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Thousands of hardy souls braved the elements to take part in another hugely successful edition of the Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon on Sunday. The event is one of the most popular 13.1 mile courses in the capital, and once again provided the perfect warm-up for those tackling the legendary London Marathon next month.
On a wet and miserable morning, the participants’ morale was instantly boosted thanks to the friendly and energetic staff dotted around the event village.
Following a straightforward bag drop and registration, the runners then set off in well-organised waves to the cheers of the equally brave friends and family who had come to support them donning umbrellas and waterproof jackets.
The first section of the course takes the joggers away from the historic Palace down a towpath, in which you can enjoy running alongside the Thames while admiring the quaint riverside town of Kingston on the opposite side.
The track then loops around over the bridge and up the other side, until there is a spot of road-running heading towards Esher and the town of Hampton.
The highlight, however, comes in the final few miles, when weary legs are given a big boost as they pound through Hampton Court Park and the magnificent Palace looms into view, signalling that the end is nigh.
There is a chance for a photo finish with a final sprint in front of a big crowd before the jubilant and exhausted athletes cross the finish line to be met with much-needed hydration and snacks, along with a fancy medal.
And there is even the unexpected bonus of being able to get a photo taken with Hampton Court’s infamous old patron Henry VIII – just mind your head when doing so.
Sunday’s success goes to show that running events like this can be always be enjoyed no matter what the weather, and it was a genuine pleasure to see so many happy, if weary, faces making their way home afterwards.
Next stop: The London Marathon next month.
Enter the Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon 2024 HERE
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