After arriving at the hotel, we set out to find Stratford Westfield shopping centre... (Centre?? It was a world of shops!!)Anna needed to find certain items for the race, so we wandered around Primark, Nike and other shops, before hunting food. Cabana.... That's a name I won't forget. Brazilian cuisine, and quite honestly, I've never seen so much meat being put on plates! I opted for a pulled pork burger and the others had various meats!! What a feast!! ....and let's not talk about the slab of cheesecake after! Arriving back at the hotel, we had a cuppa together and plotted our trek to Hackney marshes in the early hours of Sunday!! Mike and I had done quite well, Not only did we get dragged out shopping, but we had also gone alcohol free all day!!(This was put to rights as we sneaked down to the hotel bar... For a 'couple' of night caps!!).
No need for alarms, Mike was up and getting ready at 5:30am, and I slowly followed. We ventured down for a continental breakfast, had a few coffees and set off at 7:30. It was quite some walk, somewhere between 2.5 - 3 miles, but it went quick and we nattered all the way. Race Is quite a big one, and the 12000 or so runners soon filled Hackney Marshes!! After baggage drop and a few selfie/photo snaps, it was time to get into race mode and pens... (Anna and Karen aiming for 1:30-1:35) mike and I edged back towards the 1:45-1:50 marker! A slow walk down the start mats, and we were off!! The weather was very warm and the first mile seemed hard work! My legs felt battered from Brighton and Southampton, but I was determined to stick and pace with Mike for a PB of around 1:45 - 1:46! We got into the race well, becoming comfortable enough in the busy roads, to go through 10k in 50 minutes, by this time, those Kenyan fellas were probably nearly finished!! 7 miles, 8 miles, I started to feel tired, and breathing got heavy and hard, I reckon a chest infection was still lurking from before Brighton (still got it now!!!), at 9-10 miles Mike had a touch of cramp, which became heavier in the final miles!!, we stuck together, and only slowed up a tad, and gave up on the PB mission, A sub 1:50 was still on, but we both wanted to get finished. Crossing the line together( pained!!) mike with cramp and me with a two mile stomach ache( probably lack of cooked breakfast!!!) we got a respectable time of 1:50!!. Medals on necks, goody bags and t-shirts collected, we found the girls (comfortably finished way way before us!!! Anna in an amazing PB of 1:34 and Karen in a fantastic 1:33).
So team Hedgie delivered in Hackney, Very good race, atmosphere and organisation/support!! Just a small matter of a slower 2.5 mile walk back to the hotel. We all freshened up and changed ready for the journey home. The trip back seemed long and the traffic was heavy out of London. We stopped at Fleet services for large coffees, selfies and I couldn't resist a massive Burger King! and then set of for home. A great weekend with great people!! Being part of Hedge end running club is like having a massive new family, and the 'family' Hedgie holiday to Hackney was a great experience!!