The route itself I think might not appeal to everyone, but perhaps because I have some personal history with Victoria Park with lots of happy memories I actually like the opportunity to lap it 6 times.
Yeah – you read that right. The course is 6.5 laps. Each lap being around 2 miles ish. I actually don’t mind lapped races too much as it’s a brilliant tool to help you pace!
However, I must have overheard at least 3 people (whilst running) double checking with a marshal just how far they had left to go. If you’re gonna take on this half, please please please remember to take some form of Strava/MapMyRun/Garmin tracker so you can keep count of your laps!
It’s a mainly flat course with just a teeny “undulation” at one point in the lap… but to call it an undulation just seems a bit steep. Literally. It’s too “steep” of a description for how flat this course is. I’m waffling and making shit puns… sorry.
It’s also worth noting that the course is all on park pathways, so no muddy trainers here at all! Oh, except for the “sprint finish” 100m or so.
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 lap (one benefit to the short laps I suppose!!).
The portaloo supply was fantastic and I queued for no longer than 5 mins both pre and post run, which is much better than previous race experiences (*cough* Brighton Mara *cough*).
Bag drop was smooooth, bag collection was even smoother, and the post-run goodies didn’t disappoint either.
- Protein water from (which I’ve yet to try!)
- Homemade flapjack – a constant from Run Through
- Water (obvs)
- And a bar that I literally can’t even remember because I demolished it so quickly… #notevensorry
£20 for the Half Mara (and cheaper as you go down in distance). VERY reasonable.
St Marks Gate Victoria Park Cadogan Terrace London E9 5HT
When will they take place again?
Would I run it again?
One flying experience, and one tricky experience… I will DEFINITELY be going back to make a deciding call on it 😉