In short: Well deserving of the awards In full: The Ealing HM organisers are never slow to shout about their award-winning race (UK's best HM, three years running!) and rightly so. A definite highlight of the London running calendar.
All 13.1 miles are run on closed roads, and while there are enough tight turns and uphill sections to compromise your PB chances, the course is wide enough to ensure you never get bottled in, and you should be able to make some time up on the flatter straight bits to offset the twists and the hills. You're never far from a water stop, and as an added bonus, water is handed out in sports cap bottles, so you can take some hydration with you if needed.
On the day organisation is fantastic, helped by race packs being posted to you in the weeks before. Thanks to some public transport issues, I only arrived 20 minutes before the start of the race this year, but was still able to drop my bag, visit the toilet and warm up with time to spare.
Crowd support around the whole course is fantastic, from big groups of cheering people on the main roads and in the parks, to locals hanging out in their front gardens applauding you on when you're running down the smaller back roads. Outside of the (significantly pricier) Hackney Half Marathon, you'd struggle to find a better-supported London race outside of managing to get a place in the VLM.
Price-wise, it's at the more premium end of the half marathon scale, but the closed course, the crowd support and the excellent organisation, to say nothing of the range of goodies and the chunky medal at the end, mean that it's very much good value for money. Date of review: November 1, 2016
In short: Twisty and hilly but good atmosphere In full: Overall it is a good race. Very well organised, closed road race with a great atmosphere and decent crowds. A couple of words of caution though. For those looking for a PB this is not the ideal race, despite the marketing suggesting it is. Far too many turns and hills. But if you want a closed road run, with good crowds and atmosphere then this is well worth trying Date of review: October 14, 2016
In short: My favourite race through the closed roads and parks of Ealing In full: What can I say...I love this race and have run all 5. It doesn't surprise me that it has won the award for best half 3 years running as the organisation is faultless and the race is clearly run by runners for runners. What makes it special though is the community feel...from the vicars handing out water (all the churches on route are water stations), to the annual street party at mile 5 (where residents make the most of being on a closed road), to impromptu bands and teen djs in front gardens, to locals supporting in pjs with cups of tea!. The course is definitely undulating, but that means plenty of downhills too and the atmosphere for the last km as you run back into the park to the finish always makes me feel like a celebrity! I'll be entering for 2017 as soon as entries open. This is definitely a race not to be missed.
In short: A surprisingly hilly half which benefits from good organisation In full: The half has a good feel to it at beginning and end. Scenery varies so that's good. It's surprisingly hilly for London and needs respect in preparation. Marshaling, water stations, and signage are great as is the welcome and commentary at end. Support is a bit patchy but it's good for quite a relatively new race. The end was a bit too twisty and the run in the park seemed never ending after all the work on the rest of the course, again treat with respect and it wouldn't be too big a problem. I would not have wanted this to be my first half as it is definitely on the harder side of things. Glad I did it. Date of review: October 3, 2016
In short: The best road half marathon by far In full: I have debated doing Ealing for a number of years, I'm so glad I finally did! It's not an easy course by any means, there are plenty of hills to challenge you and I quite liked the twists and turns. The organisation and support was fab. My local half in Reading could learn a thing or two! Would highly recommend. Date of review: September 30, 2016
In short: Justifiably the best half marathon in the UK In full: I love everything about this race; from the atmosphere, to the seamless organisation, to the way the event is embraced so wholeheartedly by the local community - resulting in fantastic support on the course, to the friendliest marshals I have encountered and the joy of running on closed roads.
I look forward to running in 2017. Well don EHM. Date of review: September 29, 2016
In short: It gets better every year! In full: I have done this 5 years running now and can't fault it. The organisation is impeccable and the community support is superb. There are a few hills but that means a fair bit of downhill too and the cheering and music along the route does wonders for getting you around. Date of review: September 28, 2016
In short: One of the best local events I've done In full: I ran this race while on a weekend visit to London from Washington DC. EHM deserves its vaunted status. It’s not the fastest course ever, but the community engagement is fantastic, and the organization is impeccable. There seems to be an east-west ridge that passes through Ealing, and the route makes two trips across that ridge and back. That’s where the 4 main climbs come from. The other ups and downs on the course profile are barely noticeable. The hills are over by mile 8, and hopefully your legs aren’t also finished at that point. Unordered list of things that I liked. Water bottles instead of water cups: makes it possible to keep running and to get enough to drink. Big community turn-out all along the route: almost makes up for those hills. Better than usual loo provisions at the start. Race-day packet pick up for international participants. Wonderful baggage drop volunteers: one of them found my bag and walked out to meet me before I even arrived. Pacer groups at 5-minute intervals (though as far as I could tell, the ones I was keeping in my sights weren’t adjusting their pace for the hills). Lammas Park: great venue for start and finish, and very easy walk to Northfields Tube station. Date of review: September 28, 2016
In short: Did not believe they could beat last year but the organisers, the volunteers and the community made this a race day that will live long in the memory. In full: Somehow this race achieves just the right mix of organisation and a true community spirit.
The ATC kids at the bag drop rock. Polite and amazingly organised. Bag ready before I even reached the tent. The army of marshals care about their event and showcasing their community and also about having a fun day. As a result the start and finish were as organised as any like sized event I've entered and everyone had time to make conversation. The community turned out in force and the churches, the bands, the choirs and the general public all gave the runners real support, both verbal and in confectionary and liquid form. The addition of names on race numbers made the support even more personal and warm. The course is undulating but I have managed a PB both years I've run so it has to be possible for anyone. I hope this event continues for a very long time. If I can't run it I will volunteer. It looks like everyone's having a blast the other side of the ropes. Date of review: September 27, 2016