The Hampton Court half marathon is exactly as it sounds, starts and finishes at Hampton Court Palce itself and is held in mid March which is a nice time of year especially for those running April marathons.
I give the run 6/10.
We got up there nice and early, and, following the very thorough race instructions sent out in the race pack and via email we parked at the train station. Parking only cost £2.50 which was a bargain!
The race village opened at 7.30 and was very good with food, sports merchandise, registration, bag drop, lots of toilets and complimentary massages. All in the shadow of the palace itself.
The race started in waves, which were well organised and all set off on time, no mean feat for about 3000 runners!
So far so good! The first 3 miles were along the Thames, which was a lovely place to run.
Then we went across a bridge to the other side of the river and it was here that things went wrong.
The next 5 miles were on the road. Not a problem, however I was expecting closed roads but I was wrong! 5 miles on narrow pavements with hundreds of others runners is not fun.
To make matters worse we obviously had to cross lots of roads, and here it really got messy. I was middle of the pack and by the time I reached some crossing points the cars were really backed up and the marshals were quite ineffective. At one roundabout there were probably 50+ cars in a queue. Drivers were understandably angry about having to wait for thousands of runners and soon horns were blaring making for a less than fun atmosphere.
At 8 miles we returned back to the river, then turned off to run the last 2 miles in the Palace grounds. Luckily it was dry as this could have been very muddy and slippery.
The reception at the finish line was great, with a big crowd cheering us on.
The medal was worth the journey and you got a t-shirt too, though it was quite cheap material, as well as some nice snack freebies and a half price voucher for a visit to the Palace.
Despite the positives, its a running event and for me its all about the run, not the facilities or the freebies, or even thr medal. For an event that cost about £40 I would not do it again. Worthing and Brighton are both about the same price yet are closed road making for a much more enjoyable race.