Royal Parks Half-marathon – 9.10.16

Race Report by Alison Lowe


Having heard of another Massey complete this race last year I decided to enter the ballot and was lucky enough to get a place. It’s not cheap ( £55) but as I may only have the one chance I thought I would give it a go – especially as I’m not sure I’ll ever get to run VLM.

The run starts at 9am, and even though we were staying in Surrey overnight we still had an early start but even from where we started in Kingston all our fellow travellers were runners! By the time we got to the Piccadilly line it was like the rush hour and had to queue to get down to the platform. All 16000 runners seemed to be coming from the same direction as us.

We arrived at Hyde park in plenty of time had a look around the food and fitness festival and I joined one of the long queues for the toilet– it was a day of queuing! Thankfully I had Sam to carry the bag around so we didn’t have to join the very long bag drop queues.

I joined the start in my wave at 9am – and finally started at 9.27am. The route immediately left Hyde Park and we were off on a whistle stop tour of some of the major landmarks in London – Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, Downing Street, past the Cenotaph, down the Strand (and past an office I used to work in) then back up and onto the Mall running back up to Buckingham Palace. There was quite a lot of support around the streets as well as some bemused tourists. Just before Mile 6 we were back in Hyde Park for the rest of the race. As we arrived in the park we were met with a wall of noise from all the Charity supporters who were lining the route – it felt more like the finish. Like the VLM there are loads of charity runners – I barely saw any club t-shirts/vests.

Up until that point I was pleased with my pace but shortly after we arrived in the park I began to run out of steam so slowed my pace and reminded myself I was here to enjoy it and that it was an expensive race – so why rush! Also I then saw the first of two runners who had to receive major medical attention, so took it steady.

The route then wove its way round Hyde Park – in such a way that you had no idea where you were in the park or which direction we were headed for – other than the mile markers telling us how far we had gone. The sun was still shining however and the view over the Serpentine was stunning. I felt quite sluggish towards the end so was surprised after I finished to see on Strava that I ran a 10 mile PB – but slowed after that to finish a few minutes outside my half PB. After the race I did feel queasy for quite a while so was glad I had not pushed any harder.

At the finish there seemed to be more runners in the finish area than when we started. We were handed water, Lucozade and a banana but then had to queue to get the rest of the goodie bag contents – but they were laid out on a table for people to choose from and took ages – after 20 minutes queuing and not moving much we decided to head for home. However as there were queues for the tube station we walked part of the way as far as Green Park.

Over all a great event (other than the queues) – stunning scenery, virtually dead flat, great support and nice bling and possibly a great goodie bag if you are prepared to wait ! Worth entering the ballot for or getting a charity place which are far ‘cheaper’ the VLM.

Official time was 2:14:55