Dozens of Hackney half-marathon runners needed medical attention yesterday after scorching temperatures caused many racers to collapse.
At least 25 runners were treated in the third annual Vitality Run Hackney when temperatures soared as high as 27 degrees.
Many of the 12,000 racers completed the course before Run Hackney organisers brought participants to a walking pace to ensure they returned to the finish line safely.
Marathon-goers took to social media to applaud ambulance and public efforts to help:
— Marian (@marianalice) May 8, 2016
Marathon-witness Peter Hoult on Facebook said: “The water stations were plentiful and the volunteers were great. The crowds really helped, as always, and I loved people hosing down runners as they ran past their front gardens.
“People seemed to be dropping like flies from mile ten – St John’s, the police and London Ambulance service looked seriously busy (and hot themselves in their uniforms). Anyway – well done and thanks Hackney! Had a ball.”
British Olympian Perri Shakes-Drayton was the official race starter for the half marathon and Schools Challenge. The 400 metre track and field runner said: “[The race] brings together the Hackney community in a unique way and it’s especially good to see youngsters and families enjoying the day and bringing a huge buzz to East London.
“As an East London girl myself I’m especially proud to be here today to officially start the race and cheer the runners on their way” Shakes-Drayton said.
Half marathon finishers were awarded a medal along with a t-shirt designed by Hackney resident Othmane Ennaboulsi. He said his competition-winning design “reflects the mix of people here in Hackney and shows the vibrancy of the local community and this event which is absolutely amazing.”
Nearly 1300 children from over 30 local junior schools took on the last mile of the race as part of the Schools Challenge. The youngsters trained by running one mile each week for 12 weeks and were awarded with a medal and goody bag for their hard work.
Michael Mullen, PE Teacher at Holy Trinity Primary in Hackney said: “It’s really important to get kids active and keep them active and the Run Hackney Schools Challenge is a great example of how to do this.”
The weekend kicked off with a free 5K on Saturday where 2,000 Hackney residents ran a course around Hackney Marshes.
Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health Social Care and Culture said: “I’d like to congratulate everyone who took part in another fantastic Vitality Run Hackney. I’d also like to say a big well done to everyone who ran in the 5K race on Saturday, the pupils who took part in the Schools Challenge and thank the volunteers who helped to ensure the event ran smoothly.”
The winners of the half marathon are both members of the team Run Fast – Mark Kibiwott won the men’s race with a time of 1:04:38 and Hannah Walker won the women’s race at 1:18:42.
Other activities offered to the public included free yoga and exercise classes, a ‘chill out’ zone, and local street art workshops.
You can register for the 2017 Vitalilty Run Hackney here.