On 6th October, 2013, I ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon. That’s over 13 miles and over 20k. I must confess, my training had been rather sporadic leading up to it and it was a spur of the moment Parkrun that made me take action and get my jog on. Whilst I can look back on the Royal Parks half marathon now with fond memories, I still bear the scab of a chaffing sock and I can’t forget how emotionally difficult it was not to just give up during the last couple of moments. However, I can still also remember the most amazing feeling of crossing the finish line and thinking ‘I did it.’ It’s a pretty awesome feeling.
So my aches have gone and I’ve started reflecting on the whole experience. Some of these I thought of as I ran round the course and some are ones I realised only once I finished. But they are all relevant and equally as valid.
Will you run the Royal Parks half marathon in 2014? Read this first and then decide.
- It gets you fit. Running is great for a healthy heart and it’ll also make you eat more healthily – after all, it’s hard to crave fish and chips after a glorious run outside.
- The course takes you through St James Park, The Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens – it’s like a speedy sightseeing tour.
- The free top you get is rather jolly and you can show it off on your future runs.
- They hand out free bananas at the finish line.
- There is also a food festival so you get to eat pretty much anything you want immediately after.
- It’s good for the soul to see so many people running for good causes. As well as all the beautiful messages on the backs of T-shirts, you see snippets of stories and touching moments along the way; a runner urging their friend on when they’re about to give up, a kid shouting out a stranger’s name as they run past, children hyper excited at their parent’s achievements, the list is endless.
- You’re doing it for a good cause. If you get a place in the ballot, the money goes towards the Royal Parks Foundation, a charity in itself, if you run for another charity, they benefit from all your heavy breathing and sweat.
- There are all sorts of strange sights along the way, e.g. sparkly cheerleaders, giant high-fives, oversized squirrels, running fish…
- You feel like a mini celebrity. There are hundreds of people who are all cheering you on.
- The clever people at Royal Parks send you a text pretty much as soon as you cross the finish line with your time. Now that’s efficient.
You’ve got until 12th October 2014 to get miles under your belt.
More details here > www.royalparkshalf.com