Race Report – Royal Parks Half Marathon

Royal-Parks

Participating in the Royal Parks Half Marathon on October 11th was a way to raise money for the charity  Fight for Sight and have a bit of end of season fun – and it certainly was!

Iconic route

Iconic route

Make no mistake, this was a big, big event with 16,000 runners tackling the 13.1 miles around 4 of the capitals parks and many iconic landmarks. Before all that there was just time to meet the team from the charity and do a quick pre-event interview in Hyde Park where the start/finish was located.

All smiles beforehand

All smiles beforehand

Having focused on cycling events recently I’d done very little running  over recent weeks. The little I had done was quite slow and with a maximum distance of 7 miles (but usually much shorter). Not great preparation I know, so when asked what time I was aiming for I was a bit stumped – ‘ Err, I’m just going to try and get round’ I muttered or words to that effect. I was quite serious, I thought I’d struggle. Here’s how it panned out: –

This is what 16,000 runners look like

This is what 16,000 runners looks like

Mile 0-3 – With so many runners, the first few miles felt slow and I had to be really careful not to trip anyone or fall myself. It was a bit chaotic to be honest and required a heck of a lot of concentration. Things settled as the distance climbed but it was still pretty busy throughout. The water station at 5k was by far the worst section 0f the whole run. Here, all sorts of randomness was occurring: People attempting to move from one side of the road to the other across hundreds of on-coming runners to get water, rugby-like scrums as several people would attempt to get the same bottle from the a poor volunteer and bottles would be dropped left, right and centre causing multiple falls. Best to stay well clear I thought!

Mile 3-8 – I was running surprisingly well with good form. Pace-wise my GPS watch was going haywire (probably due to the close proximity of so many other devices), telling me I was doing 5:30km’s, no,  3:20km’s…both seemed unlikely although i’d take the latter. No matter, I just ran on feel and helpfully caught the 1 hour 40 minute pace runner and settled in.

Mile 8-10 – Things started to feel a bit harder and somewhere between 9-10 miles I dropped back slightly from the pacer.

Mile 10-11 – Best forgotten to be honest as it was pretty horrible with my legs feeling heavy and muscles tightening with each stride. I was really regretting not training properly now with my pace dropping a bit…I just tried to maintain my cadence and form as best as I could.

Mile 11-13 – Once I got within 2 miles to go it seemed mentally easier just to keep the legs turning over and get to the finish with the encouragement of the crowds helping no end. It didn’t feel like it but I picked the pace up again to finish well.

Finish in sight - thankfully!

Finish in sight – kind of anyway!

Final Time: 1:41:05

I’m pretty happy with that considering. It would have been nice to go under 1:40 and I’m well capable of going quite a bit quicker than that too, but it was a still a PB (albeit by only 30-odd seconds). Most importantly I get to collect some cash for the charity!

Thanks to all those who have donated – your support is really appreciated!

Fight for sight logo2

There’s still time to donate – but not much. If you would like to you can do so here.

I’ve done some pretty big events before, but for sheer numbers of participants and those supporting at the side of road this was massive. The support was exceptional. Really noisy the whole way around. I can only imagine something like London Marathon being bigger. I was however a bit confused for several miles due to regularly hearing my name being called from the crowd and thinking ‘do I know them?’ until I remembered my name was printed on my vest – what an idiot!

Also well done to Tri Harder’s Ben Walker who finished in 1:25 for 102nd place – Good effort Ben!

Iain

 

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