It’s been just over a month since London was flooded with runners and spectators alike as it played host to the 2019 Royal Parks Half Marathon on the 13th of October. So we decided now was the perfect time to look back and reflect on what was a truly fantastic day in our local community!
13.1 miles, more than 16,000 runners (and a huge number supporting from the sidelines), 32,000 muddy trainers, a vast range of stalls, a fair few sandwiches from our Bowling Green Café and more than £6 million raised for good causes, it was a truly wonderful event, full of BIG numbers!
Given the grey drizzly weather, it might have been easy for people to shy away from the event, but with so many taking part and even more watching from the side-lines, it was clear the community spirit was in full flow! The runners certainly did their bit to make themselves stand out, we saw a wide range of creative costumes on the day including Dinosaurs, Ballerinas, Spacemen, Ninjas and even a very convincing Zorro impersonator! If the runners weren’t enough to grab your attention then the supporters would certainly keep your spirits up, we saw skilful DJ’s, loud steel drummers, joyful dancers and so many chanters you’d think you were at a football match!
Among the collection of stalls, Will to Win were there in full force! We had our own mini court, banners, flyers and a guest appearance from our very own “Will – the tennis ball” who was taking part in the run himself (and didn’t do too badly we hasten to add). It was great to see so many people having a hit and enjoying our mini court throughout the day! We had some very colourful guests in particular who seemed to have a great time!
Will to Win are proud to have partnered with The Royal Parks for a number of years by managing the use of their grass football pitches. These were the setting for the runners hub, mainstage, drop off section and a whole host of other race partners who helped make the event the success it was – This was the setting for the start of what turned out to be a very exciting day for the runners.
After starting right outside our front door in Hyde Park the runners passed through Green Park and St James’s Park before paying a quick visit to Downing Street. They then went along the Strand to Somerset House before looping back past Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and along the Mall. From there it was back into Green Park and through Wellington Arch, before returning to Hyde Park and taking a winding path into Kensington Gardens. Back past our Bowling Green Café, the runners were on the home straight where they were greeted with a wave of encouragement from the wonderful crowds which kept people going all day. It wasn’t just the beautiful surroundings of the royal parks the runners got to enjoy, but also the iconic landmarks on their route including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and the Houses of Parliament.
The Royal Parks Half Marathon has always had a strong focus on promoting green credentials and a sustainable ethos. By the year 2020 the event has committed to going plastic free, both on the course and in the festival area. This year the event pledged to not offer plastic bottles anywhere on site – a big step towards their 2020 goal, as a result many of the runners will remember receiving a carton of water at the end of their race as opposed to the bottle they might have expected, and a wooden completion medal!
With such an incredible event taking place right on our doorstep it was inevitable that we would have a number of Will to Win players taking part, so a massive congratulations in particular to all those who took on the challenge and helped make the event as great as it could be! A big thank you to everyone who helped cheer on the runners and made the day so much fun! Even more importantly, a huge thank you to everyone who ran the half marathon and made the event such a huge success for all the charities who were funded from the event – it couldn’t be done without you!