North London Half Marathon
(at marathon effort)

This race was based at the Allianz Stadium in North London, where the Saracens rugby union team play. Handily it is about four miles from my house meaning I could run there and back (although I cut the run home slightly short and grabbed a bus) for a perfect long run with 13.1 miles at marathon effort.

I didn’t spend long in the race village at the stadium, but everything seemed well organised and queues for toilets didn’t look too bad. Slightly annoyingly while the finish is within the Saracens stadium the start was a half mile or so walk away which meant having to spend quite a while out in the cold before the start.

The race was started by Mo Farah, and soon headed out in to the suburbs of North London. The route is pretty dull to be honest, mostly residential streets and not a huge amount of support aside from a few set points where charities were cheering people along. There were some locals out and about, but most weren’t too vocal – very different to Bath a few weeks ago. The course profile is relatively hilly – nothing awful but lots of undulation, a few tougher hills, and very little flat running. Par for the course in North London really.

The highlight of the race is running through Wembley Stadium at the half way point. I’m not a football fan and had never even been in the stadium until today so wasn’t expecting much, but running out on to the side of the pitch was actually quite exciting. You’re surrounded by all the seating, and get some small sense of what it must be like to walk out in to a big stadium as a pro, although the seating was of course all empty! They also had a timing mat set up which would then display your name on the big screen in the stadium which was quite a neat feature.

Unfortunately after that it was back to suburbia for the return route. The end is within the Allianz Stadium on the running track that surrounds the pitch, although there is a tight 90º turn before the final stretch which is a bit annoying when you’re trying for a sprint finish. The end was efficient and I soon had my medal, t-shirt and well-stocked goody bag. I finished in 1:43:04. A few minutes slower than Bath two weeks ago, but given the tougher course I’m happy enough with the pace.

Overall a well run race, although the course isn’t the most inspiring and support isn’t amazing. It’s expensive at around £40, but London races always are. Not bad for a first effort though, and running through Wembley Stadium is definitely a neat unique feature of the race.

17:41 min/mi165-37 ft
27:30 min/mi173-37 ft
38:02 min/mi17996 ft
47:35 min/mi178-70 ft
57:51 min/mi182-1 ft
67:24 min/mi181-58 ft
77:42 min/mi1839 ft
88:10 min/mi18667 ft
97:47 min/mi183-7 ft
107:55 min/mi184-10 ft
117:47 min/mi1826 ft
128:01 min/mi18350 ft
137:46 min/mi1842 ft
0.36:46 min/mi191-9 ft
Lap Time Distance PaceHR
Total 1:43:04 13.1 mi 7:51 min/mi180
1 7:40 0.99 mi 7:43 min/mi165
2 7:39 1.02 mi 7:30 min/mi173
3 8:06 1.01 mi 8:02 min/mi179
4 7:31 0.99 mi 7:34 min/mi178
5 7:50 1.00 mi 7:50 min/mi182
6 7:39 1.03 mi 7:26 min/mi181
7 8:08 1.01 mi 8:04 min/mi183
8 8:08 1.00 mi 8:08 min/mi186
9 7:55 1.01 mi 7:52 min/mi184
10 7:53 1.00 mi 7:52 min/mi183
11 7:52 1.00 mi 7:52 min/mi182
12 8:04 1.01 mi 8:01 min/mi183
13 7:46 1.01 mi 7:39 min/mi185
14 :45 0.12 mi 6:23 min/mi196

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