Mo Farrah starts the North London Half Marathon
Photo credit: Vitality North London Half Marathon

After completing the North London Half Marathon, I am
happy to report that I have claimed another destination on my quest to run the
world. Olympic gold medalist Mo Farrah fired the starting gun, and I, along
with 7000 other runners including three buddies from my running group in
Holland, took to the streets of North London for the inaugural event. Here’s my
take on the event: the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good
A few ladies from my running group and I hopped over
to London for the weekend for the race – and of course to also enjoy a bit of
the city – making it the inaugural destination race for the group. It wasn’t a
relay or a Team
Mo Travels event a la Milano City Marathon
, but we’d all trained together
over the past few months, so it was nice to finally reap the fruits of our
labor.

It was also nice to have some more destination race cohorts. Having my
namesake Mo Farrah start the race was a good feature, as was looping around
Olympic Way and entering the famous Wembly Stadium.

The runners approach Wembly Stadium
I’m not a football fan, but my appreciation for the
stadium is totally from a pop culture point of view, specifically being a fan
of British pop bands in the 80’s and recalling that playing at Wembly was huge
deal (HELLO. Live Aid and Wham! The Final Concert). There was a timing mat set up, which displayed my name on the big screen as
I ran through the stadium. While it wasn’t George Michael serenading me, it
definitely goes into the “good” column.
I’ll add a few more ticks in the “good “ column because
the event was well organized, with everything from the bag drop off, to
hydration stops, to goody bag and medal distribution at the end going smoothly
and quickly, for cute finisher shirts and medals (I do appreciate nice race
bling).
North London Half Marathon Finisher's tee and medal
The Bad
It is no secret that I am a fair weather runner, and
have whined, or whinged, as the Brits would say, about the weather on race day
in Madrid,
Istanbul
and Nice.
Now I’m adding North London to the list. It was cold. It was grey. It was
windy. It was blah. Though I don’t subscribe to the “there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing” theory –
because let’s face it, there IS bad weather – I will own my part in this and
admit that, knowing that I am always cold, I did not dress as warmly as I
should have. That being said, the sucky weather still goes in the bad column,
as will my attitude about it.
The Ugly
The North London Half overtakes the previously mentioned
Milano City Marathon for the most visually unappealing race I’ve ever run. The route
was definitely the ugly, and since it went out and back, it was double the
pleasure (*sarcasm font*). Adding injury to insult were the numerous hills
(though molehills compared to Jerusalem,
but still) and the lack of crowd support along the mostly residential streets
that the route took us through.
Except for Wembly Stadium, there were no interesting
sites. The finish at Allianz Park where the local rugby team plays may have
been a big deal for those who are from the area or rugby fans, but since I am
neither, I wasn’t impressed.
The Final
Assessment
While the route and the weather were not so good, in
the end, doing what I love, with good friends and conquering another
destination on my quest to run the world made it ALL GOOD.