London Landmarks Half Marathon Race Report
On the same weekend as The People’s Vote march in central London, a march of a different kind took place. 13,000 people lined up on Pall Mall for the second edition of the London Landmarks Half Marathon. After being shuffled down from Trafalgar square, there was a reminiscent atmosphere of bubbling up of excitement, nervous energy and anticipation but once the horn was sounded this was lost as watches began to bleep and a wave of focus begun to take over the runners.
As many jostled for position running back past Nelson’s Column in the tight first mile, young Seyfu Jamal of London Heathside took an early lead and wasn’t to be caught for the entirety of the race; finishing in 1:08:14 a new course record and PB. Catriona Paterson of Hillingdon was the first female over the line with a time of 1:23:07.
Two runners from Thanet took part in the race, Spencer Hoult and Jamie Collins. The weather was glorious and spirits were high as they squeezed through the crowds to try and reach their respective pacers, Spencer was looking for a time of 1:45 whilst Jamie hoped to break the 1:30 barrier.
By mile two the field had spread out as everybody hit their respective strides over Waterloo bridge, with great views of the Southbank and London Eye. Crowds congregated along the bridge with the sun bringing people out in their droves. Charity cheer teams with choirs and drummers kept the motivation high for the majority of the route and it wasn’t long before the runners hit mile four in the enveloping shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Fitting 13.1 miles into a compact area of London called for some tight corners around the city, each one bringing a new roar from previously unseen crowds. This did lead to some suspect aggressive cornering as runners hopped on to pavements to steal a few yards but these were greeted with pleas from the stewards and shakes of the head from fellow competitors; polite self-policing at it’s British best.
After a particularly technical section past the 9-mile marker the race headed past monument. If the runners were starting to ignore the sights, handy signs along the way were there to take the mind away from the burning thighs with little factoids. This respite was brief however as tower hill beckoned in the distance. Envy set in as the front of the race skipped back down the hill toward the finale.
After a quick turn around at the tower, the final stretch followed the river all the way to Westminster. The crowds intensified with cheers of names, clubs and charities welcomed as the race headed past 11 miles, then 12; Big Ben growing ever larger. One final loop back at the bottom of Westminster Bridge and just half a mile remained.
The pace picked up at the final mile marker through a wide left turn, opening up into glorious sunshine past deafening crowds to a finish outside of Downing Street. Though there was no sign of the Prime Minister herself, it was a fitting end for a such a diverse group; one overriding common goal during a weekend of such divisive political opinions.
As for Thanet, Jamie finished the race with a new PB of 1:26:53 and Spencer came in at 1:57:18 unfortunately succumbing to an ankle injury mid race but enjoying the race none the less. With spring marathons on their way, a lot of our runners will be taking part in events across the length and breadth of the country in the sky blue jerseys so look out for more race reports to come!