The Hampton Court Palace Half is one we know well, but there
was a Hampton Court Half before it, and they now go to great lengths
to brand it as the Original. We've never done it.
Well it's a nice easy race to get to: ten minutes' jog from home.
Indeed, Amanda notes it was further from the car park to the start
of the race at Paddock Wood!
Although we've been generally aware of this race for a few years, we
never really paid much attention for whatever reason, and we're
slightly surprised at how big it is. As we arrive, we bump into
Anthony from SSP, who tells us that it seems to have grown almost by
accident and he reckons that even the organisers don't quite
realise! SSP have no fewer than seven photographers covering the
An initially frosty morning, but the sun is out as four thousand
runners line up for the start.
Even after the first mile they're still very bunched up. One of the
SSP guys is here, but wrapped up heavily and hiding behind his
camera, so I've no immediate idea if it's anyone I know. However
this is not the time to interrupt him for a chat: I think he's just
holding the shutter button down and letting the camera snap away as
fast as it will go to stand a chance of getting everyone.
The start of the race is a loop of a little over two miles, and as
some of the early starters come through after nearly twenty minutes,
the final wave is just getting ready for the off!
Amanda isn't quite in time to wave to the tail-enders, but not that
Along the Thames towards Kingston, with Raven's Ait in the
And as they're about to run under Kingston Bridge.
Canbury Gardens, and we have a bit of sunshine again.
Every other race we know of that crosses Kingston Bridge does so on
the other side, which is a bugger to photograph when the sun is
shining. This would be perfect but for the fact that the sun is now
behind a cloud. Sod's Law, eh?
I am curious (and unsurprisingly I later learn so is Amanda) about
how they're going to get across the road, because although it's
empty at this moment, there is quite a bit of traffic at intervals
when the lights change further down. Turns out there's a secret
passage we've never noticed in all the years we've been living in
the area! Instead of turning left (from the runners' POV) at the
pedestrian crossing, you can go right and round in a loop and underneath
A couple of minutes before Amanda, two lads are running past and
looking across to their right. "What's that?" asks one, "Do you
think it's Hampton Court". I assure them that yes indeed, it is
Hampton Court Palace. I'm not sure where they're from, but this is
clearly not just a local race for local people.
Merilyn, we saw this and thought of you!
Amanda apparently only saw him from behind, and was a bit
disappointed by what was revealed in my picture. I thought she quite
liked older men with beards, but I guess (fortunately for me) it's
not that simple :-)
Intense look on the finishing straight!
Unlike some races ending at Giggs Hill Green [Giggs Hill?
This is the unhilliest hill I can think of ever!
According to my GPS it's about 10m above sea level; make of that
what you will...] this race does actually have a simple finishing
straight that doesn't require to you run past the finish and then
round the field before finishing for real. Everyone hates that.
Across the line! Look closely and you see not one but two
SSP people - Anthony on the left, can't tell who on the right. I
passed Sally on Hampton Court Bridge, only realising she was there
at the last moment, but again there was no way she would have had a
moment to take her attention away from the race at that point. This
is the biggest race Amanda's done since the Royal Parks Half - and
frankly that's now far too big to be the same fun it once
was - and right on our doorstep and we never realised!
This Garmin may not be any use if you're lost in the desert, but it
does provide lots of stats for you :-)
And so the traditional star jump. But that's not all today...
We have some royal props for dressing up and sitting on the throne
I think it suits me!
Love to all,