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 2½ 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
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
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 6½ 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
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!