Team RW took on the Royal Parks Half at the weekend and here's what we thought.
Hyde Park in the golden early morning autumn sun is a vision to behold. So impressive are the turning leaves and beaming lido that it’s easy to let the small matter of running 13.1 miles slip from the forefront of your mind. Well that’s how I felt as I made my way to the event village on Sunday morning.
We arrived at 8.30 for an early 9am race start. Luckily the organisation was flawless from the offset so making it to the start line with time to spare was no problem. In my experience, races of this scale usually succumb to slight delay but we counted down the seconds to 9am and the start gun sounded on time.
The course takes you out of Hyde Park via Green and St James Parks, past Buckingham Palace then towards the Thames; in the first five miles runners take in some of London’s most impressive sights. This makes a great distraction from the impending miles and before you know it you’re back in Hyde Park for the remainder. The rest of the course weaves you through and around different loops of the park so you don’t tread the same ground twice and participants cover a mix of flat, up and downhill slopes.
The whole course is excellently planned without a hint of congestion and perhaps most significantly, it’s a stunning route from start to finish. Water and Lucozade stations were clearly mapped out and well spaced, there were a few grumbles by some because the first water station isn’t until five miles, but this is marked in the pre-race information pack. The final 800m also take you on a downhill stretch to the finish line, which is a bonus, psychologically.
Team Runner’s World managed to get round the course with two PB’s to show for our efforts (myself included, meaning my new PB stands at 1:46:14). The race winner was Ryan McKinlay who ran a swift 1:09:07. All in all, this well established half has proved why it’s one worth doing.
Check out the official website here.