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Six wives, 13.1 miles? That's nearly 2.2 miles per wife!

The second running of the Official Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon (not to be confused with the Original Hampton Court Marathon, of course).

The good news is that the weather is better than last year; it's not great, but last year was really a bit dismal. On the minus side, the route is no longer through the Palace grounds and Home Park, it's now almost entirely on the road. It's actually one and a half loops of Amanda's local training run plus a bit. Also, it now finishes some way from the Palace because the organisers wanted more space for a runners' village. Pity, but we shall see...

It's cold and grey, but at least it's dry.

And His Majesty doesn't have to hide in a tent!

She's off! In the first wave, because back when she signed up for the race, she wasn't feeling ill and slow, but she's still a bit surprised that her original estimated time put her among the elites.

I can just nip across the grass and wait for the runners to take the long way round.

Then it's back to the start and Merilyn joins the second wave. Strictly speaking, she's supposed to be in the third - or more precisely, Siobhain whose place she's taken at the last minute is supposed to be in the third wave. But we've already seen there are no checks so I tell her she can wave-jump if she likes and she does.

And back again! This is too easy. But now I have to jump on my bike and get down to Kingston Bridge before Amanda. I can take the direct road route which is much shorter than the towpath, so it should be no problem.

There she is, through the trees.

Right, that's the end of the scenic bit for now. Back to urban reality.

But they don't have to get back onto the road just yet. Fortunately it's still a bit early (and a bit cold) for the general public to be out, because it is quite narrow and can get very clogged up along here.

Another brief detour from the main road.

This is what she's detouring from, the Portsmouth Road. You won't be able to tell in this small picture, but if you could zoom in, you'd see Merilyn in the pack.

Crossing Hampton Court Bridge.

High Five for Henry!

And another one.

The leaders are just coming through at the finish line so the medal-wallahs are getting ready for the rush. (Is that their official title? Probably not.)

Merilyn's overtaken Amanda now, and by the looks of things is just about to take another scalp.

The last zig before the last zag. Just like last year, you run within sight of the finish funnel, then have to disappear off and go round in circles before reaching it. This really is a bit of a black mark against the organisers.

Happy now!

Whoops. That crossing-the-line jubilation has meant she's a couple of seconds late turning off the Garmin!

At least partially redeeming themselves, the organisers have not run out of small T-shirts. And if you are picking up a small, you get Three Little Maids From School serenading you with a remix of "Congratulations". Our slightly older maids (roughly the same age I fear as the TLMFS in most 'Mikado' productions) cannot help but join in!

Rear of the year?

Or front of the month?

Finally, seeing as the race didn't include the gardens or Long Water, we'll sneak them into the background anyway. Cunning, eh?

Until the next race,


year index