Hackney Moves Festival and Half Marathon 2021: Everything you need to know

·4-min read
 (LimeLight Sports Club)
(LimeLight Sports Club)

It’s more than just London’s largest half marathon. If you’re out and about in Hackney this weekend, expect a whole festival: think three days of movement, from HIIT, dance and yoga classes with top Nike trainers to hundreds of five to 11-year-olds from over 15 schools taking on the Hackney Schools Challenge.

The Hackney Moves Festival is among the highlights of the capital’s fitness festival calendar and it’s the UK’s biggest: a record 30,000 runners are expected to move to the beat at the Hackney Half on Sunday, and more than 75,000 festival-goers are expected to attend the festival across the weekend.

This year, it’s bigger than ever, says managing director of LimeLight Sports Club, James Robinson. For him, the USP of Hackney Moves is making fitness fun. “It sets a benchmark in the industry for a new mass participation events concept that makes movement accessible for everyone,” says Robinson.

Whether you’re running in the half, 5k or schools race or coming along to one of the free activities across the three days, here is your ultimate guide to the weekend.

 (LimeLight Sports Club)
(LimeLight Sports Club)

When is it?

It starts on Friday. This year, Hackney Moves takes place across three days to bring a full (long) weekend of races, culture and entertainment.

Friday is opening day, with a reggae sounds DJ set taking place on the main stage from 3pm and sunset yoga from Morning Gloryville.

 (LimeLight Sports Club)
(LimeLight Sports Club)

Dozens of warm-ups, bootcamp-style classes and family fitness sessions take place on the main stage and in the Hackney Fitness House across the weekend - check out the full spectathlete guidde at limelightsports.club here - while Saturday sees the Hackney 5k and Hackney Schools Challenge races, and Sunday is the big one: the Hackney Half.

If you’re running, you’ll be allocated a window in which to arrive at the event, which must be followed. Please ensure that you have the NHS Test & Trace App active on your phone and observe the one-way systems, signage and instructions given to you by staff and volunteers. 

 (LimeLight Sports Club)
(LimeLight Sports Club)

You’ll receive an exclusive Nike finishers’ shirt, a medal, race photos and a swag-filled tote bag at the end.

Where is it?

Right in the centre of Hackney, just above the Olympic Park on Hackney Marshes. Use the address Homerton Road, E9 5PF if you’re using Google Maps to get there - Leyton is your nearest Tube and Clapton is your nearest train station.

 (LimeLight Sports Club)
(LimeLight Sports Club)

Look out for the fitness tents, food trucks and stalls - the festival has its own food hub, Market on the Marshes, all weekend.

For runners, it’s always good to familiarise yourself with the route beforehand. For the first time ever, the free Hackney 5K will take in all the Olympic sights as runners wind their way through the Olympic Park, past the River Lea and the Olympic Velopark.

 (LimeLight Sports Club)
(LimeLight Sports Club)

Meanwhile Sunday’s Hackney Half will see thousands of runners cruise down Mare Street through a carnival of sounud, past Hackney Town Hall, through Broadway Market and past the vibrant street art at Hackney Wick.

Where to watch

Spectators are invited to cheer runners on throughout the 13.1 mile route, but there are specific entertainment points at the corner of Middleton Road and Haggerston Road, beside Broadway Market, by Dalston Kingsland station and on Hackney Downs.

 (LimeLight Sports Club)
(LimeLight Sports Club)

Other cheer points include Mabley Green and the corner of Wansbeck Road and Cadogan Terrace. Check out the map online here. If you’re not able to see runners en route, there’ll be plenty to see and eat at Market on the Marshes by the start and finish lines.

How to take part in the free fitness festival

Even if you’re not a signed-up race runner, you can still take part. There are dozens of events happening across the weekend, from bootcamp-style classes led by London’s leading fitness instructors to DJ sets on the main stage.

 (LimeLight Sports Club)
(LimeLight Sports Club)

All are free and first-come-first-served, so don your fit kit and get down early. Highlights include sessions from 1Rebel, Fight Klub and Gareth Bale’s rowing studio Rowbots, warm-ups from Nike trainers, and mindful cool-downs from Stretch gym.

Treat yourself to a bite from the market after - Cheeky Burger, The Duck Shed and Lil Watan are among the food stalls serving post-sweat session eats across the weekend.

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