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
There she is, through the trees.
Right, that's the end of the scenic bit for now. Back to urban
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
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.
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,