The award-winning Ealing Half Marathon is well known for its fantastic community spirit, so much so that it inspires many of those watching the event to lace up their running shoes for the very first time.
Darren Moore, a Marketing Director from South Ealing, is one such person who has gone from being a complete non-runner to someone who will be running Ealing Half Marathon on Sunday 29th September 2019 for the third time.
Having spent many years supporting the race as a spectator and cheering on his friends, Darren had often wondered if he was missing out on such a great community event – yet never imagined that he too would one day be crossing the finish line in Lammas Park. Yet in 2017 everything changed: by joining one of his running friends for ‘the first mile of the year’ on holiday, and two weeks later completing his first parkrun at Pitshanger, Darren was inspired to take the plunge. He signed up to Ealing Half Marathon, he began to train properly and the rest, as they say, is history.
“I can honestly say that running has changed my life,” admits Darren. “I used to think that my running friends were crazy and that they were wired differently. But once I started running properly, I realised that it was something I really enjoyed.
“I can’t describe the feeling of running Ealing Half Marathon for the very first time and passing the same corner that I used to stand on myself to cheer everyone on. Seeing my family and friends waiting for me was so emotional, and I burst into tears and stopped for hugs with them all. I couldn’t believe I was actually doing it. I had gone from being a spectator to a runner and I was on the most fantastic journey discovering what I could do and where running could take me.”
Running has certainly brought Darren the most incredible physical and mental benefits, with him readily admitting that he has never felt so fit or strong. He went on to complete Ealing Half Marathon in 2018 and regularly runs the trails by the canal and in the beautiful green parks close to home – including at Pitshanger parkrun, where he has made many new friends since that first 5K two years ago. As a Local Green Party candidate, Darren is a big supporter of Ealing’s open spaces, and immersion in nature is a key motivation for his running. He now takes his running shoes whenever he goes away for business or holiday and is able to discover beaches, mountains and all kinds of places that he would never get to see if he wasn’t a runner.
Back to Ealing, though, with two medals now in the bag and one more in his sights this year. What is it about Ealing Half Marathon that really strikes a chord?
“There is an extraordinary atmosphere on Ealing Half Marathon race day,” explains Darren. “People don’t often talk to each other in London, but on the morning of the race everyone is opening their door and walking to the start line, chatting and supporting each other. There’s a really strong sense of community, the roads are closed and people are coming out to line the route and cheer us on. There are also great acts of generosity from local organisations, such as the local churches manning the water stations, and people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds running the race for very different reasons. You really feel that it’s a special community event and I’m excited to support it.”
Darren’s enthusiasm is certainly infectious and it’s easy to see how his whole family are now into running, with his daughters now enjoying parkrun and Ealing Mini Mile, and his wife taking on Couch to 5K. He is proof that anyone can run a half marathon if they put their mind to it – and it might just bring with it a host of other benefits that can quite literally change your life.
With just under six months until this year’s Ealing Half Marathon, now is the perfect time to sign up, start a training plan and get race fit. Beginners through to more experienced runners can find the perfect training plan for their level and look forward to a superb autumn race with incredible support.
Ealing Half Marathon is looking forward to welcoming 7,000 runners from over 25 countries to its 8th anniversary race on Sunday 29th September 2019. The race is a big favourite among the running community, its 13.1-mile course following a closed-road route around the leafy streets of West London. The race starts and finishes in Lammas Park and takes in parts of Central Ealing, Montpelier, Pitshanger, West Ealing, Hanwell and St Stephens.
Go to www.ealinghalfmarathon.com to register and for further race info. You can also like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/ealinghalf and follow @EalingHalf #EalingFeeling on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest news about the Ealing Half Marathon.