The London Landmarks Half Marathon was a new race in 2018, organised by the children’s charity Tommy’s. For me, this run marked my 6th Half Marathon race, but there’s always something special about central London runs. I did the Hampton Court Half in February which I loved and the Big Half earlier this month (which didn’t go quite so well). But the runs through the city of London and along the Embankment always have an incredible atmosphere.
Despite being a new event, the run was heavily advertised beforehand (especially on facebook), so much so that the website crashed when entries opened, and subsequently sold out within 2 minutes. On race day, 10,000+ runners set off according to start waves, however an extremely narrow starting route (one half of Pall Mall) meant that my starting pace was a good 30 seconds slower than expected. I was hoping to go under 1.30 again, but the narrow road meant that my first mile barely fell under 7 minutes.
After a while, the route widened, and the rest of the route was fantastic (and for the most part, completely flat). The entertainment put on by the organisers and the excitement of running past central London’s landmarks meant that it was a fantastic run. Combined with really nice weather (sunny but not hot – ideal running conditions)this helped me to make up some of the pace lost initially. Also, despite living in London and regularly navigating much of the route, London looks so different without any cars and traffic – and you can’t help but jump at the chance to join in that atmosphere.
In the end I finished up just over 1.30, slightly disappointing but still an absolutely fantastic run! The overall organisation of the event, especially for an inaugural event was fantastic – everything from the support to entertainment to podiums and installations at the finishing area for pictures (despite there being no real race village). Also the medal was by far the best of any race I’ve done – it even opens up which was cool!
There were things that could be improved including the baggage drop, start to the route and a crazily inaccurate ‘automated photography’ system that aimed to automatically capture and tag runners (every picture I was ‘tagged’ in was not actually of me). Race packs were also sent out in advance containing shirts. Whilst I loved the design, I would have preferred to receive the shirt after the race. There’s something quite nice about picking up your race pack and shirt at the finish. Having said that, it was great seeing the sea of yellow running jerseys during the race!
Summary of the run
- Lovely route & flat.
- Great shirt & medal
- Great atmosphere
- Entertainment on course & podium for pictures.
The not so good:
- Starting corrals – far too narrow.
- Technical issues with website when registering initially, due to number of people accessing.
- Automated photos very inaccurate.
- Bag drop poorly organised and very slow.
- A few sharp turns and u-turns on the course which slightly decreased PB potential.
- Would have been nicer to have received a race pack and t-shirt after the race.
Overall the London Landmarks run was a fantastic run. I much preferred it over the Big Half earlier this month. I’d consider it almost on a par with the Royal Parks Half!