A Proper Review: The Royal Parks Half Marathon

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That should, in sum, make up my entire review of the race – because it was amazing.

Yes, okay, I became a blubbering, coughing, hacking mess – but now that I’ve had some sleep and have quietly and methodically looked at every square inch of my very cool medal I can sit and tell you the good and bad about this race.

And there was very little bad.

As I’m slow I ended up with the only bit of bad: Waiting to go.

Here’s the thing: I get why it took so long.  The course winds through narrow, beautiful park paths and some of the most beautiful parts of London.  They have safety in mind.  So, for those who are going to run this next year and are slow – just show patience.  They do little warm-ups, and security monitor a few gaps in case you find yourself needing to go to the bathroom quickly before the race starts.

Now the good, because that is my only bit of bad:

  • The course is flat and beautiful: I had very little problem traversing the course or distracting myself with scenery which kept me on pace.  We ran some of the most popular streets – past the Eye, Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards, and of course the parks whose leaves are changing.
  • The course is well marshalled: Because we are running some beautiful places you do run into tourists who find themselves dismayed that they are encountering a bunch of runners.  I want to thank the marshalls who did their best to keep the throngs back and safely crossing.
  • The course is crammed with support: The charity support was incredible – they all lined certain areas of the course (almost strategically) so that just when you felt like you were a bit alone huge screams and cheers went up.  I recommend anyone who runs raise money.  Not only are you supporting a great cause you get huge screams from your charity plus others.  I recall a man who was a supporter midway through the race yelling, “I support Parkinson’s Research – I support everyone who cares about a cause – remember why you are running!”
  • Lots of water and sport drink stations: So many I didn’t need to stop at every one.
  • Lots of person to person support: As my health wasn’t the best and I had to slow the last 3 miles I found myself with others who were limping, coughing, and crying.  We all kept saying to each other – we’re finishing.  Time doesn’t matter – we’re finishing.
  • The announcers at the end of the race and all the people at the end of the race: As anyone who is moving over 2:30 will tell you – usually support is thin for us back half racers.  Not so this one!  Great support in the last mile and announcers trying to pick out everyone who was working their way through the finish line.
  • The medal: Is recycled wood from the parks.  RECYCLED WOOD.  It is, by far, the most unusual and interesting medal I’ve ever gotten.  Whoever thought that up was insanely smart.  I love having “my piece of the parks.”
  • The goodies and post race treatment: I had awesome high-fives from the medical team at the finish.  Then they crammed you with water, bananas, and hand you a bag which then fills up with all sorts of healthy treats from the food festival vendors.  My whole breakfast this morning was on behalf of the food vendors.  Oh, and I have a tech t-shirt!  I love that tech t-shirts are becoming common for races – I will wear it was pride.

So, there you have it.  Run Royal Parks.  The end.


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