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Hampton Court Half report from Lorna

So, with not the best amount of preparation and training – Mandy, Sue and I set out very early (6:30am!) on a cold grey morning for our little jog around the old Kings and Queens residence – Hampton Court Palace.

We arrived with plenty of time to spare, got a great parking spot and even got to the toilets the first time without queuing.

Now – the biggest issue in the lead up to any race, is of course : What do I wear?? HJ vests being a must of course, but was it cold enough for layers and if so – layers under or over? Decisions, decisions!! Needless to say – we all got it pretty wrong.

It was pretty darn cold at the start so I was feeling quite smug in my 2 layers with long sleeves base layer. However, it was evident pretty quickly into the race that we were overdressed and within 2 miles – we’d stopped and taken off those pesky hot base layers.

So…we kicked off in our allocated wave time (Mandy and I together and Sue 6 mins behind us), and the first few miles were quite narrow which required a fair bit of weaving in and out for us to get past people and finding a good pace was quite tough. We probably should’ve been in a different start wave but we live and learn from these things!

Running alongside the palace with the huge black bars on the gates and massive gold ornamentation was pretty cool and the views along the river were fabulous – even on a grey cold day.

It all then gets a bit hazy for me once we start to hit the ‘road’ section especially between 6-8 miles as I felt pretty tired at that point and quickly scoffed a gel – hoping it would help. Mandy pulled slightly ahead of me aswell so I was my own at this point although I had her in my sights the rest of the race – just couldn’t quite keep up!

Then I saw the man himself……HENRY VIII !!! So of course I had to stop for a selfie ????
After that I came back around the tow path by the river and past the palace again…which was around Mile 8 I think, and I turned on my music as I needed something else to distract me from how tired I was feeling.

I always find it truly amazing what effect a piece of music can have on a person as I was soon flying along fresh as a daisy and singing out loud along to ‘Queen’s’ : “Fat bottom girls” and “Invisible Man”, aswell as other such classics as “Footloose” and “Pump up the Jam” ????

So with a gel in my tummy and music in my ears the next few miles just flew past and before I knew it, I was at around 11.5 miles. Then the roads narrowed a bit, people started appearing and cheering and whilst that’s great support, for me I found it quite distracting along with all the overtaking of walkers, and the traffic, (they hadn’t closed the roads) and at one point I was stopped by a marshal to wait for cars to pass. Good job I wasn’t chasing a PB!

Finally there it was….the finish line…only it was almost another mile to actually get through it – longest EVER last mile in any race I’ve ever done ????????

Overall a pretty nice race. The biggest issue for me was the traffic and stopping runners for cars to go by – otherwise if you manage to get into one of the front waves – it would be a pretty fast race as route is totally flat.

No race is complete without a trip to the pub afterwards, and we all had a lovely meal and admired our amazing huge chunky medals and free tshirts whilst relaxing and scoffing mains and desserts and plenty of fluids.

Sue was a bit poorly from her cold/virus thingy after the race and Mandy was super tired, so the drive home consisted mostly of me talking to help keep Mandy awake (she was driving) but which seemed to do a great job of sending Sue to sleep ????

Huge relief to get home, have a hot bath and rest up the legs.

Great experience and if they improve the traffic situation – would be one I would do again for a PB attempt as its a nice route and fast and flat.