The website described this as: AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE – In 2008 we created a spectacular Half Marathon in central London – the first and only one of its kind. The stunning 13.1 mile route takes in the capital’s world-famous landmarks on closed roads, and four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens.
The run started on South Carriage Drive on the edge of Hyde Park and went out of the park up Constitution Hill which runs through Green Park. Buckingham Palace was on our right and we skirted round St James’ Park along Birdcage Walk, past Horse Guards and headed under Admiralty Arch for the first time. A sharp right took us down Whitehall, past Downing Street and then Big Ben could be seen in the distance. We then looped back on ourselves back up Whitehall and round by Trafalgar Square.
It was like running round a Monopoly board – going up the Strand, past Charing Cross and back under Admiralty Arch for the second time. We skirted St James’ Park again along The Mall and then through Green Park along Constitution Hill. We were entering Hyde Park again, at just under 6 miles, and runners were still coming out of the park. Mind you it does take time for 16,000 runners to get off the starting blocks!
As we entered Hyde Park the serpentine was on our left, a lovely view with the swans and ducks. A right turn took us up West Carriage Drive (the road I’d walked down the day before) and then up along the top of the park via North Carriage Drive. A bit of looping around the park took us through miles 8, 9 and 10 and on into Kensington Gardens.
Mile 12 was a welcome sight as The Albert Monument and The Royal Albert Hall could be seen in the distance. Not long to go now as I had seen the 800m marker the day before on my walk to the hotel. The crowds were terrific at this point cheering everyone on to the finish line.
A lovely wooden oak leaf medal, water, Lucozade Sport drink, banana and cloth bag to put it all in were waiting at the finish. Plus an entertainment stage and food festival were in full swing too (expensive food though).
Not a cheap event to enter and it is ballot based but a very enjoyable run in the heart of London past some of the sights we all know well.
Race Report by Cathy McKeown