Hackney Moved at the 2019 Hackney Festival of Fitness

Thousands of Londoners celebrated the spirit of community through sport this weekend. Festival-goers soaked-up the atmosphere and got moving on Hackney Marshes at the Hackney Festival of Fitness. Three days of fitness experiences and entertainment that included something for every age and ability with over 72 curated interactive and experiential fitness activities!

New additions for 2019 included 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 the best of Nike Trainers (Cory AKA Bit Beefy, Kim Ngo, Courtney Fearon, Nesrine Dally, Ryan Pickard, Joelle D’Fontaine & Fat Buddha Yoga), and much more!      

The weekend kicked-off with an outdoor cinema screening of Cool Runnings on Friday evening, and the Market on the Marshes – a showcase of local vendors, was open to the public all weekend for festival-goers to sample a multitude of food, drink, and lifestyle brands.     


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 crews 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. 

Early bird entries for the 2020 edition of Hackney Half 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 crew, 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!


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. 


The festival is the first major event to feature the brand-new superior light beer, Michelob ULTRA. With 79 calories and a crisp, clean taste it has been brewed for those with a balanced, active lifestyle. Festival-goers were invited to the Michelob ULTRA Lounge to try a couple of short, fun workouts and soak up the fun, festival atmosphere. 

KIND Snacks hosted some truly energetic exercise classes, generating motivation for the masses to get over the finish-line in style. 

Zipcar provided dynamic cheer points on route, including a unique Zipcar-wash to keep runners cool as they passed through the borough and also speed check points that encouraged runners to run their fastest. 

Bumble presented a BFF workout session on the main stage on both the Saturday and Sunday, led by DJ Melody Kane and Mr Fitspiration, which involved fun two-person based exercises that could be done with friends. 

Core Clapton provided recovery treatments for runners at the Festival, and leading lifestyle and wellness tech brand FOREO presented a ‘Freshen Up’ station and educated people on how best to look after their skin when they are being regularly active.

Nuun Hydration provided low-sugar electrolytes on course, PowerBar kept runners going with Powergel shots and at the finish line everybody gratefully received a cool can of TENZING Natural Energy, made from all natural ingredients. Peppersmith helped people to kick back with their giant deck chair and free mints in the Festival.


We’re proud to show that we’ve taken a big step forward in our mission to reduce the environmental impact of the event by eliminating plastic from the Hackney Half marathon course.

Ian Allerton, Hackney Half Race Director, Virgin Sport

Innovative measures were taken to reduce the environmental impact of the event, in partnership with Hackney Council, we committed to eliminating 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 100% recyclable paper cups 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 our 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.

Early-Bird tickets for the 2020 Hackney Half on sale now. Next Up: ASICS London 10K, 21 July 2019. Early bird entries on sale now.