The Royal Parks Half Marathon pulled out all the stops to really celebrate its 10th year running, with helicopters overhead, food stands galore in the event village and a record 16,000 runners. Many of these runners were in fancy dress, raising money for their chosen charity, adding to the £35m raised over the event’s 10 years. Despite this, the iconic sea of yellow shirts was still visible throughout the course and seemed to stand out even more thanks to the surprisingly sunny weather.
The course is still one of the greatest to weave its way through the centre of the capital, and it certainly helps the miles tick down as you’re always surrounded by lovely sights and great support throughout the course. Much of the route takes you through four of the eight iconic London Royal Parks, with closed roads connecting you between Hyde Park, St James’s Park, The Green Park and Kensington Gardens.
Starting in Hyde Park, it’s not long before you’re through Wellington Arch, into Green Park and running right past Buckingham Palace. Mile two takes you past Horse Guards Parade, Admiralty Arch and Downing Street, followed by Somerset House and Trafalgar Square before heading down The Mall to pass the five-mile marker. There’s less roads and more park for the rest of the race but you still run past The Serpentine, Marble Arch and The Royal Alert Hall before you cross the line and receive your medal.
Once over the line, you receive your well earned medal, water and an empty carrier bag to fill with the goodies you select as you go through the finishers funnel. There was a bit of a queue for this but there’s a lot of goodies on offer so it was well worth it. The event village is expansive with plenty of food vendors, charities and retailers as well as warm down yoga from TruBe, so a perfect setting to begin of your recovery.
This really is a great run whatever your ability with great support and brilliant sights to see along the way. As a Londoner it was a joy running through closed roads, so close to so many iconic sites, but if you are a tourist visiting London, I can’t imagine too many better ways to see the sights of the capital.
For details of next year’s race check out royalparkshalf.com.