Royal Parks Half Marathon

12 October 2008

The seven months of training were at an end, and despite a niggling knee injury, Stephen took part in the inaugural Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon. About 10,000 runners were in Hyde Park on a beautiful warm October day. Thanks to Roger Dawson for some of the photos on this page.


I'd given my estimated time as in the 2 to 2 hour band, and so in lining up I aimed to be near the front of my funnel. But the splitting of runners clearly left something to be desired and I crossed the start line less than two minutes after the gun - I'm not sure how long it took those at the back but the organisers' estimate was half an hour. Here I pass the family soon after the start, looking cheerful in the first mile as other runners pour past me.


Heading off towards the Grand Entrance of Hyde Park


From there we ran right through Wellington Arch and down Constitution Hill, past Buckingham Palace and along Birdcage Walk and through Parliament Square onto Westminster Bridge, seen here. We ran most of the way across the Thames and then turned round back across the bridge and joined the Embankment.


A run to Blackfriars Bridge and back gave the opportunity for a long look at all the thousands of runners behind us, before we turned onto Horseguards Avenue, into Whitehall, through Trafalgar Square and onto The Mall. Past Buckingham Palace again and up Constitution Hill, we now enter Hyde Park through the Queen Elizabeth Gate. I seem to have my eyes shut here!


The looping route meant that the family could walk just a short distance from the start route to this bit through the Park. I'm expecting them to be to my left (hence running on that side) and haven't yet spotted them to my right.


6 miles and going strong! From here the next 6 miles looped around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, which were very pretty in the autumn sunshine. It reached 22 later in the day, which was remarkable for October, but with five water stations it wasn't really a problem. My knees held out, and though it gradually got harder, I was able to maintain a constant pace throughout.


Returning to South Carriage Drive for the acceleration to the finish line.


Working hard!


A wave to the family


A cheerful me after crossing the line.


With my wooden medal. The time was later confirmed to be 2:05:14, finishing 4077th out of 7431 finishers.
As I'd aimed at 2:06, as well as pleased to have finished I was pleased to have paced myself so well. Success!
 

 

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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson