Virgin Sport Hackney Half Marathon 2017

I’m not perfect, but I’m trying. And if you don’t take part you’re going to fail.” 

Anthony Joshua’s quote this week, following his victory over Wladimir Klitschko, perfectly sums up my week, of training, working to improve my technique at the running school, then to achieving a PB at the Virgin Sport Hackney Half Marathon.


The Running School:

Thanks to Elle for getting me on the programme to work with Coach Nick. The first session of the coaching block was undertaking a Biomechanical Analysis of my running technique and identifying the good points, and the things to help improve my running technique.

My video showed I’m a mid foot striker, and overall my running form was good. But there is always room for improvement. Such as developing glute strength, as it allows you to maintain a steady and level pelvis, which allows extension of the hip, for forward propulsion. It is this that keeps your body in line (torso, pelvis and legs). So if you have weak glutes, your entire structure is compromised, which means your body will overcompensate and try and maintain ‘balance’ which can lead to injuries.

Virgin Sport Hackney Half Marathon:

Thanks to the team at Virgin Sport for inviting me to race in their first Festival of Fitness on the Hackney Marshes.

Beyond the traditional half marathon event, the festival theme really worked as it encouraged people to get active, either by taking part in the free fitness activities for all on the Marshes, leading up to the new 5.5k race.

What stood out to me was no matter what level of fitness you had, everyone could get involved and was encouraged to give sport a try, ensuring that no one was left out.

A highlight for me was that Sir Richard Branson fired the starting pistol alongside Charlie Dark of Run Dem Crew. Both are such inspiring people.

Although there were flat parts, it was an undulating road race across Hackney. It was great that the roads were closed off, as I passed landmarks, like the Hackney Empire where listening to Chariots of Fire gave me a boost.

I have to give a shoutout to Run Dem Crew, for the amazing support as I entered into the Olympic Park. Their energy was incredible.

Overall the crowds and the entertainment from choirs, to Calypso bands lining the course were amazing.

The medal, t shirt etc were all of a high standard, plus the race photos were included at no extra cost. Overall it’s reasonably priced event for the number of things you get.

If you want to take part in any of the other Virgin Sport events they are:

  • British 10k – 9th July
  • Oxford – 8th October
  • San Francisco – 14th-15th October

Wrap up:

Although there was a lot going on during the race, my main aim of the race was to better my half marathon time earlier this year of 1:41:35 and break 1:40. I was able to run it in a PB time of 1:38:34. So this race will always be a special one for me. And one I would definitely run again.

As Anthony said I’m not perfect but each day I’m trying. Running long distances doesn’t come easy to me, my first half marathon was well over 2 hours, and I’ve had many peaks and troughs up to this point, but the race result is a step in the right direction to the targets I’m working towards.

In working towards my running goals, moments like this remind me that actually the journey is more fun, than the end point.


Thank you list:

  • Firstly thanks to Virgin Sport for putting on a great race, and to the amazing volunteers. I’m looking forward to the British 10k in July.
  • Thanks to The Running School for the insights in my running form.
  • Thanks to Science in Sport for the supporting my nutrition needs. I’m particularly impressed with the new overnight protein shakes which are helping speed up my recovery.
  • Thanks to Enertor global for the performance insoles. You can get £10 off Enertor Performance Insoles, using the code: MARCUS10
  • Thanks to SKINS for sending me their DNAmic kit, I’ve been wearing the compression gear post race and long runs and it’s really helped in my recovery. These have become a staple of my wardrobe now!


  1. Great post Marcus and a huge congrats on the half PB – well done! And yep, always important to focus on the journey, not just the endpoint! Happy running!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on the PB. It was my second Hackney half marathon and SO much easier than last year with the heat I thought – took 11 mins off my time from last year to bring it below 1:54. As always, the crowds and marshals/support made it. And a word about the support – as my wife and I walked home along the canal at around the 2:45 mark we saw someone of around 65/70 approach the pub on the bridge at Hackney Wick at around the 10 mile mark and he was struggling. However he got so much support from the youngsters that you could see the spring in his step. Made me proud to live in this great borough. Roll on next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So get this – I ran the Hackney Marathon in 2015, with my wife Lauren, 3 weeks after achieving a personal best side by side with Lauren at the Manchester Marathon 3 weeks earlier . At the time my Mum was dying of breast cancer and it was day by day with her as we were warned she could have a seizure and literally die at any time – she battled through passing eventually away in July 2015. Meanwhile the day after our running in the 2015 Hackney Half Marathon, I under went an ultrasound and CT. 1O days after that I was told I had relapsed and my Cancer had come back…. Chemo treatment followed . May be that’s why I did not feel the pull to run there this year, my official excuse was it was to soon after London. But your wonderful blog has made want to be there and do it again next year – THANK YOU !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing such a personal account, and I can see subconsciously why you would feel that way about the race, I’m really glad that the blog helped in a tiny way. Thank you again for sharing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: