In short: Friendly, meticulously organised race In full: So there are flatter races out there with more PB potential. There are courses that are more naturally endowed with famous landmarks and beautiful scenery. But I don't think I've run in many races that have had as good an atmosphere, or were as enjoyable. .
For perspective, this isn't a review written in the rose-tinted afterglow of a PB; I went into this run in the throes of a horrible cold and a niggling Achilles, and was never in danger of recording a good time. But I still loved it. Ealing shows the value of getting the little touches right. From the no-hassle bag drop, to the lovely medal. From the signs put up around the course welcoming runners from different countries or wishing runners happy birthday, to the warm-up which was clearly led by a running coach, not a local radio DJ trying to recreate a Davina aerobics video. From the friendly and enthusiastic marshals, to the spotlight given to the local running clubs. Well done Ealing! Date of review: October 3, 2013
In short: Friendly and fast In full: How wonderful to have a race in London on entirely closed streets. The residents and marshals made the runners feel welcome and valued and there was a carnival-like atmosphere, some street parties on the way. The water stops were very well organised and conducive to barely breaking your stride. Plenty of room to run and very little congestion. A few mildly challenging hills but plenty of flats too (and downhills obviously). Route goes through nice residential areas and parks too, including a nice lap-of-honour at the end. Slick organisation, a genuinely useful organised warm-up, and appropriate stands and tents in the start/finish park. I ran the whole thing with a big silly grin on my face, decimated my PB, and will definitely be back for more next year. Date of review: October 2, 2013
In short: Buzzing atmosphere, great for all abilities - good fun! In full: People say London is a lonely place full of lots of people but the Ealing community proved otherwise! The support from locals & volunteers made me feel rather emotional, Ealing half really displayed the spirit of why running is so much fun. Ill be back! The hills aren't that bad btw! Date of review: October 2, 2013
In short: A must-do race. In full: What makes this race so special?
1)Brilliant organisation - from plentiful toilets, great baggage drop area to the course being very well signposted.
2) Great support on the route from residents and marshals
3) Mildly undulating, yes. But what goes up must come down, right? I went easy on the uphills and easily made up the time on the downhill stretches and bagged a pb by over 5 minutes. Don't let yourself be put off by talk of hills, otherwise you will miss out on one of London's best races.
4) The race manages to create the feel of being a truly big event, with over 5,000 runners, including a band of elite male and female athletes (64 minute being the winning time in the men's race). This feeling of taking part in one of the major events on the racing calendar is further emphasised by the fact that it is run on closed roads throughout and the race starts and finishes in Lammas Park, the site of an impressive race village.
5) Whilst the event is now undoubtedly one of the major races around, it retains an appeal for beginners as much as elites. The sheer number of marshals on hand, all of whom seemed to be ready to dish out a friendly hello or an encouraging smile and supportive cheer, ensure this remains the case. There was also an abundance of pacers, ensuring the goals of the not-so-fast runners are rightly catered for, as much as the elites. In addition, there were lots of shouts of encouragement from others runners as the route came back on itself - this is what running, in my view, is all about, all of us in it together, regardless of ability.
In short, do this race in 2014. Personally, I cannot wait. Date of review: October 2, 2013
In short: Ealing opens its doors and welcomes runners of all levels In full: The four features that stand out for me are: fantastic organisation, every little detail is thought through eg bananas that are ripe to eat given out at the end. Secondly the warmth of welcome from the community- Ealing wants us to be running through their streets, I had so many offers of jelly babies! Thirdly the breadth of the runners, from world class elites to first timers like me, we had the chance of seeing the elites running as we passed each other, it gave a sense of a whole race and not just the part I was in. Fourthly the support of the Marshall's and water station churches, I was cheered on all the way. It's a really unforgettable half marathon, highly recommended. As they say, it's run by runners for runners, and they have succeeded Date of review: October 1, 2013
In short: My 1st but won't be my last In full: Amazing organisation, brilliant atmosphere, real community event and I can't think of a better place to have run my very first half. Perfect weather for runners & spectators, brilliant army of volunteers across the generations. I absolutely love my medal which is unique & together with the artwork will be a lasting memory of one of the best days of my life. Date of review: October 1, 2013
In short: Impeccably organised, certain one of London's best In full: This was my third half marathon and the only race I'm doing this year due to injury - I had been planning to take the rest of the year out but was talked into doing this one by friends.
As London road races go this must be one of the absolute best, of any distance. Having done things like the British 10K, this race is significantly cheaper, has better support and the organisation is worlds better.
I forgot to inform them of change in address and arrived early to be safe but was numbered up and had dropped my bag within 5 minutes with no trouble. Special mention to the stewards who said hello as I walked into the park at 0730 while still setting up, a small but unusual touch.
Having gone out very hard I didn't really take in the scenery, but for the most part it's running through suburbs, there are occasional park bits. I wouldn't describe it as special scenically, it won't touch some of the runs around areas like Richmond either in my view, but I do agree with the views below that it is nice that you're often seeing other people as you double back. The leader got a really nice bit of applause from runners as he came past us on his return.
The support was pretty good, there was one odd moment of having somebody preaching to runners that Jesus loves them early on!
The course shouldn't be great for PBs. It has a lot of turns, especially early on, and it does undulate. Having said that I knocked 4 minutes off my previous PB, so something must have worked!!
One final note from my essay is for the pace setters. Although there were only signs for 1:30, 1:45, 2:00 and so on, they actually also had one for 1:40 and I suspect for some other paces, all carrying balloons and easy to spot. They were also very friendly.
I definitely will plan to do this again next year and I think the one thing that truly sets it apart is its flawless organisation. Date of review: October 1, 2013
In short: My favourite half marathon - perfectly executed and with masses of local support In full: I would highly recommend this half marathon, both to beginners and more established runners. The organisation could not be faulted and it has loads of support from the local community. There seemed to be lots of people who did it as their first half marathon but there were also elite athletes running. I especially loved the bits through Hanwell where the course goes back on itself in a few different places meaning I managed to see the elites flying past and also see people further back - there was even a 3 way crossover at one point which was buzzing with activity. The medal was fantastic and runners were also given an art print which was a really nice touch (plus an energy bar and bananas). This race is likely to become bigger and bigger and I'm looking forward to next year already! Date of review: October 1, 2013
In short: Loved every minute of it!!! In full: What a fantastic, well organised, exciting event!! This race certainly shows you some of the great parts of 'Leafy Ealing' taking you through some lovely local parks. I would definitley recommend this race to all runners- beginners through to the professionals! A great medal and drawing handed to us at the end, which was a nice touch from a local artist. Very good atmosphere at the beginning and end in Lammas park. A few undulations- but nothing too unbearable. Will certainly be doing it again next year!! Date of review: October 1, 2013
In short: Crafted with love In full: The 'race for runners by runners' only explains a fraction of just how special this event is. The day is more than just a race and everything about it is clearly crafted with love from people who respect, value and cherish their local community.
The infamous Ealing 'undulations' were present again but there was something glorious about crossing the crest of an undulation and admiring the sea of runners in front.
The drink stations were once again supported by the local churches and youth organisations. The marshals were plentiful and friendly while everyone in the race village was efficient and courteous.
A fantastic medal and a lovely touch that the half, mini mile and volunteers all received a distinctive medal dependent on their event or role.
The support from residents around the course was phenomenal and I loved the household that held a barbecue outside for their neighbours.
Fantastic use of social media leading up to the race and some more established races could learn some important lessons from the Ealing Half crew (Run To The Beat - I am glaring at you).
Without doubt one of the best half marathons on the road racing circuit. Date of review: October 1, 2013