Race Date: Sunday September 30th 2018
AKA Project Sub-2
After the anticipointment of The Great North Run, it was with a sense of trepidation that we headed south on our now annual migration to West London.
Now in its 7th year, the Ealing Half Marathon has quickly established itself as a popular London race with runners from over 30 countries taking part. This has led to the event winning ‘Best Half Marathon’ 3 years running.
On a personal level, Ealing was the first Half Marathon I ran, back in 2016, so was looking to better my times of 2:07 (2016) and 2:02 (2017) and I was hoping to get under the 2 hour mark for the first time.
Transport to the start was particularly easy as we stayed with some Ealing friends who either run or volunteer. It was also their recommendation that led me to choose Ealing as my half marathon debut.
The day itself had a chilly start and had the feel of being ideal conditions for a PB.
At the start, in Lammas Park, there is a great volunteer structure in place and, crucially, plenty of space for a warm up. From Lammas Park, the race takes in various shopping areas, residential streets and three parks before it finishes back where it started with a final, cruel, lap of the park.
As I made my way to start line I was keeping an eye out for the 2-hour pacers and managed to get myself about 50m ahead of them. At around the 3 mile mark we reached the first hill of the route which, although not comparable to a Sheffield hill, did slow my pace a bit. The sound of the 2-hour pacers behind me, encouraging their group, got me back into gear and I broke away from them a little. In retrospect, I think I may have crumbled if they had passed me so early in the race. As it turned out, this was the last time I heard them!
As we reached the hour mark I was pleased to see that I run around 6.6 miles so had the first hope that, if I could keep the pace up, a sub-2 was on. After 90 mins I snatched another look at the watch and found that I had 30 mins to do just over a Parkrun so was beginning to feel confident.
A great moment was around the 9 mile mark when there is a section with runners travelling in both directions. At this point I managed to see my wife Sarah, who some Striders will know either from Mick’s Thursday speed sessions or for her vocal support of Striders wherever we may be, running the opposite way and we exchanged shouts and whoops!
I did begin to flag in the last mile but pushed on trying to keep the legs moving. The last half mile is a long, looping, lap of Lammas Park with the promise of the Finish around every corner! With the Finish finally in sight I made an attempt at a sprint finish and was very happy to get over the line with over a minute to spare and over 3 minutes knocked off my PB from the Sheffield Half earlier in the year.
There then came a nervous 20 minutes or so whilst I waited for Sarah to finish. She was on for a PB at the 20km mark but then her knee decided enough was enough and she had to walk the last km to the finish.
As usual we headed to the local pub (The New Inn) afterwards as there is always a great post-race atmosphere combined with a beer and cider festival.
After participating in this event for 3 years now, I can certainly vouch for the level of support around the course and would recommend it to anyone wanting to experience a London Half.
So, Project Sub-2 finally comes to end which, of course, means that Project Sub-1:55 is only just beginning. Bring it on!
Overall 3961 runners set off from Lammas Park with Jonathan Poole of Serpentine Running Club taking home the win for the second year running with a time of 1:09:02 whilst the first lady home was Rachel Thomas of Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets AC with a time of 1:20:29.
One lone strider (and wife) took part with the following results:
Full results here