|Gathering for the start round the front of the palace.|
I did not want to let LSS down by bailing after my gammy hammy episode the previous day in Sussex, but (and I mean this with no offence) I felt I would be unlikely to strain myself further with the combination of the pancake flat course and acting as a pacer for LSS.
Hampton Court Palace is a stunning building built for Henry VIII (although Cardinal Wolsey began the work) as his official residence and since then it has remained one of the ‘Royal Palaces’ and one of the major tourist attractions in London.
|Off downriver along the Thames Path.|
As the time for our starting wave approached we made our way across the road and in to the palace grounds for the start and before long we were all corralled together and sent on our merry way.
The field was quite compact as we managed to shuffle our way along straight out of the palace grounds on to the Thames Path. As we slowly picked our way through the crowd I counted around a dozen unopened gels that had been unwittingly shed by runners before us, but with all us runners so tightly packed together I could not stoop to grab any to save the littering - and benefit myself & LSS!
|Crossing the river.|
Taking it at LSS’s pace we hit the 8 mile marker and the bridge that took us back over the Thames to the Thames Path in front of the palace and a repetition of the first three miles… Rather than crossing the bridge at the end of this stretch we turned left and headed along the edge of Bushy Park and the final 1.5 of the 2 miles… The final half mile being saved as an extra special treat for LSS.
|Looking at the palace from the 'tradesman's entrance'.|
Crossing the line we walked-over to the marquee where they were handing out bananas, water and the bag of finisher’s bling. The finishers tee was an amusing caricature of Henry VIII doing the ‘mobot’ and the medal was big golden effort - something you could inflict serious damage with on someone!
Considering this race is billed as the ‘Hampton Court Palace’ half marathon, you spend about 0.1% of your time there. Instead you are pounding the Thames Path and the local suburban streets, so outside of the physical start line and first 100m you spend no time in the palace grounds, although you do view it twice more as you run past on the Thames Path and the building is a gorgeous spectacle.
|Approaching the palace again.|
What I did enjoy was supporting LSS in her endeavour and successful completion of her second ever half marathon, although her face was almost the same colour as her top by the end of it!
|A cheerful LSS resplendent with her medal and bag o' bling!|