Royal Parks Half Marathon 2015
Along with a stunning route, the Royal Parks Half Marathon also always seems to secured beautiful autumn weather, perfect for both runners and supporters. The overall feeling at this race is always one of inclusion, with beginner-friendly warm-up routines, and even tannoy messages to check that shoelaces are tied.
The start was, again as always, perfectly well organised. It’s rare not to have to queue for the loo or to leave your bag – we all tend to want to do these things at the same time as our fellow runners and, although the queues looked long (I even wondered about stashing my bag in a bush to avoid the queue) they moved fast. It was all very ‘English’ with everyone just getting on with it and standing properly in line…
There was a friendly atmosphere amongst the 16,000 runners in the pens (organised by predicted finish time as you’d expect), again with very English waiting until we were allowed to move forward for the off, which is staggered in 2minute intervals to help avoid overcrowding.
The 2015 route had changed slightly to adapt to some construction, but was still fantastic. Runners started off passing Green Park and St James’ Park, through Admiralty Arch, down Whitehall to Downing Street, looped round Aldwych and back down The Mall and Green Park. Just beyond the second half is Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, which are crammed with enthusiastic supporters and volunteers, and providing a beautiful scenic backdrop for the race. Water and Lucozade were provided on the course and there are clear mile makers throughout, along with numerous sections where you can see runners ahead and behind you.
At the finish runners are presented with a beautiful oak leaf shaped wooden medal, a small reusable bag and a selection of food and drink from the accompanying food festival. In addition all runners get a wicking t-shirt when they collect their running numbers; it’s always good quality and nicely designed.
For spectators, there is plenty to do aside from watching runners in beautiful scenery. The food festival includes family activities and there’s also a handy app allowing spectators or friends and family back home to track their chosen runners.
So why wouldn’t you run it? Some runners avoid it due to the relatively high entry fees (around £48) and some find the Royal Parks Half Marathon too crowded in certain sections, although that isn’t uncommon at mass participation event. Although the course is nowhere near undulating, it is not completely flat; lots of runners do get PBs, but if you’re right on the edge looking for every second, there are a couple of flatter courses out there. But if you want to experience London, run the Royal Parks Half Marathon. If you live in London and want to reclaim the streets and see your city at its best, run the Royal Parks Half Marathon.
I loved running this (again) in 2015 and will definitely be back for this super-scenic half again next year…
1st male finisher Russ Best 1:09:37
1st female finisher Gaby van Clarke 1:21:53
Full details of the Royal Parks Half Marathon at Royalparkshalf.com
Sarah also designed some bespoke team certificates for a corporate team. If you’d like a bespoke design for your runners or event, get in touch with Sarah here.