2017 Royal Parks Half Marathon- Race Recap

It was hard to believe I was tying up my trainers heading towards the train ready to run a second half marathon only two weeks after the Ealing Half marathon.

This train was also going to be more difficult one as we had to go all the way to Littlehampton only to double back on ourselves and heading to London

I was very concerned due to my weight that I have given myself a stress fracture in my left foot as I had terrible pain for the following two weeks after the Ealing half marathon. Nearly toyed with the idea of not doing the Royal Parks because I’m very lucky and got the coveted space because this is a ballot system I really didn’t want to have to drop out.

Luckily the morning before the race my foot finally felt about 95% and I was going to go ahead and do the race. WWF tiger vest packed and ready to go I had my bike ready and I was going to cycle all the way to Hyde Park where the starting line was. After looking at the bike out what towards the entry of the village and the atmosphere was amazing it reminded me a lot of the Brighton marathon weekend.

I had a lovely catch up with all the other runners, several of them in Tiger onesie, some very brave men. I would never be able to run let alone go 13.1 miles in the Tiger onesie.

I was so happy to take the picture with the panda! (I know childish) but i am always the last one in so I always miss him at Brighton and Ealing.

We all stocked up on energy bars and took several group photos before making our way to the start line.

we kept walking and walking and walking and because I knew I was going to be a slow runner I was the very last group. I had forgotten since running the Brighton Marathon in 2016 you could be waiting over 45 minutes before we would even see the starting line. But finally it was our turn to go and we were off! of course by this time all my pre-water intake caught up with me and i needed to pee! along with about half of the other purple pen people…and as i waited i heard a faint sound of an accordion and sleigh bells jingling. I kept looking around wondering what on earth that was, then my attention was directed by cheers and laughter. there was a massive group of Morris Dancers doing the half marathon, along with a little jig.

after it was finally my turn to use the porta-loo I made a mad dash to try and make up some time, I was not about to let a group of bell jingling, accordion playing dancers beat me! this bravado would actually get me in a predicament because for the rest of the course, 3 hours, I heard the same 6 chord progressions. It was like Chinese water torture.

We made our way down towards number 10 Downing street, Big Ben, and then back up to Trafalgar Square. This area I was very familiar with as this is where i cycle everyday into work and was accustomed to the territory. after what seemed like ages we made our way back down the Mall and back towards Hyde Park.

Once I got back into the park the energy was electric, it almost brought me to tears. rows and rows of charities and organisations cheering on everyone who passed. It gave a much needed boost and also drowned out my Morris friends. but this point i was at mile 10 and i was impressed they were still going. saw my cheering squad for WWF and that too gave me a much needed boost as I could feel myself starting to stumble

And then it hit me…the worst “wall” to date I have ever hit. I don’t know if it was my energy stores all used up, or knowing I could only make a few number of trains to get back to Brighton due to Sunday re-routes, but I was tired. I literally wanted to quit. I was swearing at myself for being fat and slow (never give your self a time deadline) I was crying at myself, my whole body hurt. I kept looking for the next water station. I was so close yet felt so far! I had no left over to sprint like I usually do because i tried to catch up after my porta-loo break.

But I finally made it, and yes I did cry crossing the finish line because I was so relived it was over! Also as you can see in the photos my little head camera was pointing straight up to the sky, so at the moment I’m working on a race recap video for this race, but alot of the footage missed the sites and just have the lovely blue sky.

I picked up my bag from bag drop and headed to the shirt exchange. the lovely woman let me change my laughable XL women’s shirt (which I’m sorry is the size of an extra small!) for a mens XL and I changed into that. I said my goodbyes at the WWF tent as this was going to be my last event for them for a while until next July cycling race.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:
This is an amazing race! I couldn’t have asked for better weather and atmosphere. Its a shame I hit a wall so hard because i really didn’t enjoy the last 45 minutes, but thats not the event’s fault. I feel very blessed I made it in due to the fact its a ballot entry, and was physically able to do what I could after Ealing Half…but needless to say this one if off the bucket list and won’t be doing again. the best parts was seeing the sites and also the crowd in Hyde Park! what energy and fun.

If you’d like to check out my race recap on YouTube I will post the link around the first of January, so check back here soon.

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