Last Sunday around 16,000 people took over the streets of Central London running the Royal Park’s Half marathon, 13.1 miles through 4 of London’s Royal parks; Hyde Park, St. James Park, Green Park and Kensington Garden as well as some of London’s iconic landmarks.
This is London’s most popular half marathon running since 2008, a unique race where it’s one of it’s kind with it’s stunning views of London and the parks. Who wouldn’t like to be part of this amazing experience. Like the London marathon, it operates a ballet entry as well as offering charity places.
I was fortunate this year to gain a ballet place, prior to this I had taken part in this event twice. I was really excited as it’s one of these races that you could run again and again and still have an amazing experience year in year out.
As it was four years since I ran this race the route had changed. Instead of running along the Embankment and Westminster bridge it was replaced with the Strand and Aldwych. I didn’t mind this, it was lovely to run along the Strand and Aldwych traffic free, this doesn’t happen often.
The atmosphere at the Food and Fitness festival was amazing. Not only were there so many runners but their family and friends also gathered together at the festival village. There was lots happening with selections of food, entertainment and plenty of activities for the children.
When I arrived at the festival village the first thing I did was queue up for the toilet. I found the first set of portable toilets just by the entrance but the queues were ridiculously long so I decided to walk in further to see if there were others. It was the same long queues, but I had no choice as I didn’t want to run on a full bladder.
It was the same with the bag drop, the queues were long. But lucky arriving over an hour early for the race gave me just enough time to use the toilets and check my bag in.
As soon as I dropped off my bag, it was time for me to get to my starting pen. I was in funnel 2 with a green bib. I may have been a bit ambitious as I put down my time of sub 1:55. But nevertheless I will try my best.
It was a beautiful morning, perfect weather for running. I did feel a little nervous when I was walking towards the start line, but it soon turned into excitement, I just couldn’t wait to get started.
The crowds were enormous leading up to start line, it was nearly time for me to go. When the horn went off everyone cheered. I started slow and gradually got into a rhythm with my headphones in my ears and Garmin watch to check the time. At the same time admiring the beautiful views of London. I had actually ran part of the route on one of my training runs, but when you are running with so many other people the feeling is completely different, it is absolutely amazing.
The crowds were fabulous and the atmosphere totally incredible. Big cheers from the spectators.
I was feeling quite good and was keeping a steady pace of around 8:15 a mile. There were plenty of water and also a few of Lucozade stations around the course, which kept us hydrated.
The miles seem to fly by and before I knew it, it was mile 10 and I was in good time. Just over 1.5 hours, and only 3 more miles to go. I started picking up my pace, 12 miles had pass and I could see the the finish line in the distance. Before I knew it it was 800 meters, then 400, 200 and there it was the finish line.
A sprint finish… I checked my watch 1:50. Just a minute or 2 after I got a text with my official time of 1:49:50, I was over the moon.
I loved every minute of this race, the route was amazing. Really enjoyed running through the Royal Parks.
If you would like to take part in this spectacular race, you can register your interest on this link: Royal Parks Half Marathon