Royal Parks Half Marathon – a personal journey

I did it!
Summary of Rob Rea’s heroic half marathon to raise funds for KL.

Well, it’s over. Months of training, sweat, aches and blisters, a frantic sponsorship drive and – finally – a 13 miles run through the heart of London.
Race day was lovely – sunny but not too hot. Thousands of runners converged on Hyde Park, from serious athletes to first-timers; all but a few running for good causes. Then there were the crowds wishing you well, and the charities’ supporters lining the route. It felt great to be part of such a happy event.

I started well, with a very quick first 5km, well ahead of my sub-2 hour target time. By now we’d run across Green Park, past Buckingham Palace, round St James’s Park, down Whitehall and past Downing Street. The second 5km takes you to Aldwych, down the Strand, through Trafalgar Square and back into Hyde Park itself. It’s a beautiful route past many iconic London landmarks, but by the halfway point I was hurting, at one point throwing so much of a bottle of water over my head, I drenched my vest and shorts and soaked the man running behind me!

At the three-quarter mark, when the race dips down into the gardens of Kensington Palace, I was still ahead of schedule but had to stop and walk for about 200 yards to get my breath back and prepare for the last push. With just a mile and a half remaining, I was overtaken by one of the pacesetters for my target time, but I gritted my teeth and ploughed on, catching the pacesetter and a new PB.

However, more important than that was the fantastic response I got from the people sponsoring me. We raised a total of £450 for Khaya Lokukhanya – money that I know will be well-used to provide care and education for children in need.