This is how the event went for me.
For the first time ever, I read the race pack (albeit, the night before). It was a bit of a shock to the system - the course was going to be hilly and the start location would not be the easiest to access. I planned in my mind, an experience similar to Brighton - rock up 1 hour before the start, get fed, watered and just chill till it was time. No pressure, as I'd agreed to run with Bethan again; the plan was to just have a chat on the way round as a catch up (not seen her in like, 2 weeks!).
My journey didn't go to plan (that's Sunday morning on public transport for you) and I arrived about 15 mins before the start. I went to sign in, but there was a lot of confusion which left me racing to the bag drop just to have somewhere to leave my bag!
Vitality North London Half Marathon
15th March 2015
Start Location: Somewhere outside of the Allianz Stadium, North London
Start Time: 9.30am
The Start: Thinking the start line was in the stadium (Erm, that's what the FB post from North London Half said that morning?!) I didn't think there was much to worry about until we realised it was actually a good distance away...out of the stadium. We eventually made it there as the last runners were leaving (I predict we started in the last 500), got to wave to Mo Farah and off we went...
The Route: The route was an out and back loop with the midpoint being that we got to run through Wembley Stadium, right next to the pitch. This definitely was the highlight of the 13.1 miles. And I'm not a football fan.
Before that, it was running next door to / under a dual carriage way / motorway, through some streets and areas which were very, very quiet and lacked support. Oh and then the recurring theme of the entire event were the hills...
Hill Mantra: head down, knees up
I had just one big hill in Brighton. On Sunday, we had hill after hill, after hill and the downhill segments didn't even feel that spectacular!
There were a few bands speckled around the route but the most noticeable noise came from Run Dem Crew...
The Crowd: Run Dem Crew provided a huge heap of sideline support. That was amazing. The rest of the course had supporters here and there. My favourite were some residents who came out with some signs they had made! The two that stuck in my memory were "You Inspire" and "Good Luck! And Have A Good Day!".
The Atmosphere: There wasn't much time for me to soak up the atmosphere pre start; during the race everyone seemed friendly enough. We spent a fair bit of time overtaking people as we kept a steady pace.
The Drinks: There were 5 water stations on the course. Hooray! The water stations also were part of my best bits - they had kids / teens handing out the bottles who were so friendly and encouraging! Made me smile every single time as their enthusiasm seemed to be infectious! Lucozade was also available but as I don't train with it, I don't take it when I am running.
The Loo Situation: Plenty were at the start line and some along the course. They even had posh portaloos which were a bonus! There were more queues for the loos on the course than for the ones in the race village which I thought was fascinating!
The Finish: The stadium finish was pretty cool! By the time we got back, a considerable crowd had already completed the race and gathered on the sidelines of the final straight. Bethan did her usual sprint finish which actually made me smile!
The Medal: This was one part I was looking forward to! I love running for a medal and I also knew our friend Kiera was volunteering and would be handing out the medals so I made a bee line straight for her to get mine!
My Official Time: 2:15:01
A HUGE THANK YOU (again) to Bethan who ran (and skipped) all the way with me! Even when I insisted she left me, she stuck with me!
Have you ever had an off day for an event?! How do you cope?!
p.s And Thanks to Vitality North London for my place. All opinions are my own :)