Home News 60,000 people celebrated the spirit of Hackney through sport

60,000 people celebrated the spirit of Hackney through sport


This weekend, 60,000 people celebrated the spirit of Hackney through sport at the largest-ever Hackney Festival of Fitness.

Virgin Sport held a three-day celebration that included the community Hackney 5K, the Hackney Half, and over 72 experiential fitness activities on Hackney Marshes!

Familiar faces included; Ella Eyre, James Haskell, Julie Adenuga, Clara Amfo, Michael Dapaah, Jamie Laing, Harrison Osterfield, Kaz Crossley.

New additions – a pop-up blackout immersive cycle studio by Virgin Active, stand-up paddle boarding on the Hackney canals, Ministry of Sound Fitness, yoga and meditation with a live orchestra, a full-size basketball court, football pitch, rock climbing wall, and interactive classes with the best of Nike Trainers.

Hackney Festival of Fitness

Plus, the Michelob Ultra chill zone, Bumble BFF workouts, KIND Snacks dance classes, recovery treatments and massage by Core Clapton, and ‘freshen-up’ stations by Foreo.


Thousands of runners celebrated the spirit of Hackney by taking on London’s most vibrant running event, the Hackney Half, on the final day of the Hackney Festival of Fitness, 17 – 19 May 2019.

17,200 people ran the 2019 Hackney Half Marathon, making it one of the largest half marathons in the UK and the most popular Half in London!

At 9am, runners including leading London run clubs Track Mafia and Run Dem Crew, hit the buzzing 13.1 mile route, passing under the NIKE London x Concrete Objects bespoke start line. A unique structural installation, inspired by the architecture of community, that will be given back to the community for use as functional rest stations across Hackney borough.

The 2019 Hackney Half Marathon was won by Jonathan Cornish (male winner) and Emily Stewart (female winner) with times of 1:06:58 and 01:19.45 respectively.

Hackney Half Marathon

Male Winner Jonathan said of his time ““I love the buzz of the Hackney Half Marathon. Great energy, support, and cheering the whole way! And so happy to achieve a PB of about 20 seconds. And hope to be back soon!”.

Female Hackney Half Marathon 2019 Winner, Emily added: ““I really enjoyed the race. It’s the first race I’ve run with spectators, which really spurs you on! It was great fun! I was smiling the whole way.”

The HACKNEY SCHOOLS’ CHALLENGE returned for another year with over 1,000 Hackney School kids taking on the 1.1 mile race to complete their own 13.1 mile challenge.

Early bird entries for Hackney Half 2020 are on sale from Monday 20th May at 9AM.


On Saturday 18th May, adults and teenagers took part in their first-ever 5K run around the perimeter of Hackney Marshes, joined by NIKE Ambassadors including Ella Eyre, Julie Adenuga, Clara Amfo, Michael Dapaah, Cory Wharton-Malcolm from Track Mafia, and Martha Pazienti Caidan from Tempo!

All race finishers received an official race time, and exclusive NIKE Dri-Fit t-shirt and medal designed in collaboration with Concrete Objects, founded by Samuel Ross and Jobe Burns. The designer-duo also created the race gantry and furniture across the festival. Inspired by the architecture of the community and the body in movement, the designs function as rest points throughout the event village and will be placed in Hackney community once the weekend is finished.

Run club, Track Mafia, worked closely with the event, to authentically engage with the local community and bring a running experience to life, in a way the city hasn’t yet seen!

Cory Wharton-Malcolm founder of Track Mafia and Nike Running Head Coach said: “There are some who believe that the Hackney weekend is just about running, but to us and many others it’s about so much more. It’s about togetherness, it’s about supporting others and most importantly it’s about celebrating our differences. This, for us, is the epitome of community – the ability to come together and share the road with people who in your normal day to day life you would never come across.”



Innovative measures were taken to reduce the environmental impact of the event, with Virgin Sport (in partnership with Hackney Council) committing to eliminate single use plastic from the Hackney Half marathon course; becoming the largest race in the UK to do so.

190,000 plastic water bottles were eliminated from the six water aid stations on the 13.1 mile / 21km Hackney Half route and replaced with 259,000 paper cups (100% recyclable) by Magenta UK and 40,000 litres of water. Additionally, One Water provided recyclable cartons for the finish line, to eliminate an additional 35,000 water bottles.

This event kicks off Virgin Sport’s 2019 running season that continues with the iconic ASICS London 10K in Westminster on 21st July and Oxford Half marathon on 13th October.

All Virgin Sport running events will become plastic free in 2019, eliminating half a million single- use plastic bottles from the Hackney Half, ASICS London 10K, and Oxford Half course.