Zest was there – and here’s how we got on at this year’s race
Wow! What fantastic organisation. It was the first time I'd run a half marathon, in fact any race longer than a 5k, and I was impressed.
Having an other-half who takes part in frequent running events, I'm used to tales of delays, bottlenecks and somewhat unpredictable refreshment stops. In contrast, the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon was a triumph of efficiency. In the second wave of runners, I was over the line and running freely out of London's Hyde Park just two and a bit minutes after the starting gun.
From then on, there was not a single bottleneck, despite a half marathon route which doubled back on itself several times. And at no point did I feel I was running slower than I wanted, despite a whopping 12,500-strong field of runners.
Refreshment stops came fast and furious, thanks to sponsors Lucozade, and RPFHM attendants were fabulously efficient. I was delighted to find bottles ready-opened to make it super-easy for a quick glug en route.
As a first-time racer, I was distracted from the pain of running by the fabulous route of the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon - traffic-free through some of London's main thoroughfares. Marble Arch, Buckingham Palace, the River Thames and London Eye, Whitehall, Admiralty Arch, The Mall: as we ticked off London's landmarks, it was a shock to register that we weren't even halfway round the course as we re-entered Hyde Park.
But the crowds who had chosen that spot to look out for loved ones lifted the spirits of tired Royal Parks runners as we jogged back into the park. It's only as a runner that you realise how powerful those shouts of encouragement can be.
I would urge all spectators to cheer, clap and call out as runners pass: it is a wonderful boost that I found gave my legs much-needed encouragement. A big shout-out too to the charity supporters: their enthusiasm for their runners was inspirational.
And so it continued. I've never known 13.1 miles pass so quickly - and painlessly. Although that final dash to the finish line seemed to go on forever.
Read on to find out how I did...
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