Large crowds turned out yesterday to support the 12, 000 runners who braved the heat to take part in the first Run Hackney half marathon.
The race started and finished on Hackney Marsh and took runners through Hackney Downs, past the Hackney Empire and on to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Local school children also joined in, running the final mile of a 26-mile marathon challenge they had completed over a period of weeks.
The men’s and women’s races were won by Kenyan runners from team Run Fast. Peter Emase ran the course in one hour and four minutes and women’s winner Gladys Yator, posted a time of one hour and 15 minutes.
The event also included a wheelchair half marathon. The men’s race was won by Ashley Archer, 25 from north London in just 59 minutes and the women’s by Susan Cook in one hour 19 minutes. Archer began wheelchair racing after watching the 2012 London Paralympics. He won despite having asthma and had a clear message for would-be participants who make excuses for not taking part. He said: “Prepare, it’s about preparation. I have been unwell for a week or two… but I just came out and did it. It’s about motivation and determination to do it.”
Temperatures soared to 22 degrees during the event and runners reported seeing competitors taken ill. Tunde Oyeniyi, 31, a social worker from Ipswich completing his eighth half marathon said: “I saw five people collapse. They weren’t the type of people you’d think would collapse, it was dangerous.”
Despite water and mist stations being available on the route, the hot weather meant a number of runners had to be treated by the London Ambulance Service for dehydration. Local residents helped thirsty runners by handing out bottles of water.
Runner Ed Millington, 28, who lives in Homerton said: “It was a really hot day but they had mist stations pumping you with mist and lots of drinks. The people who organised it did really well to keep everyone cool and running”
The race was started by Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe and Jermain Jackman, the winner of The Voice 2014.
Jackman, who lives in Hackney and who is a basketball and football fan said: “Seeing so many people, so many young people taking part, it’s inspired me to take up running, but I don’t run for many things, I don’t even run for the bus!”
Pipe said: “It’s a great community event and it’s yet another thing that puts Hackney on the map.” Pipe also expressed his thanks to the organisers of the race. He said: “Congratulations to everybody who took part. It’s been a big event to organise, so many people all in one place and all those road closures, a big thank you to all the organisers but particularly the council staff that have been involved.”
View the full results from yesterdays race and sign up for next year’s event on the Run Hackney website.