15 October 2019

Race review: Run to the Beat

September 17, 2013

Run to the Beat (Sunday 8 September) saw 19,000 participants take to the streets of Greenwich to run London’s ‘music’ half marathon spurred on by music and powered by Nike+.  It was an opportunity that Sportsister’s Bianca Fermi could not miss, especially with the great line-up of musicians and DJs this year.



A very cool green and bright pink Nike dri-fit race day t-shirt arrived in the post along with a race booklet detailing all the usual important information required for the day. And judging by the long green snake trailing 13.1miles through south east London, the other runners almost unanimously agreed the t-shirt was good enough to wear!

The social media build-up to the race was very encouraging, with lots of tips and advice, and fun interactions for the runners to get involved and be well-prepared for the event.

This year saw the festival village set up in the leafy Greenwich Park. The ‘village’ was buzzing with a large stage, music, food and drink stalls and the all important bag drop and toilet facilities provided. A fantastic set up for both runners and supporters alike!

The Route

Leaving the festival village, the runners made their way to the starting pens, which had a festive atmosphere and DJ Goldierocks was at hand to provide some much-needed uplifting tunes to get the runners going at the starting line. This year’s new route saw the runners leave Greenwich Park and run towards Woolwich and return along the Thames to the O2 arena before finishing in the picturesque park.


Just after the 4 mile mark however there was a bit of a hitch, to put it mildly. The route was to take the runners through a gate  into the Royal Artillery Barracks, loop the courtyard and pass a drinks stand, and come back out the same gate. With such a large number of runners participating this created a long delay and back-up at the gate (on both sides!), with some people waiting 5-10 minutes to get through. Eventually runners were bypassing the loop through the Barracks and continuing on the route. Due to this, the event organisers decided to refund all participants £10. A glitch I’m sure will not be repeated next year!

After this hiccup however, it was back to business. The music stands along the route had some great tunes and there was loads of pedestrian support. The route was well-signposted and there were lots of water stands, however some sections were really narrow which created a lot of congestion for the runners.

Returning to the park the final stretch included a long steep hill. This was an interesting challenge to throw at the runners at the 12 mile mark, but there was some loud encouragement from the spectators to spur everyone on! And Jessie J was the headline act on the festival village stage, giving the runners good incentive to get finished and join the party!


Would I do it again?

Yes, I would. It is not a course to set a personal best, but it has a great atmosphere, the music gets better and better every year and the festival feel makes it a great social half marathon to do!

Good Points

– The new festival village set up in Greenwich Park.

– The music, of course!

– The good pre-race interaction from Nike, via social media.


Bad Points

– The bottle-neck at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

– The overall congestion of the route – perhaps this needs to be tweaked for forthcoming years.

– The final hill!

More information can be found at www.runtothebeat.co.uk , where you can also register your interest for next year’s event.

Bianca Fermi, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine


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